sqounk opera promo image
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
4:00 pm - 6:30pm - 8:00 pm
at Historic Engel Stadium


Squonk Opera created their first show in a Pittsburgh junkyard over 20 years ago, with choreographed cranes and roaring earthmovers and screaming machine shears. Composer Jackie Dempsey and artist Steve O’Hearn work with an ensemble of 10-20 artists to create post-industrial performances with original music, design, and staging, outside the rules of mass culture, fashion or academia.
Squonk’s artists develop work that attacks and celebrates the idiosyncrasies of our world while striving to create work that is accessible and transformative. Squonk has played on 3 continents and in over 25 states. The Buffalo News hailed them as “Rust Belt dada” and the Washington Post described them as “Debussy meets Godzilla,” although they say they suspect that last one may have been an insult. Often overblown, site-specific and participatory, Squonk Opera’s work was born from Middle America, places where people like their art boisterous and their food greasy. Their work is too ambiguous for pop culture, and too easily appreciated for fashionistas to flaunt their sophistications. They do not claim to create haute cuisine…rather, peasant food that uses available ingredients in witty and shameless ways.
Their first major commission came in 1995 to create Night of The Living Dead: The Opera, from Marc Masterson. During a NYC stint of Bigsmorgasbordwunderwerk in 2000, they were critical darlings at Public School 122 for 3 months when The New York Times critic Ben Brantley called it “ingenious, hallucinatory, hypnotic” after which the performance was transferred to Broadway for 2 months where it received an American Theater Wing Award. Squonk Opera has since created eleven original productions and has performed in more than 250 venues across the United States. Squonkumentary, a film about our time in NYC, was produced by independent filmmaker Peggy Sutton in 2005. Sqounk Opera is a grant recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, and receives support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Jim Henson Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the Buhl Foundation, Grable Foundation, and Pittsburgh Foundation. They appeared in season six of the NBC reality show America’s Got Talent, making it to the top 48 and performing live for 14 million viewers.
Squonk Opera will be bringing Pneumatica, an outdoor event about air, made of air, and powered by air. The Squonkers pump up the volume with live original music that permeates the air, while inflatables pump up and immerse the audience. The performances, interspersed with workshops in a festival setting, will be held at Historic Engel Stadium during the afternoon and evening, a first for the Patten series.
All Tickets $10 (General Admission)
Squonk Opera's Website

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