Performance Dates

Friday, February 9 @ 8:00 PM – Sydney Laurence Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, February 10 @ 8:00 PM – Sydney Laurence Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Sunday, February 11 @ 4:00 PM – Sydney Laurence Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

In English with English titles 

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Single ticket sales begin September 2017

About the Opera

A story about identity, authenticity and compassion. Two voices—Hannah before and Hannah after—share the journey of a sole transgender protagonist as she strives to reconcile the discord between herself and the outside world.  With empathy and humor, we experience Hannah’s youthful challenges in a small town, her struggles with family, her discovery of the larger trans community, and her inspiring quest to find her one true self. Based in part on the life of acclaimed filmmaker Kimberly Reed, As One’s rich libretto and evocative melodies make for an unforgettable theater experience.

Intended to foster conversations within the Anchorage community, we invite you to linger afterwards for a Talk Back discussion about the social issues raised by the work.

A chamber opera for two voices and String Quartet
Music & Concept by Laura Kaminsky
Libretto by Mark Campbell & Kimberly Reed

By Arrangement with Bill Holab Music. As One was commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects (AOP)

As One Video Trailer – American Opera Projects

As One in reviews

“As One forces you to think, simultaneously challenging preconceptions and inspiring empathy…[with] winning humor and a satisfying emotional arc.” – The New York Times

“The finale … is as uplifting as any operatic ending could be.” – Seattle Times

“As One” is the hottest title in opera right now, at least among the titles written in the last 100 years.” – The Denver Post

“… a piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion and the human desire for self-love and peace.” – Opera News

“A brisk marvel of dramatic urgency and musical characterization … [with] a delicately atmospheric film accompaniment by Kimberly Reed. The libretto conjures up [a] blend of excitement, shame, self-fulfillment and fear with crisp efficiency, and the string quartet that provides the opera’s only instrumental accompaniment chugs along in a beguiling quasi-minimalist groove. Best of all is Kaminsky’s vocal writing…straightforward melodic lines convey the sense of emotion.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“… a thoughtful and substantial piece as well as that rarest of operatic commodities — a story that lends itself to dramatization in music… effective, direct music … Kaminsky writes well for the voice.” – Washington Post

“Two Voices, one human experience.” – The Salt Lake Tribune

“… a chance to expand your horizons.” – New York Classical Review

About the Composer

Laura Kaminsky writes “music that is full of fire as well as ice, written in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection. It is strong stuff.” (American Record Guide). With “an ear for the new and interesting” (The New York Times), social and political themes are common in her work, as is an abiding respect for and connection to the natural world. As One (co-librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed), debuted in 2014 at BAM to unanimously positive reviews, including: “[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” (Opera News) and “this is effective, direct music…Kaminsky writes well for the voice.” (Washington Post) Subsequent As One productions include Utah State University/Caine School of the Arts, West Edge Opera (Oakland, CA), Urban Arias (Washington DC), and, in 2017, Opera Colorado and Pittsburgh Opera.

Kaminsky has received grants and awards from, among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, Chamber Music America, Aaron Copland Fund, American Music Center, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, and Likhachev-Russkiy Mir Foundation. She has been a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum Foundation, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, Millay Colony for the Arts, and Camargo Foundation (France).

Currently composer-in-residence at American Opera Projects, Kaminsky is head of composition at the Conservatory of Music of Purchase College/SUNY. Scores are available through Bill Holab Music. Recordings are on Albany, Bridge, CRI, Capstone, Mode, and MSR labels. To read Laura’s full bio CLICK HERE

About the Co-Librettists

Mark Campbell is one of the most in-demand librettists working in opera today, profiled in Opera News as one of twenty-five people “poised…to become major forces in opera in the coming decade.” Mark has written fifteen librettos, but his most known work is the libretto for the opera Silent Night, which garnered the 2012 Pulitzer in Music for composer Kevin Puts. Since its premiere at Minnesota Opera, the opera has been broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances and received productions at Opera Philadelphia, Ft. Worth Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Calgary Opera, The Wexford Festival in Ireland, Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Opéra de Montréal. Other successful operas include: Later the Same Evening, Volpone, As One, Bastianello/Lucrezia, A Letter to East 11th Street, The Inspector, Rappahannock County, Approaching Ali and The Manchurian Candidate. Mark has collaborated with many notable contemporay composers, including Mark Adamo, Mason Bates, William Bolcom, Conrad Cummings, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jake Heggie, Martin Hennessy, Laura Kaminsky, Paul Moravec, John Musto, Paola Prestini, Kevin Puts, Richard Peaslee, D.J. Sparr, and Michael Torke. To learn more about Mark CLICK HERE

 

 

