9/11 opera to open Friday

September 11, 2008 3:30:41 PM PDT
Oftentimes, from tragedy comes art. And from the 9/11 attacks, an opera has taken shape.It opens Friday.

The woman who created the opera lives just blocks from Ground Zero and was there that September day in 2001. It focuses on her family and the people she came in contact with in the weeks following the attacks. She based the work on a book she wrote, a story of reflection and loss.

"It's a love letter to New York," Wickham Boyle said. "And it's a love letter to the world."

"A Mother's Essays from Ground Zero" is the story of a family living in TriBeCa, who witnessed the collapse of the towers, of a city, of an entire country. That family is Wickham Boyle's.

"Over and over, my gaze comes to rest on the spot where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center held sway as mighty landmarks," she read from her book.

She met us at St. Paul's Chapel, appropriate, for this is where so many people came September 11th. They are people Wickham vividly remembers and writes about in her book.

"In the streets, I've seen children whose loud mouths are covered in gas masks," she read.

The collection is now the inspiration behind Wickham's new opera.

"This is tough stuff and beautiful stuff, and sit, let it wash over you for an hour and a half and go back out to your life," she said.

Through music and choreography, the ensemble of 26 leads the audience on an emotional journey.

"It has a movement, a throw and thrust that's theatrical," she said.

It traces the path people took from chaos to recovery and hope. The title, "Calling: An Opera of Forgiveness," reflects the essence of the now infamous day.

"The calls of prayer, the calls to help, the call to safety," she said. "The forgiveness of what happened to us as a country, nation, family, that it's about forward motion.'

It's about healing and hope.

"We are alive and breathing down here, blocks from the devastation, searching the landscape with our eyes and groping our teeth with our tongues for assurance that some things remain in place," she read.

All proceeds from sale of Wickham's book of essays went to schools near Ground Zero that were forced to close after the attacks.

The opera opens the La Mama Theater in the East Village and runs through September 28.

To find out how to get tickets and for more about the work, log onto LaMama.org.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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