Saturday, February 3 and 4, 2023 / 7:30pm
February 4 and 5, 2023 / 3:00pm
MIT Building W97, 345 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA
A new opera by composer Elena Ruehr and Pulitzer-prize winning librettist Royce Vavrek, with stage direction by Giselle Ty.
Creatives and Production
Elena Ruehr, Composer
Royce Vavrek, Librettist
Sydney Padua, Novelist
Giselle Ty, Director
Alexa Cadete, Assistant Director
Keithlyn B Parkman, Lighting & Scenic Designer
Rebecca Shannon Butler, Costume Designer
Tláloc López-Watermann, Projections Designer
Sydney Padua, Original Illustrations
Jolie Frazer-Madge, Stage Manager
Mark A. DiGiovanni, Technical Director
Aliana de la Guardia, Ada Lovelace
Aaron Engebreth, Charles Babbage
Erin Matthews, Queen Victoria and various roles
Omar Najimi, Minion and various roles
Wesley Urbanczyk, Dancer
Henoch Spinola, Dancer
Anelise Avila Tatum, Dancer
Lilit Hartunian, Violin
Rane Moore, Clarinet
Stephen Marotto, Cello
Mike Williams, Percussion
Choreography by Henoch Spinola, Anelise Avila Tatum, Wesley Urbanczyk, and Giselle Ty.
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, presented by MIT CAST and Guerilla Opera, is a new opera by composer Elena Ruehr and Pulitzer-prize winning librettist Royce Vavrek with stage direction by Giselle Ty.
Based on the New York Times best-selling graphic novel by Sydney Padua, this is the first staging of the comedic new work. It centers on scientists Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, the real-life unsung inventors of the first computer, fighting crime in alternate universes with their new invention.
Ada Lovelace was a mathematician, gambler, and proto-programmer, whose writings contained the first-ever appearance of general computing theory. Lovelace was the first great genius to develop a programming language, and she is still not generally known. Charles Babbage was the eccentric inventor of the Difference Engine, an enormous clockwork calculating machine that would have been the first computer if he had ever finished it.
Presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST),MIT Music and Theater Arts, and Guerilla Opera. Additional project development support from a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT (CAMIT).
Lord Byron and Annabella argue on how to raise their daughter Ada.
Adventure #1 – Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage meet.
Adventure #2 – Queen
Victoria pays Lovelace and Babbage an unexpected visit.
Adventure #3 – Lovelace experiences the THIRD dimension!
Adventure #4 – Lovelace and Babbage fight crime and take names, I mean, NOTES!
Epilogue: Graphic LIberties – Look at all of those Adas. Our work is far from done!
From Elena Ruehr, Composer:
It was sometime in the spring of 2015. I was cooking dinner while listening to NPR when I heard Sydney Padua come on to talk about her graphic novel The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. I was struck by her but also struck by the fact that my mother’s family had a tale that we were related to Lord Byron (Lovelace’s father) through a chambermaid, who unmarried and with child by Byron, was forcefully sent to Windsor, Canada, and became one of my ancestors. This story is probably not true. My mother’s family loves good stories, truth be told.
But the seed was there, and I was interested. So I read Sydney’s book and fell madly in love. What a great opera this would make! Then I met Royce Vavrek, a fabulous librettist, met Sydney, and was given the rights, and suddenly a show was born.
Finally, it seems very important to me that we composers embrace the idea of comedy in our work. So much contemporary opera, and in fact much contemporary art, has such dark themes. Indeed, we live in dark times. But I do think it’s important to step back and remind ourselves of how wonderful we are.
From Sydney Padua, Graphic Novelist:
I feel I could only properly express my delight that The Thrilling Adventures is becoming an opera by bursting into song—it’s hard to imagine anything more amazing happening to a person than having an opera inspired by their comic book. To have as distinguished a composer and librettist as Elena and Royce were beyond even my wildest imaginings. I can’t wait to see the production in all its glory!
Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace were larger-than-life, passionate personalities who naturally belong in comic books and grand opera. Theirs was a magnificent unrequited love story of human and machine, and although it had a tragic ending in reality I wanted in imagination to provide them with all the enormous clanking computers they could possibly have wished for. I’m so excited that Elena shared this vision and brought it to life with (irresistible pun) – the Music of the Gears!
Operas on mathematical subjects remain sadly rare, despite the close affinity of music and mathematics; comic operas about computing are even rarer despite the fact that computers are extremely funny. MIT is the perfect partner for this production and I hope newbies to both computing and opera enjoy the show.
