Pastiches

OperaWorks is known for creating a body of pastiche operas that serve as the culminating performances of the three Training Programs. Each opera is created by combining traditional operatic repertoire into original, modern contexts. Sometimes they are narrative, sometimes abstract, sometimes hilarious, sometimes dramatic.  They are always powerful, visceral, real.


WOMAN

January 13, 2018 Two Performances at 2:00p & 7:30pm

On the Campus of California State University Northridge

An outgrowth of Arias In Motion, this original production unifies opera arias and art songs, improvisation and movement in one powerfully theatrical experience. WOMAN serves our Arts for Social Awareness Project mission to bring a human face to current issues in our society. In OperaWorks’ Arias in Motion format, pieces of music are arranged into one continuous stream and performed without break, allowing the director, music director and performers to create evocative relationships on stage. WOMAN is relevant and real.

Stage Director: Zeffin Quinn Hollis
Music Director: Eric Sedgwick
Co-Creators: Ann Baltz, Laura Parker
National Cast: Rachel Barker-Asto; Sally Bates; Rosa Beltran; Sarah Benzinger; Bree Betourne; Alyssa Click; Shannon Cochran; Audrey Louise Gilgen; Nicholas Giunta; Jennifer Glidden; Amy Goymerac; Sarah Larkworthy; Jeannette Lee; Cindy Lopez; Shannon McClintock; Rachel (Yealim) Moon; Ketti Jane Muschler; Ashley Oliveira; Jinqiu Pei; Leah Podzimek; Emily Rosenberg; Tamara Ryan; Alison Saporta; Reva Thompson; Jeffrey Todd

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Arias in Motion

2003-2016 Emerging Artist and Winter Programs

“Arias In Motion” is a format of voices and bodies in motion developed by OperaWorks in 2003 unifying opera arias and art songs, improvisation and movement in one powerfully theatrical experience. Every year, new pieces of music are arranged into one continuous stream and performed without break, allowing the director, choreographer and performers to create evocative relationships on stage. The power of hearing well-known pieces sung through bodies in motion is an extraordinary experience.

 


Trump’d: Making Opera Great Again

2016 Advanced Artist Program

Stage Director: Zeffin Quinn Hollis
Co-creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Michelle Alexander, Kristin Ditlow, Elvia Puccinelli

At 4:00 a.m. in a desolate NY subway station we meet the people working there, living there, spying on someone, or just hoping the train comes soon. Directly above the station at the same time is an Art Museum where the paintings come alive and interact with one another. They plan their escape from Satan who was holding them in their frames. Later that day in the Museum, as a Trump rally is being set up CNN and TMZ reporters, secret service agents, supporters, and peaceful protesters set the scene for the chaotic arrival of Trump’s entourage and Trump herself.

 


Singed

2015 Advanced Artists

Stage Director: Zeffin Quinn Hollis  •  Artistic Advisor: Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Mark Robson, Douglas Sumi

​“Singed” (as in burned) is comprised of three one-act pastiche operas centered around loneliness and the quest for connection and love.  The three acts were set in a 1920’s Speakeasy, a Midcentury women’s prison, and a modern day family reunion. Developed through exploration, aria texts and characters were combined with improvisational techniques, and a story arc was built utilizing every singer equally. Each character worked to find connection and love amid obstacles that were both interior and exterior, real and imagined.

 


The Heist

2014 Advanced Artists

Stage Director: Sean Dennehy
Asst. Director: Julia Aks
Music Directors: Kelly Horsted, Mark Robson, Eric Sedgwick

The Mezzo Family is planning one last heist and as The Family gathers to celebrate the engagement of their adopted son, family arguments interrupt the proceedings. Will the heist happen? Is family patriarch Papa Gianni Mezzo really sick? This story takes us through the family reunion, a bank robbery at the Hi-Ho Silver Bank, and a chaotic Emergency Room where Papa Mezzo finally appears to say good-bye to his mortally wounded bank robber daughter.

