SLAIN IN THE SPIRIT
Book and lyrics by Susan Yankowitz, music by Taj Mahal. A gospel opera that meditates upon the community members of Jonestown and all those who lost their lives there.
Libretto by Susan Yankowitz, music by Kamala Sankaram.
Adapted from a monologue by Yankowitz, with music by Kamala Sankaram, THUMBPRINT dramatizes the extraordinary transformation of Mukhtar Mai from an illiterate victim of a vicious gang rape to a courageous activist on behalf of women, human rights and education. Her story is the inspiration for this fusion opera, a boundary-leaping work that embraces East and West, Hindustani music and European opera, Indian ragas and world folk music, the classical and the contemporary, the styles and opportunities of both opera and music-theater.
Under the aegis of Beth Morrison Productions, Thumbprint opened at the Prototype Festival, 2014 (prototypefestival.org/show/thumbprint/)
It premiered in L.A. in 2017 at RedCat Theatre (www.laopera.org/season/16-17-season/Thumbprint). Ms. Mai traveled from Pakistan to Los Angeles to attend the opera and participate in talkbacks following each show.
Susan Yankowitz and Mukhtar Mai
To learn more about the performances and watch the trailer, click here.
A new production of Thumbprint played at Opera Ithaca December 2-4, 2016 ) Opera Ithaca.
A work for the crossover territory of music-theatre and opera, with libretto by Susan Yankowitz and music by Michael Dellaira, CHÉRI is a musical love story in two acts based on Colette’s 1921 novel. The story takes place in the Parisian demi-monde just before the first World War and dramatizes the doomed love affair between Léa de Lonval, a 49 year old ex-courtesan, and her lover of seven years, the 23 year old Chéri.
CHÉRI was presented in workshop at the Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio and at the Actors Studio in New York. In 2006, it was a finalist for the Richard Rogers Award. Excerpts from the piece were selected for performance by artists from Portland Opera and Tacoma Opera as part of OPERA America's New Works Sampler. The piece is written in a vernacular harmonic language and requires 9 singers and 4 instrumentalists.
AUDIO: LINK TO aria from opera, The Stranger, Grief (10:24) with Rannveig Braga, mezzo, performed by the Slovak Radio Orchestra with Joel Eric Suben, conductor.
For a fuller description, please see the New York Times article THEATER; Where Musicals and Opera Overlap, a Hybrid Emerges - New ...
Selections from Chéri Albany Records, August, 2009 selections recorded live from The Actors Studio workshop production; Carlin Glynn, director.
Book and lyrics by Susan Yankowitz, score by Elmer Bernstein. A musical comedy in which the two central characters don’t sing or dance while everyone around them does.
Libretto by Susan Yankowitz, score by Morris Moshe Cotel. An adaptation of George Eliot’s last novel.