Sweat

 

By Juliet Palmer and
Libretto by Anna Chatterton

World Premiere
October 26 and 27 2016 at 8:00 PM

National Sawdust
Brooklyn, NY

In partnership with National Sawdust and Urbanvessel, Toronto

Director: Giselle Ty
Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya

Cast
Overseer and Factory Owner’s wife : Jacqueline Horner – Kwiatek
Neighbor – Larissa Koniuk
Union Organizer – Shabnam Kalbasi
Security Guard  – Eric McKeever
Factory Owner  – Patrick McNally
Garment Worker 1 – Isabella Dawis
Garment Worker 2 – Katya Gruzglina
Garment Worker 3 – Leanne Gonzalez –Singer
Garment Worker 4 – Christine Duncan
Garment Worker 5 – Hanna Dollase
Scenic Design – Frank Olivia
Lighting Design – Bruce Steinberg
Costume Design – Asa Benally
Production Manager – Scott Schneider
Rehearsal Pianist – Peter Fanovic

Sweat takes us inside the world of the sweatshop, where the individual ambitions of workers and management are set against the movement toward unionization.

A young Union Organizer arrives at the factory, having been fired from her last place of work. Her co-worker, the Neighbor, tells how she was lured from her village by false promises of an education. Unfazed, she dreams of becoming a fashion designer. The workers transform into shoppers as the Neighbor imagines her life amongst fashion’s elite. When the Owner announces a rush order for the knock-off of a celebrity’s dress, the workers question the long hours and working conditions. The Union Organizer launches a membership drive as the Overseer pressures workers to sign a contract, waiving their families’ right for compensation in the event of their deaths. The Owner makes an offer to the Union Organizer — betray the cause in exchange for personal gain. The Overseer, jealous and suspicious of the Organizer’s motives, intervenes with violent results. Fearing for her life, the Union Organizer escapes during the night. As the opera closes, the workers race to complete the rush order in time for the shipment. Loose wires and stacks of cloth start a fire — the factory burns to the ground.

Biographies

Anna Chatterton

Anna Chatterton

Anna Chatterton is a librettist, playwright and performer based in Toronto, Canada. Anna has written libretti for composers James Rolfe (Canadian Opera Company and The Banff Centre), Andrew Staniland (Tapestry Opera), Gareth Williams (Tapestry and Scottish Opera), and Juliet Palmer (Urbanvessel, World Stage, Harbourfront Centre and The Theatre Centre). Chatterton and Palmer’s opera Stitch was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Opera. Their opera The Man Who Married Himself will be premiered by Toronto Masque Theatre in March 2017. Anna’s recent plays include Within the Glass (Tarragon Theatre), Quiver (Nightwood Theatre) and Gertrude and Alice (a co-creation with Independent Aunties for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre). Nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award for Outstanding New Play, Gertrude and Alice will be published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2018.Anna graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph.

Danish born contralto, Hanne Dollase, has performed extensively throughout North America promoting Scandinavian vocal culture. In the New York area she has enjoyed an ongoing relationship with Gotham Chamber Opera in such productions as Cavalli’s Eliogabalo, Catan’s La Hija di oRappacini  and Beecher’s I Have No Stories to Tell You, as well as with a number of other opera companies  A company member of Light Opera of New Jersey, she has been in their productions of The Magic Flute (Third Lady), The Gondoliers (Duchess of Plaza-Toro) and The True Story of Cinderella (Stepmother). An avid concert artist, she has performed with numerous orchestras in the greater New York area as well as the Pacific Northwest and is the co-founder of Beowulf Consort, a chamber ensemble that tells stories through music. Hanne’s German Lieder CD Northern Passion can be purchased at iTunes.com or amazon.com.