Elena Ruehr (Composer), an award-winning member of the MIT Music and Theater Arts faculty since 1992, is known for her vocal music and collaboration with poets. She has written extensively for chamber ensemble, orchestra, chorus, wind ensemble, instrumental solo, opera, dance, and silent film. Ruehr’s works have been commissioned and performed by numerous string quartets, and she has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute and composer-in-residence with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
Royce Vavrek (Librettist) is a Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based opera librettist, playwright, dance scenarist, musical theater writer, and filmmaker. He is the co-artistic director of The Coterie, an opera-theater company founded with Tony-nominee Lauren Worsham, and his work has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Kitchen, and American Lyric Theater, among others. Vavrek’s opera “Angel’s Bone” with composer Du Yun was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
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Sydney Padua (Novelist) is a graphic novelist, animator, and filmmaker. She grew up partly in Mexico City, partly on the Canadian prairie, and partly in Narnia. She studied theater at the University of Alberta and animation at Sheridan College in Toronto. Her visual effects work includes both hand-drawn and computer-generated animation and appears in such films as The Iron Giant, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King; she is currently a lead animator on Mufasa: The Lion King. She started drawing her cult webcomic The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by accident in 2009 when a joke blog post took on a life of its own. It eventually became a best-selling graphic novel, winner of the British Society for the History of Mathematics Neumann Prize and nominated for two Eisner Awards. Padua lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband. She is beside herself with joy that The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is now an opera, and considers this the greatest thing that could possibly happen to anybody.
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Giselle Ty (Director) is a London-based stage director who specializes in experimental, interdisciplinary, and site-specific work. She has directed productions for Boston Lyric Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera at National Sawdust, New York University Tisch School of Drama, Harvard University Early Music Society, Simpson College, and Houston Grand Opera (HGOco). Engagements as an associate and assistant director include collaborations with the American Repertory Theatre, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Festival, Opera Boston, Gotham Chamber Opera, Icelandic Opera, L’Opéra de Bordeaux, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Ty also creates original work that sits at the intersection of live performance and installation. In 2015, she conceived and directed All at Once Upon A Time (Or Variations on a Theme of Disappearing) for the Peabody Essex Museum’s Gardner-Pingree House. She was also granted a residency with New Georges’ Theatre to develop Invitation to an Empty Room, an unplugged happening for total strangers.
Alexa Cadete (Assistant Director). Lyric Stage Company of Boston: The Play That Goes Wrong (Annie) Guerilla Opera: I Give You My Home (Rose’s Mother), Studio Theatre Worcester : Doubt, A Parable (Sister Aloysius), Intermittent Theatre Company: Sisters (Louise), Titus Andronicus (Demetrius), Green Mountain: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Nurse Ratched), Waiting For Lefty (Agate Keller), Hurly Burly (Donna), Major Barbara (Rummy), The Dining Room (2nd Actress). A graduate of Green Mountain College, Alexa has trained at the Dorset Theatre Festival Conservatory and the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company.
Keithlyn B Parkman (Lighting & Scenic Designer) graduated from the Boston University College of Fine Arts with a BFA in Lighting Design. 10 years ago, during her time at BU, she stumbled across this zany little opera family, and the rest is history. Keithlyn has done a great many things for Guerilla over the years, but Thrilling may top the scales in number of jobs held, including but not limited to Lighting & Scenic Design, Props Mistress and Associate Producer. GO is an ensemble after all. When not running around Boston with Guerilla, Parkman shares her passion for theater making by mentoring young theater artists at various highschools in her hometown of NYC. Recent Guerilla credits include SALT, Rumpelstiltskin and Ofelia’s Life Dream. Upcoming projects include Alice By Heart (The Beacon School) and Chicago (Berkeley Carroll).
Rebecca Shannon Butler (Costume Designer) holds a B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Costume design credits include White Snake Projects (Let’s Celebrate), Enigma Chamber Opera (Turn of the Screw, The Impresario, Curlew River, Prodigal Son), Umbrella Stage (Rent), Guerilla Opera (ELLIS), Boston Conservatory (A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Urinetown, Hair, Reflections), Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and Intermezzo Chamber Opera Series. She was the Costume Director and Manager at Boston Conservatory at Berklee for over a decade, where favorite productions included Urinetown, Dead Man Walking, The Frogs, and Her Naked Skin. Butler was a founding member of the designer’s studio, the Industrial Stitchers Guild, and has created costumes and textile art for organizations in Boston and beyond.
