Four hours of opera is nothing. But those who know Nature Theater of Oklahoma know that there is little in common between the theater they make and the traditional opera theatre genre.
"Burt Turrido: an Opera" is a spectacular, wild-west performance that often skirts the cliché cliff by a hair's breadth. In "Burt Turrido: An Opera", Nature Theater of Oklahoma unabashedly dismantle everything they encounter in the way of the conventional structures and forms of the opera genre, only to reassemble it with great passion, humour and the courage to take risks.
‘Are you jealous / Of a slave? / A silly thing / For a king’.
A man lost and drowning at sea is rescued by a mysterious and beautiful woman, possibly a phantom or a mermaid, who escorts him to an island ruled by a despotic King and Queen. They name their newly discovered castaway Burt Turrido, and make him their slave, and – when he proves too inept at that – their prisoner. But this is an opera, and the drama doesn't stop there – there's yet to come still a cataclysmic storm, an immaculate pregnancy, a murder, a love triangle, a mock execution, a birth, an alien invasion and kidnapping, and we promise you it's not over until someone finally gets impaled on a narwhal tusk.
Founded in New York in 2004 by Kelly Copper and Pavol Liška, Nature Theater of Oklahoma is one of the most individual theatre companies of our time. Its unmistakable blend of conceptual clarity, formal rigour and an apparently trashy surface borrows from every theatre tradition and modernist art strategy imaginable. Its oeuvre extends from theatre productions and performances through dance pieces, musicals and audio dramas to literature, graphic novels and films in a wide range of genres.