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2016-2017 SeasonThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Press Release: Quantum Theatre presents The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat.

By October 25, 2016August 16th, 2023No Comments
Quantum Theater

Quantum Theatre presents The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat.

Chamber opera by Michael Nyman based on Oliver Sacks’ book,
to run in East Liberty

For release October 25, 2016
Contact: Dawn Blank 412-362-1713

“HYPNOTIZING…(a) major theatrical event.” – The New York Times
“Compelling…important…needs to be seen.” – Los Angeles Times

(PITTSBURGH, PA)— When one sense fails us, another takes over—and lets us live with newfound joy.

Oliver Sacks’ compelling case history of a man experiencing the loss of his sight begins with a list of the words the medical profession uses to describe various physical “deficits”: incapacities, losses, and lacks. He goes on to describe his amazement for what he comes to understand his patient, Dr. P, possesses. A victim of “visual agnosia” or “mental blindness”, Dr. P. – a great musician – comes to substitute music for the organizing principles that yield recognition and meaning.

Michael Nyman, a British composer best known for his film work (he composed for all of Peter Greenaway’s films and most notably, for The Piano), has made a beautiful, hour-long opera from this book, which receives its Pittsburgh premiere at Quantum Theatre under Artistic Director Karla Boos and Music Director Andres Cladera’s joint leadership. They have collaborated several times before, on The Winter’s Tale, produced last year with Chatham Baroque and Attack Theatre, and on Ainadamar, Maria de Buenos Aires, and Candide.

The opera features an orchestra of seven: a string ensemble, harp, and piano. Leading the singers is basso buffo Kevin Glavin in the titular role of Dr. P. Kevin’s leading roles in Pittsburgh Opera productions of Falstaff, La Boheme, Don Giovanni, and Cosi Fan Tutte have earned him favorite status among local opera fans. Ian McEuen plays the tenor role of Oliver Sacks (known as Dr. S.), and soprano Katy Williams (Margarita Xirgu in Aindamar for Quantum) plays Mrs. P., the patient’s very patient wife. The style of Michael Nyman’s music has been compared to that of Philip Glass – minimalist but richly layered. Because Dr. P. was a great musician with a special love for Schumann, that composer’s works are heard, woven into the score.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat “is a potent parable and sweet salve for the all-too-divisive times in which we live,” says Artistic Director Karla Boos. “The work is deeply empathetic, and is a singularly moving event,” she adds.

Quantum once again collaborates with visual genius Joe Seamans, whose projections dazzled in The Winter’s Tale, to create an environment that brings the audience inside Dr. P.’s mental condition; to allow us ‘to see what he sees’ through music, and rich, indeed, it is. Scenic designer Britton Mauk, lighting designer Andrew Ostrowski, and costume designer DeLisle Merrill round out the team.

Sometimes, is prescribed to the persons who have liver or kidney failure, as well as people who have had a TBI and patients with epilepsy. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to prescribe an analgesic to people who have an increased intracranial pressure, as well as those who are prone to opioid addiction.

The complete schedule of special events included:

  • Opening/Press Night on Friday, November 25, with a post-show champagne reception.
  • Post-Show Q&A on November 27, Q&A session with the cast and team.
  • Ladies Night on November 30, a ladies-only pre-show reception and viewing.
  • Quantum Quaff on December 2, pre-show wine-tasting & hors d’oeuvres.
  • Quantum-on-the-Couch on December 3, post-show discussion of the psychology of the characters led by analyst David Orbison, Ph.D.
  • Quantum Science on December 11, a post-show panel discussion on visual cognition with Carnegie Mellon University’s Dr. Marlene Behrmann.

When: November 25 – December 11, 2016 (Opening/Press Night: November 25). Performances November 25, 26, 27, 30, December 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11.
Where: 200 N. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15206 (corner of N. Highland Ave. and Broad St.)
Tickets: $38-$51 ($18 student tickets available). Call Quantum Theatre 412-362-1713, or order online at


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