This weekend and next, Seattleites can hear opera at the historic Washington Hall when Seattle Opera presents As One, a chamber opera with two singers, which tells the story of Hannah, a Transwoman, and her journey to self-understanding. Washington Hall, located at 153 14th Avenue, is a Central District venue that once showcased performances by Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, and was also home to On the Boards in its earlier years. The opera is meant to be both an aesthetic experience as well as a vehicle for meaningful conversation
Based in part on true events, As One offers a narrative that's both specific and universal.
'This beautiful, brave opera is about becoming whole - becoming true to one's self,' says As One director L. Zane Jones, Artistic Director of Seattle's Civic Rep. 'It is one woman's journey to becoming her authentic self; a love story - an adventure - and finally, a celebration.'
Seattle has never experienced opera in quite this way before. In As One, the grandeur of Seattle Opera's mainstage performances is stripped away in favor of a vulnerable, immediate approach. With a string quartet and singers performing in-the-round, this production puts the audience right in the heart of the action.
Award-winning filmmaker and librettist Kimberly Reed (Prodigal Sons), and award-winning librettist Mark Campbell (Silent Night) created the powerful story and text for As One, and Laura Kaminsky, a former chair of the music department at Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts, composed the music, which premiered September 4, 2014 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. (The Seattle Opera Premiere of As One, with set design by G.W. (Skip) Mercier and costume design by Melanie Taylor Burgess, will be conducted by John Keene.)
In this 90-minute opera, presented in English, the single protagonist, Hannah, is portrayed by two singers - a baritone and a mezzo-soprano. Hannah before transition will be sung by Jorell Williams, praised by The New York Times as 'magnificent' and 'rich toned.' Hannah after transition will be sung by Taylor Raven, a rising star currently in residency with Pittsburgh Opera.
Throughout the course of 15 songs, the audience will experience Hannah's challenges growing up in a small town on the West Coast, her quest for knowledge and understanding, and her discovery of the Trans community. The opera embraces humor and heartbreaking realities within this personal narrative. While Hannah before is faced with violence, Hannah after names those who did not survive similar attacks. At the end of the opera, the protagonist finds peace, as well as her own self-acceptance and love, in rural Norway.
As One premieres in Seattle on Friday, Nov. 11, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 19, with performances on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30pm (doors at 6:30pm), Sunday matinee, Nov. 13 at 4pm (doors at 3pm), Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 17, 18 & 19 at 7:30pm (doors at 6:30pm). Tickets prices are $25 and $40. Tickets are available online at seattleopera.org or by calling the Seattle Opera ticket office: 206-389-7676 or 800-426-1619. Tickets may also be purchased at the Seattle Opera box office by visiting 1020 John Street (two blocks west of Fairview), Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm.
Prior to the performance, attendees can grab a beverage or drink from the in-house bar to enjoy during the performance. Afterward, audience members are invited to participate in a discussion on topics affecting the LGBTQ community.
This Seattle premiere is supported in part by The Wallace Foundation and Pride Foundation. As One reflects Seattle Opera's commitment to creating a safe and welcoming space within the arts. Moving forward, the company's work will reflect the diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest in terms of age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and cultural/multicultural background. Seattle Opera is working to reduce barriers that have historically made the art form inaccessible to certain groups.
Seattle Opera's 2016/17 Season Sponsor:
Seattle Opera Guild - In memory of Marian E. Lackovich and Captain Louis J. Lackovich
About Seattle Opera
Established in 1963, Seattle Opera is committed to serving the people of the Pacific Northwest with performances of the highest caliber and through innovative educational and engagement programs for all. Each year, more than 95,000 people attend Seattle Opera performances, and more than 400,000 people of all ages are served through school performances, radio broadcasts, and more. By drawing our communities together, and by offering opera's unique fusion of music and drama, we create life-enhancing experiences that speak deeply to people's hearts and minds. Connect with Seattle Opera on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, and through the Seattle Opera channel on Classical King FM. 98.1.
Courtesy of Seattle Opera
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