Long Beach Opera World Premiere Of ISOLA At The Compound Long Beach, February 3, 10, 11

Isola is much anticipated - the one singer opera is by poet J. Mae Barizo and Alyssa Weinberg.

By: Jan. 17, 2024
Long Beach Opera World Premiere Of ISOLA At The Compound Long Beach, February 3, 10, 11
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ISOLA–a prismatic meditation on time, mental health and isolation– is the new opera by composer Alyssa Weinberg with a text by poet J. Mae Barizo that launches Long Beach Opera's 2024 Season.

The title, taken from the literal definition of the word Isola–evokes a layered experience that explores personal isolation, an island setting, and references the archipelago in the Pacific Ocean where Barizo's own parents emigrated from before her birth. The poem was written by hand by Barizo in the Appalachian Mountains in 2020–during the height of pandemic isolation–and hinges on exploring distorted perceptions, both internal and external, of an isolated sense of self.
Lauded emerging composer Alyssa Weinberg sets the text employing her unique sense of aural color and texture to channel interior emotional currents and promises an evening that harnesses Weinberg's “quite literally stunning” (Chicago Tribune) compositional voice.
The production is designed as both an opera and an art installation: a visual and sonic intimate live experience that puts the central character's voice, psyche, and subconscious within inches of the audience. Performed and installed in the main gallery at Compound, a multi-disciplinary visual art space in Long Beach, the opera envelops audiences in an immersive landscape of tactile materials, body doubles and dance, surround-sound electronics, a solo soprano with live strings and nuanced light. It also exists as a piece of sculpture and tangible art in the gallery outside of performance times.
LBO's approach to this premiere creates an intimate space for audience and performers to gather and heighten the complexities of the inner experience of voice and opera within very close proximity. The work's process is equally informed by operatic convention, dance and physical theater, installation art, and performance art histories. The stencil of these influences yields a unique hybrid in ISOLA: an opera about our current world and change; a work whose voice is multilingual, interrogating the many conflicting-layers of perspective and reality. The bodies, voices, and sonic and design elements on stage are multiplicities of self and (as) other, perception, and will change through a series of poetic, non-linear vignettes. 
The creative team includes several artists that also signal Artistic Director James Darrah's ongoing commitment to involving new voices and emerging talent in LBOs creative identity. Making their company debuts are director George R. Miller, music director Lucy Tucker Yates, choreographer and dancer Julia Eichten, lighting designer Jasmine Lesane and costume designer Julio Cesar Delgado. The production will star singer Ariadne Greif also in her Long Beach Opera vocal debut and features production design by Darrah's protege, Prairie T. Trivuth. Trivuth returns to LBO after delivering the scenic concepts and visual design for the company's widely acclaimed premiere of “The Romance of the Rose”by Kate Soper last season.

Inside the unique venue for ISOLA, a new culinary destination called “Union at Compound” will also open to the public on January 26, 2024 and be available for patrons of ISOLA both before and after all performances. The restaurant and bar is an exciting new addition to the Long Beach and Southern California food scene with a menu curated by Executive Chef Eugene Santiago of Baryo, a popular Southeast Asian influenced pop-up restaurant based in Long Beach.

LBO guests are encouraged to make dining or bar reservations for Union at Compound at www.resy.com.

Compound, a unique multidisciplinary cultural complex dedicated to art, wellness, education and community founded by philanthropist Megan Taglifieri, reopens in January 2024 transformed with the addition of a dining experience (Union at Compound) and renewed energy and focus towards better serving the community of Long Beach and its visitors from Southern California and abroad. Compound's 13,000 square foot versatile, dynamic space, comprising two warehouses and an outdoor space with contemporary art organically integrated throughout, provides a platform for artists to showcase their work and for community members to engage in cultural activities. Compound is also available for private events. Compound hosts a variety of programming including multidisciplinary arts and artists, community and farmers' markets, talk series and wellness classes, all free or affordably priced to the community. 
Composer Alyssa Weinberg (b. 1988) uses color, texture and gesture to channel big emotions, creating music that is “quite literally stunning” (Chicago Tribune). She is fascinated with perception and loves to play with form, subverting expectations to create surreal scenarios, often in dreamy, multidisciplinary productions.
Weinberg was awarded a 2022 Opera America Discovery Grant, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, to facilitate the development of Drift, a new opera written in collaboration with librettist J. Mae Barizo. Recently, the pair created ISOLA, a prismatic monodrama about time, mental health, and isolation.

Weinberg's music has been performed by celebrated artists and ensembles around the world, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, as well as Eighth Blackbird, So Percussion, yMusic, and the Aizuri Quartet. She has received commissions and awards from organizations including Chamber Music America, FringeArts and the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Barnes Foundation, and the Curtis Institute of Music. Weinberg was also the recipient of a Copland House Residency Award, where she was in residence in June 2023.

