A Musical Ghost Story
music by Gregg Kallor / text adapted from Edgar Allan Poe's short story
Composer-pianist Gregg Kallor unveiled his setting of Edgar Allan Poe's terrifying short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, in a 100-year old vaulted crypt beneath the Church of the Intercession in New York City in October 2016 - just before Halloween.
Kallor premiered the creepy tale with mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Pojanowski and cellist Joshua Roman in a semi-staging by Sarah Meyers (Metropolitan Opera), with a lighting design by Shawn Kaufman. The two sold-out performances were presented by The Crypt Sessions in collaboration with On Site Opera.
Following on the heels of the acclaimed premiere, Kallor reprised the piece with soprano Melody Moore and Joshua Roman in a late-night performance at SubCulture NY in January 2017 (video shown above).
New York Observer
"I can't think of a better opera to become a new Halloween tradition."
The Wall Street Journal
"Even after adding a second performance, the wait list for tickets tops 100."
"Just in time for Halloween, The Crypt Sessions, in collaboration with On Site Opera, came through with the hair-raising world premiere of Gregg Kallor's musical monodrama The Tell-Tale Heart, based on Edgar Allan Poe's classic chiller."
"Kallor's vocal writing was refreshingly gracious and intelligible, allowing... moments of lyricism, as well as providing hints for dramatic emphasis."
–Joanne Sydney Lessner
NYC Arts 13
"The Crypt Sessions celebrates Halloween with the world premiere of Gregg Kallor's dramatic cantata based on Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart."
Berkshire Fine Arts
"Kallor mesmerizes until he terrifies."
"The program, consisting of the short monodrama and two additional instrumental pieces (also by Kallor), moved nimbly from a sincere, emotional urgency, toward an effective climax of macabre hysteria."
"Fearsome tendrils of sound rose from the piano and Mr. Roman's strings, reaching into the listener's mind to disquieting effect.
As the packed house sat and listened, one could not help think of the weight of the earth around the stone crypt and wonder if the spirits of those interred at this site might be listening."
New York 1 News
"Go if you dare."
"The Tell-Tale Heart is a familiar tale to a lot of people - we want to give it to them in new clothes."