*POSTPONED: FEBRUARY 20 PERFORMANCE*
The Thursday, February 20 performance of AS ONE at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio has been postponed due to inclement weather. We take the safety of our patrons, staff, and artists very seriously and have reached this decision based on the advice of officials and our colleagues at UNC.
We are working with the artists to reschedule this event, and will send all ticketholders more information on that as soon as possible. Existing tickets will remain valid for a rescheduled event. If you have questions or concerns, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our box office at 919-843-3333 (M-F, 10 AM-5 PM), but please note that the box office is closing early today and is currently scheduled to reopen on Friday, February 21 at 12 PM, pending further updates from the University (visit alertcarolina.unc.edu for official UNC updates). Thank you for your patience and understanding, and be safe.
There is Hannah before, and there is Hannah after. In As One, two voices share the part of a sole transgender protagonist, tracing Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years.
CPA’s staging of this powerful chamber opera by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell, and Kimberly Reed will include locally-based cast members, including Marc Callahan from UNC’s Department of Music (in the role of Hannah Before) and earspace, the Raleigh-based ensemble directed by UNC alumnus Vincent Povázsay. The February 20 performance includes a post-performance discussion event (see below).
Music and concept by Laura Kaminsky
Libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed
Film by Kimberly Reed
Directed by Tracy Bersley
Marc Callahan, bass-baritone
Melina Jaharis, soprano
earspace (Vincent Povazsay, conductor)
February 17 | 2:30 PM
UNC’s Hyde Hall University Room
Free and open to the public
The most performed new opera in the United States, As One is an artistic investigation of identity, memory, and voice. But why is As One so popular, and how do its various iterations represent (and fail to represent) trans experience? Tracy Bersley (Department of Dramatic Art; Director) and Marc Callahan (Department of Music; “Hannah Before”) discuss their upcoming interpretation of the opera, and performance process and practice as a scholarly pursuit, along with Jacob Lau (Department of Women’s and Gender Studies).
The panel will be facilitated by IAH Director Andrew Perrin.
February 20 Performance
The February 20 performance of As One will include a post-performance conversation with the director and cast, who will be joined remotely by opera baritone and trans advocate Lucia Lucas, who recently performed on the Carolina Performing Arts season.
Producing opera that speaks to issues of social justice and what goes beyond the “tradition” has long been an important part of my work. When I decided to move to Carolina four years ago, news broke that then-governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that would restrict the use of single-gender public facilities to those persons of the corresponding sex as listed on their birth certificate. This prevented transgender people who did not or could not alter their birth certificates from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity. At that time, the opera As One had become something of a sensation in New York and was starting to get produced in some regional houses. Aware of this opera and disturbed by the thoughtless acts of government, I knew that I wanted to produce this piece in North Carolina with hopes to further advance the conversation around transgender issues and to connect communities within the area. It has been an honor, a great joy, and a massive learning experience to rehearse and embody the role of Hannah Before with Tracy Bersley and Melina Jaharis. We have had so many profound and enlightening conversations amongst ourselves and with trans activists such as opera star Lucia Lucas—for that, I am most grateful. I hope that our performance of this piece helps to continue the conversation around and the acceptance of the trans community, here in North Carolina.
My journey into the world of trans activists started many years ago. As a result, I started my journey with my gender identity before encountering this opera. However, after discovering this opera, I accidentally came out to my parents that night at dinner when discussing pronouns. The first day that I spent with this opera, I was deeply moved by the words and the music and I came out as trans. I had privately thought of myself as trans for a few years and after spending some time out as trans, I realized that I was actually non-binary. I’m not sure where my gender will take me in the future, but the process of discovery through this opera has shaped who I am and how I might proceed.
As One is a chamber opera in which two voices—Hannah after (soprano) and Hannah before (baritone)—share the part of a sole transgender protagonist. Fifteen songs comprise the three-part narrative; with empathy and humor, they trace Hannah’s experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to Norway where she is surprised at what she learns about herself.
Marc Callahan’s operatic career has taken him around the world, performing at houses such as: The Royal Opera House, Opera North (UK), Santa Fe Opera, Théâtre des Champs Élysées, Théâtre du Capitole, Opéra National de Lyon, Opéra de Montpellier, Opéra Comique, Théâtre Royale de Versailles, and the Opéra de Marseille. His repertoire includes: Don Giovanni, Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte), il Conte di Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Belcore (L’Elisir d’amore), Count Arnheim (The Bohemian Girl), Zar Peter (Zar und Zimmerman), Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette), Ramiro (L’Heure Espagnole), Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos), Sid (Albert Herring), Frédéric (Lakmé), Escamillo (Carmen), Le Carnival (Le Carnival et la Folie), Artemidore (Armide), and Bobinet (La Vie Parisienne). As a concert performer, he has sung Charpentier’s Leçons et Ténèbres with Les Arts Florissants, an evening of mélodie française with the London Song Festival, Haydn’s The Creation, Götterdämmerung with Midsummer Opera (London), a program of Henri Dutilleux mélodies (Radio France), Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 5, and as bass soloist in The Tempest with Les Ombres and the Opéra de Marseille. He has recorded with Virgin Classics, FRA Musica, Passavant, Newport Classic, Editions d’Ambronay, and Radio France. Opera magazine has hailed him as “a powerful baritone, providing wickedly glamorous tone.”
