As One Brings Opera to Continuum Music Festival


As One Brings Opera to Continuum Music Festival

Opera Memphis produces for Crosstown Arts As One, a new chamber opera following the journey of transgender protagonist Hannah.


This August, Opera Memphis will join Crosstown Arts for their annual Continuum Music Festival to produce As One, a new chamber opera for two voices--Hannah before (baritone) and Hannah after (mezzo-soprano). Performances will take place August 16 & 17 at Crosstown Arts Theater. Information and tickets can be found HERE.

From the official As One website: 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—and finally traveling alone to a different country, where she realizes some truths about herself. Commissioned by American Opera Projects, As One opened on September 4, 2014, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Fisher Space. Since its premiere, it has become the most produced new opera in North America (Opera America).


These 75-minute performances will feature the talents of Michael Kelly (Hannah before) and Blythe Gaissert (Hannah after). Kelly was recently interviewed by Huffington Post about his experience with As One.

“Americans readily celebrate the evolution of visual art beyond its origins and take great pride in our own visual artists, integrating their work into our culture,” the New York native told HuffPost. “Music, however, is stigmatized by preferences of genre and style ... there are so many of our stories yet to be told and shared with the world.” 

“It’s a testament to its universal message of acceptance and self-love that it connects with people from all over the country,” Kelly said of “As One,” which has reportedly become the most-produced modern American opera in recent seasons. “I believe in the show’s power to change hearts and minds about trans people, because I have seen it do just that.”

You can read the full article featured on Huffpost Queer Voices, “Opera Star Michael Kelly Aims to Scale New Heights for Queer Inclusion Onstage,” by CLICKING HERE. This is Kelly’s and Gaissert’s first time working with Opera Memphis, both having made international appearances in opera houses across the globe.


The music and concept for As One was created by Laura Kaminsky, with the libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. Laura Kaminsky was recently listed as “one of the top 35 female composers in classical music,” (The Washington Post) and currently is the head of Composition at Purchase College Conservatory of Music/SUNY. Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner Mark Campbell has written 32 opera librettos, 7 musicals and 2 oratorios; his opera, Later The Same Evening, was produced at Opera Memphis in 2017. Having a strong foothold in the opera world with commissioned works for Santa Fe and San Francisco Operas among others, Kimberly Reed is also well-known for her accomplishments in film, receiving over a dozen international awards for documentaries she has created and being featured on such shows as CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Moth Radio Hour, and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her film The Prodigal Son will be screened during the Continuum Music Festival with Reed in attendance. Admission to this film is included in your festival pass.

The creators will be in Memphis during the festival to talk about their work, As One, and its impact in contemporary opera and beyond.

As One, directed by Ned Canty and Joy Brooke Fairfield, will perform twice during Crosstown Arts’s Continuum Music Festival. Performances will take place in the Crosstown Arts Theater on August 16 (8:00pm) & 17 (2:30pm). For tickets and more information, please CLICK HERE.

Posted by Jillian Barron at 00:00
Share |