September 27, 2019
On September 17, 2019, Don Steinberg previewed Joseph Keckler’s (BFA ‘04) new performance, Let Me Die for the Wall Street Journal. Researched and developed at the Stamps School of Art & Design as part of Keckler’s Fall 2015 Roman J. Witt Residency, Let Me Die approaches the canon of tragic opera as he ties together and performs fragments of a multitude of operatic death scenes. With a work in progress that was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAD) in December 2015 at the end of Keckler’s residency, the finished performance ran in September 2019 as as part of Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O19 and the city’s Fringe Festival.
“Death attends conversations about opera,” says Mr. Keckler. “People talk about opera being dead. And death is what you wait for in an opera. It was something to play with.” His 80-minute show includes death scenes and related moments from “Aida,” “La Bohème,” “Carmen,” “Tosca” and other classics, plus original material. Mr. Keckler performs with a pianist, a violinist, a countertenor, a mezzo and a soprano.