About The Opera
Music and Concept by Laura Kaminsky
Libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed
*Opera America and Long Beach Pride Grants Awarded*
Opera America and Long Beach Pride grants will support audience engagement for As One, by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. These grants will help LBO partner with the Long Beach LGBTQ Center, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and The Trevor Project on the events and coincidences for the opera.
A story about identity, authenticity and compassion. Like every other boy. Unlike every other boy. Two voices—Hannah before and Hannah after—share the part of a sole transgender protagonist. The opera is based and inspired in part by the life experiences of acclaimed filmmaker Kimberly Reed. The story traces, with empathy and humor, Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to the acceptance of herself.
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 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
Kimberly Reed: "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. That's how we've made progress in the LGB communities, and now it's time for the T. This is something I aimed to accomplish with my film Prodigal Sons. For this video essay, I wanted to let you get to know a real, live trans person. I decided to record the day leading up to the premiere of an opera, As One, for which I created a film and co-wrote the libretto. To keep the process loose and fresh I decided to limit myself to a day of filming and a day of editing on my laptop. No color correction or sound mixing, just me and my iPhone. Enjoy."
Full rights and respect
Laura Kaminksy: "My sense is that the evolution of understanding around homosexuality — that it is just another aspect of normal human engagement — took a generation. There was the civil-rights movement, and then the beginning of the feminist movement, and then the beginning of the gay-rights movement, and then Stonewall politicized people. And then AIDS really politicized people. I think AIDS made the whole world aware that gay people have loving, committed relationships just like straight people, and gay people can raise children and can be connected to their parents and their siblings, and everything is just human and normal. And then gay marriage. It just all moved in that direction, and I think the transgender community is the next level. They deserve the full rights and respect that everybody should have. I think it’s an evolutionary process. I remember as a little kid when James Morris became Jan Morris, and that made The New York Times. Now it’s just like this is another dimension of human beings."
Laura Kaminsky, composer
Kaminsky is a composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” (New York Times), whose music is “full of fire as well as ice, written in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection.” (American Record Guide) Recent/Upcoming Commissions: As One (chamber opera for Sasha Cooke and Kelly Markgraf); Oboe Concerto for Orchestra of St. Luke’s; and Piano Quintet for Ursula Oppens and the Cassatt Quartet, and a new chamber work for Cygnus Ensemble for the Morgan Library and Museum. The Crossroads Project, a multi-media collaboration on climate change recently featured on NPR, has been touring the US since 2012. Grants and awards: the NEA, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, NYSCA, Aaron Copland Fund, Chamber Music America, American Music Center, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, Likhachev Foundation, Kenan Institute for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, North Carolina Arts Council, others. She is Composer-in-Residence at American Opera Projects and professor in the School of the Arts Purchase College/SUNY. www.laurakaminsky.com
Mark Campell, co-librettist
Mark Campbell's most known work is the libretto for Silent Night (2012 Pulitzer Prize; composer Kevin Puts). It premiered at Minnesota Opera, was broadcast on PBS' Great Performances and is being produced by an unprecedented number of companies over the next two years. Mark's other operas: The Manchurian Candidate, As One, The Other Room, Later the Same Evening, Volpone, Bastianello/Lucrezia, Rappahannock County and A Letter to East 11th Street. Awards include: Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYFA Playwriting Fellowship, three Drama Desk Award nominations, Rockefeller Foundation Award, Domenic J. Pellicciotti Prize and Jonathan Larson Foundation Award. Upcoming premieres: Burke+Hare (Julian Grant, Music-Theatre Group), The Shining (Paul Moravec, Minnesota Opera), The Trial of Elizabeth Cree (Kevin Puts, Opera Philadelphia), Dinner at Eight (William Bolcom, Minnesota Opera). www.markcampbellwords.com
Kimberly Reed, co-librettist, filmmaker
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 AS ONE's BAM premiere, the New York Times 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 SOME LIGHT EMERGES (Houston Grand Opera/HGOco). 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. kimberlyreed.com
Learn more about transgender people
What does transgender mean? How is sexual orientation different from gender identity? What name and pronoun do I use? How do I treat a transgender person with respect? Why is transgender equality important? Learn more what it means to be transgender here.
The Uses of "Trans" in Art
"Trans" as an artistic theme, then, has the benefit of casting light on social boundaries—the limits of humanness—that are usually invisible, at least to those privileged enough not to be constantly running up against them. One of art's jobs is to explore and push beyond these sorts of boundaries, so it's no surprise that so many artists have found "trans" to be a useful tool. Read More
The New York Times features personal stories that reflect the strength, diversity and challenges of the trangender community. Exlplore the collection.
As One is a chamber opera in which two voices—Hannah after (mezzo-soprano) and Hannah before (baritone)— share the part of a sole transgender protagonist. Fifteen songs comprise the three-part narrative; with empathy and humor, they trace Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to Norway where she is surprised at what she learns about herself.
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 brie y 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-reflaection, the simple yet surprising equation that will help her achieve happiness.
Lee Gregory has sung The Captain, The Death of Klinghoffer (LBO); William, The Fall of the House of Usher (Long Beach & Nashville operas, Chicago Opera Theater); Silvio, I Pagliacci (Arizona Opera, Opera Omaha); Nixon, Nixon in China, Leporello, Don Giovanni, Figaro, Le nozze di Figaro (Eugene Opera); Schaunard, La bohème (Michigan Opera Theatre); title role, Il barbiere di Siviglia (Opera Theatre of the Rockies); Junius, Rape of Lucretia, Maximilian,Candide (Toledo Opera); Mercutio, Roméo et Juliette (Opera Columbus); Prince Paul, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, (Opera Boston); Carl Magnus, A Little Night Music, Wilhelm, Ghosts of Versailles (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis).
Danielle Marcelle Bond
LBO roles include: Marilyn Monroe/ Bryar’s Marilyn Forever; Paquette/ Bernstein’s Candide; Swiss Grandmother/Austrian Woman/British Dancing Girl/ Adams’ Death of Klinghoffer; Narrator/ Lieberson’s King Gesar
Other roles include: Carmen, Mrs. Gibbs/Our Town, Lady of the Charts/ The Center Cannot Hold, Mother Goose/ The Rake’s Progress, Hermia/ A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dido/ Dido & Aeneas, Siebel/ Faust, Olga/ Eugene Onegin, Cornelia/ Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Amahl’s Mother, Maddalena/ Rigoletto
David Schweizer emerged from Yale to make his NY debut at the age of 24 at Lincoln Center with Troilus and Cressida. His extensive work in Southern California includes world premieres at the Geffen Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum and with companies like Actor’s Gang and his own Modern Artists. Notable opera work: Britten’s Albert Herring (Gotham Opera), Hartke’s The Greater Good (Glimmerglass Festival), Bennett’s The Mines of Sulphur (NYC Opera), Verdi’s Giovanna D’Arco (COT), Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis, Martin’s The Love Potion (Boston Lyric Opera). With LBO: Ades’ Powder Her Face, Purcell’s La Indian Queen, Vivaldi’s Montezuma, Glass’s Hydrogen Jukebox among others. Upcoming, the world premiere of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Elizabeth Cree (Opera Philadelphia), Julian Grant and Mark Campbell’s The NEFARIOUS IMMORAL BUT HIGHLY PROFITABLE ENTERPRISE OF MR BURKE AND MR HARE (Boston Lyric Opera), and Jeremy Howard Beck’s The Long Walk at Opera Utah.