Composed by Laura Kaminsky Libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed
Hannah, a transgender woman, discovers her gender identity and learns to love herself in this ground-breaking new 75-minute chamber opera. The role of Hannah will be portrayed by two of our Chrisman Studio Artist alumni, baritone Evan Bravos (Inman – Cold Mountain, Music Academy of the West ’19) singing Hannah before, and mezzo soprano Ashley Kay Armstrong (Olga, ’19) singing Hannah after. The 15 song work is accompanied by string quartet and spans Hannah’s childhood through adulthood. As One has garnered critical acclaim around the country since its 2014 premiere, and we are excited to premiere this work here for Santa Barbara audiences. According to Opera News it is “A piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion and the human desire for self-love and peace.” Making their Opera Santa Barbara debuts are director Amy Hutchison and conductor Alexis Enyart. The music and concept are by Laura Kaminsky, with a libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed and film by Ms. Reed.
Imagery designed by Jenny Schuler for Chicago Fringe Opera’s 2017 production of As One.
A limited number of You Decide! Tickets (pay-what-you-choose $25 minimum) are available by phone or at the Lobero Theater’s Box Office thanks to a generous grant from the Holly and Walter Thompson Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. Co-trustee. Call 805-963-0761 to learn more.
Amy Hutchison's "fascinating, brilliantly mounted double bill" productions of Donizetti's IL PIGMALIONE and RITA for Chicago Opera Theater wowed audiences and critics alike. Hutchison has also championed American opera throughout her career. She has staged AS ONE for Pensacola Opera, Alamo City Opera, and Chicago Fringe Opera, where she curated a Trans Artist Showcase at The Center on Halsted in conjunction with the production. Her production of Missy Mazzoli’s SONG FROM THE UPROAR: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF ISABELLE EBERHARDT was hailed as “imaginative” and “striking contemporary music theater.” She has directed William Bolcom’s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE for Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Washington National Opera and Portland Opera. Her collaboration with Ricky Ian Gordon and Stacey Tappan, ONCE I WAS: SONGS BY RICKY IAN GORDON, was staged at the Chicago Cultural Center and recorded on the Blue Griffin label.
Hutchison’s production of William Grant Still’s epic masterwork TROUBLED ISLAND for South Shore Opera Company of Chicago was named the number one classical music event of 2013 by the Chicago Sun-Times. Other productions for South Shore Opera include: Steven M. Allen's THE POET, Joelle Lamarre’s THE VIOLET HOUR: THE LIFE OF LEONTYNE PRICE; Jonathan Stinson’s THE MARCH: A CIVIL RIGHTS OPERA PROJECT and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s DREAM LOVERS and AFRICAN ROMANCES. Other Chicago area productions include the American premiere of Paul Abraham's gorgeous jazz operetta THE FLOWER OF HAWAII and Leo Fall’s MADAME POMPADOUR (Folks Operetta), Ross Crean's THE TIMES ARE NIGHTFALL (Pride Films & Plays), FAUST (DuPage Opera), BRIGADOON (Music By the Lake), and Ned Rorem’s OUR TOWN (DePaul Opera Theatre). Productions nationwide include several productions of CARMEN (Kansas City, Milwaukee, Columbus), TURANDOT (Orlando), DON PASQUALE (Indianapolis), LA TRAVIATA (Costa Mesa), IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO (Boston), and Menotti's HELP! HELP! THE GLOBOLINKS! (Madison).
She has served on the directing staffs of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera. She has staged the Maurice Sendak production of HANSEL & GRETEL for Opernhaus Zürich, The Juilliard School (televised for PBS: Live from Lincoln Center) and for the Canadian, San Diego, Indianapolis, and Baltimore opera companies. As Associate Director, Hutchison has staged PORGY AND BESS throughout the United States and globally, including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, L’Opéra National de Paris and opera houses in Düsseldorf, Lucca and Tokyo.
Dedicated to artist training, Hutchison has been a faculty member of The Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Westminster Choir College and its CoOPERAtive Training Program, as well as directing and coaching the young artists of Lyric Opera's Ryan Artist Center and Houston Opera Studio.