Jolie Frazer-Madge (Stage Manager) is a freelance stage manager of theatre and opera based in Boston, MA. She has a particular interest in new work, devised pieces, immersive theatre, and really anything else that people might consider “impossible”. Born and raised in South Carolina, she is very passionate about works that diversify the Southern narrative. As a stage manager and theater artist, Jolie loves feeling like a true collaborator in the room, and tries to cultivate a deep understanding of the artistic intentions of the pieces she works on. During the pandemic, Jolie focused on becoming more politically active, working on the Finance team for Adair Boroughs’ Congressional campaign and as a Field Organizer on the All in for SC Campaign for Jaime Harrison. Currently, Jolie is working as the Operations Coordinator or SpeakEasy Stage Company. When she’s not in rehearsal, Jolie enjoys watching The Rachel Maddow Show, reading Southern Gothic novels, and playing guitar.
Tláloc López-Watermann (Projections Designer) Tláloc’s lighting, projection, and Scenic and live video designs have been seen at many theaters and Operas around the country. He is grateful to have designed at Salisbury University, Virginia Opera, Opera Southwest, Opera Santa Barbara, Gulfshore Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Columbus, Death of Classical, Lakes Area Music Festival, Pittsburg Opera, North Carolina Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Delaware, Opera On the James, Opera Naples, Castleton Festival, Brevard Music Center, Toledo Opera, Opera Roanoke, Shreveport Opera, Crested Butte Music Festival, TheatreZone, FreeFall Theatre, amongst many others. Designs include: The Long Walk, Hydrogen Jukebox, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Sondheim on Sondheim, Cenerentola, Carmen, Street Scene, Zauberflöte, Amadeus, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sweeney Todd, South Pacific, Romeo et Juliet, Scalia/Ginsburg (world premiere and later productions) Ulysses, Pirates of Penzance, Così fan Tutte, Bovinus Rex (world premiere), Man of La Mancha, Salome, La Bohème, Madame Butterfly, The Crucible, Eugene Onegin, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Falstaff, The Magic Flute, Tosca, Don Giovanni, as well many others. Tláloc was an Allen Lee Hughes Fellow at Arena stage. He has an MFA in Design from NYU/Tisch.
Aliana de la Guardia (Ada Lovelace) is a Massachusetts-based Cuban-American soprano vocalist, arts leader, producer, and voice teacher. Specializing in new music and opera, she has enjoyed collaborations with opera companies, chamber ensembles, and artists of varied disciplines throughout New York, Massachusetts and the nationwide, and guest starred on ABC’s “Body of Proof.” She is a PARMA Recordings Artist and is also featured on commercial releases through BMOP Sound and others. A co-founding artist and Artistic Director of Guerilla Opera, she has premiered many new operas over 16 years. She is half of the voice and percussion duo, Bahué, which generates a repertoire of new music from Latinx composers. She has participated in arts and non-profit leadership programs from Philanthropy Massachusetts, Essex County Community Foundation, OPERA America, Double Edge Theatre, and is on the OPERA America Membership Council. She is the owner of the Dirty Paloma Voice Studio and also teaches private voice lessons at the Community Music School of Springfield, formerly treasurer of the Granite State chapter of NATS. She has been a guest artist/lecturer at colleges, universities, and conservatories throughout the country and with the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Regional Dance Development Initiative, and with speaking engagements at Washington National Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Singers Resource, and Classical Singer and National Opera Association conventions.
Baritone Aaron Engebreth (Charles Babbage) enjoys a varied solo career in opera, oratorio, recital and devotes considerable energy to the performance of both established music and contemporary premieres, frequently collaborating with many of today’s preeminent composers. He is twice GRAMMY-Award nominated for Best Operatic Recording for his featured roles with the Boston Early Music Festival Opera and Radio Bremen. In the U.S. he is frequently featured as a guest soloist on stages from Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Internationally, he has concertized from Sapporo Japan’s Kitara Hall to Le Theatre de la Ville in Paris and the AmBul festival of Sofia, Bulgaria. He has been a guest of the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Rockport and Monadnock Music Festivals as well as many of the country’s fine symphony orchestras. His recent New York City Opera debut in Dominick Argento’s A Waterbird Talk performed at Carnegie Hall, compelled the New York Classical Review to state, “Engebreth is a marvelous actor, capable of holding his character’s many facets and motivations in tension.” As a recording artist, Engebreth is featured on nearly 30 commercially released recordings from the baroque to modern premieres. Originally from Wisconsin, he is a long-suffering and devoted fan of the Green Bay Packers.
