Long Beach Opera Presents AS ONE, 5/13
On May 13, 20. & 21, 2017, Long Beach Opera (LBO) will present the highly anticipated Southern California premiere of As One, an inspiring story about identity, authenticity and compassion by composer Laura Kaminsky with librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed.
Praising the opera, the New York Times wrote, "As One" forces you to think, simultaneously challenging preconceptions and inspiring empathy." Performances will take place at the Beverly O'Neill Theater, 300 E. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California.
As One chronicles a transgender person's inner journey through two voices: Hannah Before (Lee Gregory) and Hannah After (Danielle Marcelle Bond). The 75-minute chamber opera depicts the experiences of its transgender protagonist as she endeavors to resolve conflicts within herself and with her surrounding world. David Schweizer returns to LBO to stage the production and LBO's Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek will conduct.
Composer Laura Kaminsky comments, "The opera hits the core issues every human being has to confront: Who am I? How do I become myself? What struggles I have to go through? How do I achieve honesty? How can my changing affect the people and the world around me? It's specific about Hannah, but also a human story everyone can relate to. That's the beauty of the libretto. Hannah is breaking down a lot of barriers."
Based on and inspired in part by the experiences of acclaimed filmmaker Kimberly Reed, the opera follows Hannah's experiences as a youth in a small town, to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to acceptance of herself. Reed says, "I wanted to let you get to know a real, live trans person. It's not unusual for me to be the first transgender person someone has known. I'm happy to be in that position, because the best way to dispel misunderstanding and increase empathy for The Other is to simply get to know someone. "
Grants from Opera America and Long Beach Pride support audience engagement for As One and help LBO partner with the Long Beach LGBTQ Center, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and The Trevor Project to support the opera.
BACKGROUND of the OPERA:
As One was commissioned by American Opera Projects(AOP). The commissioning, development, and first production of As One was supported in part by funding from Opera America's Opera Discovery Grants for Female Composers Program, by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works, Bronx Council on the Arts, Purchase College Development Fund, Tanner Fund, Jeremy T. Smith Fund, Dr. Coco Lazaroff, Lynn Loacker, Judith O. Rubin, and many generous individuals. The world premiere of As One was presented by AOP as part of the BAM/DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center Professional Development Program (PDP).
Sunday afternoon, May 13, 2017, at 8:00 PM Saturday evening, May 20, 2017, at 2:30 PM
Sunday afternoon, May 21, 2017, at 2:30PM
Venue: Beverly O'Neill Theater, 300 E. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA. 90802
Runtime: 75 minutes with no intermission.
Sung in English.
Pre-Opera Talk: One hour before each performance, a free pre-opera talk with Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek will be held in the main lobby of the Beverly O'Neill Theater. These talks are open to all ticket holders.
TICKETS: Single tickets for as one range from $49 to $150 and can be purchased either by calling the LBO Box Office at 562.470.SING (7464) or by going online to https://www.longbeachopera.org/tickets. Flex-Pass and LBO Opera Access options offer ticket discounts. Student Rush tickets for $15 will be available space permitting.
Lee Gregory (Hannah Before): Nationally praised for his beautiful warm baritone voice, Lee Gregory (Hannah Before) has previously appeared in several leading roles at LBO, including the Captain in The Death of Klinghoffer, William in The Fall of the House of Usher (also at Chicago Opera Theater), and the Rehearsal Director in the world premiere of Bryar's Marilyn Forever. A winner of the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition, Mr. Gregory has participated in a number of prestigious training programs including San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program. Opera News commented on his Nixon at Eugene Opera's Nixon in China, "Gregory excelled as a young, vibrant Nixon, mastering the tricky rhythms of the pop-inspired 'News' aria and the extended legato of 'Fathers and sons, let us join hands,' singing with consistent tonal beauty."
Danielle Marcelle Bond (Hannah After): Mezzo-soprano Danielle Marcelle Bond (Hannah After) has appeared in numerous opera roles and concerts in Europe and the United States. At LBO, Ms. Bond was hailed by the Los Angeles Times with a "Brava!" for her versatile performance as the Swiss Grandmother, Austrian Woman, and British Dancing Girl in LBO's production of John Adams' Death of Klinghoffer. Opera News said of her co-star performance as Marilyn Monroe in the US premiere of Gavin Bryers' Marilyn Forever, "Bond played the more private Monroe in a recognizable way, sensuous, nervous, making love to the camera. She sang sumptuously, expressively."
David Schweizer - Stage Director
David Schweizer emerged from Yale to make his NY debut at the age of 24 at Lincoln Center with Troilus and Cressida. His extensive work in Southern California includes world premieres at the Geffen Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum and productions with companies like Actor's Gang and his own Modern Artists. His most notable opera work includes: Britten's Albert Herring (Gotham Opera), Hartke's The Greater Good (Glimmerglass Festival), Bennett's The Mines of Sulphur (NYC Opera), Verdi's Giovanna D'Arco (COT), Ullmann's The Emperor of Atlantis, Martin's The Love Potion (Boston Lyric Opera). With LBO, his work includes Ades' Powder Her Face, Purcell's La Indian Queen, Vivaldi's Montezuma, Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox, among others. Upcoming productions include the world premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell's Elizabeth Cree (Opera Philadelphia), JulIan Grant and Mark Campbell's The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare (Boston Lyric Opera), and Jeremy Howard Beck's The Long Walk at Opera Utah.
Andreas Mitisek - Conductor
Since 2003, Mitisek has been LBO's artistic & general director. In 2012, he joined Chicago Opera Theater (COT) as general director. Recent conducting credits include Thérèse Raquin, I was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky, The Death of Klinghoffer, Camelia la Tejana and The Fall of the House of Usher (co-production with COT). Other conducting credits include: Joruri in Tokyo, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera), Madama Butterfly (Orlando Opera), Jane Eyre (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis) and Eugene Onegin (Teatro Municipal in Santiago de Chile). Mitisek also conducted the Austrian and Italian premieres of Nixon in China. His recent directing credits include The Fairy Queen, Fallujah, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, King Gesar, Macbeth, Nixon in China, Tell-Tale Heart, Van Gogh, The Paper Nautilus, Ainadamar and Maria de Buenos Aires. Mitisek is on the board of directors for OPERA AMERICA, the national service organization for U.S. opera companies.
UPCOMING: Concluding LBO's 2017 season in June will be five performances of Roberto Xavier Rodríguez' Frida, a searing biographical drama depicting the pain and passion of famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Performances will be given at the Museum of Latin American Art and Grand Performances, LA.
LONG BEACH OPERA: Long Beach Opera (LBO) is internationally known for its cutting-edge interpretations of unconventional repertoire. LBO creates immediate, inventive, and often boldly avant-garde productions for an adventurous audience and stands apart from most opera companies in the number of world, American, and West Coast premieres the company has staged. Founded in 1979, it is the oldest professional opera company in the Los Angeles/Orange County region with a performance history of more than 110 operas, ranging from the earliest works of the 17th century to operas of the 21st. LBO's ever?growing repertoire has provided stimulus for the subsequent founding of other local opera companies, catapulting Southern California into the spotlight as a major opera epicenter. LBO is a recognized and respected member of the U. S. cultural community, receiving funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Long Beach, along with generous support from individual donors, local businesses, public corporations and private foundations.