Opera Parallele To Present EXPANSIVE 2024 Transgender Showcase This August

Featuring Lucas Bouk, Wilford Kelly, Queen Angelina, and Afrika America, with host Taylor Chan.

By: May. 21, 2024
Opera Parallele To Present EXPANSIVE 2024 Transgender Showcase This August
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Opera Parallèle, in collaboration with The Transgender District, will help launch the first-ever statewide Transgender History Month in August with the third edition of Expansive, an enthusiastic showcase of transgender and nonbinary classical artists in two performances at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, August 8 and Friday, August 9 at A.C.T.'s intimate Strand Theater, 1127 Market Street. Tickets for this very popular musical event are now on sale and available online at www.operaparallele.org/expansive.

As widespread legislative efforts try to erase transgender visibility, the Expansive showcase brings to the forefront a trio of talented trans artists. Performing classical and contemporary works of their choosing, this year's roster features Lucas Bouk, baritone; Wilford Kelly, bass-baritone; and Queen Angelina, violinist. New to this year's performance, Opera Parallèle has commissioned a song by award winning composer Joy Redmond and set to lyrics by renowned artist Kimberly Reed, that will be performed by Lucas Bouk. Taylor Chan will provide the artists with piano accompaniment and San Francisco's own DIVAlicious Dreamgirl, Afrika America, will return to the stage in grand style as the evening's exuberant host.

Opera Parallèle General & Artistic Director Nicole Paiement noted, “Opera Parallèle is excited in continuing to deepen our relationship with the Transgender District and continue to give a voice to a growing diversity of artists. Building on the success of our two previous Expansive editions, I am deeply heartened by the fruitful partnership of our two organizations at providing a meaningful platform for underrepresented artists.”

Transgender District Co-Executive Directors Breonna McCree and Carlo Gomez Arteaga said, “We are so thrilled for the third annual Expansive show in collaboration with Opera Parallèle. By featuring transgender and gender-expansive talent in the classical music field, we center these talented individuals who are making it possible for others who are often overlooked. To host two performances that showcase our talent and joy means so much to us and we hope the public will come and bask in the greatness of our trans existence.”


Lucas Bouk made their Lincoln Center debut with New York City Opera in the world premiere of Ian Bell and Mark Campbell's Stonewall in June 2019 and has performed with opera companies across the United States. Bouk has been featured in the The New York Times, Classical Singer, and in the New Yorker's talk of the town. Whether taking the lead or bringing to life a supporting role, Bouk captivates audiences: “A performance to remember,” raved OperaWire. 

Bouk's 2022-23 season included the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni with Ouroboros Opera and Teatro Grattacielo & Camerata Bardi; Baron in Verdi's La Traviata with City Lyric Opera; and Hannah in Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed's As One with Opera Steamboat, Lyric Opera of the North and Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera. A proud transgender man, Bouk previously sang as a mezzo-soprano before re-training as a baritone in 2021. 

Florida-native bass-baritone Wilford Kelly is a multi-talented singer based in San Francisco, California under the tutelage of César Ulloa. Currently, he is a tenured member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus. He most recently graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with his Master of Music Degree in Voice. During his time at the Conservatory, Kelly performed many roles in the SFCM mainstage opera productions including Bartolo in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Gus O'Neill in John Musto's Later the Same Evening, Leone in Händel's Tamerlano, and Lackei in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos. He also performed in multiple mainstage productions of the Musical Theater program, portraying the roles of Mr. Peachum in Weill's The Threepenny Opera and Bellomy in Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones's The Fantasticks. Kelly has also garnered attention in recent engagements with West Edge Opera, the Jacksonville Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, and as a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera where he performed two principal roles and covered four more in their 2019 season. He has also achieved success on the competition circuit, having been named a recipient of the Encouragement Award at the San Francisco District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions this past January.

Queen Angelina is a LatinX queer artist, activist, and drag performer and recently transplanted to Los Angeles. She was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico and is a proud DREAMer. She made history for being the first person in North America to receive their nonbinary gender marker change to ‘X' in May 2023, thanks to the Mexican Consulate in Houston.

She transplanted to the West Coast in January 2024 from Houston because of harmful legislative bills recently passed in the state of Texas. These bills affect the way corporate companies and universities run their diversity events and programs which resulted in a loss of opportunity because of continuing discrimination against immigrant and queer communities. Queen Angelina is known for her many talents like dancing, singing, and playing the violin. She is known for her female illusions like Lady Gaga, Selena, Ariana Grande, Celine Dion

Queen Angelina plans to merge her talents of classical music, musical theatre, and drag to be the ultimate ‘final-boss' super artist to bring the world together and change it to be a better place for all. She hopes to make her next dream of being successful tv and movie actor a reality in the city of Hollywood.

Social justice warrior, activist, producer, and performer. These are just a few adjectives that characterize this phenomenal ‘Drag Out the Vote Ambassador' and the returning host for Expansive! She produces multiple shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area under her DIVALICIOUS brand such as BQM (Black Queer Magic), DRAGtastic and Let the Games Begin: Trivia, Bingo, DRAG, WERQ and ICON!