Praised by the Boston Globe for her “pristine timbre and expressive face,” Erin Matthews (Queen Victoria and various roles) is a highly sought-after soprano & teacher in the Boston area. She has been seen locally with companies such as Enigma Chamber Opera, Promenade Opera Project, and Strange Trace, in roles including Flora (The Turn of the Screw), Despina (Così fan tutte), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), and Noémie (Cendrillon). Matthews has also been recently featured as a choral musician with Nightingale, Cappella Clausura, and at Trinity Church in Copley Square, where she has been the featured soprano soloist for concert works including the Fauré Requiem, Finzi’s In Terra Pax, and Handel’s Messiah. Matthews hails from Texas, where she received both her Bachelor’s of Music in Voice and Bachelor’s of Arts in French from the University of North Texas. She relocated to Boston in 2016 to obtain her M.M. in Opera and her Alexander Technique Certification from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. In addition to performing, Matthews maintains an active private studio in the area teaching both voice & the Alexander Technique, when she is not at home playing with her cats, Rosie and Jolene.
Boston-based artist Omar Najmi (Minion and various roles) splits his time between composition and performance, maintaining a busy schedule as an operatic tenor. Praised as “a world class voice in every respect,” Najmi recently made his international debut creating the title role in Joseph Summer’s operatic adaptation of Hamlet with Bulgaria’s State Opera Rousse. Other recent and upcoming engagements include Rodolfo in La Boheme with Opera Steamboat, Astolfo in Furiosus with Mercury Opera, Shakur in Thumbprint with Portland Opera, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet with Boston Lyric Opera, Spearmint Lodge in the world-premiere of The Artwork of the Future with Fresh-Squeezed Opera, Alfredo in La Traviata with MassOpera, Gastone in La Traviata with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, tenor soloist in St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio with Emmanuel Music, Tito in La Clemenza di Tito with Opera Steamboat, and Bilal in This Is Not That Dawn with Catalyst New Music. Najmi enjoys a long standing relationship with Boston Lyric Opera where he began his professional career as an Emerging Artist (2013-2015). He has performed over 15 productions at the company, and he served as their first ever Emerging Composer in the 2020/2021 season. His other operatic engagements have included Opera Colorado, Chautauqua Opera, Annapolis Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Maine, Opera Fayetteville, Opera NEO, Opera North, Odyssey Opera, American Lyric Theater, and more.
Najmi made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2018 as the tenor soloist in Mark Hayes’ Gloria. He has since returned as the soloist in Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, and as a soloist in Talents of the World Inc.’s Caruso Tribute Concert. He has performed several times as a soloist with the touring concert Video Games Live, including an appearance with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. Najmi has been the recipient of the Harold Norblom Award from Opera Colorado, the Stephen Shrestinian Award from Boston Lyric Opera, 2nd prize from the Wilkinson Young Singers Fund, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellowship from Emmanuel Music, 2nd place nationally in the Handel Aria Competition, and he has been a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.
Najmi began his composition career with the production of his first opera, En la ardiente oscuridad, in 2019. After a run of sold-out performances, he was invited to serve as the first ever Emerging Composer in residence with Boston Lyric Opera, where he worked with Boston Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla in the creation of the song cycle my name is Alondra. The piece received its live premiere on BLO’s Street Stage in 2021. In 2022, his motet The Last Invocation was premiered by Emmanuel Music. His recently commissioned song cycle More Than Our Own Caves just received its premiere with Juventas New Music Ensemble. He is currently working on Jo dooba so paar – a short opera exploring the intersection of Queer and Muslim identity – which will be premiered as part of White Snake Projects’ Let’s Celebrate initiative. In 2022, Najmi and his husband Brendon Shapiro co-founded Catalyst New Music – an organization dedicated to fostering, developing, and producing new works. Catalyst’s first project – presented with the support of The Boston Foundation’s Live Arts Boston grant – was a concert performance of Najmi’s new opera This Is Not That Dawn, a drama set during and after the Partition of India.
Wesley Urbanczyk (Dancer, they/them) is a Boston-based dancer and an Apprentice with Boston Dance Theater. A graduate of Jacksonville University, they hold a BFA in dance performance and a BS in English Literature. After moving to Boston from Florida to join BDT’s Trainee Program in 2021, Urbanczyk was promoted to Apprentice this season. They’ve had the privilege to work with choreographers such as Roya Carreras, Maleek Washington, Jennifer Archibald, Cleo Parker Robinson, Amy Miller, and Antonio Brown. While they’ve performed in musicals such as Oklahoma! and Sister Act in the past, this will be Urbanczyk’s first time dancing in an opera.
