Henry Akona | Director and Composer

The Velvet Oratorio

Libretto by Edward Einhorn
Music by Henry Akona
Dramaturgy by Karen Lee Ott
Staging by Henry Akona
Musical direction by James Kennerly

World Premiere

The Velvet Oratorio is a retelling of the Velvet Revolution through text, choral music, and scenes inspired by Václav Havel’s Vaněk plays. The text for the oratorio draws upon U.S. State Department documents and corresponding Czechoslovakian / Soviet documents and interviews with journalists, diplomats, and ordinary people who were in the streets of Prague in November 1989. The Velvet Oratorio is a collaborative project between Edward Einhorn (playwright), Henry Akona (composer), and Karen Lee Ott (dramaturg), the same creative team that was behind the Havel Festival.

Supported by The Czech Center New York and The Alma & Morris Shapiro Fund

Part of the Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe festival presented by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

November 19, 2009
Bruno Walter Auditorium, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, Lincoln Center, NYC
November 30, 2009
Bohemian National Hall, NYC

Civic Forum: Craig Anderson
Embassy Aide: Timothy Babcock
Communist Spokesman: Danny Bowes
Vaněk: Peter Brown
Martin No. 1: Jonathan Farmer
Shirley Temple Black: Andrea Gallo
Michael: Joe Gately
Martin No. 2: Josh Hartung
Student: Uma Incrocci
Staněk: Eric Oleson
Vera: Yvonne Roen
Officer: Tony Torn

Soprano: Martha Cluver
Alto: Tami Petty
Tenor: Jonathan Kline
Bass: Scott Dispensa 

First Violin: Guillaume Pirard
Second Violin: Sarah Whitney
Viola: Eran Sykes
Cello: Michael Midlarsky

Production Team
Staging: Henry Akona
Dramaturgy: Karen Lee Ott
Musical Director: James Kennerly
Video Designer: Jared Mezzochi
Costume Designer: Carla Gant
Lighting Designer (BNH only): Jeff Nash
Assistant Director: Tom Berger
Stage Manager: Marissa Bea