‘The Coming of Spring’

A one-act operatic monodrama for tenor and chamber ensemble

    Nell Shaw Cohen, a composer, librettist, and multimedia artist who grew up in Sag Harbor and San Francisco, will present “The Coming of Spring,” a one-act operatic monodrama for tenor and chamber ensemble, at the Provincetown Playhouse on MacDougal Street in Manhattan on Tuesday. The performance, which begins at 8:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

    Ms. Cohen, who is now based in Brooklyn, is the 2013-14 composer-in-residence with the New York University Symphony. Her work frequently explores the intersections of music, nature, and visual art.

    Her libretto for “The Coming of Spring” is an original adaptation of texts from the journals of Charles E. Burchfield, an American watercolorist. The title is that of a 1943 painting in which he sought to convey the transition from winter to spring in a single image.

      David Rosenmeyer, an advocate for opera and new music with companies and orchestras both here and abroad (notably as associate conductor of the Oratorio Society of New York), will conduct the performance, which will be staged by Herschel Garfein, a Grammy Award-winning composer, writer, and stage director. It will include appearances by Tyler Lee, a tenor, in the role of Mr. Burchfield; the Chelsea Quintet chamber ensemble, and Alice Hargrove, a pianist, along with a video projection incorporating images of Burchfield’s paintings, designed by Ms. Cohen.

    The composer’s wind quintet “Watercolors,” also inspired by Burchfield’s paintings, was performed in November 2012 at the opening of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.

    Tuesday’s program will also feature screenings of other multimedia works by Ms. Cohen, including the short film “Horizon: New York.” Early last month, the N.Y.U. Symphony commissioned and premiered her “Point Reyes from Chimney Rock” at the university’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. 
    A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award, Ms. Cohen will receive a master’s degree in music from N.Y.U. next month. Information about her work can be found at nellshawcohen.com and beyondthenotes.org; a preview of the upcoming performance is online at thecomingofspring.com.