A dedicated educator, Weinberg currently teaches at Mannes School of Music, Montclair State University, and Juilliard Pre-college. She is the Founding Director of the Composers Institute at the Lake George Music Festival, a summer program, now in its fourth season, that centers mentorship and community alongside the craft of composition. Alyssa Weinberg holds a PhD in composition from Princeton University, as well as degrees from Vanderbilt University, Manhattan School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music.

Born in Toronto to Filipino immigrants, J. Mae Barizo is a poet, essayist and multidisciplinary artist who works at the intersection of poetics, media and performance. She is the author of two books of poetry, “Tender Machines” (Tupelo Press, 2023) and “The Cumulus Effect” (Four Way Books, 2015). “Pink Noise,” a book of hybrid essays on John Cage and the poetics of sound was a finalist for the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and the 2023 Megaphone Prize. Her work has been anthologized in books published by W.W. Norton, Atelier Editions and Harvard University Press.

An advocate of cross-disciplinary work, she has collaborated with artists such as Salman Rushdie, Mark Morris and the American String Quartet. As a librettist, she is the inaugural recipient of Opera America's IDEA residency; DRIFT, her opera (written with composer Alyssa Weinberg) on migration and climate change, is in development at the National Opera Center. UNBROKEN, an opera written with Ronald Maurice, was commissioned for Opera Theatre of St. Louis's New Works Collective and will have its premiere in 2024.

She is also the recipient of fellowships and awards from Bennington College, Mellon Foundation, Critical Minded, Jerome Foundation and Poets House. Recent writing appears in Poetry, Ploughshares, Esquire, Los Angeles Review of Books, Paris Review Daily, Boston Review, BookForum, among others. She is on the board of Kundiman, an organization supporting writers and readers from the Asian diaspora. She has taught writing and transdisciplinary studies at the Pratt Institute, Eugene Lang and Parsons School of Design. She is on the MFA faculty of The New School and lives in New York City.

George R. Miller (he/him) is a director and designer of opera, dance-theater, installation, and film. Recognized for discipline-colliding, site-specific, and installation-based stagings, George's contemporary approach to both classical repertoire and newly devised work centers around the creation of intimate space – physical and emotional – as a landscape for dramatic happenings in fine art performance.

Recent highlights include work presented by Opera Philadelphia, Long Beach Opera,   Wild Up, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Soho House New York, The York Theatre Company, The Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College, and a joint private showcase for The Metropolitan Opera Club and Park Avenue Armory Avant-Garde.

Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, George's film, “ERWARTUNG // EXPECTATION,” a contemporary adaptation of Arnold Schoenberg's song Erwartung (from Vier Lieder Op. 2, No. 1) premiered at Long Beach Opera's inaugural LBO Film Festival, as well as Opera Philadelphia's Festival O - two of America's first operatic film festivals.  A truly multidisciplinary artist, his opera-fashion collaboration with designer Terrence Zhou (Bad Binch TONG TONG), choreographer Matilda Sakamoto, and composer Katie Jenkins, FACE(S) OF GOD, was featured in Vogue last year.

Upcoming projects include: Expostulation(s) of Mary, a new chamber opera for voices, strings, dancers, and electronics, expanding Henry Purcell's The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation into a lattice of ancient and new music — in development with composer-performer Eliza Bagg (Roomful of Teeth, Lisel), choreographer Julia Eichten (L.A. Dance Project, AMOC) in collaboration with the GRAMMY nominated L.A.-based experimental ensemble Wild Up.  George is currently at work on an intimately-staged new production of Franz Schubert's Winterreise for singer and dancers, in development with YCA award-winning bass-baritone William Socolof and acclaimed pianist Chris Reynolds, along with a theatrical and live-cinematic adaptation of Francis Poulenc's    La Voix Humaine, in collaboration with filmmaker Julia Ponce Díaz.  He was a 2023 Artist-in-Residence at Nancy Manocherian's The Cell Theatre in New York City.

George has worked with companies and presenters in America and abroad, including The American Repertory Theater, American Modern Opera Company (AMOC), Beth Morrison Projects, The Brooklyn Museum, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, The Chicago Children's Choir, Lisson Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Dialect, Opera News, The Philadelphia Orchestra, PROTOTYPE Festival, The Ravinia Festival, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence France, Savvy Contemporary Berlin, and with artists such as Peter Sellars, Matthew Aucoin, James Darrah, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Christopher Allen, Zack Winokur, Banning Bouldin, Thuthuka Sibisi, Christopher Rountree, Kevin Newbury, Kayla Farrish, and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons. George is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he studied classical music composition, theory, and fine art.

Ariadne Greif, praised for her "luminous, expressive voice" (NYTimes), her "elastic and round high notes," (classiqueinfo), and her "mesmerizing stage presence" (East Anglian Daily Times), began her opera career as a ‘boy' soprano in the Los Angeles area and at LA Opera, eventually making an adult debut singing Lutoslawski's Chantefleurs et Chantefables with the American Symphony Orchestra. She has starred in roles ranging from Therese/Tirésias in Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias, singing a “thoroughly commanding and effortless” run at the Aldeburgh Festival, a "sassy" Adina in The Elixir of Love with the Orlando Philharmonic, to Sappho in Atthis by Georg Friedrich Haas, for which the New York Times noted her “searing top notes,” and “dusky depths,” calling it “a solo high-wire act for Ms. Greif,” “a vehicle for Ms. Greif's raw, no-holds-barred performance,” “one of the most searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times.”

