Music by Stefan Weisman
Libretto by David Cote

About Fade

Fade is a one-act opera that happens in real time, about thirty minutes before sunset. We are in a new, sprawling mansion built by Albert on the site of his wife Gertie’s demolished family estate in the Adirondack Mountains. It’s moving day; Albert and Gertie arrive and meet the Housekeeper, a local girl hired for the summer. Albert enjoys a few cocktails, and the couple quibbles over exactly how eco-friendly the new house is. Without warning, there’s a power outage. The only light in the room comes from the large bay windows, overlooking a lake. Tensions rise with ominous talk of recent news. Finally, the Housekeeper leaves as Albert and Gertie wait nervously for the blackout to end. The sun sets.

The score for Fade is built around arias for each of the three characters. Accessible melody is followed by a sudden shift to a more anxious, dislocating, minimalist conclusion.
Fade was commissioned in 2008 by the English company Second Movement, and had its world premiere in London last October. It received valuable development workshops from American Opera Projects.  Philadelphia’s Center City Opera Theater presented a concert version of Fade in September 2008, and the opera was most recently performed by San Francisco’s Goat Hall Productions in May 2009. The creators are interested in a full New York production.

Official website:

About the Creators

Stefan Weisman creates playful and brooding soundscapes described by Anthony Tommasini (The New York Times) as "personal, moody and skillfully wrought." His works include chamber, orchestral and choral pieces, and he has specialized in vocal pieces that explore edgy and compelling topics.  His opera Darkling, commissioned by American Opera Projects, was included in the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series, premiered to great acclaim at the Classic Stage Company and toured Europe in 2007.  Among his other commissions are works for Bang on a Can, Sequitur, and the Empire City Men's Choir.

DAVID COTE (librettist)
Opera: Fade with composer Stefan Weisman (world premiere London 2008); A Child Possessed with composer Robert Paterson (in progress). Plays: Vicarious (commissioned by Gingold Theatrical Group, 2008); Legion (in progress). Theater Editor of Time Out New York and contributing critic on NY1’s On Stage. Freelance reporting and arts commentary for The New York Times, Opera News, The Guardian, The Times (UK), WNYC and other media outlets. His popular companion books to Broadway hits include Wicked: The Grimmerie, Jersey Boys and Spring Awakening: In the Flesh. Frequent essayist for the Best Plays Yearbook series. Member of the New York Drama Critics Circle. Fellowships: The MacDowell Colony. B.A. Bard College, 1992. Cote was born, adopted and raised in New Hampshire. He blogs at

AOP Presentations

July 17, 2009
Fade, an opera in one act
Amy van Roekel, soprano; Jonathan Hays, baritone;
Pamela Stein, mezzo-soprano; Jody Schum, pianist; Stephen Black, conductor
Galapogos Art Space
16 Main Street, DUMBO Brooklyn, NY 11201

February 22, 2008
Libretto Reading and Staging
Carol Monda, Gertie; Patrick Porter, Albert; Dina Rivera, Housekeeper
Ned Canty, director
Great Room, South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY

Other Presentations

May 22-23, 2009
San Francisco Cabaret Opera
Eileen Meredith, soprano; Alix Jerinic, mezzo-soprano; Jason Sarten, baritone
Alexander Katsman, music director/conductor
Capp Street Concert Hall
544 Capp Street
San Francisco, CA

October 22-25, 2008
Second Movement
Jane Harrington, soprano; Hannah Pedley, mezzo-soprano; David Butt Philip, baritone
Graham Ross, conductor
Oliver Mears, director
Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton Street
London, England N1 6SH

October 21, 2008
BBC Radio 3 "In Tune" programme
Excerpts of the new opera Fade performed live in the studio by
Jane Harrington, soprano; and David Butt Philips, baritone
with Stefan Weisman, composer; Oliver Mears, director; Sean Rafferty, host

September 12-14, 2008
Center City Opera Theater
Veronica Chapman-Smith, soprano; Leandra Ramm, mezzo-soprano; Jason Switzer, baritone
Jody Schum, piano; Andrew Kurtz, conductor
The Ethical Society
1906 Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA

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