Calling: An Opera of Forgiveness

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Calling Stars Roland Burks and Nicole Tori
Roland Burks and Nicole Tori,
stars of the September 2008 production of Calling.

Calling, an Opera of Forgiveness, recounts the up-close experience of one downtown family on 9/11, and the month immediately following it.  Blending drama, music, and choreography, it captures the reactions and reflections of one family witnessing the attack on the World Trade Center at close range, and the path they take to move from chaos to recovery and hope. La MaMa's production marks the first full showing of the work.

Calling premiered September 12, 2008 at the La Mama ETC. First Floor Theater in New York City, where it will ran a series of fifteen performances through the month of September.  Prior to the full premiere, segments of the work were presented at the Cornelia St. Cafe's Serial Underground in New York City from June 2007 through March 2008, in February 2008 at the Spark Festival in Minneapolis, in April on the Sonic Divergence festival at Northwestern University, at Princeton University in May, and at a benefit performance in Tribeca in June.

Members of the press:
Please contact Wickham Boyle:

Press kit materials are here.


August 2008:
Click HERE to read the Backstage review of Calling.

Click HERE to read the Paper Magazine piece on Calling.

Click HERE to read the review of Calling.

Click HERE to read the review of Calling.

Click HERE to read the New York Times review of Calling.

lick HERE to read the Flavorpill review of Calling.

Click HERE to see the WABC story on Calling that was broadcast on the 11th of September.

Click HERE to see a segment on Calling from the French Television Network 2 (about 12-13 minutes into the show).

Click HERE to read the Metro New York review of Calling.

Click HERE to go to the New York Times website and their September 1 article on Wicki Boyle and Calling, or click HERE to grab a PDF of the article.

Click HERE to read the NY Press article on Calling.

Click HERE to read the Battery Park City Broadsheet article on Wickham Boyle and Calling.

Click HERE to read the article on Calling in the Japanese newspaper Sankei-Shimbun (this story is in Japanese).

Click HERE to read the Montreal Bulletin article on Hiroya Miura, conductor of Calling (p. 13).

Click HERE to see the TV Thirteen/WNET Sunday Arts program story on Calling (last story in "Sunday Arts News" segment).

Click HERE to read the interview with Wickham Boyle.

Click HERE to read the interview with Doug Geers.

Click HERE to read the University of Minnesota News story on Calling.

Click HERE to see the New Yorker listing for Calling.

Click HERE to see our blurb in the New York Observer.

Click HERE to listen to the podcast interview of Wickham Boyle and Doug Geers by's Martin Denton.  More information about this episode is HERE.  

Click HERE to hear the interview of Wickham Boyle and Doug Geers with Janet Coleman on WBAI radio's Cat Radio Cafe program, August 25, 2008.

Click HERE to see the article about Calling on the Playbill website, August 2008.

 April 2008:
Click HERE to read the Time Out Chicago preview of the April 8 PLOrk concert that featured the premiere of Sweep, a section of Calling.

Click HERE to read a review of the Chicago PLOrk performance.

June 2007:
A twelve-minute concert excerpt of Calling, entitled How Long, was premiered at the Cornelia Street Café “Serial Underground” series on June 11, 2007 in New York City.  
Steve Smith of the New York Times reviewed the June 11, 2007 concert, writing:

The latest installment, performed to a packed house on Monday night, included first glimpses of two operas in the making. “Calling,” by the composer Doug Geers, is based on “A Mother’s Essays From Ground Zero,” a collection of reflections on Sept. 11, 2001, by the writer and director Wickham Boyle.

In the untitled selection presented here, the soprano Erin Heisel offered a plainspoken lament that was sometimes echoed or harmonized by Lesley Watson, a mezzo-soprano. Mr. Geers, using a notebook computer, fashioned an accompaniment of street sounds, glitchy bursts and mechanical rhythms; Summer Boggess, a cellist, played keening whistles and scrabbling outbursts. Despite the clangor, the tone was generally contemplative.

Click HERE to read the entire Steve Smith New York Times review of the concert (PDF).

Nicole Davis wrote of preview piece on the June 11 concert in The Villager, writing:
A musical reconcilliation of 9/11

Wickham Boyle, editor of our sister magazine Thrive and longtime Tribeca resident, has written once before about September 11 and its aftermath in her memoir, “A Mother’s Essays from Ground Zero.” But for “Calling,” loosely drawn from the material in her book, Boyle decided to give voice to that time via a different medium. “There is nothing that says ‘this is an iconic drama’ like opera,” she says. “And is there any more iconic, dramatic moment in our own modern history than September 11?”

An opera also gives Boyle a chance to create what she calls a “reconciliation” of what has transpired since that day. A reconciliation of … ? “Of all the differences that caused this and the various schisms that seem to have gotten deeper.” The story follows one downtown family and various rescue workers, along with a third group called the Antagonists, who will be represented by music alone. Aurally and thematically, the opera will progress from dissonance to harmony.

The work in progress is a collaborative effort between Boyle, modern experimental composer Doug Geers and video artist Christine Sciulli. For the song, “Hold On,” which will premiere Monday June 11 at the Cornelia Street Café as part of the CCi Composers Collaborative series, Boyle used a few lines from the first essay in her book to create the lyrics. Geers then added the music, which will be performed by two singers and a cellist, along with the electronic music Geers programmed. It is the first in what will ultimately be a series of 16 scenes, based upon the 16 essays in Boyle’s book.

Audiences will get two more sneak peaks of “Calling” this November and next March at the Cornelia St. Café, before it is mounted in September 2008 at La MaMa, where Boyle was once its executive director. Her 20-plus years as a theater producer will serve her well as she and Geers take this to various theaters around the country, building up to a performance on the 10th anniversary of September 11.

The performance is at 8:30 p.m. at Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St. between W. 4th and Bleecker Sts. (212-989-9319). For tickets and more information, visit

Click HERE to access The Villager's website.

      CLICK HERE for press materials.