Kimberly Reed, filmmaker/librettist — featured on Oprah, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, The Moth Radio Hour — is one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” A New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, she has had residencies at Yaddo, Hermitage Artist Retreat, and Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Regarding her debut as co-librettist and filmmaker of Laura Kaminsky’s opera As One, The New York Times review of its BAM premiere said: “backed by scene-setting projections from Ms. Reed, the drama powerfully coheres.” San Francisco Chronicle noted the “delicately atmospheric film” and libretto—co-written with Mark Campbell—that “conjures up a blend of excitement, shame, self-fulfillment and fear with crisp efficiency.” She is collaborating again with Campbell and Kaminsky on a new opera for Houston Grand Opera/HGOco and Today It Rains for San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle. Reed’s Prodigal Sons, a “whiplash doc that heralds an exciting talent” (SF Weekly), premiered at Telluride Film Festival, has been shown at 100+ festivals and broadcast worldwide, and garnered 14 awards including the FIPRESCI Prize. She is also working on Dark Money, a documentary about campaign finance reform.

Notes from the Creators of As One

“The opera hits the core issues every human being has to confront: Who am I? How do I become myself? What struggles I have to go through? How do I have honesty? How can me changing effect the people and the world around me? – Its specific about Hannah, but also a human story everyone can relate to. That’s the beauty of the libretto, Hannah is breaking down a lot of barriers.” – Laura Kaminsky, Composer

“I wanted to let you get to know a real, live trans person. It’s not unusual for me to be the first transgender person someone has known. I’m happy to be in that position, because the best way to dispel misunderstanding and increase empathy for The Other is to simply get to know someone. ” – Kimberly Reed, Co-Librettist

“Kim recalled an incident as a male-assigned youth in Helena, Mont. Like almost every boy born into a suburban existence, Kim had a newspaper route. But one morning, she decided to deliver newspapers in a blouse worn under her jacket. It was a galvanizing moment. We discussed a few more experiences, and I left that evening with a vague but thrilling notion for a story.” – Mark Campbell, Co-Librettist

When we three set out to write As One, none of us predicted the success it would have. We were well aware of the reality within the industry that many new operas don’t receive second or third productions—for reasons that often have little to do with the quality of the work—and we knew that a new piece about a transgender protagonist might not jibe with some people’s views of opera. But through a confluence of timing, luck, and what we hope is a compelling piece, we now find Opera America reports that the work is one of the most produced new operas in recent history.

We’re the first to admit that one reason for the opera’s number of incarnations is due to its simplest production values: two singers, a string quartet and the most basic of sets to accommodate the projection design. Early on, we envisioned an opera that could be performed in the humblest of circumstances, and we kept those limitations in mind. Of course, this may confound operagoers used to seeing monolithic sets and choruses of peasants, but we also hoped that As One would attract a new audience—people who might seek a simpler, purer synergy of music and text to tell a story.

Another reason for the opera’s popularity may be the character of Hannah herself. Fallible, self-deprecating, and admittedly somewhat self-involved, Hannah’s journey is one that audiences can relate to. We eschewed any political agenda in creating her character and instead focused on someone most people can identify with. We also chose to tell her story with a healthy bit of humor. Of course, Hannah does have conflicts, but she is not the tortured soul usually portrayed in stories about trans people.

The popularity of As One is very gratifying. Even more gratifying to us is how the opera’s message about human rights is reaching so many people—especially at a time when leadership in this country wants to dehumanize trans people and strip away their rights. We feel honored that a company with the reputation of Opera Colorado would choose to not only produce a new production of our opera, but also to do so with such loving care.

Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell, Kimberly Reed, February 2017

View an interview with Laura, Mark & Kimberly

Sponsors & Partners

Anchorage Opera gratefully acknowledges the generous support of OPERA America and the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation for this production.

              

 

The Cast

Production Team


Luis Alejandro OrozcoHannah Before


Ashley Cutright – Hannah After


Andreas Mitisek – Conductor/Stage Director/Designer


Cedar Cussins – Lighting Designer

Neda St. Clair – Rehearsal Accompanist & Conductor’s Assistant


Hair & Make-up Designer –
Elle Janecek

Production Stage Manager –
Emily Butzi

Synopsis

Part I
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.

Part II
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…”

Part III
“Norway.” In this extended aria, Hannah finds, in Nature, solitude, and self-reflection, the simple yet surprising equation that will help her achieve happiness.

Free Pre-Opera Talks

Plan to join us one hour before each performance of As One to learn the fascinating history and insights into this poignant and compelling opera.

Friday, Feb 9 at 7:00 pm in the Sidney Laurence Theatre
Saturday, Feb 10 at 7:00 PM in the Sidney Laurence Theatre
Sunday, Feb 11 at 3:00 pm in the Sidney Laurence Theatre