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Opera Highlights at the University of Hawaii

Lynne’s opera lectures are a must for my wife, Anny, and me.  Her insights are artistically, technically and historically stimulating . . . her enthusiasm infectious. She delivers her messages with humor, wit and accessibility.  They enrich our enjoyment through understanding.  But beware – they may turn you into an Opera geek!  —Steve Turner

Enrich your opera experience and enjoy the Hawaii Opera Theatre’s 2018 opera season. This course will take a closer look at this season’s presentations. The February 7th class will explore Gaetano Donizetti’s The Daughters of the Regiment. On April 11, come and learn more about Pyotr Ilyich Tschaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.

Register online for one or both dates!

Instructor:

Dr. Lynne Johnson – Johnson received her MA in musicology in 2001 and her PhD in musicology in 2009 from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She is an avid Francophile and both her master`s thesis and her doctoral dissertation happily required her to do research in Paris. She teaches courses in music history at UH Manoa. As a community volunteer, Lynne sits on the Boards of the Honolulu Museum of Art, Manoa Heritage Center, and Hawaii Opera Theater. 

For tickets and information regarding the performances call 596-7858 or visit HOT`s website at www.hawaiiopera.org. You will find everything about Hawaii Opera Theatre, includingspecial ticket prices for students. (Students with a valid school ID can enjoy HOT Opera at a special student-only ticket price of only $20. No walk-ups, so for the best available student seats, reserve your ticket with the HOT Box Office early!)

As One Opera Lighting

#HOTVillage: As One Lighting

It takes a bunch of talented, skilled people that you never see or hear to pull these things off. There’s a lot going on that the audience doesn’t see. That’s what we are. We’re the people you don’t see. And we don’t want to be seen. We want to have these transitions happen and appear like magic, to some extent. Being the support role is what we do.” – HOT Director of Production Rob Reynolds

Because producing an opera truly takes a village, #HOTVillage gives you an intimate look at one piece of production for each HOT opera. In this piece, HOT’s principle lighting and set designer Peter Dean Beck took us behind the scenes of As One for a look at the new production’s lighting.

Lighting in “A World Where People Sing”

Lighting Design HOT

Stage Manager Madeline Levy (Left) and Lighting Designer Peter Dean Beck (Right) have a laugh while preparing lighting cues for HOT’s production of As One.

Peter Dean Beck has designed scenery and lighting for more than 350 productions around North America and Asia. Almost a third of those were HOT productions.

“I’ve been with [the Hawaii Opera Theatre] a long, long time,” Peter said. “I started here in 1986, and this is my 32nd season with the company. I’ve always done this. It’s the only career I’ve ever had.”

Peter didn’t always know that opera production would be his career, though. But he did have an awareness of the behind-the-scenes aspects of theater productions since his youth. Peter’s grandfather was a screenwriter, so he grew up with firsthand experiences of the world behind the curtain.

But it wasn’t until he attended Oberlin College that Peter had the opportunity to be a part of an opera production. He then went to graduate school at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. His first work in opera was Verdi’s La Traviata in North Carolina in 1977. 

“That was an education, let me tell you,” Peter said. “I began to understand that opera can be dramatic and theatrical. It’s more than just singing.”

Designing lighting and sets for an opera was very different from lighting a play, a dance piece, or even a musical, he learned. Unlike in a movie, where a camera is able to tell an audience where to look, lighting must do this in opera. And in opera, sets have to be able to accommodate the strict tempo of the music. For instance, if a chorus has four bars to enter the stage, they need to be able to maneuver within a set in that amount of time. Lastly, in opera, the designer of lighting and sets must also consider each singer’s ability to be heard within their placement on the stage. 

“I’ve always maintained that a world where people sing shouldn’t look like a world where people speak,” Peter said. “Singing rather than speaking moves us into a more lyrical and abstracted dimension.”

Over the course of his lifetime in work with scenic and lighting designing, Peter has worked on many repeat operas. He has designed for ten productions of both Madame Butterfly and The Magic Flute. His most recent work with HOT was designing the lighting and scenery for this season’s production of Bizet’s Carmen. He will also be back for HOT’s next season production, Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment.