As a director and designer, he has received critical acclaim for his production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, saying it was “designed and directed with jaw-dropping invention” and was awarded first prize for his production of Kurt Weill’s Der Jasager from the National Opera Association. He has worked on productions at the Royal Opera House, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Holland Festival, Scottish Opera, Miami Music Festival, the New World Center, Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Théâtre du Capitole. Recent productions include: The Marriage of Figaro, Cendrillon, The Blue Forest, Help, Help, the Globolinks!, Der Jasager, Lohengrin, Alcina, Die Walküre, and L’incoronazione di Poppea (“…devising a brilliant production of remarkable dramatic intimacy”).
Heralded by the Chicago Tribune for their “rich” voice, Greek-American soprano Melina Jaharis pursues their Professional Studies Diploma at Mannes Opera under Arthur Levy and Tony Manoli, graduating in 2020. Recently they covered Anna Maurrant (Street Scene) with Mannes Opera, learned the role of Fiordiligi (Così Fan Tutte) with the Martina Arroyo Role Prep Class and the title role of Alcina with Sing Through Central. Additionally with Sing Through Central they sang Vitellia (La Clemenza di Tito) and covered Violetta (La Traviata). This spring they will cover Leonore (Fidelio) with the Oxford Philharmonic. They will be performing Hannah after (As One) twice this year with earspace at the Carolina Performing Arts in Chapel Hill, NC and with The Zafa Collective in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2018, they were a Studio Artist at the Wolf Trap Opera Company where they performed the role of the Contessa di Ceprano (Rigoletto) and covering the role of Maddalena. They have recently been seen as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Maurya (Riders to the Sea), Ma Moss (The Tender Land), Soeur Mathilde (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Thelma (Later the Same Evening) and Die Hexe (Hänsel und Gretel). They graduated in 2018 with an MM from Northwestern University under the tutelage of W. Stephen Smith and in 2015 with a BM from Lawrence University. Equally comfortable speaking German and English, they studied in Vienna, Austria at the Konservatorium Prayner in the year before their graduate studies.
Tracy Bersley (Director) specializes in movement-based theater and has adapted, directed, and choreographed many stories including: Three Incestuous Sisters (CSV), Alice in Wonderland (Dorset Theater Festival), The Epic of Sunjata (Loft Theatre), The House on Mango Street (Syracuse Stage), Tibet: Through the Red Box (at HERE in conjunction with the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab), lamb of gods (NYC Fringe Festival); The Awful Rowing Toward God (Ontological Theatre’s Blueprint Series), The Anatomy of Touch (Foreman’s Ontological Theatre), Rappaccini’s Daughter (Chashama NYC/Jim Henson Foundation’s Festival), Beyond Static and J’tombe (The Studio New York). Direction and choreography for operas include Mozart’s Cosifan Tutte (American Singers Opera Project) and The Long Christmas Dinner, by Thorton Wilder/Paul Hindemith (Lincoln Center Director’s Lab/Juilliard Opera). Tracy has choreographed at Lincoln Center, The Public, BAM, Lortel, Primary Stages, McCarter, Williamstown, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and many Off-Broadway companies, such as The Civilians, The Acting Company and Red Bull. Tracy runs an artist posse called DDT with two other performers/writers, whose work aims to transform the actor/audience relationship. As a professor/guest artist, she has worked at Yale School of Drama, NYU, Juilliard, Purchase, Columbia/Barnard, and Princeton. Tracy is currently the head of movement for the Acting MFA Program in the Department of Dramatic Art at UNC-CH, and resident artist for Playmakers Rep, a member of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and a Drama League Fellow.
Emily Jane MacKillop (Stage Manager) is a Senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a BA in Dramatic Arts with a minor in Religious Studies. Emily Jane works primarily with Kenan Theater Company as a production assistant, light designer, stage manager, and company Master Electrician. She has also worked as a light designer and stage manager for Lab! Theater, Pauper Players, Company Carolina and PlayMakers Repertory Company. Her Stage Management credits includes The Wolves (2018), Transitions: A Spring Awakening Play (2019), and No Fear and Blues Long Gone: Nina Simone* (2019) and has been a stage management production assistant for PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill.
*AEA Stage Manager
Learn more about important language relating to As One through this glossary of terms, compiled by the cast and crew.
This performance is presented in honor of the transgender people that continue to stand up against violence, bigotry, and hatred. We see you, and we stand with you.