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Heart Mountain Workshop


Summer 2015

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Heart Mountain Workshop


Summer 2015

Vespertine Opera Theater's first commissioned work, Heart Mountain by Sarah Mattox chronicles the real life experience of Kara Kondo in the Heart Mountain Japanese-American concentration camp in Wyoming during World War II. Taken directly from her journal, this work has a powerful resonance to local Pacific Northwest history. It was performed in the three quarters round at theLAB@Inscape, in the Inscape Arts Building, formerly the Immigration Services building, where local Japanese American community leaders were imprisoned in the racial hysteria following the attack at Pearl Harbor. During 1942, many Japanese American families were processed in the very room in which the workshop was performed.

A workshop is the artistic process of putting a new piece on its feet for the first time to see what works and what needs to be tweaked. Check back for information regarding the full production of Heart Mountain in an upcoming season.

Photos by Alan Alabastro
Photos copyright Alabastro Photography

Heart Mountain by Sarah Mattox
Workshop performed in theLAB@Inscape
Summer 2015

Mature Kara
Young Kara
Takashi Kondo
Amy
Marge
Sergeant Pete
The Speculator

Composer
Conductor
Pianist
Violin and Percussion
Stage Director
LIbretto
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Costume Design
Production Assistant

Kimberly Sogioka
Nina Riley
Thomas Meglioranza
Tara Ohrtman
Silvana Chu
Ross Hauck
Ryan Bede

Sarah Mattox
Stephen Stubbs
Beth Kirchhoff
Jo Nardolillo
Dan Wallace Miller
Sarah Mattox, Kara Kondo
Christopher Mumaw
Marnie Cumings
Sarah Mattox
John Bernard
 

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The Rape of Lucretia


Winter 2014

The Rape of Lucretia


Winter 2014

Vespertine Opera Theater produced Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at St. Mark's Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Seattle. This production took the theme of religion as embodied in the Male and Female Chorus and brought it to the fore, exploring themes of conviction, religious doubt, and womanhood.

Photos by Alan Alabastro
Photos copyright Alabastro Photography

The Rape of Lucretia by Benjamin Britten
Performed in Saint Mark's Cathedral
Winter, 2014

Lucretia
Tarquinius
Male Chorus
Female Chorus
Collatinus
Junius
Bianca
Lucia
Female Chorus Cover

Conductor
Stage Director
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Costume Design
Fight Choreographer
Production Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Production Assisstant
Assistant to the Scenic Designer
Promotional Consultant
Poster Design

Julia Benzinger
José Rubio 
Brendan Tuohy
Holly Boaz
Colin Ramsey
Charles Robert Stephens
Melissa Plagemann
Emma Grimsley
Sylvia Baba

Jeremiah Cawley
Dan Wallace Miller
Christopher Mumaw
Marnie Cumings
Savannah Baltazar
Tom Dewey
Laura Judson
Monica Armstrong
Anderson Nunnelley
Kajohnkiart Janebodin
Stefan Dreisbach-Williams
Adrian Swan

Orchestra

Flute
Oboe
Clarinet
Bassoon
Horn
Harp
Percussion
Piano
Violin
Violin
Viola
Cello
Bass

Maggie Stapleton
Jordan Dusek
Angelique Poteat
Jamael Smith
Carey LaMothe
Catherine Case
Andrew Angell
Elisabeth Ellis
Colin Todd
Cecilia Archuleta
Jeanne Case
Laura Kramer
Charles Welty
 

Press Reviews

Vespertine Opera’s fifth production, a riveting Rape of Lucretia, neither shies away from nor creepily eroticizes the violence of the rape of at the center of the story. Under the astute direction of Dan Wallace Miller, José Rubio both vocally and physically portrays the horrible fracture of self that turns Tarquinius into a man who’ll rape: His voice strains when it ought to, and his face gets hard then rubbery. Julia Benzinger’s Lucretia captures the confusion, loathing, and loathing of self—her body juddering between hesitance and urgency—that occurs when a victim decides she is partly to blame and then becomes ashamed and suicidal.

