A dance-opera adapted from the work of Jean Cocteau by Philip Glass
This hybrid dance-opera spectacle is the last in Philip Glass’ trilogy based on the works of Jean Cocteau. Teaming up with choreographer Amy Seiwert and Media Designer David Murakami, Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel will create a multi-dimensional film experience that interacts with the performers on stage. Singers, dancers, media, and the original 3-piano orchestration figure equally in Glass’ experimental work. Les Enfants Terribles tells Cocteau’s story of Paul and Lise, a brother and sister inextricably connected through loss, who live in a world of wild creativity and sometimes dangerous imagination. The Opera Parallèle production welcomes back local favorite Hadleigh Adams, and Rachel Schutz, both of whom Opera Parallèle audiences will remember from their starring roles in Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias in 2014.
Adapted from a Cocteau novel, Les Enfants Terribles tells the tragic story of Paul and Lise, who live in a self-made narcissistic fantasy world. They are severed from the outside world when Paul –after being struck by a snowball thrown by his idol Dargelos – falls ill and is forced to stay home from school. Shortly thereafter, their mother’s untimely death leaves them completely alone.
Isolated and totally dependent on each other, they pass their days in their “Room”, a place of mystery and magic that only children can comprehend and enjoy. They continuously act out their wild fantasies, which they term “playing the Game.” At first innocent, these games become increasingly twisted. Gérard, their only friend, visits them and serves as their private audience.
Lise, growing tired of this oppressive situation, eventually gets a job as a model. She befriends another model, Agathe, and brings her home. Agathe looks exactly like Dargelos, and her presence further threatens the delicate balance that these “children” have created. Lise’s last chance to get away crumbles when her fiancé Michael dies in a car crash. Fate has set the stage for tragedy. Unable to accept that her brother Paul has fallen in love with Agathe, Lise acts to prevent it. She tricks their friend Gérard to marry Agathe, insuring that she and Paul will never be separated. But the “magical” world the two of them had before cannot be recreated. Paul tries to poison himself, and in the confusion that follows, the truth about Lise’s plot comes out. What had begun as an innocent, children’s Game ends tragically in death and destruction.
ARTISTIC & PRODUCTION TEAM
Director: Brian Staufenbiel
Choreographer: Amy Seiwert
Media Designer: David Murakami
Set Designer: Sean Riley
Lighting Designer: Matthew Antaky
Costume Designer: Christine Crook
Makeup and Wig Artist: Sophia Smith
Production Manager: Jack Beuttler
Stage Manager: Laura Anderson
Assistant Stage Manager: Saskia Lee
COMPOSER – PHILIP GLASS
Philip Glass (b. 1937) has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his time through his operas, symphonies, and wide-ranging collaborations. Glass’s operas play throughout the world’s leading houses. He has also written music for experimental theater and film.
Glass was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar.
After returning to New York, Glass formed the Philip Glass Ensemble, which features instruments amplified and fed through a mixer. The new musical style that Glass was evolving was dubbed “minimalism”; Glass preferred to be known as a composer of ‘music with repetitive structures’. In 2015, Glass published his memoir, Words Without Music, and premiered his Double Concerto for Two Pianos with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
NOTES FROM THE COMPOSER
Les Enfants Terribles, Jean Cocteau’s novel (written in 1929 and was later made into both a play and a film) forms the basis of the third installment of the trilogy of music/theater works began with Orphée and continued with La Belle et la Bête. In the previous two works (Orphée and La Belle et la Bête), film and opera were combined to create a hybrid form. For Les Enfants Terribles I envisioned something different. I invited the American choreographer Susan Marshall, to help adapt and direct a dance/opera based on the novel in which singers and dancers would share center stage. If Orphée is Cocteau’s tale of transcendence and La Belle et la Bête his romance, then Les Enfants Terribles is his tragedy. Like the others, it articulates Cocteau’s belief in the power of imagination to transform the ordinary world into a world of magic. But unlike the two previous works, in which transformation leads to love and transcendence, Les Enfants Terribles takes us to the world of Narcissus and, ultimately, Death. Hence the tragedy and power of the piece — a snowball becomes a ball of poison. Dargelos becomes Agathe. A “Room” (normally a place of imagination and creativity for Cocteau) is transformed into a space that jealously refuses to let its “Children” grow up. A harmless “Game” turns into a fierce struggle that ends in destruction. The natural world is represented by the snow, which falls relentlessly throughout the opera and (like the spectators) silently looks on, bearing witness to the unfolding events. Here, time stands still. There is only music, and the movement of children through space.
