The Wing Wherewith is a highly theatrical story full of intrigues and moral dilemmas that are operatic in scope and style. Based on the legendary case of Burke and Hare, the opera follows the driven Dr. Robert Knox, a distinguished surgeon at the Royal Academy in Edinburgh who, in the throes of his anatomical research, requires a steady flow of cadavers. Key providers for Dr. Knox are the Williams Burke and Hare, who at the beginning of the opera are paid for delivering the recently deceased, and decide to enhance their business by purposefully preying upon and murdering the indigent to keep Knox in steady supply of cadavers. Central to the opera is the bi-level social order of old vs. new Edinburgh -- a stratification not unlike the widening gulf separating today's wealthy and working poor.
The Wing Wherewith holds particular resonance given the hyperbolic careerism and crushing economic disparity we experience today. It was for this reason that director Charles Maryan approached MTG to assemble a writing team to craft the work from the historical records of the trial of Burke and Hare. Composer Julian Grant, making his US debut as an opera composer, and Pulitzer prize winning librettist Mark Campbell join Maryan in writing and realizing this music-theatre work, excerpts of which will be previewed Winter, 2015.