Leanne Gonzalez-Singer holds a M.M. from the New England Conservatory and a B.A. in Theatre from the College of William & Mary; she last sang with CCO in Oration.  Opera credits include Carmen with Opera Omaha, The Merry Widow with Asheville Lyric Opera, Il Tabarro and Dialogues of the Carmelites with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, and young artist with Sarasota Opera, The Caramoor Festival, and Ash Lawn-Highland.  She has been a soloist with the Omaha Symphony, Charlottesville Symphony, Norwalk Symphony, Astoria Symphony, NY Classical Guitar Orchestra, and Westchester Oratorio Society, among others, and given recitals for Trinity Church Wall Street, Great Music for a Great City (Lincoln Center), St. Paul’s Church Boston, and the Franklin Library series in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia.  Theatre/film credits include A Life TBD (NYC Fringe Festival 2015), Miranda with The Gallery Players, Five Twelfths (adapted from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night), the title role in Euripides’ Andromache, and the Rich Woman in the 2015 short film Harvard on Hudson.

Soprano Katya Gruzglina is based in New York City and is an alumna of The Juilliard School and Rice University. This summer, she was a Professional Participant of Songfest in Los Angeles and the Young Artist representative of the Victoria Bach Festival in Texas. Katya recently returned from Spoleto, Italy where she gave concerts as part of the Incontri Musicali Chamber Music Festival. Last season, Katya performed Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with NJ State Repertory opera and Edwige in Vertical Player Opera Repertory’s production of Pacini’s Malvina di Scozia. Katya has also been featured in The Aspen Opera Theatre Center and Banff Opera as Theatre Centre as Zerlina in their production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek is a former member of the acclaimed vocal quartet Anonymous 4. She is a soloist specializing in early and new music, and was featured on the Grammy Award- winning album Calling All Dawns. Jacqueline has been a guest soloist with many ensembles, including the Washington Bach Consort, Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt), Ensemble InterContemporain (Paris), Hesperion XXI and Distinguished Concerts International New York. She has sung with English National Opera, The Royal Opera Covent Garden, Broomhill International Opera and American Opera Projects, and was the mezzo soloist in the world premieres of The Origin, (Richard Einhorn) and Requiem for the Titanic (Philip Hammond).She holds degrees from Queens University Belfast and Columbia University, and is currently a D.M.A candidate and Teaching Fellow at The Juilliard School. Jacqueline is also a voice teacher: she is an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University and maintains a private studio in New York.

California native Shabnam Kalbasi, is an up and coming mezzo-soprano garnering attention from coast to coast. A recent George London Foundation Competition finalist, Ms. Kalbasi covered Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with Prelude to Performance in the 2016 summer season. This past spring Ms. Kalbasi made her Kennedy Center recital debut and sang Mercedes in Venture Opera’s Carmen. In the fall of 2015, Ms. Kalbasi sang Second lady in Opera Memphis’s production of The Magic Flute. A 2015 recipient of the Agnes M. Canning Memorial Award from the Santa Fe Opera, Ms Kalbasi returned to the Santa Fe Opera in her second consecutive year with the apprentice artist program. She sang Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto and debuted the role of Olivia in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain. She was also seen as Nerone from L’incoranazione di Poppea and Amastre from Serse in the apprentice scene showcase.

Soprano Larissa Koniuk’s artistic concentration is in the collaboration of new opera works. Larissa is the founder and artistic director of the Bicycle Opera Project, with which she has promoted and performed over 20 new Canadian opera works. She has performed at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s New Creations, RCM’s 21C Festival, Stratford Summer Music, Westben, and numerous unusual performance spaces all over Ontario. Engagements with other companies include Selfie, a new opera by Chris Thornborrow and Julie Tepperman at Tapestry Opera, the premiere of FAWN Opera’s L’homme et le ciel, a new opera by Adam Scime, Soundstreams’ production of Brian Current’s Airline Icarus, and the premiere of Dean Burry/Lorna MacDonald’s The Bells of Baddeck. Up next is Elijah with Pax Christi Chorale in Toronto.

