Opera Santa Barbara will present As One by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell, and Kimberly Reed on March 25 and 27 at the Lobero Theater. This will be the 50th production of the 75’ opera since its New York premiere in 2014. The story follows Hannah, a transgender woman portrayed by two singers, Hannah before (a baritone) and Hannah after (a mezzo-soprano), as she discovers her gender identity and learns to love herself in a world where she’s not accepted. According to Opera News “As One is a piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion, and the human desire for self-love and peace.”
The music of composer Laura Kaminsky has been described as “full of fire as well as ice, contrasting dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection” by the American Record Guide. She frequently addresses critical social and political issues in her work, including sustainability, war, and human rights. She has been the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, and Opera America.
The libretto of As One was co-written by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. Campbell is the Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning librettist of some of the most successful recent American operas, such as Silent Night, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, and Stonewall. Reed, a transgender filmmaker and writer, is famous for the documentaries “Prodigal Sons” and “Dark Money”. Her projection work for operas, which plays a central role in As One, has been called “worthy of Fellini or Bergman” by the San Francisco Classical Voice. Kaminsky and Campbell will be in attendance for the March 25 performance and will participate in a round table discussion the day before.
“My collaborators and I are thrilled that the Santa Barbara Opera performances mark the 50th production of our opera since its premiere in 2014”, said Kimberly Reed. “We are also very happy that this production opens at the same time that we announce the True Voice Award, a new initiative we created to help in the training of trans opera singers, overseen by Washington National Opera.”
The production will be directed by Amy Hutchison, and conducted by transgender conductor Alexis Enyart, both of whom have long history with the opera. The roles of Hannah before and Hannah after are taken up by alumni of Opera Santa Barbara’s Chrisman Studio Program, Evan Bravos, who was last seen in the Music Academy of the West’s Cold Mountain in 2019, and Ashley Armstrong, who portrayed Olga in Opera SB’s 2019 Eugene Onegin.
“Bringing As One to Santa Barbara has been a dream of mine since I saw Amy (Hutchison)’s production in Chicago in 2017”, said Opera SB Artistic and General Director Kostis Protopapas. “It is as courageous, tender, lyrical, and cathartic as any contemporary opera I have ever seen. It is also a terrific opportunity to open our doors and welcome new audiences who do not typically attend opera.”
With this in mind the company has engaged Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx (he/him/his) Director of Cultural Programming at A Noise Within theater company in Pasadena as Creative Consultant. He will help develop community partnerships and present a series of online and in-person events that raise awareness, educate, and celebrate the transgender experience. “As One creates an opportunity to more deeply engage our local LGBTQIA+ community and allies, to center transgender voices in our partnerships, and to expand the narrative around transgender experiences to be as inclusive and intersectional as possible”, said Muñoz-Proulx. “We’re excited to engage the Opera Santa Barbara platform as a vehicle for inclusive storytelling where all are welcome.”
A chamber opera for two voices and String Quartet
Music & concept by Laura Kaminsky
Libretto by Mark Campbell & Kimberly Reed
Film by Kimberly Reed
By Arrangement with Bill Holab Music. As One was commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects (AOP)
All patrons must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or negative test within the last 72 hours accompanied by picture ID. In accordance with the latest State and County guidance, patrons will NOT be required to wear a face covering. Detailed health protocols can be found on the Lobero Lobero website
Reserved tickets can be purchased online at lobero.org, and are currently priced at $149 and $99. A limited number of You Decide! Tickets (pay-what-you-choose) are also available by phone only through the Lobero Box Office, at (805) 963.0761, thanks to a generous grant from the Holly and Walter Thompson Foundation, Bank of America, N.A. Co-trustee.