an opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs
US Poet Laureate
Creator of Plan Of The City
New Am / New Works Benefit Gala 2015?format=1500w

Joshua Frankel

In Brief
A Marvelous Order is a multimedia opera about the battle between Robert Moses, the Master Builder, and Jane Jacobs, the self-taught oracle of unparalleled urban insight, over the fate of New York City. When Moses plans to demolish Jacobs' home and neighborhood, Jacobs leads a revolt, igniting a conflict that continues to shape built environments around the world - from small towns to global cities - and the lives of all who call them home.

A Story For All Cities
Today, for the first time in history, over 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. Meanwhile, those with the means to choose are choosing increasingly to live in urban centers. Construction cranes dot skylines around the world and utopian visions of urbanism have returned. This is a moment that demands historical memory.

Redefining opera for the 21st century
A Marvelous Order has been created through an unusually deep interdisciplinary collaboration between the four lead artists. Every step of creative development - from concept to story to staging - has been considered collaboratively in order to weave together poetry, music, choreography and animation in ways that take full advantage of each medium’s emotional and storytelling power.

Scenography and Animation
A Marvelous Order features beautifully wrought animation throughout, allowing a story about epic structures and millions of people to fit on a stage. The animation appears on custom-built LED screens, built into in the opera’s set - a series of of “building blocks” that the ensemble manipulates throughout the performance, creating and destroying their environments, reflecting the story itself. These blocks have been engineered in Berlin and Brooklyn; they are self-contained, portable and “plug-and-play”.

The opera reunites the creative team of Greenstein and Frankel, whose widely-acclaimed Plan of the City was called “one of the best matches of visuals to music I have seen” (Anne Midgette, Washington Post), adding the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith and choreographer Will Rawls, whom The New York Times calls “an artist as skilled with language as he is with movement.”