The American Museum on Natural History's Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs is known for a lot of things: A Tyrannosaurus rex that appears to be on the prowl, a long necked Apatosaurus, sharp-toothed Velociraptors and, coming this fall, a family friendly opera!
Written by John Musto with libretto by Eric Einhorn, Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt is based on the real childhood experiences of Rhoda Knight Kalt during her visits to the very room where the opera takes place (as with her grandfather, the famous naturalist artist Charles R. Knight). Charles Knight was hired by Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn, paleontologist and president of the AMNH, to create paintings and sculptures of the prehistoric animals found in the Fossil Halls—many of which are still on display today. During the 20-minute performance, Rhoda (soprano Jennifer Zetlan) goes on a hunt for various fossils while learning about the connections between science and creativity.
The opera was co-commissioned and produced by the museum, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited and Pittsburgh Opera. Following it's premiere at AMNH, it'll move on to Chicago and Pittsburgh. It stars Zetlan, Robert Orth and Patrick Cook.
Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt will run Sept 23–Oct 15, Sat and Sun at 12 and 2:30 and Fri Oct 13 at 11:30; free with museum admission. Learn more at amnh.org.