Baritone Eric McKeever has been hailed by Opera Magazine (UK) for possessing a voice of “darkness and clarity.” The baritone’s 2016-17 season includes performing the title role in the world premiere of Darryl Nettles’ The Fall of Stag Lee with Buffalo Opera Unlimited, returning to NYC’s Center for Contemporary Opera as the Security Guard in the a cappella opera Sweat by Juliet Palmer, and singing Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Oswego Opera Theater. Later in the season Eric makes return appearances to Skylight Music Theater as Sander in André Grétry’s Zémire et Azor and makes a role debut as the Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffman with Bel Cantanti Opera. Recent appearances for the baritone include Marcello in La bohème with Opera Columbus, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Salt Marsh Opera, the title role in Verdi’s Macbeth with Opera Company of Middlebury, and performances as Frank in Die Fledermaus with Florentine Opera, Nashville Opera, Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Naples. Mr. McKeever was recently awarded the 2014 Doherty Ross Debut Artist Award given by Skylight Music Theater and can be heard as the Scientist on the new recording of Stephen Melillo’s Son of the Storm.

With a voice described as “robust” and “standout” by the Denver Post and with a “lively” stage presence reviewed by Opera News, Patrick McNally has a varied operatic repertoire, from Gianni Schicchi to John in Summer and Smoke. Drawing from his extensive performance experience, Patrick is equally at home on the opera, musical theater and recital stage.Making several house debuts this 2015-2016 season, Patrick has been seen in the roles of Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte and the Baritone in Hydrogen Jukebox with Nashville Opera, The Young Soldier in Falling Angel and Freud in Sabina Spielrein with The Center for Contemporary Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with New York Opera Exchange, and Robert in Iolanta with New Opera NYC.  Mr. McNally has performed at houses across the United States as well as internationally. Recent highlights include appearances at Des Moines Metro Opera, Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera North, Dayton Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Louisiane, Bronx Opera, Hubbard Hall Opera, Opera New Jersey, and Die Eutiner Festspiele. He has also been a winner of multiple awards including the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation.

Pianist, singer, and actor Isabela Dawis has recently served as assistant music director with the National Asian American Theatre Company, as a member of the Venture(NY) choir with Juilliard Dance, and as an actor with NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program. Originally from Minneapolis, Isabella has appeared as a pianist in concert with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Dakota Valley Symphony, and the Minneapolis Civic Orchestra. As a singer and actor, credits include the Minnesota Opera, the Guthrie Theater, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Mu Performing Arts, and the Children’s Theatre Company. She is the recipient of three Special Grants from the Schubert Club, most recently for her debut as a playwright with Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA.

Juliet Palmer

Juliet Palmer

New Zealand-Canadian composer Juliet Palmer is known as a “post-modernist with a conscience” (The Listener) and “a fluent and versatile stylist” (Opera Now UK), whose work “crosses so many genres as to be in a category of its own” (Toronto Star). Palmer is the artistic director of Urbanvessel, a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration. Recent works: Boots, an interactive boudoir opera (Opera Peepshow, Campbell House Museum); Shelter (Tapestry and Edmonton Opera), an “intriguing, darkly comic fable” (Wall Street Journal); Stitch (Dora nomination Best New Opera); and Slip (Best Experimental Short, Toronto International Short Film Festival). Voice-Box (Harbourfront World Stage) was acclaimed as “a performance piece that smashes the boundaries between disciplines and leaves them sprawled out on the mat, down for the count” (Musicworks Magazine). Upcoming: Vermilion Songs for tenor Simon O’Neill and NZTrio (November 2016); and The Man Who Married Himself with librettist Anna Chatterton and choreographer Hari Krishnan (Toronto Masque Theatre, March 2017). Palmer’s work has been featured around the world including performances at New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Southbank Centre, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Bath International Festival, Voix Nouvelles France, Italy’s Angelica Festival, NYYD Festival Estonia, The Istanbul Festival, SoundCulture Japan, the Adelaide Festival, the New Zealand International Arts Festival and Canada’s Sound Symposium.

