Expansive2024

A showcase of transgender & nonbinary classical artists | Featuring Lucas Bouk, Wilford Kelly, Queen Angelina with host Afrika America

Join us for Expansive – A Showcase of Transgender & Non-Binary Classical Artists, marking the beginning of the first statewide Transgender History Month in California. Presented by The Transgender District and Opera Parallèle, this vibrant celebration returns for its third year to amplify transgender and gender-expansive voices, fostering inclusivity in the classical arts scene. Taking place at the iconic ACT Strand Theater on August 8 & 9, 2024, the showcase features captivating performances by baritone Lucas Bouk (NYC), bass-baritone Wilford Kelly (SF), and violinist Queen Angelina (LA), with the effervescent Afrika America returning as host alongside Taylor Chan on piano.

New in 2024 Expansive Song Commission – OP has commissioned composer Joy Redmond and lyricist Kimberly Reed to create a song for the showcase to be performed by Lucas Bouk.

General Admission ‘Pay What You Can’ at the following prices:

$50 Pay It Forward GA | $25 Pay What You Can GA | $10 Pay What You Can GA

The first 4 rows will be held as Community VIP seating, to be distributed as comps by The Transgender District to local transgender community orgs in the District/Bay Area.

Featured Artists

Cast

Lucas Bouk

Lucas Bouk

Baritone (he/they)

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Lucas Bouk made their Lincoln Center debut with New York City Opera in the World Premiere of Ian Bell & Mark Campbell’s Stonewall in June 2019 and has performed with opera companies across the United States. Lucas has been featured in the The New York Times, Classical Singer, and in the New Yorker’s talk of the town. Whether taking the lead or bringing to life a supporting role, Bouk captivates audiences. “A performance to remember,” raved OperaWire. 

 

Bouk’s 2022-2023 season included Don Giovanni in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Ouroboros Opera and Teatro Grattacielo & Camerata Bardi, Baron in Verdi’s La Traviata with City Lyric Opera, and Hannah in Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed’s As One with Opera Steamboat, Lyric Opera of the North and Holy City Arts & Lyric Opera. A proud transgender man, Lucas previously sang as a mezzo-soprano before re-training as a baritone in 2021. 

www.lucasbouk.com

https://www.instagram.com/lucas.bouk/

Wilford Kelly

Wilford Kelly

Bass-Baritone (he/they)

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Wilford Kelly 

Florida-native bass-baritone Wilford Kelly is a multi-talented singer based in San Francisco, California under the tutelage of César Ulloa. Currently, he is a tenured member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus. He most recently graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with his Master of Music Degree in Voice. During his time at the Conservatory, Wilford performed many roles in the SFCM mainstage opera productions including Bartolo in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Gus O’Neill in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening, Leone in Händel’s Tamerlano, and Lackei in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. He also performed in multiple mainstage productions of the Musical Theater program, portraying the roles of Mr. Peachum in Weill’s The Threepenny Opera and Bellomy in Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones’s The Fantasticks. Wilford has also garnered attention outside of the SFCM performance community, performing in recent engagements with West Edge Opera, the Jacksonville Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, and as a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera where he performed two principal roles and covered four more in their 2019 season. He has also achieved success on the competition circuit, having been named a recipient of the Encouragement Award at the San Francisco District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions this past January. He firmly believes in the power of music and seeks to inspire unity and change in the face of the many injustices that run rampant in today’s society. He believes that any performance in which someone is touched by his art is one he considers successful, and seeks to continue to inspire as many people as possible with his work. 

https://www.instagram.com/herricanewilma/

https://www.wilfordkelly.com/

Queen Angelina

Queen Angelina

Violinist (she/her)

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Ahya Simone is an eclectically elusive siren and multidisciplinary artist from Detroit. As a harpist, composer, and filmmaker, she traverses the world of sound, moving image, and performance. Drawing inspiration from her favorite contemporary artists, she integrates R&B/soul, jazz, and experimental elements into her works and performances. These unique creations have allowed Ahya to collaborate with internationally renowned artists such as Brian Jackson, Saul Williams, Shigeto, Kelela, and Juliana Huxtable.

Ahya’s practice also caught the eye of acclaimed filmmaker, dream hampton, composing music for “Treasure: From Tragedy To Trans Justice Mapping A Detroit Story ” (2015) that sparked her interest in film. With the support of Detroit Narrative Agency in 2018, Ahya directed her first short film, “Femme Queen Chronicles” (co-created with Paige Wood and Brè Rivera) – a comedic story of three Black trans women living in Detroit which was lauded at film festivals across the globe. Inspired by the absurdity of life and her own share of surreal experiences, Ahya aims to share stories of epically eccentric, and comedic proportions.

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Afrika America

Afrika America

Host (she/her)

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Social justice warrior, activist, producer and performer. These are just a few adjectives that characterize this phenomenal ‘Drag Out the Vote Ambassador’ and our host for Expansive! She produces multiple shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area under her DIVALICIOUS brand such as BQM (Black Queer Magic), DRAGtastic and Let The Games Begin: Trivia, Bingo, DRAG, WERQ and ICON!

 

Having performed all over the world from Singapore to Cologne to Sydney and on America’s Got Talent, she toured the south in 2017 with SWAG, (Singers with a Goal) and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and was a featured performer in the documentary, Gay Chorus: Deep South.

 

Please put your hands together for San Francisco’s DIVAlicious Dreamgirl – Afrika America!!!

https://www.instagram.com/afrikaamerica/

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO’S TRANSGENDER DISTRICT

The Transgender District was co-founded by three black trans women in 2017, originally as Compton’s Transgender Cultural District, it is the first legally recognized transgender district in the world. The district encompasses six blocks in the southeastern Tenderloin crossing over Market St. and two blocks of 6th St. The District’s mission is to create and preserve an urban environment that fosters the rich history, culture, legacy, and empowerment of transgender people and its deep roots in the southeastern Tenderloin neighborhood. It aims to stabilize and economically empower the transgender community through ownership of homes, businesses, historic and cultural sites, and safe community spaces.

https://www.transgenderdistrictsf.com/

 

WHAT IS TRANSGENDER HISTORY MONTH?

In August 1966, Black and Brown transgender women, alongside drag queens, bravely confronted police harassment at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, igniting the pivotal Compton’s Cafeteria Riots of 1966. This historic event marked a bold stance of resistance within the transgender community, as is the first recognized uprising by the LGBTQ+ community, before the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Starting in 2024, Transgender History Month is officially recognized statewide in California and in the City of San Francisco. Throughout August, the transgender community statewide honors the profound contributions of transgender individuals, celebrating their role as history-makers, pioneers, and trailblazers.

In 2021, activist Jupiter Peraza and The Transgender District led the advocacy efforts to recognize the month of August as “Transgender History Month” in the City and County of San Francisco. With the support of the City and County of San Francisco’s Office of Transgender Initiatives (OTI) and the Women’s Foundation of California, Ms. Peraza and The Transgender District advocated to the Mayor and received full support for the commemorative month, which was adopted statewide in 2023.

Supporters

California Arts Council. A state agency.

Expansive is funded in part by a grant from the California Arts Council. As part of Opera Parallèle’s Bullhorn series, Expansive also receives support from Gordon Getty, from The Henry & Nettie Robinson Foundation, and from individual donors.