Snapshot 2021 Performed May 15 & 16
The Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda, CA
"As in past seasons, “Snapshot” was divided between complete short works (there’s a compactness and efficiency about a 15-minute opera that puts it in the same aesthetic world as the short story) and excerpts from longer works still in progress."
-Joshua Kosman, SF Chronicle
"Whatever the virtues or deficits of each, to hear them laid out before us like an operatic smorgasbord created a sensation of relief and excitement bordering on the delirious. There’s a whole wonderful world of music out there, and once again we can put ourselves in the midst of it. It’s been far too long."
"Snapshot, as the company’s annual sampling of new operas in development is billed, served up 20-minute (or so) excepts from six diverse works. Tastes differ, of course, but it’s hard to imagine that anyone came away without something delectable to remember — and anticipate, if and when full versions of these pieces come to pass."
-Steven Winn, SFCV
"Here, in concentrated form, was opera’s hard-wired power to connect. "
Nathaniel Stookey's short monodrama Ivonne was the standout of the 2019 edition of Snapshot. He returns in 2021 with an excerpt of a new opera based on Eisa Davis's Pulitzer Prize nominated play, Bulrusher. Davis and Stookey are collaborating on the libretto. It is a coming of age story about an African-American girl growing up in Northern California’s remote Anderson Valley in 1955.
Composer Guang Yang and librettist Paula Cizmar offer Invisible, an original story about an art restorer and her assistant as they discover parallels between the women of classic mythology and their own frustrating and unjust circumstances.
The Promise is a family drama from George Pfirrmann and Peter B.Allen about an inheritance, a wife's dying wish, and the call of the ocean.
Librettist Marella Martin Koch returns to Snapshot after authoring the text for Gilberto, performed at the beginning of 2020. A collaboration with composer Tyler J. Rubin, Ten Minutes in the Life or Death Of... is a collage of memories from a dying man as he recalls the major moments of his life.
Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Campbell joins forces with playwright Chiori Miyagawa to craft a libretto based on Miyagawa’s play on Buddhist themes, This Lingering Life. The opera features a score by CalArts professor Anne LeBaron. Using characters from traditional Noh plays, the opera weaves together timeless narratives to make wry and humorous commentary on the concept of karma through the ages.
The Glass Cage is a rock infused musical theater piece from Noah Fram. Set during the Afghanistan conflict, it explores repressed memories, PTSD, and sexual assault as well as the echoes of violence that reverberate long after combat ends.
Snapshot is collaboration between West Edge Opera and Earplay New Music Chamber Ensemble
Jonathan Khuner, Mary Chun and Emily Senturia
Jo Vincent Parks
J. Raymond Meyers
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All Photos, credit: Cory Weaver/West Edge Opera