November 1, 2019
November 2, 2019
November 3, 2019
Pensacola Little Theatre
English with English Supertitles
Mark Campbell & Kimberly Reed
In partnership with Sunday’s Child, Pensacola Opera presents a unique multimedia double feature.
A transformative journey of self-discovery, As One tells the story of Hannah as she realizes and uncovers her true self. With evocative music by Laura Kaminsky and a stirring libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, As One has quickly become the most performed new work in North America. This Florida premiere production features Elise Quagliata and Robert Wesley Mason as Hannah, along with the Polymnia String Quartet conducted by Cody Martin.
Performances of As One will be preceded by a showing of Kimberly Reed’s autobiographical documentary Prodigal Sons. In this film, Kimberly attends her twenty-year high school reunion ready to reintroduce herself to the small Montana town as a transgender woman. Exploring questions of sexual orientation, identity, severe trauma and love, the candid, sometimes bruising footage takes a tender but unflinching look at identity and the past, examining what it means to become someone new.
Cast and Creatives
Robert Wesley Mason*as Hannah Before
Wes has been celebrated for his visceral story telling ability where he “deploys his mighty baritone to stunning effect, using interpretive phrasing and nuanced delivery” (Albany Times Union). This past November, Wes returned to Nashville Opera in his role debut as Charlie in Heggie and Scheer’s Three Decembers. This winter he returns to Fargo-Moorhead Opera for another run of Three Decembers as well as Escamillo in Carmen, followed by his debut with Eugene Opera, reprising the role of Hannah Before in Kaminski, Campbell, and Reed’s As One. Additionally, this summer will see two more company and role debuts as he joins Urban Arias as a soloist in their production of Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters and West Edge Opera for the West Coast Premiere of Mazzoli and Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves as Jan Nyman.
Elise Quagliataas Hannah After
ELISE QUAGLIATA recently sang the role of the Carmen with Kentucky Opera to great acclaim. This past season she was also seen as Carmen with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Hannah After in As One with Bay Chamber Concerts, the Minkswoman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight with Des Moines Metro Opera, Emilia in Verdi’s Otello with Austin Opera, Zosia in the premiere of Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness: Two Remain with The Atlanta Opera, Hannah After in Kaminsky’s As One with Des Moines Metro Opera, and Joan Clarke in Chen’s The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing with Chicago Opera Theater.
A frequent interpreter of contemporary, American music, Quagliata has sung the role of Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking in six productions. Opera News cited her “passionate interpretation” and “exceptional technical finesse”. She was also praised by The New York Times for her “rich, expressive voice and passionate delivery” of Heggie’s song cycle on Sister Helen’s poetry, The Deepest Desire, performed in Los Angeles and New York with the composer at the piano. She originated the role of Joan Clarke in Justine Chen’s The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing with Chicago Opera Theater, and sang the New York premiere of Wallace’s Hopper’s Wife as Hedda Hopper with New York City Opera.
A celebrated Carmen, Quagliata has been praised for her “fierce charisma with vocal finesse.” She has sung many productions, as well as the New York City Opera world tour of Carmen in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Other notable opera roles include Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Maria in Maria de Buenos Aires, Jo in Little Women, Olga in Eugene Onegin, and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, to name a few.
Quagliata’s solo orchestral credits include Prokofiev’s cantata Alexander Nevsky, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Verdi’s Requiem, Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody, Montsalvatge’s Cinco Canciones Negras, DeFalla’s El Amor Brujo, and DeFalla’s Sombrero Tres Picos.
Upcoming works include Pellegrina in the world premiere of Prestini’s Edward Tulane with Minnesota Opera, Elle in La Voix Humaine with Des Moines Metro Opera, and Sister Helen in Dead Man Walking with Opera Idaho.
Polymnia Quartet*as String Quartet
The Polymnia Quartet (Benjamin Hart and Kate Withrow, violins; Amelia Clingman, viola; Philip Von Maltzahn, cello) was founded in 2015 in New Orleans with a focus on presenting classical standards and contemporary compositions in atypical venues, offering audiences fresh ways to experience chamber music. The Quartet performs regularly at the Marigny Opera House and for the Marigny Opera Ballet. Locally, they have performed at Southern Rep Theatre, Nola Brewing Company, Tulane University, and at the Audubon Park “Music Under the Oaks” series. In 2018, the Quartet commissioned and premiered a new collaborative work at the Music Box Village.
The Polymnia Quartet has performed for New Orleans Opera Association’s productions of María de Buenos Aires and As One, which they also performed with Des Moines Metro Opera. Educational collaborations have included masterclasses for the Birdfoot Festival in New Orleans and a side-by-side with the Magnolia Concert Society Chamber Orchestra in Gulfport, MS. They currently serve as Ensemble-in-Residence for the New Orleans Friends of Music’s Open Your Ears educational initiative.