Alexis Enyart is a rising orchestra and opera conductor praised for her musical finesse and technical grace. Since moving to Chicago in August of 2017 Alex has shot to prominence serving primarily as Music Director of Thompson Street Opera Company as well as guest conducting for Chicago Fringe Opera, Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium, and Another Voice Collaborative. She has been well reviewed by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Classical Review, Chicago Theatre Review, Opera Box Score, Chicago Reader, and many others. In addition to all of this Alex was invited to participate in Chicago Sinfonietta’s Project Inclusion as their first transgender conductor.
Alex is as comfortable on the podium as she is in the opera pit having made her international debut in Tomsk Russia with the Tomsk Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016 while finishing her Master’s in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Louisville. At the same time she also worked as the apprentice conductor with the Louisville Orchestra and Kentucky Opera as well as the Assistant Conductor for the Louisville Youth Orchestra. In 2017 Alex won the CODA conducting competition and was invited to work with Anthony Maeillo on La Gazza Ladra as a result. In 2018 Alex won the CCM Mozart Overture Competition. Alex works as a champion of new music and helped to bring As One, When Adonis Calls, Patience and Sarah to Chicago, among many others. She also champions young singers and advocates for every voice in her work with Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium which includes productions of La finta giardiniera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and L’elisir d’amore with many more to come!
As a transgender conductor Alexis strives to create a more equitable and diverse musical world. As such she has successfully chartered “Faulty Systems”, an annual program in which activists and artists come together to share stories of underrepresented communities or ideas through music, speech, poetry, dance and other mediums. Alexis also helped to launch the Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium’s sing–thru program, which functions to create an accessible space for young artists to experiment with musical styles and traditions following their education. You can also find Alexis working with ResonaTe an all transgender choir with a mission to foster acceptance of all voices and identities. Alexis believes that to conduct is an honor and privilege, and continues to work to support and strengthen the musical community she is privileged to be a part of.
The Cunning Little Vixen
Dancairo / Carmen
November 2016 (debut)
Mosher Studio Artist
Ashley Kay Armstrong
Mezzo-soprano Ashley Kay Armstrong makes her Opera Santa Barbara debut as Olga in Eugene Onegin as a member of the Chrisman Studio Artist program. This past season she was a Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre Young Artist, and sang Meg Brockie in Brigadoon and Lady in Waiting in Turandot. She was also an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera and sang Kylie K in the world premiere of Cosmic Ray and the Amazing Chris with Thompson Street Opera. Other highlights in her young career include the title role in Lucrezia and Isabelle Eberhardt (cover) in Song from the Uproar with Chicago Fringe Opera. She also appeared as the alto soloist in Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Chicago Sinfonietta. She attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts, where her roles included Ottavia in Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea, Suzette in Bluebeard's Waiting Room, The Wife in The Women, and Spectre/Alto Soloist in The Nightingale.
2018-19 Chrisman Studio Artist
In “Paper route,” Hannah rides around her suburban neighborhood delivering newspapers and revels in her more feminine impulses. Her youthful challenges in conforming to gender norms are related in “Cursive,” “Sex ed,” “Entire of itself ” and “Perfect boy”—in such disparate subjects as handwriting, sex, a John Donne poem, and exemplary male behavior. However, in “To know,” she discovers that she is not alone in the world and seeks understanding about herself at a local library.
During her college years, Hannah struggles with her bifurcated existence in “Two cities,” but also encounters the joy of being perceived as she wishes in “Three words.” In “Close,” she has made the decision to undergo hormone therapy and briefly suffers its vertiginous effects before feeling at one with her own body. “Home for the holidays,” “A christmas story” and “Dear son” all occur around the Christmas season and relate Hannah’s growing distance to her family and her past, which is countered by an immediate connection with a stranger in a local café. In “Out of nowhere,” Hannah escapes a harrowing assault that prompts her to find a link to the larger trans community and end her self-imposed alienation. Reacting to the conflicting voices in her head, she finally resolves to escape in the fragment, “I go on to…”
“Norway.” In this extended aria, Hannah finds, in Nature, solitude, and self-reflection, the simple yet surprising equation that will help her achieve happiness.
(from Seattle Opera)
Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation
SEASON PRODUCTION SPONSORS
Smidt Family Foundation
Towbes Fund for the Performing Arts
Zegar Family Fund
Dr. Bob Weinman
YOU DECIDE TICKETING
Walter and Holly Thomson Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Office of Arts & Culture