Long Beach Opera Presents First-Ever Live Staging Of Pauline Oliveros' Experimental Opera BYE BYE BUTTERFLY

‘Bye Bye Butterfly' replaces ‘Asunción', formerly scheduled for July 13, 20 & 21.

By: Jul. 03, 2024
Long Beach Opera Presents First-Ever Live Staging Of Pauline Oliveros' Experimental Opera BYE BYE BUTTERFLY
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Long Beach Opera (LBO) has announced a two-day only, dynamic exploration of experimental opera highlighting the work of late composer and performer Pauline Oliveros.

The event is set for July 20 & 21 in downtown Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC), in collaboration with the Latino Theater Company (LTC) and East LA Creative. LBO's full-length production will feature stagings of six of Oliveros' groundbreaking pieces, centered around the first-ever, live interpretation and performance of her influential operatic work, Bye Bye Butterfly (c.1965).

Award-winning composer, artist and humanitarian Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) expanded the concepts of sound with her potent, genre-defying approach to music, art and composition. As the visionary behind the philosophical approach “deep listening,” her works and practice boldly explored new rituals of modes of music performance, the dynamics of ensembles and profoundly challenged and re-defined the inherited processes of making “new music” for an entire generation. Oliveros composed many new pieces she labeled as “operas” throughout her career – one that "spanned fifty years of boundary-dissolving music making" (The Pauline Oliveros Trust). 

A Houston, Texas native and queer-identifying artist who engaged in multiple disciplines and styles, Oliveros maintained strong ties to California during her lifetime as a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, was a faculty member at both Mills College and the University of California, San Diego, and was mentor, collaborator and teacher to many artists involved in LBO's predominantly SoCal-based ensemble this July. LBO is also thrilled to be in dialogue with the Oliveros' trust and estate to collaborate in furthering her life's work with this new production that highlights her artistic contributions to opera. 

The production's central performance is a landmark, live new version of Oliveros' Bye Bye Butterfly– originally a two-channel tape, eight-minute-long composition made at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. It utilized two Hewlett Packard oscillators, two line amplifiers in cascade, a turntable with record and two tape recorders in a delayed setup. Oliveros arranged the equipment, tuned the oscillator and played throughout the composition in real time. The piece served as her own critical engagement with Puccini's Madame Butterfly, in which she deconstructed and transformed the idea of a “traditional opera” to create an ethereal, disorienting soundscape. In Oliveros' own words, “[It] bids farewell not only to the music of the 19th century, but also to the system of polite morality of that age and its attendant institutionalized oppression of the female sex.” LBO is proud to follow in Oliveros' footsteps with their own new reconstruction of Bye Bye Butterfly – a first-ever live staging and production of the piece surrounded by stagings of five additional Oliveros-composed and smaller operatic experiences. These are all interpreted and responded to by a diverse subset of formidable artists using primarily her text scores and life's work instead of traditional notation. 

This July, Oliveros' operatic experiments will be newly arranged and led by Music Director Darian Donovan Thomas in his LBO debut. Thomas is a lauded composer, multi-instrumentalist, and interdisciplinary artist with credits that include appearances on NPR's Tiny Desk and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Director, producer and East Los Angeles native McCall Cadenas serves as Visual Director–guiding Oliveros' work as a staged experience leading an award winning design team all collaborating to create an immersive staged production in the LATC. The show will be brought to life through a unique process between the entire cohort of artists, with leaders Thomas and Cadenas drawing inspiration from interviews with Oliveros on her own processes during her initial recording of Bye Bye Butterfly.

The two-show only production promises to be a celebration of the power of collective art-making and showcase LBO's bold new focus on empowering genre-shifting teams of next-gen creatives that work together to merge and transcend genres. It also demonstrates the company's resilience and adaptability in LA's ever-evolving operatic and musical landscape as it commits to a wider and more inclusive view of opera as an art form with a new period of growth that boldly recontextualizes opera as an ever-evolving and alive yet audacious genre, capable of innovating, shifting, partnering and adapting for relevant, new and contemporary audiences. The performances mark LBO's first celebration of a composer that will set the stage for exciting developments as its new leadership continues plans for the company's 2025 Season – to be announced in the coming months.

‘Bye Bye Butterfly' replaces ‘Asunción', formerly scheduled for July 13, 20 & 21. Previously purchased tickets will be automatically transferred to the new event dates. Patrons may opt for a refund or select their own preferred transfer date by contacting: boxoffice@longbeachopera.org.  


514 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Saturday, July 20, 2024  at 7:30pm
Sunday, July 21, 2024  at 2:30pm
Tickets & Information: www.longbeachopera.org


Darian Donovan Thomas, Music Director/ Violin*
McCall Cadenas, Visual Director
Gilbert Moran, Hair and Makeup Designer
Habin Kim, Singer*
Ilaria Deplano, Stylist/ Costume Designer*
Juan Renteria, Actor/ Singer/ Visual Designer*
Kathryn Shuman, Singer
Laurel Irene, Singer
Leela Subramaniam, Singer*
Marlon Martinez, Bass*
Marta Tiesenga, Winds
Orson Van Gay II, Singer
Pablo Santiago, Lighting Designer
Phong Tran, Electronics/ Sound Artist*
Shelley Burgon, Harp*
Sidney Hopson, Percussion
Carlos Mosquera, Sound Designer


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