But there are still operas he’s never worked on before. One of those pieces is HOT’s new production, As One.

As One is a chamber opera for a cast of two singers and a string quartet. There are no costume changes and minimal set pieces and props. Additionally, HOT is performing the piece in an all-new venue, Pier 10 at the Aloha Tower Terminal. All of these factors make for a unique lighting design challenge.

“It’s always interesting to discover a new piece,” Peter said.

Peter’s work in designing sets and lighting always begins with an in-depth knowledge of the production itself. He learns the music’s timing and the libretto’s story so that he can accommodate these with his vision. The next step is designing for the performance space. 

“Working in the Blaisdell Concert Hall is a lot different from working in Pier 10,” Peter said. “Pier 10 presented major challenges. It’s not a theatre, so we had to make it one. There’s a lot of hidden effort when you play in a place like that.”

Peter’s crew erected three lighting “trusses,” or metal overhead supports for lighting, over the stage in Pier 10. They then hung 44 individual lights from the trusses and focused them in the direction they would need to point. 

A member of the crew prepares for show time

After that, Peter sat down with As One’s Director and Stage Manager to set “lighting cues,” — timed recordings of how the lights will look during each part of the opera. In As One, there are about 80 of these cues. Before the production begins, an electrician does one last check that all lights are working, and then it’s show time.

Some of Peter’s favorite lighting moments in the production come in the third part of the piece. In stark contrast with the opera’s earlier settings, like classrooms and cafes, the third part is set in nature, in Norway. The story’s protagonist, Hannah, describes her experiences of rowing a boat and searching the night sky for the Northern Lights.

“It goes to a very deep color there that we haven’t seen before,” Peter said. “It has this mystical, cosmic quality instead of the harsh white light of being indoors.”

Many people think of lighting as a nuts-and-bolt, technical job, Peter expressed. But to him, designing lighting is much more than that. It’s poetry.

“A performer uses him or herself as their medium as an artist. I use stuff,” he said.

“I try to make poetry out of stuff.”

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Review – As One

Hawaii Opera Theatre’s “As One” is the story of a young transgender person discovering who s/he is, but like many operas, it connects on a universal level and is relevant to everyone who struggles towards self-acceptance. Thursday’s performance was outstanding, sure to be a highlight of HOT’s year.

Created by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell, and Kimberly Reed, “As One” is designed not for grand opera houses of old, but for more intimate contemporary spaces. The libretto is intense, yet compact, covering a broad dramatic arc in only 15 songs, very much like a song cycle.

HOT presented “As One” in an un-airconditioned Aloha Tower warehouse transformed with black-cloth walls and lighting trusses, a simple stage and an auditorium of folding chairs. Dress lightly, bring a fan, and accept that glass of water on your way in, but leave your opera glasses at home, because you will be sitting close enough to be enveloped in sound and to see performers’ nuanced expressions.

Sharing the sole main role of Hannah, baritone Kelly Markgraf (Before) and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke (After) were riveting, their staging a delicate dance about their relationship: facing or backing off, echoing movements, turning away or embracing.

Markgraf’s and Cooke’s voices, large, warm and expressive, matched well, their overlapping ranges merging in moments of intimacy. At times, one joined into the other’s phrases, the timbre of one gender emerging through the other’s voice, producing a stunning impression of neither-one-nor-the-other-but-both.

Cooke and Markgraf sang the role for the world premiere in 2014, and their comfortable familiarity made it easy to believe they were two sides of the same person.

Apropos a chamber opera, the orchestra was an on-stage string quartet, the excellent Fry Street Quartet led by conductor Robert Wood. (The quartet performs Haydn, Britten and Smetana in a solo concert at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Aloha Tower Pier 10 Cruise Ship Terminal.)

Hannah’s emotional journey is told through Kaminsky’s music, using operatic techniques now familiar to movie-goers to meld words, action, and music into a multi-layered drama. Moods shift quickly, youthful exuberance turning introspective as Hannah approaches adolescence, heart-pounding dissonance conveying assault, and soaring vocalizations painting words (“free,” loneliness”). Kaminsky commands a varied palette, and her portrayals – of loneliness, queasiness, doubt – were masterful, painting Hannah’s rich emotional world with sensitivity and leaving indelible memories.