– Philip Glass, Composer
CHOREOGRAPHER – AMY SEIWERT
AMY SEIWERT (CHOREOGRAPHER) serves as the artistic director and primary choreographer of the San Francisco contemporary ballet company, Imagery. As Rita Felciano wrote in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, “She quite possibly is the Bay Area’s most original dance thinker, taking what some consider a dead language and using it as a 21st century lingo to tell us something about who we are.” She was named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, one of the “Hot 20 under 40” by 7×7 Magazine, was honored with a “Goldie” award from the Guardian, and her choreography has been listed in the “Top 10” dance events of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle multiple times. As a dancer with Smuin Ballet she was mentored under the wing of the late Michael Smuin, and keeps a relationship with the company as their Choreographer in Residence. For more information, visit her website.
HADLEIGH ADAMS (BARITONE) PAUL – the New Zealand baritone is a graduate of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, Mr. Adams performed in over 75 mainstage performances with the company, most recently as Schaunard in La Bohème. Further recent performances include Creon, Tiresias (Oedipus Rex) with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Guglielmo (Cosí fan tutte) at Pittsburgh Opera, Falke (Die Fledermaus) at Cincinnati Opera, Hotel Manager (Powder Her Face) at West Edge Opera, Sam (Trouble in Tahiti) at Melbourne Festival Opera, le Berger (Pelleas et Melisande) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Baritone soloist (Fauré Requiem) with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and last year performed the Mahler Rückert Lieder with the Oakland Symphony. Further performances this season include Jesus (St. Matthew Passion) with the Colorado Symphony, Bello (la Fanciulla del West) at Michigan Opera Theatre, and Silvio (Pagliacci) at Festival Opera. Les Enfants Terribles marks Hadleigh’s fourth production with Opera Parallèle. More information at his website.
ANDRES RAMIREZ (TENOR) GERARD returns to Opera Parallèle after most recently being seen as Luis Rodrigo Griffith in last season’s Champion. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with Cesar Ulloa, Mr. Ramirez has experience performing in opera, musical theater, and on the concert stage. He recently joined Pacific Chorale’s roster of professional singers, made his debut at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and the Hollywood Bowl, and started a non-profit theatre production company called Contempo Productions. Performance highlights include: A Little Night Music (Mr. Erlanson; American Conservatory Theatre), Anya17 (Uri/Gabriel; Opera Parallèle), Rigoletto (Borsa; Livermore Valley Opera), the titular role in Candide (Douglas Morrisson Theatre), Die Fledermaus (Eisenstein; SFCM and Pepperdine University), Regina (Marshall; Bronx Opera Company), The Threepenny Opera (Macheath; Waffle Opera) and his summer with the iSing! International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China. Mr. Ramirez is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. Visit his website for more information.
RACHEL SCHUTZ (SOPRANO) ELISABETH is increasingly in demand throughout the US, Europe, and Asia for her sensitive and evocative performances and wide range of repertoire. Most recently she performed Imbrie’s Adam with the Riverside Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, Papagena (Magic Flute) and Johanna (Sweeney Todd) with Hawai’i Opera Theater, and Adele (Die Fledermaus) with Stockton Opera. She has also appeared at the Ravinia Festival, Zankel Hall, Santa Fe Opera, Tanglewood Music Center, and with the Boston Pops Orchestra. She appeared with Opera Parallèle in her acclaimed performance as Thérèse and Jessie in Les mamelles de Tirésias/ Mohagonny Songspiel. More info at her website.
KINDRA SCHARICH (MEZZO-SOPRANO) DARGELOS/AGATHE has been praised by The San Francisco Chronicle for her, “noble, vocally assured singing, with stately grace and deep-rooted pathos.” A versatile musician, she has sung over 25 roles in the lyric mezzo repertoire, and is equally at home on the operatic or concert stage. A dedicated recitalist, Ms. Scharich has presented recitals for the American Composer’s Forum in Los Angeles, Lieder Alive, the Wagner Society Northern California Chapter, and the Yehudi Menuhin Seminar in San Francisco. A great proponent of German Lieder, she and San Diego pianist George Fee have developed numerous programs under the heading “Life in Lieder,” designed to educate and edify the public by means of this magnificent and underrepresented genre. More info at her website.