[...] Vespertine, which describes its mission as “performing unfamiliar works in unfamiliar places,” is making opera unfamiliar again in all the best ways—i.e., surprising. Speight Jenkins, Seattle Opera’s soon-to-retire general director, was at St. Mark’s on opening night and must have been happy to see so many young performers who’d been nurtured by Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program coming into their own.
— Rebecca Brown, The Stranger
To our knowledge, ‘Lucretia’ has not been performed in Seattle before, and kudos to tiny Vespertine for presenting this production; also, credit goes to St. Mark’s Cathedral for providing the venue, which proved immensely satisfactory as a backdrop to Friday night’s performance.

[...] Imaginative lighting by Marnie [Cumings] comprised almost entirely candles, set all around the stage and up stair treads, with a red light rising dramatically like flames from hell behind the great doors back of the altar as they closed inexorably behind Lucretia and with Tarquinius in pursuit.

You hear the drunkenness, the hurrying horse, the spinning, the horror and doom in Britten’s superb score, well-played under conductor Jeremiah Cawley.
— Phillipa Kiraly, The Seattle Times
 
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Les mamelles de Tirésias


 

Spring 2013

Les mamelles de Tirésias


 

Spring 2013

Les mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tiresias) is Francis Poulenc's first opera. The play of the same name it's based on, by Guillaume Apollinaire, coined the term Surrealism. This was the U.S. Premiere of an adaptation made by Benjamin Britten, originally written to translate the piece into English and reduce the orchestration to two pianos, meant to be played by Britten and Poulenc. This new production, inspired by surrealist masters Jean Cocteau and Luis Buñuel, was staged at Seattle's oldest Vaudeville theater, the Columbia City Theater.

Les mamelles de Tirésias by Francis Poulenc
The U.S. Premiere of an English adaptation by Benjamin Britten
Performed in the Columbia City Theater
Spring 2013
 

Thérèse/Tirésias
The Husband
The Director/The Gendarme
Lacouf/The Journalist
Presto
The Son
The Newspaper Woman
Chorus








Co-Music Director/Piano 1
Co-Music Director/Piano 2
Editor
Director/Co-Set Designer
Lighting Designer/Co-Set Designer
Costume Designer
Sculptor
Scenic Poster Artist
Scenic Drop Artist
Stage Manager
Music Assistant
 

Press Previews

The title role in Francis Poulenc’s 1944 opera Les mamelles de Tirésias is not played by anyone onstage, but by the bag of balloons on director Dan Miller’s prop table. A pair of those balloons, released from soprano Tess Altiveros’ costume—and with the help of a bluish-gray beard that looks like an S.O.S pad exploded on her face—will transform her from the fed-up Thérèse to the belligerent general Tirésias, who, sans mamelles, launches an anti-child campaign.
— Gavin Borchert, Seattle Weekly
A theater piece in which a woman’s breasts float off to the sky as balloons and she becomes a bearded male general, while her husband is constrained to produce the kids—some 1000 of them in one afternoon—is about as zany as you can get. Poulenc had a history of writing music which dealt with the nonsensical and when he read Apollinaire’s 1917 play in which the poet used the absurd to make a undercover plea for more French babies (this during the WWI slaughter of vast numbers of young French manhood), he had the material for a comedic masterpiece.