Having performed all over the world from Singapore and Cologne to Sydney and on “America's Got Talent,” she toured the south in 2017 with SWAG, (Singers with a Goal), the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and was a featured performer in the documentary, Gay Chorus: Deep South.

Composer and pianist Joy Redmond (she/her) was born in California in 1999 and grew up in Yonkers, New York. She is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where she studies with Matthias Pintscher, and where she also earned a bachelor's in 2021. Currently, Redmond's musical pursuits include composing for concert, stage, and media works, collaborating with other artists as a producer and arranger, and performing on keyboards in a variety of genres. Recent projects include a chamber opera with libretto by Julia Hoch which was commissioned by and premiered at Concordia Conservatory with conductor James Lowe, an orchestra piece for the Juilliard Orchestra, and a choral work for The New York Virtuoso Singers. Redmond has been recognized with multiple honors including a Davidson Fellowship, four ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards, and a BMI Student Composer Award. Festivals she has participated in include Chamber Music Northwest, the National Youth Orchestra, Chelsea Music Festival, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute.

Writer and filmmaker Kimberly Reed co-wrote with Mark Campbell the libretti for Today It Rains (Opera Parallèle, 2019), Some Light Emerges (Houston Grand Opera, 2017), and As One (the American Opera Project, 2014), which is the most frequently produced new opera in North America. Her film projections for opera have been called “worthy of Fellini or Bergman” (SF Classical Voice). Reed's song cycle Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin premiered at the U.S. Library of Congress in 2017. She was the Librettist Mentor for the 2022 cycle of Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative. Her nonfiction writing was published in “The Moth,” a New York Times best-seller. Reed's documentary Prodigal Sons won 14 awards and was released in theaters and broadcast worldwide. Her Sundance award-winning 2018 documentary Dark Money was promptly named by Vogue magazine as one of the “66 Best Documentaries of All Time” and shortlisted for the Academy Awards.


The Transgender District was co-founded by three black trans women in 2017, originally as Compton's Transgender Cultural District, and is the first legally recognized transgender district in the world. The district encompasses six blocks in the southeastern Tenderloin crossing over Market St. and two blocks of 6th St. The District's mission is to create and preserve an urban environment that fosters the rich history, culture, legacy, and empowerment of transgender people and its deep roots in the southeastern Tenderloin neighborhood. It aims to stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, historic and cultural sites, and safe community spaces. 

What is Transgender History Month?

In August 1966, Black and Brown transgender women - alongside drag queens - bravely confronted police harassment at Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's Tenderloin district, igniting the pivotal Compton's Cafeteria Riots. This historic event marked a bold stance of resistance within the transgender community, and is the first recognized uprising by the LGBTQ+ community years before the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

In 2021, activist Jupiter Peraza and The Transgender District led the advocacy efforts to recognize the month of August as “Transgender History Month” in the City and County of San Francisco. With the support of the City and County of San Francisco's Office of Transgender Initiatives (OTI) and the Women's Foundation of California, Ms. Peraza and The Transgender District advocated to the mayor and received full support for the commemorative month, which was adopted statewide in 2023.

Starting in 2024, Transgender History Month is officially recognized statewide in California and in the City of San Francisco. Throughout August, the transgender community statewide will honor the contributions of transgender individuals, celebrating their role as history-makers, pioneers, and trailblazers.

Funding for Expansive is provided, in part, by the California Arts Council. Opera Parallèle's Bullhorn Community Programs, which includes Expansive, are supported, in part, by Gordon Getty, The Henry & Nettie Robinson Foundation, and from individual donors.

Opera Parallèle's Expansive initiative and its partnership with The Transgender District is part of the next evolution of the company's robust Bullhorn community programs. This innovation is designed to uplift and inspire, to activate and initiate, and to challenge expectations of what an opera company can be or do. The company's goal is to be a “Bullhorn” for the community and build long lasting relationships particularly within the Bay Area's LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.


Tickets for this year's Expansive showcase are available online via www.operaparallele.org/expansive. Ticket prices are $10 (low income/community members), $25 (general admission) and $50 (Pay It Forward). At both performances, tickets for the first four rows of the theater will be held and distributed for free by the Transgender District to organizations supporting the transgender community in the Tenderloin. For further information, visit https://www.transgenderdistrictsf.com/.

Opera Parallèle and Presidio Theatre salute the upcoming LGBTQ+ Pride Month with the West Coast premiere of Fellow Travelers, the highly acclaimed “superb musical drama” by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce for three performances June 21 – 23 at the Presidio Theatre. Based on award winning author Thomas Mallon's “exuberant” and “brilliant” novel – and recently adapted to a limited TV series for Showtime – Fellow Travelers is an extraordinary story of passion, loyalty, and ultimate betrayal during the 1950s Cold War McCarthy era and a frenzied Capitol Hill-led effort - that came to be known as the “Lavender Scare” - to publicly expose and fire suspected homosexuals working in the federal government and military. For more details, visit www.operaparallele.org/fellowtravelers.


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