Anelise Avila Tatum (Dancer, she/her/hers), a native of San Antonio, Texas, was a 2021-2022 season Trainee with Boston Dance Theater under the direction of Jessie Jeanne Stinnett. She has performed in works by Jessie Jeanne Stinnett, Maleek Washington, Isvel Bello and Roya Carreras, performing at venues such as the Goethe Institut, Newport Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow. Prior to joining BDT, Tatum freelanced in Chicago working with projects and choreographers throughout the city, while also having the opportunity to present her own choreography at various festivals. She is a graduate from Point Park University earning her BFA under the direction of Ruben Graciani. While at Point Park, Tatum had the opportunity to study with Jason McDole, Mark Burrell, Garfield Lemonius, Jim Cooney, Susan Stowe and perform in a variety of works by choreographers David Morse, Pearl Ann Porter, Shana Simmons and more. Tatum is thrilled to be joining the cast of Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage!
Lilit Hartunian (Violin) performs at the forefront of contemporary music innovation, both as soloist and highly in-demand collaborative artist. First prize winner in the 2021 Black House Collective New Music Soloist Competition, Hartunian’s “Paganiniesque virtuosity” and “captivating and luxurious tone” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) are frequently on display at the major concert halls of Boston, including multiple solo performances at Jordan Hall and chamber music at Symphony Hall (Boston Symphony Orchestra Insights Series), as well as at leading academic institutions, where she often appears as both soloist and new music specialist. Described as “brilliantly rhapsodic” by the Harvard Crimson, Hartunian can be heard on New Focus Records, Innova Recording, SEAMUS records, New Amsterdam Records, and on self-released albums by Ludovico Ensemble and Kirsten Volness. Hartunian frequently performs works written for her by leading composers, including a world premiere by Guggenheim Fellow Marti Epstein, duo recitals with composers John McDonald and Ryan Vigil, and both audio album and special video projects with composer Sid Richardson. As collaborative artist and ensemble musician, Hartunian regularly performs with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, A Far Cry, Sound Icon, Emmanuel Music, Callithumpian Consort, Guerilla Opera, and Ludovico Ensemble, and recently performed as guest artist with the Lydian Quartet and the Arneis Quartet.
Henoch Spinola (Dancer), a native of Cabo Verde Islands, began his classical training with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, MA, graduating from the Young Dancers Program in 2006 to become a full company member 2007. After leaving JMBT, Spinola began working with Prometheus Dance from 2011–2012, along with other dance companies local to Boston. He then moved to New York City to dance in a work by Itzik Galili at the Metropolitan Opera from 2013-2014. He completed the Master of Fine Arts program within the Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. He is currently a core member with Boston Dance Theater.
Rane Moore (Clarinet) enjoys an active performing schedule at home and abroad. She is a member of the Talea Ensemble, Sound Icon, and the award-winning wind quintet The City of Tomorrow. Moore has given numerous premieres of new works and appeared with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Guerilla Opera, New York New Music, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars among many others. She is a frequent guest with Boston-based groups Emmanuel Music, Boston Musica Viva, Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Boston Ballet Orchestra. She is also the principal clarinetist of the Boston Philharmonic and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. She serves as the the Co-Artistic Director of Winsor Music, a Boston area based concert series and community engagement organization. Moore has recordings on Tzadik, Pi, Wergo, and ECM records and is on faculty at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Longy School of Music of Bard College. Critics have praised her “enthralling,” “tour-de-force,” and “phenomenal” performances.
A native of Norwalk, Connecticut, Stephen Marotto (Cello) has received a Bachelors degree with honors from the University of Connecticut, and Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Boston University. Stephen’s formative teachers include Michael Reynolds, Kangho Lee, Marc Johnson, and Rhonda Rider. A passionate advocate for contemporary music, Marotto plays regularly with chamber groups throughout New England and also performs on various new music concert series in the Boston area and beyond. Marotto has attended music festivals at the Banff Centre, Cortona Sessions for New Music and SoundSCAPE festival in Italy, and the and the Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. Marotto has a wide range of musical interest that include contemporary chamber music, improvisatory music, and electroacoustic music. As a soloist, Stephen has commissioned several new works for the instrument, and is concerned with expanding and augmenting the tonal pallet of his instrument both with and without technology. Stephen can be heard as a featured artist on Mode Records. In his spare time, Marotto is an avid hiker and outdoorsman.