Enter a little opera company in Seattle, Vespertine Opera Theater, born in 2011, which aims to present the offbeat, the unusual, the rarely-presented in unique or unexpected venues.
— Phillipa Kiraly, City Arts Magazine

Press Reviews

For many of us, opera can be a somewhat remote experience. We sit far away from the singers in a large hall, and while we can hear every emotion in their voices, we sometimes have a hard time seeing emotional nuances in their faces. But Vespertine Opera Theater’s production of Les Mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tirésias) is up close and visceral at Columbia City Theater.
[...]
This production is a historical one, as this is its U.S. premiere. In 1956, Benjamin Britten became a big fan of the French opera, and discussed with Poulenc the possibility of performing it at the Aldeburgh Festival (co-founded by Britten). To suit the space, Britten and long-term collaborator Viola Tunnard arranged the opera for voice and two pianos. Tenor Peter Pears, stage director Colin Graham, and choreographer John Cranko produced an English libretto, and it was performed in June of 1958. It then disappeared, resurfacing only in 2011.
— Margaret Higginson, The SunBreak
The staging, by Vespertine Opera Theatre director Dan Wallace Miller, is fast-paced, cleverly inventive, and lots of fun, placing principal and supporting singers all over the tiny Columbia City Theater (including in the audience) and playing off the preposterous premises of the plot. The singing, particularly from the leads (Tess Altiveros, José Rubio, Daniel Oakden), is fearless and all-out; the commitment of the whole cast is evident all evening. The two pianists, both highly experienced opera people (Dean Williamson and David McDade), are not only unanimous and supportive of the cast, but also expert at conducting and cueing. They provided both the glue and the energy that kept the production on track.
— Melinda Bargreen, KingFM
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La bohéme


Summer 2012

La bohéme


Summer 2012

A coproduction with Spielplatz Productions, La bohéme has been Vespertine Opera Theater's only performance of a standard repertoire opera. Performed in the three quarters round, this production told Puccini's classic tale as the youth of today might experience it. 

La bohéme by Giacomo Puccini
Performed in the round at the Chapel in the Good Shepherd Center
A co-production with Spielplatz Productions
Summer 2012

Mimi
Rodolfo
Marcello
Musetta
Colline
Schaunard
Benoit/Alcindoro

Tess Altiveros
Jon Farmer
José Rubio
Ksenia Popova
Micah Parker
Ryan Bede
Brian Trunk

Director
Music Director
Designer
Lighting Designer

Dan Wallace Miller
Rhonda Kline
Evan Merriman-Ritter
Joe Wagner

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La voix humaine


Spring 2012

La voix humaine


Spring 2012

La voix humaine is the story of a woman's descent into despair talking on the phone to her ex-lover. Vespertine Opera Theater produced this piece in a very intimate black box theater, giving the audience an uncomfortably close look into this woman's tragic suicide.

La Voix Humaine by Francis Poulenc
Performed on the DownStage at Stone Soup Theater
Spring of 2012

Elle

Tess Altiveros

Director
Music Director
Designer
Lighting Designers

Dan Wallace Miller
Jeremiah Cawley
Victor Steeb
Marnie Cumings
Evan Anderson

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Dido and Aeneas / Savitri


Summer 2011

Dido and Aeneas / Savitri


Summer 2011

Vespertine Opera Theater's first production was a double bill of Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Gustav Holst's Savitri. Performed outdoors on opposite sides the University of Washington's Sylvan Grove Theater, this production tied the two operastogether through the character of Death, with Dido being shrouded at the end of the first opera to emerge as Savitri in the next. The timing of the production was such that the sun would set in the intermission between the two pieces.

Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell
Savitri by Gustav Holst
Performed in the Sylvan Grove Theater
Summer 2011

Dido and Aeneas

Dido
Aeneas
Belinda
Second Woman/Sorceress/Spirit
First Witch
Second Witch
First Sailor
Chorus

Nataly WIckham
Levi Lindsey
Brenna Sluiter
Kathleen Payne
Chelsea Belle Baker
Annalisee Brasil
Dustin Jarred
Chelsea Belle Baker
Annalisee Brasil
Jeremiah Cawley
David Doerr
Brittany Hines-Hill
Dustin Jarred
Elisabeth Jolly

Savitri

Savitri
Death
Satyavan

Kathleen Payne
Jared Ice
Levi Lindsey

Director
Conductor
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Stage Manager

Dan Wallace Miller
Geoffrey Larsen
Kathleen Payne
Marnie Cumings
Brandon Fidler