Tag Archives: World Premiere

Peabody Southwell on her most vulnerable role yet

A scene from a 2016 workshop of anatomy theater; Photo: James Daniel

A scene from a 2016 workshop of anatomy theater; Photo: James Daniel

On June 16, David Lang’s anatomy theater makes its world premiere at REDCAT as part of LA Opera’s Off Grand initiative. Based on actual 18th-century texts, anatomy theater follows the story of Sarah Osborne, an English murderess, who is tried, executed, and publicly dissected before a paying audience of fascinated onlookers. Gritty, emotional, and inventive, the opera features several villainous characters, but none more vulnerable than Osborne, who is masterfully brought to life (and death) by mezzo-soprano, Peabody Southwell.

“On the page, Sarah Osborne could read like a woman who has fallen and become a victim of her society,” says Southwell of her role.

Sarah was born poor, abused by her stepfather and then, because of that, was kicked out of her house by her mother at a young age and forced to make her way on the streets. She became a prostitute, and drank heavily to deal with that lifestyle. She fell in love with her pimp, married him and had two children. After reaching her breaking point, she killed her abusive husband and their children. The opera begins as Sarah is hanged for her crimes.

“What’s interesting to me about anatomy theater is that they refuse to present Sarah as that tragic female archetype” explains Southwell. “Instead they present her as an active villain.”

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Iconic Productions: Grendel

Share “Our monster is not an innocent of dumb brute. He is an artist and a thinker trapped in the body of beast.” – Director Julie Taymor on the character of Grendel LA Opera presented the world premiere of Grendel … Continue reading

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