 


Exposure

2013 Advanced Artists

Stage Director: Zeffin Quinn Hollis
Artistic Advisor: Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Kelly Horsted, Daniel Gledhill, Margaret Singer, Douglas Sumi

We explore a different format with this pastiche opera: “Exposure” is a set of performance pieces that are developed using aria texts as a springboard, combined with improvisational techniques to create a new non-linear ensemble story arc with each singer in equal participation. Allegiances, social rank, and relationships are picked at random on the first day of rehearsal using a deck of cards. Instead of a sole protagonist with a linear narrative, we opt instead for a latticework of individual stories tied together in the common theme of “Exposure.”

 


The Cloud

2012 Advanced Artists

Stage Director: Zeffin Quinn Hollis
Artistic Advisor: Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Kevin Bylsma, Kelly Horsted, Eric Sedgwick

How has the internet affected our lives?  These questions are posed in an opera that begins with the everyday bustle of the New York City subway platforms, takes us to an abandoned wax museum, and finally to the sterile impersonal world of the internet Cloud. This opera explores Real vs. Synthetic, the breakdown of Human Connections, and the rapidly changing perceptions of Tradition, Morality and Identity.

 


Zombie Apoco-Lips: The Opera

2011 Advanced Artists

Stage Director: Zeffin Quinn Hollis
Artistic Advisor: Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Kevin Bylsma, Elvia Puccinelli, Mark Robson

In the Espagna Valley, lonely singles looking for true love meet at the “Zombie Apoco-Lips Bar” for a speed-dating event.  Some of them find love and move on to a wedding where former fiancées and drunk sisters interrupt the ceremony. When one of the wedding guests has a nervous breakdown at the ceremony, two male nurses from the local mental institution take her away to the facility.  It is there we learn about the secret longings for love that the patients and medical staff all share.

 


Pride & Promiscuity

2010 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Zeffin Quinn Hollis, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Kevin Bylsma, Chun-Wei Kang, Shane Schag

The Shady Willow Pines Mobile Home Park is where a handsome local boy is discovered and whisked off to Hollywood to become the star of the award-winning soap opera “Confessions”.  But Hollywood is not like the small town he came from and he encounters star-struck women and men, and jealous co-stars.  The cast and crew of the show are wild and crazy characters, and the intrigue and hilarity is captured by the lens and commentary of Brianna, TV’s wicked celebrity gossip host of her show “Soap’s UP!”

 


Passage to Paradise

2009 Advanced Artists

Stage Director: Melissa Weaver
Choreographer: Lilia Kibarska, Paula Thomson
Music Directors: Dan Bridston, Chun-Wei Kang, Shane Schag

Live theater can bring current issues to the stage and make us think. “Passage to Paradise” shines a light on the dangerous world of human traffickers, runaways, and refugees desperate to escape poverty and strife.  Brave activists step up to help them escape to a New York City penthouse. Poverty and danger is juxtaposed with the opulence and party atmosphere of their new surroundings.  This is a story of pain, hope, courage, and absurdity.

 


I Candy

2008 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Catherine Hurst, Ann Baltz
Choreographer: Paula Thomson
Music Directors: Dan Bridston, Chun-Wei Kang, Shane Schag

In the high stakes world of Las Vegas, the Candy Casino invites clients to a special event to risk all or nothing! Rival mob casino owners lure their players into wild and fantastic games of chance. What was the ultimate goal for high rollers, exotic dancers, and a man who was known as Lord Licorice Whip? “I Candy” challenges us all to ask if we would gamble everything to make a dream come true, and which would we choose: selfishness or selflessness.

 


My Other, My Selves

2007 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Choreographer: Paula Thomson
Music Directors: Dan Bridston, Chun-Wei Kang, Shane Schag

Andrew suffers from multiple personality disorder. In this dramatic opera we hear his therapist trying to find out who these personalities are who haunt him.  In each act, we meet one of these different personalities; in an internet chat room, a beauty pageant, and a jail cell. In the final scene with his therapist, he understands that the man in the jail is actually him.

