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The murderess confesses to her crimes. She is hanged and publicly dissected at a spiritual carnival. Can morality be found in one’s body?

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Posted on June 18, 2016 by Beth Morrison Projects

ANATOMY THEATER premiered at LA Opera, through their “Off-Grand” initiative in the REDCAT theater.  The world premiere run of 5 performances is completely sold out, and we have received wonderful feedback and excellent reviews thus far.

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World Premiere June 2016 at LA Opera

Posted on July 21, 2015 by Beth Morrison Projects

We are very excited to announce that  Anatomy Theater will receive its World Premiere June 16-19, 2016, Co-Presented by LA Opera at REDCAT, as part of their “Off-Grand” Initiative. 

Tickets and info at laopera.org



In 18th century England, groups of medical specialists produced “moral spectacles” in which bodies of executed criminals were dissected in front of a paying audience. These morbid explorations sought to determine if the internal anatomy of a morally corrupt person was fundamentally different from that of a person pure of soul. A contemporary reflection on a historical event, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, co-librettist Mark Dion, and the artist collective Ridge Theater will create ANATOMY THEATER. Written for four performers, the work follows Sarah Osborne, an English murderess, from confession to execution, denouncement, and public dissection.

Lang started ANATOMY THEATER in 2006 but, for various reasons, shelved the project. After an eight year hiatus, Lang is ready to finish the work. BMP is commissioning the completion of ANATOMY THEATER, and developing it through a two-week workshop at Brooklyn’s BRIC and a pre-production rehearsal period. It will have its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in June 2016 in a co-production with LA Opera.

The libretto, by Mark Dion and David Lang, is comprised of found texts and period anthropological investigations that describe the public dissection of criminals. This is Dion’s first libretto; as a noted visual artist, Dion created tableaux with objects to help inform the narrative arc of the Dion/Lang story. Dion will also design scenery. Other creative members include Bob McGrath, Laurie Olinder, and Bill Morrison from Ridge Theater; Alixandra Gage Englund (Costumes), Christopher Kuhl (Lights), Christopher Rountree (Conductor), and mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell (Sarah Osbourne).

Composer David Lang is known for taking seemingly old-fashioned themes and turning them into engaging modern works of art. Lang’s LOVE FAIL marries the age-old TRISTAN AND ISOLDE story with contemporary texts by Lydia Davis and himself to create a highly contemporary reflection on love and relationships. LOVE FAIL features the medieval vocal ensemble Anonymous 4, who are singing decidedly 21st century music. Lang’s compositional style harkens to Kurt Weill but entirely resides in the modern era of music.

Melding the talents of David Lang and the Ridge Theater collective puts this work at the intersection of numerous artistic disciplines. Filmmaker Bill Morrison will use his unique ability for creating found-footage film to draw audiences deeper into the history of this bizarre medical practice. Director Bob McGrath will weave the story between elements of theatre, opera, film, and projections to create the compelling narrative of a woman executed and dissected to determine the nature of her soul. The melding of visual art, new music, and staging tableaux will skillfully relate a vintage and forgotten practice to a modern day audience.

ANATOMY THEATER is the third collaboration between BMP and David Lang. BMP produced a concert staging and recording of Lang’s THE DIFFICULTY OF CROSSING A FIELD (2014) and the world premiere of Lang’s LOVE FAIL (2012), which BMP toured.

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

2 updates
Last update on June 18, 2016

Project Created By

Brooklyn, New York
Since 2005, Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) has been an industry disruptor and tastemaker at the forefront of musical and theatrical innovation by commissioning, developing, producing and touring the groundbreaking new works of living composers and their collaborators, which take the form of opera-theatre, music-theatre, and vocal-theatre. BMP encourages risk-taking and the result is provocative works…

In Collaboration With

Composer & Co-Librettist
New York, New York
New York, New York
Lighting Designer
Brooklyn , New York
Developmental Partner
Brooklyn, New York


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