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Date: December 9, 2012 to December 9, 2012 
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM


Location: The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029

This opera focuses on Hungarian-born obstetrician Ignaz Semmelweis, working at Europe's premier hospital, the Vienna Algemeine Krankenhaus. Semmelweis, who draws upon every experience of his life, struggles to find the solution to one of history's most devastating childbed fever epidemics, which is killing mothers at a horrific rate. But convincing the world of his simple solution will be a battle not just against the rigid Viennese status quo, but against his deepest demons. Featured composer Raymond J. Lustig was recently awarded the prestigious Charles Ives Fellowship from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and has won ASCAP's Rudolf Nissim Prize, the Juilliard Orchestra competition, and the New Juilliard Ensemble competition.

About the Speaker(s)

Historical Presentation

Sherwin B. Nuland, MD, FACS is Clinical Professor of Surgery (ret. 2009) at the Yale School of Medicine, and Fellow of the university’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and of the Program in the History of Science and Medicine. In 1994, Dr. Nuland published How We Die, (Alfred A. Knopf), a reflection on the modern way of death, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for 34 weeks and won that year’s National Book Award, and was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize and the Book Critics Circle Award. His book The Doctors’ Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis appeared in October, 2003 as a volume in the W.W. Norton Great Discoveries series.


“Lustig is writing music charged with intensity and leavened with intelligence,” wrote the American Academy of Arts Letters recently in awarding composer Ray Lustig its prestigious Charles Ives Fellowship.  His UNSTUCK for orchestra was recently released on Albany Records with Emily Freeman Brown and the Bowling Green Philharmonia, and his You Catching? for ensemble and narrator was released by Avian Music. Also a published researcher in molecular biology, Lustig is deeply inspired by science, nature, and the mind.  He lives in New York and teaches at The Juilliard School.


At AOP, Matt Gray directed the Philadelphia premiere of Darkling at Center City Opera Theater and several opera workshops including AbSynth (Galapagos Art Space) and Numinous City (Rubin Museum of Art). Matt Gray is the co-creator of the 12-part serialized play Penny Dreadful produced by the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from 2007-2009. A BFA graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts in directing. As AOP’s Producing Director and Resident Dramaturg, he has overseen development and production of dozens of concerts, workshops, and premieres. Semmelweis is his first libretto.

Complete bios available at


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