 


Trey Veet, Detective, and the Curse on the High C’s

2006 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Dan Bridston, Chun-Wei Kang, Shane Schag

Film noir-style “Curse on the High C’s” began with Detective Trey Veet’s fateful meeting with the Femme Fatale.  She wants Detective Veet to help her end a terrible curse.  Their search to end the curse takes them to a girls’ reform school where they encounter cheerleaders gone bad, to an all-female pirate ship where they encounter a vengeful lover, and a pianist who just won’t die!

 


April Fools

2005 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Daniele Piatelli, Suzanne Recer, Dan Bridston

Three babies are born in three unconventional places on April Fools Day: at a high school reunion, a wedding reception, and the “Labor of Love” Birthing Center. At their high school reunion the couples realize their children were all born on the same day, and flash back to the wedding reception where we discover that the Best Man had a fling with the mother of the groom, the bride is pregnant with another man’s baby, and the “Labor of Love” Birthing Center is staffed with a parolee doing community service and a nursing intern’s first day on the job.

 


Aria Stayin’ Alive?!

2004 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Choreographer: Paula Thomson
Music Directors: Kelly Horsted, Suzanne Recer, Lisa Sylvester, Dan Bridston, Elvia Puccinelli

Nika Magadoff, former world-famous singer-dancer and now director of the Fully Fantastic Funeral Emporium and Mortuary, runs his business with an unusual flair.  In his line of work, he meets some very interesting characters including a narcoleptic bodyguard, an hysterical IRS agent, and a mailman with an “interesting” hobby. ​

 


Royal Flush

2003 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Dan Bridston, Suzanne Recer, Kelly Horsted

The warden of a women’s prison is a diehard Star Trek fan.  While attending a Star Trek Convention, real aliens from Spaceship No. 2 escape their doomed planet and arrive on Earth through a porthole in the Women’s Restroom at the convention.  Trekkie fans at the convention mistake the aliens for Trekkies which frightens the aliens until their Queen arrives and takes her subjects back to their planet.

 


Nuptialedophobia: A Minister’s Nightmare

2002 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Dan Bridston, Kelly Horsted, Carol Roberts

​Pastor Tim has developed nuptialedophobia [nup-tial-edo-pho-bia] a fear of performing marriage ceremonies. He suffers catastrophic consequences every time he recites the wedding vows as he is haunted by treacherous demons, desperate brides, lost grooms, and other imaginary characters.

 


Aria M’Daddy?

2001 Advanced Artists
Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Kelly Horsted, Carol Roberts, Suzanne Recer, Elvia Puccinelli

A dysfunctional family reunion is interrupted by misguided participants in a Murder Mystery game who mistakenly shoot the family patriarch.  Throughout the three acts, we meet a kleptomaniac aunt, cross-breeding cousins, a disgraceful Dr. Love and his perennially pregnant nurses in the ER, and meet the ever popular Geri Springer, host of her very own cable TV home decorating show.

 


OperaWorks in Purgatory

2000 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: Carol Roberts, Susan Morton, Suzanne Recer

Jay Wadd, the popular host of the “Jay Talk” talk show, becomes the target of a wager between God (as a homeless activist) and Satan (as a female philanthropist).  Jay is whisked away to the cruise ship SS Purgatory where he is sorely tempted by an accomplice of Satan. But, before he succumbs to her ways, he is transported to a cable TV psychic show where he is saved by God.

 


Bring Out the Bride

1998 Advanced Artists

Co-Creators: Eli Villanueva, Ann Baltz
Music Directors: John Ballerino, Greg Buchalter, Martha Gerhart

​As she reaches the altar to marry her fiancé, a bride is mistakenly arrested by the INS and taken to jail. This opera is the story of a bride’s wedding day: from the church, to jail, to court. Characters included double agents, hookers, inept lawyers and a rodeo-style judge.  The action runs the gamut from a fight in the jail between the bride and hookers, to the courtroom with dueling lawyers, and ending with a beautiful reunion of the bride and groom.