STEFFI CHEONG (ELISABETH) is thrilled to be making her Opera Parallèle premiere this season. Steffi received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance and had the opportunity to join DanceWorks Chicago before graduating. While working with this company Steffi performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Carlos Chavez Youth Orchestra in Mexico City. In 2013 Steffi joined ODC/Dance in San Francisco where she performed and helped create exceptionally athletic works. Throughout her career she graced stages across the country, in Europe, Mexico, and Canada. During Steffi’s time at ODC she was featured in DANCE Magazine, the nation’s dance resource, in a full page article entitled, On the Rise. She has been praised for her technical elegance as well as her emotional resilience. Most recently, Steffi is exploring avenues that diverge from a full-time dance career and is currently working at Drew School in Pacific Heights.
BRETT CONWAY (PAUL) – A native of Fort Wayne, IN, Brett began his professional career in 2002 where he joined Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet in San Francisco. For eight years he collaborated with Alonzo on numerous original works and toured extensively thought the U.S. and Europe. Brett received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award in 2009 for his performance in King’s, Rasa. In 2010, Brett moved to the Netherlands to join Nederlands Dans Theater 1. While at NDT, Brett had the great privilege to work with choreographers Jiri Kylian, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Mats Ek, Crystal Pite and Ohad Naharin among others, and perform their work throughout the Netherlands and in some of the most prestigious opera houses around the world. Brett relocated back to San Francisco where he returned to LINES Ballet for the 2015/2016 Season and is currently a freelance artist and on faculty with the LINES Ballet Educational Programs.
KEISUKE NAKAGOSHI (PIANIST AND RESIDENT ACCOMPANIST), a native of Japan, studied composition with David Conte and piano with Paul Hersh. In 2005 he was selected to represent the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project. Nakagoshi has performed to acclaim on many prestigious concert stages across the United States including his recent solo debut with San Francisco Symphony on Ingvar Lidholm’s Poesis with Herbert Blomstedt conducting. He has received training from some of the most celebrated musicians of our time – Emanuel Ax, Gilbert Kalish and Menahem Pressler. Nakagoshi is Pianist-in-Residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, as well as a member of the Grammy nominated piano duet ZOFO.
Dynamic Swiss pianist EVA-MARIA ZIMMERMANN (PIANIST) has appeared as soloist in Europe and the United States, offering performances that are “breathtakingly intense” (Der Bund) and “passionate and deeply expressive” (Berner Oberländer). Winner of the prestigious Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, Ms. Zimmermann has appeared at international festivals worldwide, including the “Festival Piano en Saintonge” France, the “Murten Classics” Switzerland, and San Francisco’s “Other Minds Festival of New Music.” Eva-Maria is a member of the piano duo ZOFO, whose CD Mind Meld has been nominated for a Grammy. A graduate with highest honors from the Conservatory of Geneva, Eva-Maria has studied with many distinguished musicians – Leon Fleisher, György Sebök, Leonard Hokanson, Tomasz Herbut and Dominique Merlet, among others. Eva-Maria has been a faculty member of the University of San Francisco and currently teaches in the music program at the Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA, founded by Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Eva-Maria resides in San Francisco.
KEVIN KORTH (PIANIST) is an in-demand recitalist and coach and has collaborated with such legendary and esteemed artists as Robert Mann, Axel Strauss, Joel Krosnick, Frederica von Stade, Suzanne Mentzer, Nadine Sierra, Lise Lindstrom, Kristen Clayton, and Brian Asawa. This fall brought the release of his debut album, Out of the Shadows, a recording of American art song with soprano Lisa Delan and cellist Matt Haimovitz on the Pentatone Classics label. Very warmly received, Gramophone praised Mr. Korth’s work as “superb,” and “full of color and character.” Reflecting his demand as an interpreter of contemporary work, the album features premieres by Jack Perla, Gordon Getty, and David Garner, in addition to previously unrecorded works by Norman Dello Joio, Paul Nardoff, and John Kander. Since graduating from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s renowned Chamber Music program, he has held a position at the Conservatory as both collaborative pianist and vocal coach.
ARTISTIC TEAM BIOS
NICOLE PAIEMENT (Conductor) has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. In addition to being the Founder and Artistic Director of OP, she is also the Principal Guest Conductor at The Dallas Opera and the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Conservatory’s New Music Ensemble. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works, and she has toured extensively in the US and Asia. Paiement is an active Guest Conductor. Recently, she appeared with the Washington National Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, the Saratoga Summer Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, and Atlanta Opera. In May 2016, she was named a ‘Champion of New Music’ by the American Composers Forum.
