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A West Edge Opera Commission

World Premiere 2027

Claude & Marcel

Alyssa Weinberg, Composer

Stephanie Fleischmann, Librettist

Partners Include: Seattle Opera


The opera tells the story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore: two women – romantic and artistic partners - Jewish activists and surrealist photographers who used their art to magnify resistance against Nazi Germany.


Says librettist Fleischmann, ‘When I first came across the iconic image of Claude Cahun in boxing garb, with the words “Don’t kiss me, I’m in training” inscribed across their chest, I felt I had found my hero. Delving deeper into their body of work, which encompasses surrealist writing and collage as well as chameleonic feminist self-portraiture prefiguring Cindy Sherman by half a century, I was transfixed by their collaboration with lifelong partner Marcel Moore and the way these two women—camouflaged as a pair of cat-loving spinsters—harnessed their inquiry into gender and identity to implement a resistance on the Isle of Jersey during World War II that was perceived by the Germans as the work of a small army. Larger than life, infused with a dream logic and a heightened, angular theatricality, their story was crying out to be opera.’


Claude & Marcel is the third complete length opera to be commissioned and developed by West Edge Opera. Claude & Marcel was initially commissioned in 2023. 


Commissioners & Supporters Include: Norm Abramson, Hilary Honore, Terry McKelvey & Heli Roiha, Erica Nietfeld & Royce Kelley, Michael Walsh, and The National Endowment for the Arts


The development of Claude & Marcel is taking place over the course of three years, with a series of milestones built into the process including:


June 2023 | A libretto reading of Claude & Marcel with actors from Oakland Theater Project, led by Elkhanah Pulitzer


Fall 2025 | A piano-vocal workshop of Claude & Marcel, led by conductor Jonathan Khuner, director Elkahanah Pulitzer and dramaturg Felix King.


Fall 2026 | Preview Performance at The Taube Atrium Theater in San Francisco.


World Premiere: August 2027


Lead Creative Team

Composer: Alyssa Weinberg

Librettist: Stephanie Fleischmann

Conductor: Jonathan Khuner

Director: Elkhanah Pulitzer

Dramaturg: Felix King


Claude & Marcel is a part of West Edge Opera’s Pacific Opera Initiative (POI) - an integrated platform for new opera commissions, development, programming, and partnerships that approaches the creation of new American opera with a fresh take.

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