Bruce Steinberg’s designs have been seen in venues ranging from a Soho laundromat to Italian concert halls — and even an occasional theatre. New York, selected: The Maids’ The Maids (Kathryn Hamilton, Sister Sylvester), Feeder (José Zayas, terraNOVA/HERE Arts Center), Men Go Down (John Janke, 3LD), Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Emma Griffin, The Juilliard School), and Art of Memory (Tanya Calamoneri, 3LD). Regional:  Moby Dick—Rehearsed(Jonathan Rosenberg, Bard College),  Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (Daniel Fish, University of Rochester). International: Sounds(Paola Prestini, VisionIntoArt). He received his MFA from New York University’s TSOA, Department of Design for Stage & Film. Bruce was also a founding board member of Salem Art Works, a new art colony and sculpture park, where he lit Mark di Suvero’s For Euler (1997) and Double Tetrahedron (2004) for July 4th 2005 and 2006. Other visual art installations include Keren Cytter’s Mysterious Serious (2009) at X-Initiative. As terraNOVA Collective’s Resident Lighting Designer, Bruce collaborated on their soloNOVAfestival from 2007 thru 2009 and was awarded the New York Innovative Theater’s Outstanding Lighting Design Award for his work on Kate McGovern’s Blue Before Morning.

New York City-based mezzo-soprano Christine Duncan is quickly gaining recognition for her vocal power and clarity as well as her versatility as a performer. Recent engagements in contemporary opera include the premiere of the Ouroboros Trilogy in Boston, Xenobia in the Boston premiere of La Zombiata: A Zombie Love Story, and the workshop of Mila: Great Sorcerer with American Lyric Theatre. Other roles include Leonora in La Favorita with West Side Opera Society of NYC, Flora in La Traviata and Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte with Astoria Music, Festival, Der Komponist and Dryade in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Land of Enchantment Opera, and Lel in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snegurochka with the Lowell House Opera at Harvard. Christine has also toured Europe with world folk choir Northern Harmony and recently made her professional debut as a dancer and choreographer in The Yellow Wallpaper, a collaboration between Fresh Squeezed Opera Company and The Curiousity Cabinet of NYC.

Giselle Ty is a freelance stage director based in New York and London.  Whether working with intimate plays, movement-based pieces, or grand opera, she is committed to making theater that is aesthetically visceral, intellectually challenging, and emotionally unafraid.  An artist with broad interests who studied orchestral trumpet and art history while at university, she takes a physical, multidisciplinary approach to her work and is most interested in the abstract, dark, whimsical, magical, poetic ways that theater can find expression.  She has staged theatrical productions and events for the Peabody Essex Museum, the Houston Grand Opera (HGOco Opera to Go!), Guerilla Opera, Harvard Early Music Society, Opera Brittenica, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Opera Hub, the So & So Arts Festival (London), and the Broken Consort, among others.  She has also worked on the directing staff for projects with Gotham Chamber Opera), M.I.T. Media Lab/A.R.T., and Opera Boston, the American Repertory Theatre, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Lyric Opera.

Russian-born conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya’s engagements this season include Beth Morrison Projects, American Lyric Theater, Opera Saratoga, Flagstaff Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival, and as guest chorus master with Boston Symphony Orchestra & Boston Pops. She is also a part of Dallas Opera’s Inaugural Institute for Women Conductors and Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Fellowship. Additionally, Lidiya serves as Artistic Director with Juventas New Music Ensemble, Music Director with Commonwealth Lyric Theater, and as a conductor with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and has previously held positions with Harvard’s Lowell House Opera, Opera Boston, Odyssey Opera, and Gotham Chamber Opera, and was a Conducting Fellow at Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival, where she assisted Maazel and regularly covered for him in rehearsal and performance. In addition to many performances of works from the standard operatic and symphonic literature, this season’s projects include the world premiere of Leo Hurley’s opera The Body Politic and Juventas collaborations with aerial artists and robotic instruments.

Commissioned by Soundstreams Canada with the support of the Ontario Arts Council. Workshop 2013 supported by Opera.ca, Soundstreams Canada and Urbanvessel.  Premiere production supported by the Canada Council for the Arts

Additional support has come from National Sawdust, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and our cultural partners Sing for Hope.

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