BRIAN STAUFENBIEL (Director) – As the Creative Director and Stage Director for Opera Parallèle since 2007, Brian Staufenbiel actively works across a wide range of artistic disciplines. His progressive approach to stagecraft garnered critical acclaim for several of the company’s productions. This past year he created Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, and Terence Blanchard’s Champion (in collaboration with the SFJAZZ Center), and a new production of Das Rheingold for Minnesota Opera in Fall 2016 which will now be performed by Arizona Opera in 2018. Future projects include engagements with LA Opera, a design for ODC Dance company in Spring 2017, the OP world premiere production of Today it Rains with composer Laura Kaminsky and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed for Spring 2019, as well as the world premiere production of a new work by composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch.
LAURA ANDERSON (Assistant Director/ Stage Manager) – In addition to her work with Opera Parallèle, Laura Anderson’s recent projects include productions with Rork Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and TEDx Berkeley. She is the stage manager for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and the Philip Glass Days and Nights Festival. Anderson was the production stage manager for the live performance portion of the Emmy-nominated Twin Cities Public Television documentary, Parables, featuring the opera of the same name by Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein. She holds a doctorate in opera studies from the University of Minnesota.
MATTHEW ANTAKY (Lighting Designer) – For over thirty years Mr. Antaky has created and collaborated on installations, scenic and lighting designs for all of the performing arts including dance, opera, theater, and music. He is a nine-time nominee and four-time recipient of the Isadora Duncan Award for outstanding visual design. Please visit matthewantakydesign.com for further and more detailed information.
SEAN RILEY (Set Designer) – has a 20-year career combining suspension, kinetic movement, and design with performance. Through scenic design, rigging design, and mechanical design, often in concert with each other, he creates unique environments for time based art. Concentrating his design for performance on site-specific and non-traditional work, Riley has created installations in collaboration with a wide spectrum of artists in different genres around the world. Known for his bold and often surprising use of space and suspension, and also for large scale movement, Riley’s installations commonly reflect his life long obsessions with gravity, architecture, and Newtonian physics.
DAVID MURAKAMI (Media Designer) – is a film director, writer, and theatrical multi-media designer working towards integrating emerging technologies with traditional performance on stage. Past designs with Opera Parallèle include Champion, Dead Man Walking, Trouble in Tahiti, and the American premieres of Anya17 and Heart of Darkness. Other designs include the world premiere of Luis Valdez’s Valley of the Heart, Little Prince, and Peter Pan. Murakami received his Master’s degree from UCSC, and has been featured at the Maker Faire and several international film festivals. He is delighted to be continuing his trespass across media with Opera Parallèle.
CHRISTINE CROOK (Costume Designer) – began designing costumes for Opera Parallèle in 2011 with Orphèe. Other Opera Parallèle credits include Champion, Dead Man Walking, Mahagonny Songspiel / Les mamelles de Tirésias, Anya17, Four Saints In Three Acts, The Great Gatsby, Ainadamar, and Trouble in Tahiti. She also designs for theatre, dance, and opera all over the Bay Area and is a proud company member of Shotgun Players and Just Theater. Other recent credits include Antigonick, Our Town, and Twelfth Night with Shotgun, Alban Berg’s Lulu with West Edge Opera, and Lucia di Lammermoor with LA Opera. Christine has an MFA in costume design from UC San Diego and is the recipient of two SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards. She currently teaches costume design with USF, and Academy of Art University.
SOPHIA SMITH (Wig and Makeup Designer) – began working for Opera Parallèle in 2013 as a principal makeup artist and makes her debut with the company as the wig and makeup designer in this season’s production of Les Enfants Terribles. Her success as a new designer was established with the premiere of UCSC’s 2015 production of The Little Prince, and was reaffirmed when she was asked to return as the designer for Dido and Aeneas. A member of IATSE Local 706 Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists Guild, she recently designed West Edge Opera’s 2016 productions of Powder Her Face, The Cunning Little Vixen, Agrippina, as well as Lulu in 2015. Her upcoming projects include designing wigs and makeup for UCSC’s production of Orpheus in the Underworld. Ms. Smith graduated in May 2014 with her BFA in painting from San Jose State University in her hometown and currently works in San Francisco Opera’s wig shop.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.