With eleven instruments-4 woodwinds, string quartet, piano, harp and french horn–Michael has completed the lush composition we both imagined (he in his way and I in mine) as we wrote…and rewrote…and rewrote…this color Michaelopera. The transporting score creates gorgeous operatic pleasures, while remaining true to a libretto in English that is a dramatic play, with words that must must be heard.  This amazingly talented composer has elevated our tale to be more passionate, more desperate; the characters and actions more archetypal yet more complex; every dilemma more nuanced; and life’s questions and outcomes deeply inscrutable, as indeed they were in medieval Padua and are today. Bravo, Michael!

HUFFINGTON POST review of TNC production

Rappaccini’s Daughter: Opera Blooms at Theater for the New City

by Melody Breyer-Grell (Writer, Vocalist, Lyricist); regular contributor

Posted: 09/29/2014 5:22 pm EDT Updated: 09/29/2014 6:59 pm EDT




Talkin’ Broadway–What’s New on the Rialto? 9/17/14

Beth Herstein interviews Linsey about the beginnings of Rappaccini’s Daughter, meeting Michael, our collaborative process on RD and in general. She asks: How did a fiction writer get into this? Is writing an opera like writing fiction? (Yes and no. It does bear some resemblance to writing a novel.) Why did we call this an operatic musical? (Good question.) And what is our next project together?

Click the link below for the answers to these and other mysteries.


THEATER TALK’s executive producer and co-host Susan Haskins lauds Rappaccini’s Daughter.

Rappaccini’s Daughter is a moving and inventive adaptation of Hawthorne’s profound gothic tale of love, death and botany. Now at Theater for the New City, this strikingly theatrical opera has lyrics by Linsey Abrams, music by Michael Cohen and was staged by Lissa Moira. Add more instruments to the musical director Jonathan Fox Powers’ impressive solo piano accompaniment, and this engaging work would be worthy of a place onstage at The Met.”

Theater Talk 2 MRlaughing09

Theater Talk’s co-hosts, Susan Haskins and Michael Riedel, theater columnist at The New York Post, share a laugh on one one of their shows, aired regularly on PBS affiliates and CUNY TV.

Town & Village east side paper feature article

September 4th Issue:  Front page feature by Sabina Mollot on the upcoming production of “Rappaccini’s Daughter” at Theater for the New City. Cast photo features singers, Douglass McDonell, Samantha Britt, William Broderick and Martin Fisher. Darcy Dunn rounds out the company. Linsey and Michael share their thoughts on the original Nathaniel Hawthorne short story, its contemporary relevance and the timelessness of the 1844 tale’s themes of scientific manipulation and craving for power, and insights into human desires as well as the unpredictability of perceptions, actions and experience.

Beatrice and Giovanni duet.