Hailed by The Boston Globe as “one of the city’s best percussionists,” Mike Williams (Percussion) is an advocate for contemporary music, a member of the new music sinfonietta Sound Icon, the Calithumpian Consort, and is a co-founding artist of Guerilla Opera as well as former co-artistic director, with whom he has commissioned and premiered many new chamber operas since 2007. Williams has worked with many of the leading composers of our time including Pierluigi Billone, Philippe Leroux, Salvatore Sciarrino, Gunther Schuller, and Roger Reynolds.
Mark A. DiGiovanni (Technical Director)
Guerilla Opera is a Boston-based chamber opera company and 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to foster a new canon of chamber opera for the 21st century through commissioning and performance, and to engage new audiences by making opera more accessible, creative, and experiential. In daring performances that often do not use a conductor, Guerilla Opera has garnered a national reputation for “deliciously inventive” (WBUR) contemporary opera with The Boston Globe raving that “radical exploration remains the cornerstone of everything it does.”
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MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST)
CAST creates new opportunities for art, science, and technology to thrive as interrelated, mutually informing modes of exploration, knowledge, and discovery. CAST’s multidisciplinary platform presents performing and visual arts programs, supports research projects for artists working with science and engineering labs, and sponsors symposia, classes, workshops, design studios, lectures, and publications. The Center is funded in part by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
MIT Music & Theater Arts (MTA)
The Music and Theater Arts Section of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences annually affords 1,500 students per year the opportunity to experience the unique language and process of the performing arts. Faculty and teaching staff, informed by their ongoing professional activities, help students understand art’s demand for rigor and discipline and its non-quantitative standards of excellence and beauty.
Special thanks to Becki Gray, Joshua Higgason, Christian Frederickson, Yi Tu, Lauren Dickel, Heidi Erickson, Leah Talatinian, Avery Boddie, Tláloc López-Watermann, Giselle Ty, Julia Noulin-Mérat, Mark DiGiovanni, Elena Ruehr, Jessie Jean Stinnett and the Boston Dancer Theatre, Trinity Episcopal Parish of Newton Centre, and the Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts.
Visit arts.mit.edu and mta.mit.edu for more information about upcoming performances, including:
X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation – The Front Porch Arts Collective
Staged Reading: February 19, 2023 / ArtsEmerson
The assassination of Malcolm X—both the story we think we know and illuminating details that have seldom been shared—is brought to vivid, lyrical life in award-winning writer Marcus Gardley’s new play. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar provides a framework for Gardley to deepen our understanding of one of America’s most complex, compelling historical figures and explore the tumultuous landscape of ideology and activism in the 1960s.
Performance: March 11, 2023 / MIT Kresge Auditorium
Multifaceted vocalist, music educator, and composer Clarice Assad composes a new musical work to be premiered by the MIT Wind Ensemble, MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. The student ensembles, directed by Frederick Harris Jr. and Laura Grille Jaye, are joined in performance by Assad and by assistant professor and violinist Natalie Lin Douglas. Amazonia sem lei addresses political issues related to–and celebrates the soundscape of–the Amazon rainforest.
Concert: April 19, 2023 5:30pm / MIT Media Lab, Multipurpose room 6th floor
Artist Lecture/Demonstration: April 20, 2023 5:00pm / MIT Lecture Hall 26-100
A pioneering composer, performer, and interdisciplinary artist for more than four decades, Pamela Z has toured to major festivals and venues worldwide. She works with voice, live electronic processing, sampled sound, and video, and is known for using custom music technology, activated by physical gesture, to explore deeply personal themes. The McDermott residency builds on Pamela Z’s prior visits to MIT in 2013 and 2016, during which she worked with students, fellow visiting artists, and other members of the campus community.
Boston Dance Theater and Khambatta Dance Company’s Bloom Residency Performance
Performance: March 11, 2023 8pm and March 12, 2023 7pm / The Dance Complex, 536 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Boston Dance Theater (BDT) will be performing alongside Khambatta Dance Company (KDC), from Seattle, WA, in the second half of a co-presenting relationship between the two companies. BDT performed in March 2022 at Seattle International Dance Festival, hosted by KDC, and in March 2023, KDC will be joining BDT in Boston for a week-long residency at The Dance Complex, when each performs selections from their own repertoire, in addition to a new work created during the residency.