Buwalsky: A Road Opera


Knuckles like baseballs,
Fingers like hot dogs,
Palms as soft as desert islands.
A man with hands like yours
Can have any woman.

Buwalsky and Lada

Buwalsky is the most unattractive man on the face of the Earth, yet his hands radiate an irresistible attraction on almost all women. Repelled by his own power, Buwalsky spends all his time watching television and loses his heart to Lada, the lead in a TV thriller series of the same name. As their worlds collide, romance blossoms but turns eventually to tragedy.

This Wozzeck-Meets-La Femme Nikita chamber opera marked the second collaboration between composer Mel Marvin and librettist Jonathan Levi.  Commissioned by the Dutch company, Opera Spanga, Buwalsky was written in ten scenes for five singers and small ensemble and ten lushly-orchestrated filmed interludes, and inspired by an unproduced screenplay by the Dutch film director Irma Achten. 

Produced in Opera Spanga’s tent in the middle of a Friesian cow pasture, Buwalsky premiered on July 21, 2004 to glowing reviews in the Dutch press. Thanks to a generous grant by the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Nine Circles was able to transfer the production to the United States for performances in New Haven and New York, where it received equally laudatory notices.

World premiere: July 21, 2004 Opera Spanga, Netherlands
American premiere: September 23, 2004 Yale Repertory Theater New Haven, CT
New York premiere: September 30 Skirball Center, New York University

Corina van Eijk
Jonathan Levi
Libretto, based on a screenplay by Irma Achten
Mel Marvin
Jan van Maanen Music Director
Jolanda Lanslots Sets
Pieter van Rooij Costumes
Saskia Ellemeet Make-Up
Henk Post, Nelleke Simons        

Peter Michailov Buwalsky 
Klara Uleman
Charles Alves da Cruz Franco
Wil van der Meer Inspector
Jasmin Besig Everywoman


With the Spanga Festival Orchestra and the Aukso String Orchestra of Poland