Lucy Tucker Yates
This season Lucy Tucker Yates music directs Carolina Uccelli's Emma di Resburgo for Teatro Nuovo in New York and plays keyboards for Malik Gaines's Star Choir with LA's The Industry. She was recently seen in Pauline Viardot's Le Dernier Sorcier (The Last Sorcerer), music directing from the keyboard, at The Wallis with Sing for Hope.
In November 2022, she made her Lincoln Center debut as maestro al cembalo for Rossini's Maometto II with Teatro Nuovo. In 2020 she joined The Industry on keyboards for Sweet Land (Du Yun/Raven Chacon) and was made a company member. In 2018 she made her conducting debut as maestro al cembalo at Seattle Opera with the highly-praised O+E (Gluck/Calzabigi 1762 Orfeo ed Euridice), in an English version she created for that production. In 2014 she made her Rossini Opera Festival debut as onstage continuo fortepianist and assistant conductor to Will Crutchfield in Mario Martone's staging of Aureliano in Palmira. This performance can be seen on ArtHaus Musik.
An internationally acclaimed soprano, Yates sang roles including Violetta, Gilda, Rosina, Adina, Beatrice di Tenda, Nedda, and Fiordiligi. Her work in Italy and her decades of playing, coaching, and writing led her to become a cogent and lyrical translator and teacher of Italian poetry; she is known for her verse translations and supertitles. She is Director of Language Studies at Teatro Nuovo. She gives regular master classes on Italian poetics, grammar, and diction. She has served as dramaturg, titleist, and coach for the New York City Opera. She has also served as panelist on the beloved “Toll Brothers Metropolitan Opera Radio Quiz,” and writer and interviewer for Santa Fe Opera. She is a Lecturer in Opera for the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA.

Prairie T. Trivuth
Prairie's passion for narrative-focused environmental and spatial design led her from Bangkok to Los Angeles to work in stage and production design. As a designer, she is influenced by her training and background in architecture, where her goal has been to uncover an archetypal solution while exploring all possible morphologic directions, and at the same time to revel in the act of detangling a constellation of relationships between all things in humanity's everyday lives as portrayed through written words and music. She is interested in the raw totality of tectonics and how a minimalistic but striking drive behind design and construction can impact the shape of the encompassing force within a theater piece. To apply such a paradigm to design for performances, Prairie reaches for a visual clarity that emphasizes the fleeting moment where, for truth to emerge within the beholder, reality has to make way for belief.
Julie Eichten
Eichten is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she received the Hector Zaraspe Award in recognition of her choreography in 2011. Eichten was a founding member of L.A. Dance Project and is a current member of AMOC (American Modern Opera Company). Eichterling, an ongoing project with creative partner Bret Easterling had a premiere of their latest work, Dance in The Park, at the Ojai Music Festival, 2022. ‘What followed was a joyous, frockling pas de deux of love, extinction and human evolution — Charles Darwin meets Fantasia.'- SF Chronicle.
At the start of 2023, Eichten was choreographer and the co-director of Expostulations of Mary, a new chamber opera for voices, strings, dance, and electronics with composer Eliza Bagg and director, George R. Miller. Eichten performed and was movement director in Carolyn Chen's How to Fall Apart, at Baryshnikov Art Center, NYC. Last year, at the Frieze Art Festival, Eichten performed an excerpt of, Julie with a Beet, as a part of Open Studios at L.A. Dance Project, Los Angeles.'This smart choreographic rhythm by Eichten is the kind of dance that you always want to stumble upon and be taken by surprise with.' - LA Dance Chronicle. Eichten performed in Bobbi Jean Smith's Broken Theater at Carolina Performing Arts, Chapel Hill, NC & Oz Arts, Nashville and most recently to a sold out run at La Mama, NYC. ‘Julia Eichten, in the role of stage manager, provides some much-needed comic relief.' - NY Times.
Jasmine Lesane
Jasmine Lesane, a Los Angeles-based designer, specializes in lighting live entertainment. With a passion for enhancing performances, she uses light to create visual storytelling and to curate immersive experiences. Her work seamlessly transitions from designing intimate stage settings to executing large scale stadium shows. Currently an Associate Designer at the renowned DX7 Design international firm, Jasmine's portfolio includes projects such as Doechii's debut MTV PUSH Performance, Halle Bailey's captivating live rendition of ‘Part of Your World' at Disneyland, and the impactful School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. She has also taken on roles as a Lighting Director for high-profile events like Miley's New Year's Eve Party 2023, the prestigious 94th Academy Awards, and the grand opening ceremony of the 2022 UEFA Champions League in Paris, France.
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.