Settings were via video projections on backdrop screens and added their own levels of meaning, both literal (Norwegian fjords) and symbolic (a long tunnel emerging into a new phase of life). The screens provided supertitles that ensured everyone caught every delightful phrase (“emotional vertigo,” “a shack with cabin aspirations”).

Hannah’s story, although a struggle, is also uplifting (finally – an opera with a happy ending!) and invites people to look into their own mirrors: using perfection as a disguise, facing loneliness, accepting who we are, and in the end choosing to be happy.

It is easy to see why “As One” is one of the most frequently performed contemporary chamber operas in America.

“As One”: Laura Kaminsky, composer; Kimberly Reed and Mark Campbell, libretto. Starring Kelly Markgraf (Hannah before), Sasha Cooke (Hannah after); directed by Jeffrey Buchman, with music conducted by Robert Wood and performed by Fry Street Quartet – Robert Waters and Rebecca McFaul (Violin), Bradley Ottesen (Viola), and Anne Francis Bayless (‘Cello). Lighting Designer Peter Dean Beck; costuming by Helen E. Rodgers; repetiteur Maika’I Nash; stage manager Madeline Levy. Running time 1:25 (no intermission).


Ruth O. Bingham received her doctorate in musicology from Cornell University and has been reviewing the musical arts for more than 30 years.

As One Opera Hawaii

Operawire names HOT’s As One in Top 5 Operas to See

The international online publication OperaWire named HOT’s production of As One in its Top 5 Operas to see This Weekend in North America for the weekend of Friday, January 12, 2018!

Read the Full Article

As One will be performed this weekend, January 13 and January 14, at 4 pm, along with a closing performance on Tuesday, January 16, at 7:30 pm at the Aloha Tower Terminal, Pier 10.

As One
A chamber opera for two singers and string quartet
Music and Concept by Laura Kaminsky
Libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed
Film by Kimberly Reed
 

“A piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion and the human desire for self-love and peace.” ~ Opera News

Created by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, As One depicts with empathy and humor the journey of a transgender person named Hannah as she achieves self-fulfillment in her life. The 75-minute opera stars Sasha Cooke and Kelly Markgraf, who are married in real life and created the roles of “Hannah after” and “Hannah before” at the 2014 premiere. 

Don’t miss out! Tickets from $35 at Tickets.HawaiiOpera.Org, by phone at 808.596.7858, or at the door.

Fry Street Quartet on Hawaii News Now

Fry Street Quartet Live on Hawaii News Now

Audiences in Hawaii heard a snippet of what the Fry Street Quartet will be bringing to the new HOT venue stage at the Terminal at Aloha Tower on this morning’s Hawaii News Now Sunrise.

The Fry Street Quartet – hailed by the New York Times as a “triumph of ensemble playing” – has a full weekend coming up with HOT this weekend, with performances as the accompaniment for the chamber opera As One on January 11, 13, 14, & 16, as well as in an independent showcase on January 12. 

Follow these links to watch the two-part video feature:

Fry Street Quartet on Hawaii News Now – Part 1

Fry Street Quartet on Hawaii News Now – Part 2

 

Librettist Mark Campbell #HOTSpeaks

#HOTSpeaks: Q&A With As One Co-Librettist Mark Campbell

An opera all starts with a story. And that story all starts with a libretto — an opera’s text. One person who has made this specific form of story-telling his career is Pulitzer Prize award-winning librettist Mark Campbell.

Mark Campbell’s work is at the forefront of the current contemporary opera scene in America. He’s also one of the co-librettists of HOT’s next production As One, opening this weekend on January 11, 2018. Together with composer Laura Kaminsky and filmmaker Kimberly Reed, Mark Campbell co-created the opera, which depicts with empathy and humor the journey of a transgender person. HOT’s production of the 75-minute chamber opera is the 13th production of the work since it premiered in 2014, making it one of the most produced new operas in recent history.

In this month’s #HOTSpeaks, we hear the unique perspective of what it’s like to be, as Mark Campbell puts it, the ‘guardian of the story.’

What made you decide to become a librettist?

I really love the combination of music and text and the power that it can give to a story. It can produce a more profound and urgent experience with an audience and helps them empathize with characters,  stories and situations in a way plain text cannot. I got into writing librettos mostly because I love music.

Many decades ago, I was an actor — and not a very good one. A composer I knew was writing a musical about the last days of the Romanovs that had an imminent workshop on the horizon and asked me to contribute some lyrics.  I discovered I really loved it. Following that, I wrote a few musicals and won a couple of prestigious awards in musical theater. Steve Sondheim honored me the first Kleban Foundation Award for Lyrics, which to this day remains the only award for lyricists and librettists in musical theater. But my first real foray into opera came in 2001, when John Musto asked me to create an opera with him for Wolf Trap Opera. The resultant Volpone, adapted from Ben Jonson’s play, was a big hit. And I felt I had found my artistic home.

What is it like being a librettist in the 21st century?

It’s incredible. A lot of people are identifying our current scene in opera as “The Golden Age of American Opera.” I don’t know if that’s really true, and we’ll probably only know that decades from now, but it’s a terrific time to be a librettist, and I’m especially pleased how my colleagues and I are raising the profile of libretto-writing with operas that are more story-centric. Opera isn’t just about hitting high notes any more, or enduring some pretty silly librettos.

It’s about giving the audience a story that they are entertained by, that they can relate to, and even see mirrored in their own lives. And I think As One fits into that description very nicely.

What kind of skills do you need to become a librettist?

A librettist today needs to be a good storyteller, a mutable collaborator, a fine craftsman and understand almost intuitively how words work with music. I feel very fortunate in that I studied the lyricist’s craft rigorously for many years, which has served me well in writing opera librettos. In fact, As One can be characterized as a theatrical song cycle more than as a traditional song cycle.

Has working as an actor also influenced the way you write librettos?

Yes, in that I aim to create characters and roles for performers that are complete and specific, with traditional theatrical elements like arcs and motivations. I feel that a lot of bad opera happens these days because librettists create archetypes, not defined characters.

While writing a libretto, what kind of relationship do you try to maintain with the composer?

I’ve worked with more than 35 composers in my career and written the librettos for 25 operas. I’ve worked a lot with “first-timers” and with three Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. Every single composer and every single experience has been different—even with composers whom I’ve collaborated more than once. Some composers will set 95% of the first draft of the libretto I give them, others 25%. But every time I collaborate with composers, I know that part of my job is making sure that I give them a story and text that inspires them to composer their best music.

One thing a lot of people don’t know is that the libretto always comes first. Many people still have the silly notion that the composer writes the music and the libretto merely comes in a fills in some words. My first drafts of librettos are rigorously structured and always work within the format of identifying those traditional operatic moments, like arias and ensembles.  Why work in opera if you don’t take advantage of the form?


What themes are you most interested in drawing out in your librettos?

I had six premieres in 2017. One was a sophisticated 1930s comic opera called Dinner at Eight. One was about the commissioning of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, with the theme of making art. Another was an opera about the life of Steve Jobs. And the other two were about serial killers… So I can’t seem to identify a consistent theme —nor can anyone else. But I will say that I am a fan of Hitchcock and love stories with suspense, surprise, and distinctly theatrical elements.

When people ask me what stories make a good opera, I always answer, rather glibly, ‘stories that sing.’ Opera is a musical art form. If the story is better spoken, then let it be spoken.

What was it like writing about a transgender protagonist in As One?

It was one of the most gratifying experiences in my career, mostly because of my collaboration with Kimberly Reed. Neither Kim nor composer Laura Kaminsky had written an opera before and didn’t really understand at the time that an opera springs from the story. After meeting them, I went home and sketched a story in three parts in which a transgender person becomes her authentic self — based very loosely on some of Kim’s experiences. I asked Kim to write the libretto with me, because the story would be inauthentic if I wrote it alone. But in working with Kim, I also discovered what a fantastic storyteller she is. So the libretto wasn’t just about a message, but a real person.

How have people reacted to the opera and its story?

Wherever we play, Laura, Kim and I make sure that we connect with the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically, the transgender community. When Kim and I created the story of As One and the story of its protagonist, Hannah, we decided early on that it must be told with humor and in such a way that the audience can see themselves in her arc of discovery.  I really think that the universality at the core of the story has been one factor that has greatly contributed to the opera’s success. Another is the ease in which it can be performed. There are no castles or choruses to contend with, just two performers playing one role and the simplest of production values.

Over the past few years, is there any one moment that has been most fulfilling in working with the team of creators for As One or in seeing it produced?

Seattle Opera invited transgender youth from age eight to 18 to a dress rehearsal performance of As One. Many came with guardians, because many of these young people had been tragically kicked out of their homes by their parents. Following the performance, Laura and I had the honor of speaking to them about the opera and it was gratifying to hear them tell us how much they appreciated that we had captured their story. Also, about a month ago, Des Moines Metro Opera had five transgender people participate in a post-performance panel. For a number of audience members in attendance that night, it was their first time seeing or meeting a transgender person. I hope many people who see As One realize that the differences between their journeys as human beings and Hannah’s are very similar.  And that this opera merely raises visibility.

What are your plans for the future? Any new works in progress?

Kim, Laura and I are working together again on an opera called Today It Rains, which is being produced by San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle and American Opera Projects. It’s an opera imagined from a real event in the life of Georgia O’Keeffe—when she boarded a train in New York in 1929 and arrived in Santa Fe a few days later, transformed.

I also have an oratorio premiering at Carnegie Hall in May, with music by Paul Moravec, who I wrote The Shining with. The work is based on the writings of William Still, conductor for the Underground Railroad. Called Sanctuary Road, it will be performed by the Oratorio Society of New York.

Additionally, I’m creating another work with Paola Prestini for Minnesota Opera based on the young adult novel, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. And another opera I wrote with Kevin Puts and Elizabeth Cree —Silent Night andhas several productions this year. Lastly, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, which was the most successful opera in Santa Fe Opera’s history, is going to San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Indiana University, and probably many more companies. There’s a lot going on, but not as many premieres as last year. And I’m frankly a little grateful for that!

 

Star Advertiser TGIF Cover: ‘As One’ Opera Explores Transgender Experience

In the world of stage and entertainment, it’s not uncommon to have one person play two roles. Less common is to have two characters play one — unless it’s a “Bewitching” situation where Dick Sargent replaced Dick York. It’s also not unheard of to have men play a female role — just witness the film “Jumanji: In the Jungle.”

But it would be safe to say that none of those is quite as innovative as “As One,” a chamber opera presented by Hawaii Opera Theatre starting next week. The opera has only character, a transgender person named Hannah, who over the course of the opera transitions from male to female. Hannah is portrayed by the husband-wife duo of baritone Kelly Markgraf and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, who as “Hannah before” and “Hannah after” simultaneously experience life through the prism of both genders.

In its four-year history “As One” has become a favorite among small opera ensembles, with more than a dozen productions already staged and several more planned for this year. The New York Classical Review called it “everything we hoped for in contemporary opera: topical, poignant, daring and beautifully written.”

“AS ONE”
Presented by Hawaii Opera Theatre>> Where: Aloha Tower, Pier 10
>> When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Jan. 16, 4 p.m. Jan. 13-14
>> Cost: $35-$65
>> Info: 596-7858, hawaiiopera.org

For Cooke, a Grammy-winning operatic singer, and Markgraf, known for his versatility in classical, pop and jazz roles, the appearance here will mark a homecoming of sorts; Cooke is a direct descendant of Amos Cooke, the missionary and businessman who laid the groundwork for Castle & Cooke, one of Hawaii’s “Big Five” corporations. The pair got married here and visit as often as possible.

Markgraf and Cooke gave the world premiere of “As One” in 2014, but HOT’s production will be only their second time performing it together since then, as both are in heavy demand by opera companies around the world.

“I haven’t been free for any of the ones I was requested to do, but Hawaii was awesome because they really worked around our schedule to make it work,” said Cooke, speaking from her home in Texas a few days after performances in Germany.

“As One” had its genesis in 2012, when New Jersey, along with other states, was wrestling with the issue of same-sex marriage. Composer Laura Kaminsky read a newspaper story about a husband, who, with his wife’s support, was planning to undergo gender reassignment. New Jersey did not recognize same-sex marriages at the time, so once the man transitioned, their union would have been derecognized and all the benefits derived from marriage — Social Security, health insurance, retirement — would be in jeopardy.

“They were in love as people, not as body parts, and if the law did not pass in New Jersey, they would no longer be married and they’d lose all those benefits,” she said. “As I read the article, I was thinking, ‘This is operatic. … What is it to be a fully realized human being, in the context of the people in your orbit, and then what are you willing to give up in order to gain yourself?’”

It a took a number of random events to bring “As One” to fruition in its final form. Kaminsky, a respected composer of contemporary music, had never created an opera before and until then had never been interested in doing so. But during a visit to Russia she obtained some rarely performed Shostakovich scores, and seeking someone to perform them, connected with Cooke, whose parents are Russian-language professors in Texas, and Markgraf.

“I fell in love with them,” Kaminsky said. “They’re extraordinary artists, but it’s because they’re extraordinary human beings. They’re deeply empathic, spiritual and empathetic and intellectual all at once. … I wanted them to be in my opera; in fact, I wanted them to ‘be’ my opera. I wanted them to be the one character.”

Kaminsky came across the story of filmmaker Kimberly Reed, a transgender person whose story of transition from male to female and her interaction with her rural hometown was told in the film “Prodigal Sons.” Kaminsky teamed up Reed with Mark Campbell, a respected opera librettist, to come up with a story, tossing a few ideas around initially but not coming up with anything.

“I started talking to Kim (Reed), saying, ‘Why don’t you tell me about some of your experiences as a transgender person?’” Campbell said. “She talked about having a bicycle route, the way all boys did when people looked at newspapers, and one day she decided to do it in a blouse.”

That incident would eventually become the opening scene of “As One.”

Much of the opera reflects Reed’s experience, but it is not biographical, Campbell said. Some parts are drawn from other known incidents, such as assaults on transgender people.

For Campbell, “As One,” while reflecting the particulars of a transgender person, has a universality that will make the story relevant to people no matter their interest or knowledge of the issues.

“This is about a person’s happiness,” said Campbell, who as a gay man identified with some of the identity issues raised in the opera.

“If you know a transgender person, you will realize that there is nothing different about them, that they are just seeking happiness. They were not born with a gender they feel they are. Why would you deny someone’s happiness? If you reduce it to that, most people cannot fight it.”

“As One” traces Hannah’s journey in 15 vignettelike songs, many of them sung by both singers as they reflect on incidents from a male or female perspective. For example, in a song about a grade school handwriting class, “Cursive,” Markgraf as “Hannah before” stresses out over writing in a restrictive, masculine style; Cooke as “Hannah after” worries about writing “like my cousin Annie” with “generous loops” and “graceful swirls.”

For Cooke and Markgraf, “As One” was a revelation into gender behavior, especially in children.

“I didn’t really fully understand what it meant to be transgender and how early kids have the feeling that they’re in the wrong body. All of that really blew my mind,” said Cooke, who won a Grammy for her role in the Metropolitan Opera’s recording of John Adams’ “Doctor Atomic.”

“As One” required them to inhabit each other’s persona fully. One Hannah might be singing, for example, while the other is acting out the confused emotions underlying the song.

“Sometimes the person who’s not singing acts more,” Cooke said.

Being married proved to be advantageous in working that out.

“We’re so comfortable with each other,” she said. “We share one mind sometimes.”

Musically, “As One” is written in Kaminsky’s jazzy, contemporary style, played by a string quartet. It was a challenge for the singers but has proved accessible for listeners.

One of the tunes. “To Know,” has come to be considered the high point of the work. Sung by both performers, it expresses the excitement of discovering transgenderism for the first time.

Markgraf considers another song, “Perfect Boy,” in the first act, to be pivotal.

“It really goes to the heart of what forces are at play,” he said. “Hannah before is really truly trying to suppress and push down all of these things because of family influence and societal influence, because of all the inculcation that happens as we’re being raised. … It’s this repetitive ‘Push down, push down. No, I will not be seen this way, I will not feel this way.’”

Markgraf, who has performed as Hannah before in two other productions, said the work has provoked heartfelt, emotional responses, not only from transgender people, but people who knew little of the subject before experiencing the show.

Cooke added that people should not worry about feeling squeamish about the subject matter.

“I think a lot of people that come to this show expect or maybe wonder if they’ll be uncomfortable,” she said. “It’s quite the opposite. Transgender is merely an avenue to discuss accepting yourself. Any person, everybody can relate to that journey of, ‘What do I really want out of this life. Who am I?’”

By Steven Mark, The Star Advertiser TGIF

Aloha Tower, Pier 10

As One – Venue Information and Parking

HOT continues the tradition of staging chamber opera in the Islands with the Hawaii Premiere of Laura Kaminksy, Mark Campbell, and Kimberly Reed’s acclaimed As One

Since 2013, HOT has sought some of the most popular and moving modern chamber operas, producing these works in venues outside of the traditional Concert Hall.  As One will be staged at the historic Aloha Tower Marketplace in the Terminal at Pier 10

Aloha Tower Marketplace is located at 1 Aloha Tower Drive, Honolulu, HI, 96813. Please refer to the  map below for venue location with parking info and different rates available in the area.

Thank you for your continued support of HOT and we’ll see you at the opera!

Marketplace Parking Piers 5 & 6

Metered parking Diamond Head of Falls of Clyde and Hawaii Maritime Center

 

TOPA Center – 700 Bishop Street

$5.00 flat rate after 5:00 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday, Sunday

 

Pacific Guardian Center – 733-737 Bishop Street

$4.00 flat rate after 4 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday, (Closed on Sunday)

 

Harbor Court Parking – 847 Bethel Street

 $3.00 flat rate after 5:00 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday, Cash Only

 

Harbor Square – 700 Richards Street

$5.00 flat rate after 4 pm weekdays, and all day Saturday, Sunday

Audrey Luna at HOT

#HOTSpeaks: Hawaii’s Opera Brings Audrey Luna Home

Audrey Luna at Hawaii Opera Theatre

Photo by Fay Fox

Hawaii’s own Soprano Audrey Luna raised a lot of eyebrows last month when an archivist reported that she had unknowingly broken the record for the highest note sung on the Metropolitan Opera’s stage during Thomas Adès’ new opera The Exterminating Angel.

The note, an A above high C, is written into the opera’s score, so to her she was just doing her job. But to everyone else — from The New York Times to Seth Meyers — the feat was worth sharing. Now, after the whirlwind of all that publicity, she’s back in Hawaii. In February, Audrey will star as HOT’s Marie in Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment. And she couldn’t be happier to be back.

“This is where I want to live forever,” she said. “I love Hawaii. From the first time I arrived here, I knew I wanted to make it my home.”

Audrey’s most recent flight over the Pacific followed some of the busiest years of her professional life. But when she first landed on Oahu about ten years ago, her career was just taking off. Fresh out of school and looking for a job, Audrey landed the lead female role in HOT’s 2008 production of Romeo & Juliet.

“I never wanted to leave after that,” she said. “So I made it happen.”

For the next two consecutive seasons, Audrey returned to HOT.  After her third role as Blondchen in The Abduction from the Seraglio, she began to make to move to Oahu.

Her role as Leticia in The Exterminating Angel took her around the world, including theatres in London and Salzburg. It’s been great for her career, she said, but she is looking forward to her upcoming season singing standard repertoire, including her role as Marie with HOT.

“For the last five years or so, I’ve been doing a lot of contemporary opera — most with very serious and tragic plots,” she said. “I’m really glad to break out of that and do this comedic role. My voice missed singing Bel canto.”

This month, Audrey has also begun teaching voice lessons at HOT. Some of her students include singers from the Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio.

“My schedule hasn’t allowed me to teach as much as I want to, so I’m glad that I’m starting that back up again,” Audrey said.

Before singing with HOT in February, Audrey is enjoying her downtime. Aside from teaching voice lessons, she will be spending time with her family and preparing for future roles.

“And laying on the beach,” she said with a laugh.