Knuckles like baseballs,
Fingers like hot dogs,
Palms as soft as desert islands.
A man with hands like yours
Can have any woman.

Buwalsky is the most unattractive man on the face of the Earth, yet his hands radiate an irresistible attraction on almost all women. Repelled by his own power, Buwalsky spends all his time watching television and loses his heart to Lada, the lead in a TV thriller series of the same name. As their worlds collide, romance blossoms but turns eventually to tragedy.


This Wozzeck-Meets-La Femme Nikita chamber opera marked the second collaboration between composer Mel Marvin and librettist Jonathan Levi. Commissioned by the Dutch company, Opera Spanga, Buwalsky was written in ten scenes for five singers and small ensemble and ten lushly-orchestrated filmed interludes, and inspired by an unproduced screenplay by the Dutch film director Irma Achten.


Produced in Opera Spanga’s tent in the middle of a Friesian cow pasture, Buwalsky premiered on July 21, 2004 to glowing reviews in the Dutch press. Thanks to a generous grant by the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Nine Circles was able to transfer the production to the United States for performances in New Haven and New York, where it received equally laudatory notices.

Corina van Eijk  Director
Jonathan Levi   Libretto, based on a screenplay by Irma Achten
Mel Marvin   Composer
Jan van Maanen   Music Director
Jolanda Lanslots   Sets
Pieter van Rooij   Costumes
Saskia Ellemeet   Make-Up
Henk Post, Nelleke Simons   Lights
Peter Michailov  Buwalsky
Klara Uleman  Lada
Charles Alves da Cruz   Franco
Wil van der Meer   Inspector
Jasmin Besig   Everywoman

With the Spanga Festival Orchestra and the Aukso String Orchestra of Poland.






World premiere: July 21, 2004

Opera Spanga, Netherlands


American premiere: September 23, 2004

Yale Repertory Theater New Haven, CT


New York premiere: September 30

Skirball Center, New York University