St. Petersburg composer Tom Sivak recounts the fantastical story of
Carl von Cosel, in Palladium performance on September 23.
St Petersburg, FL: Love v. Death, a brand new chamber opera written by Floridians Tom Sivak and Carl von Cosel, premieres at the Palladium Side Door Cabaret at 8pm on Monday, September 23, 2019. The 40-minute opera, directed by Vickie Daignault, stars Samuel Hall as Carl von Cosel, Stephanie McCranie as Elena Hoyo, Timothy Wilt as Pancho Hoyo, and Melissa Misener as Death Incarnate.
“Carl von Cosel believed that Death was no barrier to Love,” said Sivak. “It seems only fitting to have his words resound on stage today, proving that apparently death is no barrier to musical collaboration either.”
Love v. Death tells the true story of Carl von Cosel, who was arrested in his home in Key West in 1940, after authorities discovered the dead body of his fiancée Elena Hoyo lying next to him in bed. Hoyo had passed away 7 years earlier from tuberculosis. Von Cosel insisted he had no choice but to bring her to his home, as he could not bear to live a life without her by his side. The story caught the attention of the nation and newspaper stories sided with von Cosel, portraying him as a hopeless romantic. The pressure of public opinion and the statute of limitations resulted in the release of von Cosel, who went on to write a memoir, sharing imtimate details of his relationship with Elena and subsequent imprisonment.
When St Petersburg composer/lyricist Sivak heard this bizarre and macabre story, he felt the subject matter was perfectly suited for opera. He tracked down von Cosel’s memoir for information and found inspiration. “His descriptions of Elena are so poetic,” said Sivak, “and his writing style so evocative. I worked hard to retain his voice and perspective as much as possible while creating this piece. By anyone’s standards, he is clearly a disturbed individual yet his story is darkly compelling.”
Admission for this world premiere performance of Love v. Death is free, thanks to a generous grant from Creative Pinellas and the generosity of SPC’s Palladium Theatre. Also on the same bill, Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret sponsored by the Dramatists Guild. More information about the September 23 performance can be found on the Palladium Website http://www.mypalladium.org/.