Composer Dag Gabrielsen's work performed by New York City Opera

Dag GabrielsenForget slogging through 15 hours of Wagner’s Ring Cycle; Mason Gross doctoral Music student Dag Gabrielsen has crafted a 10-minute opera that any harried New Yorker could appreciate.

The New York City Opera recently presented Gabrielsen's All Three Acts of a Sad Play Performed Entirely in Bed. The two-character “pocket opera” took place at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

“I feel like I got away with murder by sneaking the piece into the program,” Gabrielsen says. “I actually only decided to submit it at the very last minute, just before the deadline.”

The drama, based on a poem by Julie Larios, focuses on Lily, who is haunted by the ghost of a man she slept with years ago. All Three Acts is a work for soprano, mezzo-soprano and orchestra.

According to the New York City Opera, All Three Acts makes reference to several operatic works, such as Der Rosenkavalier and L'Orfeo, as well as to German Expressionism, Gregorian chant and jazz. The opera was presented as part of New York City Opera's VOX contemporary American opera lab.

“Hearing a professional orchestra perform the work was very exciting . . . the full string section of the NYCO alone was an incredible sound,” Gabrielsen says. Gabrielsen, who has worked as a sound engineer and a music supervisor for films, adds: “. . . Nothing beats the immediacy of a group of people on stage in front of you [performing] in real time. Opera brings all of these things together, right down to the nonsense of a bunch of crazy characters singing their way through a play rather than speaking their lines.”

Published: May 2011

Listen to an excerpt from All Three Acts

Watch a short interview with Gabrielsen here:

Photo courtesy of Dag Gabrielsen.

Dag Gabrielsen graduated from the Mason Gross School of the Arts on May 12, 2012, with a PhD in Music Theory and Composition.