Snapshot 2019 • Jan. 19 & 20
Music by Nathaniel Stookey and libretto by Jerre Dye. Ivonne is a haunting solo opera in three scenes inspired by an abandoned Sears building and the stories kept within its stately, dignified spaces. It follows the head secretary of a steno pool as she prepares for yet another day at the office.
Her preference for order and structure is upended by a co-worker’s medical emergency that threatens to shatter her well-groomed exterior. Celebrated soprano Marnie Breckenridge will portray this complex and affecting character from a bygone era. Stookey is perhaps best known for the orchestral whodunnit The Composer Is Dead, which was written for the San Francisco Symphony in collaboration with Lemony Snicket.
The Road To Xibalba
Music by Cindy Cox and libretto by John Campion. This hybrid music theater piece uses whimsical soundscapes, spoken word, song, and dance to tell the story of The Popol Vuh, the Mayan myth of creation. In this ancient tale, two athletic brothers travel to the Xibalba (the Mayan underworld) to challenge the all-powerful god of Death to a match. Along the way the duo encounters a parade of animal characters and charmed figures that invoke a world of physical, cosmological, and spiritual connectedness. Cox and Campion are a husband and wife team at UC Berkeley where Cox is the chair of the music department and Campion is a lecturer with the english department.
Music by Shinji Eshima and libretto by Tony Asaro. Zheng tells the story of San Francisco mezzo-soprano and Adler Fellow, Zheng Cao, whose tragic death at the age of 46 after a four year battle with lung cancer impacted much of the opera world (including Snapshot composer Nathaniel Stookey, whose work Cao premiered in her last public performance). Dramatizing events that occurred very recently, the work will portray characters whose real world counterparts are likely to be in the audience. Eshima, who plays Double Bass with the San Francisco Opera, brings personal knowledge and passion to the work, a moving tribute to an indomitable talent.
Music by Beth Ratay and libretto by Andrew Rechnitz. This work explores the ethics of euthanasia and the limits of compassion as a doctor struggles to ease the suffering of his terminally ill daughter. Despite his intentions, he’s branded a monster by a damning public and a hectoring prosecutor as he is placed on trial for his actions in a nightmarish scenario.