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The Old Man and the Sea


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  • Saturday, March 25, 2023
  • $15 Members
    $35 Advance
    $45 Day of
    $70 Preferred
  • Hunter Center

Composer and National Sawdust co-founder, Paola Prestini returns to MASS MoCA with a work-in-progress preview of her new opera The Old Man and the Sea, created with Royce Vavrek and Karmina Šilec, that interweaves Hemingway’s classic fable with original portraits of quotidian life to create a look at aging, legacy, and our relationship to oceans. The evening will include an excerpt of the new work, followed by a conversation on stage with the principal creative team.

Helga Davis, a longtime collaborator and muse of Prestini—and another returning MASS MoCA artist—will sing as the narrator with Jeffrey Zeigler performing as the featured cellist. The cast includes a choir and brings to life Hemingway’s seminal characters Santiago, Manolin, and the wife, recast here as the Virgen del Cobre, a goddess in Santería, the Afro-Caribbean faith, who was found floating on a wooden board off the coast of eastern Cuba in 1628. Themes of baseball, ecology, religion, and economy help paint a conflict between progress and tradition, granting a contemporary perspective to a timeless tale.

Members get $15 tickets to this performance! Not yet a member? Become one here for event discounts, exclusive invites, and more.

Make a Plan

  • Preferred ticket holders get the best seat in the house and museum admission on the day of or after the event.
  • This performance is general admission seating and will take place inside MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. Masks are required during the performance, except while eating and drinking.
  • Please note, museum admission is not included with your event ticket unless indicated. Purchase museum admission here.
  • All events at MASS MoCA are accessible to all audiences. Please contact accessibility@massmoca.org if you would like to inquire about accessibility needs and services.
  • By purchasing a ticket to join MASS MoCA’s visitors, staff, and artists on the museum campus, you agree to follow a Courtesy Code, detailed here. Our full COVID FAQ is here.
  • All sales are final; no refunds or exchanges.

Planning on dinner before the show? Check out restaurants in downtown North Adams or find a nosh right here on campus: Bright Ideas Brewing or Lickety Split Cafe. A full bar serves Bright Ideas Brewing beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits.