What’s Next for LA Opera and Beth Morrison Projects

A scene from "The Source" at the 2014 BAM Next Wave Festival; Photo: James Daniel / Noah Stern Weber

A scene from The Source at the 2014 BAM Next Wave Festival; Photo: James Daniel / Noah Stern Weber

On the heels of another successful collaboration with anatomy theater, LA Opera and Beth Morrison Projects are hard at work on two operas, ripped straight from the headlines, making their west coast premieres next season. They are Ted Hearne’s The Source and Kamala Sankaram’s Thumbprint.

In October, LA Opera presents The Source, which follows the story of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, a U.S. Army soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. It explores the many identities of the army private – adrift adolescent, emboldened whistleblower, and traitor to her country – amidst the media hysteria following the leak.

Hearne’s and director Daniel Fish’s work is a contemporary masterpiece, showcasing what opera in the digital age can truly be.

An ever-shifting chorus of silent witnesses looms as four singers housed in a visual and sonic installation descend into the digital world. With computer-processed voices, they inhabit a fever-dream assemblage of Twitter feeds, cable news reports, chat transcripts, court testimony, and declassified military video, shining a light on the massive information machine in which Manning and our nation have become ensnared.

A scene from Thumbprint by Kamala Sankaram; Photo: Noah Stern Weber / Beth Morrison Projects

A scene from Thumbprint by Kamala Sankaram; Photo: Noah Stern Weber / Beth Morrison Projects

Next season, LA Opera will also present another Beth Morrison Projects production – Kamala Sankaram’s Thumbprint. It is also a piece that explores the important issues of our time. This powerful opera is an astonishing true story of courage and triumph. It follows the story of Mukhtar Mai, the first female gang rape victim to stand up to her attackers and bring them to justice in Pakistan. Sankaram’s score is influenced by both traditional Hindustani and western classical music, the combination of which heightens the opera’s theme of female empowerment.

Both of these operas epitomize what art is capable of – exploring and providing an emotional context for vital current issues. Look out for more information about these two exciting works this fall.

For more information about and to purchase tickets to The Source and Thumbprint, click here.

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