The Virgin Charlie

Librettist: Taylor Marie Graham
Composer: William Rowson

May 2016 – Hamilton’s Philharmonic Orchestra’s “What Next: Festival of New Music”
March 2009 – Tapestry New Opera Works “Opera to Go 2009,” The Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre

A dark comedy in retro musical theatre form: Charlie regularly performs a musical drag act as The Virgin Mary. Feeling under the weather for some time, Charlie receives a visitor in his dressing room. It is the real Mary, Mother of God, and she is here to deliver a message!

Nominated: Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Opera / Musical 2009

“Tapestry New Opera Works is out to prove that new opera and entertainment can coexist and even feed each other in an aesthetically satisfying relationship.

Last night at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre, four new, short operas (as well as a pre-show cabaret in the lobby) received their world premieres at the hand of a strong cast of five singers expertly directed by stage veteran Tom Diamond and a five-piece chamber orchestra ably led by Tapestry artistic director Wayne Strongman . . .

The Virgin Charlie, by Taylor Graham and composer William Rowson, a charmingly twisted tale of a drag singer being told by the Virgin Mary that he/she is the bearer of the Second Coming. Countertenor Scott Belluz and mezzo Krisztina Szabo are fabulously well matched in this two-hander . . . All hail new opera!” – John Terauds, The Toronto Star

– – –

“Props to Comic Opera… The most successful of the comedies is Taylor Graham and William Rowson’s The Virgin Charlie, which brings together a drag queen who performs as the Virgin Mary and the Lady herself, who arrives to deliver a second Annunciation. The result skillfully blends dramatic and musical tones.

Rowson’s score begins with Charlie’s performance – the melody echoes a 30s Broadway musical – and becomes more serious with the appearance of Mary in Charlie’s dressing room. Belluz and Krisztina Szabó make a great couple, delivering notes of comedy, irony and real feeling during the 15-minute piece.

On opening night it also offered the show’s best improvisation. In a moment of energetic conducting, music director Wayne Strongman’s baton sailed through the air and landed onstage. Szabó, about to lead Belluz in a song-and-dance routine, picked it up and beat time for the number.”  – Jon Kaplan, Now Magazine (Full Review)