Positions 1956

Positions 1956


Positions 1956

World Premiere and UrbanArias Commission

Composed by Conrad Cummings

Libretto by Tony Award-nominated Michael Korie

“UrbanArias is a real gem. If opera ever approaches the popular art form it once was, we’ll have them to thank.” – Mike Paarlberg, Washington City Paper Click here for the full review.

Images by Clinton B Photography


Positions 1956 is a 90-minute opera in three parts which explores the “positions,” both sexual and societal, of the mid-1950s, as a newlywed Bride and Groom educate themselves with instructional manuals.

Part One, “Marriage Manual,” is set in a bedroom over the first few months of the Bride and Groom’s marriage as they explore positions and begin to learn about each other. Source material includes titles like “How to Please Your Husband,” and “You and Your Sex Life: an Illustrated Guide for Men.”

Part Two, “Physique,” is set in a gym where the Groom goes to a Trainer to receive a course in physical fitness based on exercises from 1950s men’s physique magazines. Think 98-pound weaklings, Charles Atlas, and titles like “Physique and Delinquency.”

Part Three, “Social Dancing,” is set in a dance studio where the Bride and Groom learn how to dance from an Instructor using methods from “How to Dance” manuals of the 1950s. Think Arthur Murray’s famous “footprints” – and imagine where those “steps” might lead if a third party were involved.


The Bride – Amedee Royer (nee Moore)
The Husband – Jesse Blumberg
The Instructor – Vale Rideout
Conducted by Robert Wood
Directed by Noah Himmelstein
Lighting and Set Design by David Arsenault
Costume Design by Rhonda Key