a new chamber opera
Adapted from the award-winning 2004 play by iconic American playwright Neil LaBute, this black comedy, set in '90s Florida, reveals the operatic reserves of human truth that lie beneath the surface of a workplace rom-com. With music by Matt Boehler and a libretto by Miriam Gordon-Stewart, the chamber opera Fat Pig was commissioned by Victory Hall Opera and given its premiere in January 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"...impressive and captivating..."
" [Boehler] writes well for the voice, especially the female voice...the characters were believable because they were sharply drawn."
"A rom-com with a serious undercurrent, Fat Pig is a powerfully moving metaphor for all unconventional relationships destroyed by societal condemnation."
Trailer for FAT PIG
more production clips below
When Tom begins dating Helen, a confident plus-sized woman, he encounters the confusion and judgement of his office co-workers. Will he break the rules for love, or will he succumb to his fears?
In the role of Helen, we finally see an operatic character written specifically for a fat performer as a romantic lead, telling of an experience that is all too common.
Soprano and fat-activist Tracy Cox, who premiered the role of Helen, speaks about Fat Pig:
“Yikes – what a title. Why would I, as a self-identified fat person and activist, want to sing in an opera with such a startling title?
"Because this project endeavors to tell one of the stories of the fat experience — a subject that has never before been approached in opera. This piece tells the story of a fat woman who falls in love with a man in a normative body, and the tragedy that follows when the misogyny and fatmisia of the man’s friends and colleagues prove too much for them to overcome. This is a common experience for fat people — having intimate partners who won’t take the relationship public because they are unwilling or unable to deal with the realities of the deeply ingrained fatphobia in our society.
"I was frankly blown away that both the playwright Neil LaBute and Victory Hall Opera had seen the value in telling such a story.”
NEWSPAPER AND RADIO:
Daily Progress: Fat Pig unfolds operatic story of love, cruelty and bias
Cville: Song and social advance
WTJU FM: Matt Boehler and VHO's "Fat Pig"
Fat Pig is ca. 100 minutes long, scored for four singers and a six-player chamber ensemble, and was commissioned by and developed with Victory Hall Opera.
CAST, 4 singers:
Helen, dramatic soprano; Jeannie, lyric soprano;
Carter, tenor; Tom, baritone
INSTRUMENTATION, 6 players:
Clarinet (dbl. Bass Clarinet)
Bass Clarinet (dbl. Clarinet)
Percussion (1 player)
LICENSING AND MATERIALS:
Performance license inquiries for Fat Pig can be directed to Shawn Jeffery at ADA Artists Management: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perusal scores available below and upon request from the composer via the CONTACT page, in addition to all rental materials.