"Big Jim" King claims to have invented a virtual reality machine which allows users to experience their own wildest fantasies. Is he a genius or just a scheming L.A. business man walking the line between con-man and cult leader? As he lures Small-Time Investors into his operation his plan starts to spiral out of control threatening to ruin the Investors and promising disaster for Jim's wife, Kim and his assistant, Stan.
A man of mystery and intrigue, Big Jim's story resonates now more than ever. Composer Eric Salzman has brought this dramatic character to life with the help of librettist, Edgar Jackson.
This work allows you to see the cutting edge in opera, and ask yourself the age-old question: Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?
Andrew Eggert directs and Steven Crawford conducts an all-star cast featuring Vale Rideout, Aaron Theno, Colette Boudreaux, and Darynn Zimmer.
Composer/writer Eric Salzman, one of the founders of the new music theater, is the creator or co-creator of more than two-dozen music-theater pieces for stage, recordings and media and a major figure world-wide in the field. A co-founder of the American Music Theater Festival, his work is innovative, involving new vocal techniques and electronic extensions, pluralistic styles and forms, as well as new media technologies. Since such early works as The Nude Paper Sermon in the 1960s he has continued to collaborate with major artists like Michael Sahl, dancer/choreographer Daniel Nagrin, filmmaker Stan Vanderbeek, stage directors Tom O'Horgan, Rhoda Levine, Michel Rostain and Yuri Rasovsky, etc. His works have been perfored by Dennis Russell Davies, Lukas Foss, the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Boulez, the American Music Theater Festival, La MaMa Experimental Theater, Theater for a New City, the Théâtre National du Cornouaille (Quimper, France), Théâtre du Trident (Québec), NPR, BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Company and many others. His extensive writings include the first survey in English of the new music theater (Oxford University Press) and a well-known book on 20th century music. His music has been heard on National Public Radio and on recordings for Nonesuch and Labor Records.
Ned Jackson wrote the original libretto for Big Jim and the Small-Time Investors for Salzman in the fall and winter of 1982 - '83. Before and since then he has had works produced and published in the U.S. and abroad (e.g., productions at NYC's Public Theater, and on German Radio Cologne and Radio Frankfurt). The range of his writing is visible across two titles: Dialogue on Cultural Criminality and Just the Fur of Us: Tales From the Thousand and One Monkeying Nights, a series of stories, with illustrations by Anna H. Walter, which have been presented in a variety of formats and contexts in the United States and Canada. Copies are in libraries in both countries and brief excepts can be viewed on the Web. Among Ned's honors are grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (for the Big Jim libretto) and the Goethe Institute.