Gonzo Opera Dot Com
Gonzo Opera

The fevered brain child of composer Daniel Steven Crafts and cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, Gonzo Opera has become the best-kept dirty little secret of high-brow culture. Gonzo Opera productions have delighted audiences on several continents (look out, Antarctica, we're coming!), with a sweet little home base in Albuquerque.

Poster for "And the Winner Is ..."
June 2017: And the Winner Is ...

A 'Ms. American' Beauty Pageant on live TV goes hopelessly wrong -- who doesn't want to see that?! -- complete with a lecherous emcee, sex-change operations, and other Gonzo surprises.

Fri. June 16, 8 pm
Sat. June 17, 8 pm
Sun. June 18, 3 pm

Libretto from the original play
by Thomas B. Woodward

Music by Daniel Steven Crafts

What is Gonzo Opera?

What is Gonzo Opera?

First of all, despite its subject matter, it is real opera, and not a parody of the genre as are many works over the last few years that have called themselves "opera." It uses beautiful, classically-trained voices and allows them to demonstrate all the marvelous attributes of traditional vocal technique. The Gonzo style is full of melody (something sorely lacking in most contemporary opera) -- memorable melody that shows off the voices in the best possible light.

But secondly ... Gonzo Opera takes as its subject matter outrageous comedy/satire, subjects heretofore completely foreign to opera. It is as contemporary as any movie -- no pathetic, dying heroines here. Shannon Wheeler's popular comic strip, "Too Much Coffee Man," was made into an opera with great success. It was not so much the traditional opera audience who came to see it, but Shannon's audience (20- to 40-year-old comic book aficionados). This was the first of the Gonzo operas.

Gonzo Opera is designed to be portable and inexpensive to produce. This should prove a boon to smaller opera companies as:

  • * It attracts a new, young audience (which all companies are crying out to do), and
  • * It can be produced with simple sets and a small combo of instrumentalists as opposed to a full orchestra.

As an art form, opera desperately needs a swift kick in the pants -- the same kind that was given it by the verismo movement in the late 1800s. When the overwhelming percentage of works in standard repertoire are 100-300 years old, something is severely wrong. One need only compare the quantity of good and memorable new operas from the second half of the 20th century with the second half of the 19th. The 21st has so far fared little better.

Gonzo Opera is intended to breathe new life into a music genre that is in danger of becoming a museum attraction, despite the enthusiasm of its devotees, and the exceptional quality of its singers.

Daniel Steven Crafts

The first Gonzo Opera
was "Too Much Coffee Man," dreamed up by Emmy Award-winning composer Daniel Steven Crafts and Shannon Wheeler, creator of the wildly popular "Too Much Coffee Man" comic strip. It's the story of a hapless coffee lover and his unrequited passion for the barista who plies him each day with the nectar that makes his world complete. Can he win her over before Espresso Guy steals her heart?

Too Much Coffee Man

Music by Daniel Steven Crafts
Libretto by Shannon Wheeler

This lively production has regaled audiences in Oregon, California, New York and New Mexico.

"Hilarious and original -- you've got to see it!"
Albuquerque Journal

Daniel Steven Crafts and Paul Bower talk about "Too Much Coffee Man"
Albuquerque Fox 12 morning show
January 2017

Cellular World

It's the story of four people with limited attention spans and unlimited data plans. Will their lives ever recover from constant exposure to smart-phone technology? And will they be able to find a signal when they really, really need it???

Composed by Daniel Steven Crafts
Libretto by Janice Leber

"Baby, If You Love Me"
"There's An App For That"

And The Winner Is ...

A 'Ms. American' Beauty Pageant on live TV goes hopelessly wrong -- who doesn't want to see that?! -- complete with a lecherous MC, sex-change operations, and other Gonzo surprises.

Libretto by Thomas B. Woodward

Music by Daniel Steven Crafts

Get in touch with Gonzo Opera

The most reliable way to get in touch with Gonzo Opera, and keep up to date on our performances, is to like our Facebook page.

We also have a YouTube channel.

We invite/encourage you to click the link at the bottom of the page to contribute to our movement to update and ultimately save the art of Opera!

Join the movement to revitalize opera!

While we ultimately intend Gonzo Opera to be self-sufficient, we are just starting out and contributions at this point are particularly welcome.

Click here to be part of the Gonzo Opera movement: http://fusionnm.org/donation.html
When asked, "How would you like to be recognized in the program?" please indicate "Gonzo Opera."

Alternatively, tax-deductible checks can be made out to FUSION (earmarked for Gonzo Opera), and sent to Gonzo Opera, c/o Cell Theater, 700 1st St. NW, Albuquerque NM 87102. Be part of the future of opera!