Angel's Bone

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Angel's Bone is an opera by composer Du Yun and librettist Royce Vavrek in one act that follows the plight of two angels discovered on earth who are forced into spiritual and sexual slavery at the hands of a financially troubled couple. The work is a contemporary parable about human trafficking.[1] Julian Wachner conducted the performances with Novus NY and the Trinity Wall Street Choir. The production, which opened on January 6, 2016, at the 3LD Art & Technology Center in Greenwich Street, Lower Manhattan, as part of the Prototype Festival in New York City, was directed by Michael McQuilken.[2]


Roles Voice type Premiere cast, 6 January 2016[2]
(Conductor: Julian Wachner)
Mrs. X.E. mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer
Mr. X.E. baritone Kyle Pfortmiller
Boy Angel tenor Kyle Bielfield
Girl Angel vocalist Jennifer Charles

Critical reception[edit]

"Du Yun's audacious and searing Angel's Bone. It's an appallingly good work when you consider that it takes on the subject of child trafficking and mixes in elements of magic realism and a musical cocktail of Renaissance polyphony, electronica, Modernism, punk rock and cabaret ... The director, Michael McQuilken, drew courageous and memorable performances from all." Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times.[3]

"Angel's Bone is a mature and complex work. It is a fable inside an allegory and its soundscape ranges across the history of Western music." Natalie Axton, Hyperallergic.[4]

"Disturbing, powerful and original, effectively using electronics and video, the opera ended with the evil wife tearfully pleading her case on daytime TV, adding the final nail of credibility to a work that gave me nightmares, yet one that I would nonetheless see again." Anne Midgette, The Washington Post.[5]

"Mezzo Abigail Fischer's wonderfully pitiless demeanor and chilly coloratura set up a Lady Macbeth-like Mrs. X.E.; Kyle Pfortmiller brought out the brutish insecurity of her husband, so easily persuaded to do her dirty work. Kyle Bielfield's wide vocal range and sweetness embodied the heartbreaking innocence of the Boy Angel; as the Girl Angel, Jennifer Charles's nonclassical voice scraped and howled against an electronic score, making her pain excruciatingly audible." Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal.[6]

The opera received the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music.[7]


  1. ^ "Opera takes new look at trafficking - Angel's Bone explores complexities of culprits". Arab Times. Archived from the original on 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  2. ^ a b "Angel's Bone production details". 2016-01-06. Archived from the original on 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  3. ^ Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (7 January 2016). "In Angel's Bone, Terrified Seraphim at the Mercy of Mortals". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  4. ^ "An Opera About Plucking and Pimping Fallen Angels". 2016-01-11. Archived from the original on 2016-01-25. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  5. ^ Midgette, Anne (2012-12-14). "At an opera festival, tales of drug cartels. At opera houses, same old song". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
  6. ^ Waleson, Heidi (2016-01-11). "Dystopia on Stage at Prototype Festival". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2016-01-31.(subscription required)
  7. ^ "Du Yun's Angel's Bone Wins Pulitzer Prize for Music" Archived 2017-07-08 at the Wayback Machine by Andrew Flanagan, NPR, 10 April 2017.