The name “Polymnia” refers to the Greek Muse of hymns and poetry and is a nod to both New Orleans’ Polymnia Street and the celebrated Mardi Gras Krewe of Muses.
Cody Martinas Conductor
Cody Martin is currently the Director of Education and Director of the Artists in Residence Program at Pensacola Opera. During the 2018-19 season, he leads a production of Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas and is associate conductor for Roméo et Juliette. In the 2017-18 season, he conducted productions of María de Buenos Aires and Man of La Mancha. Cody worked with Des Moines Metro Opera this summer for his third season, serving as associate conductor for Rusalka and coaching singers in the Apprentice Artist Program. He has previously worked on productions of A Little Night Music, Orphée et Eurydice, and Falstaff in Des Moines. He was on the music staff at Arizona Opera for two seasons, working most recently on productions of Rusalka, Madama Butterfly, Riders of the Purple Sage (world premiere), and La Cenerentola. Cody also worked with Virginia Opera in the 2014-15 season as the Emerging Artist Coach. He was on the music staff of the Janiec Opera Company at Brevard Music Center for three seasons, working as an assistant conductor and coach for productions of The Ballad of Baby Doe, Così fan tutte, Rigoletto, Sweeney Todd, Don Giovanni, and Albert Herring.
Cody holds degrees from Murray State University and Florida State University.
Amy Hutchison*as Stage Director
Amy Hutchison’s “fascinating, brilliantly mounted double bill” productions of Donizetti’s IL PIGMALIONE and RITA for Chicago Opera Theater wowed audiences and critics alike. Hutchison has also championed American opera throughout her career. She recently staged AS ONE for San Antonio’s Alamo City Opera, as well as for Chicago Fringe Opera, where she curated a Trans Artist Showcase at The Center on Halsted in conjunction with the production. Her production of Missy Mazzoli’s SONG FROM THE UPROAR: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF ISABELLE EBERHARDT was hailed as “imaginative” and “striking contemporary music theater.” She has directed William Bolcom’s A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE for Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Washington National Opera and Portland Opera. Her collaboration with Ricky Ian Gordon and Stacey Tappan, ONCE I WAS: SONGS BY RICKY IAN GORDON, was staged at the Chicago Cultural Center and recorded on the Blue Griffin label.
Hutchison’s production of William Grant Still’s epic masterwork TROUBLED ISLAND for South Shore Opera Company of Chicago was named the number one classical music event of 2013 by the Chicago Sun-Times. Other productions for South Shore Opera include: Steven M. Allen’s THE POET, Joelle Lamarre’s THE VIOLET HOUR: THE LIFE OF LEONTYNE PRICE; Jonathan Stinson’s THE MARCH: A CIVIL RIGHTS OPERA PROJECT and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s DREAM LOVERS and AFRICAN ROMANCES. Other Chicago area productions include the American premiere of Paul Abraham’s gorgeous jazz operetta THE FLOWER OF HAWAII and Leo Fall’s MADAME POMPADOUR (Folks Operetta), Ross Crean’s THE TIMES ARE NIGHTFALL (Pride Films & Plays), FAUST (DuPage Opera), BRIGADOON (Music By the Lake), and Ned Rorem’s OUR TOWN (DePaul Opera Theatre). Productions nationwide include several productions of CARMEN (Kansas City, Milwaukee, Columbus), TURANDOT (Orlando), DON PASQUALE (Indianapolis), LA TRAVIATA (Costa Mesa), IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO (Boston), and Menotti’s HELP! HELP! THE GLOBOLINKS! (Madison).
She has served on the directing staffs of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera. She has staged the Maurice Sendak production of HANSEL & GRETEL for Opernhaus Zürich, The Juilliard School (televised for PBS: Live from Lincoln Center) and for the Canadian, San Diego, Indianapolis, and Baltimore opera companies. As Associate Director, Hutchison has staged PORGY AND BESS throughout the United States and globally, including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, L’Opéra National de Paris and opera houses in Düsseldorf, Lucca and Tokyo.
Dedicated to artist training, Hutchison has been a faculty member of The Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Westminster Choir College and its CoOPERAtive Training Program, as well as directing and coaching the young artists of Lyric Opera’s Ryan Artist Center and Houston Opera Studio.
Upcoming: AS ONE (Pensacola Opera) and South Shore Opera Company of Chicago’s 10th Anniversary Celebration
CONDUCTOR | Cody Martin
STAGE DIRECTOR | Amy Hutchison*
REHEARSAL PIANIST | Stephen Variames*
COSTUME DESIGNER | Laura Lane*
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR | Kayla Stephenson*
STAGE MANAGER | Robin Bonta*
* Pensacola Opera debut artist
As One is presented through a special partnership with Sunday’s Child and a generous contribution by Diane Peterson, in memory of her husband and son, Sean and Brad Peterson.