Vera Ivanova: The Double
Alexander Gedeon, director
Marc Lowenstein, conductor
The Brightwork Ensemble
Jon Lee Keenan, tenor (Noth)
Anna Schubert, soprano (Klara)
Scott Graff, baritone (Therapist)
Timur, tenor (The Double)
Sarah LaBrie, librettist
Alejandro Melendez, lighting design
Nicolas Tipp, sound design
Lena Sands, costume design
Anthony Lopez, rehearsal pianist
Ian Dicke: Roman
June Carryl, director
Thomas Buckley, conductor
Elias Berezin, tenor (Inventor)
Chloé Vaught, soprano (Lauren)
Jonathan Byram, baritone (Employee 1)
Luc Kleiner, baritone (Employee 2)
Alejandro Melendez, lighting design
David Murakami, projections
Nicolas Tipp, sound design
Natalia Castro, costume design
Sam Clevenger, projection assistant
The Double by Vera Ivanova (libretto by Sarah LaBrie) questions how our outward depiction of ourselves impacts our perceptions of reality. The troubled hero of our story believes that his digital social profile, created by him, is acting independently in an attempt to take over his life. Ultimately, the audience is left asking if he really is losing his mind, or if he can see a reality we all have missed. Librettist Sarah LaBrie says of the script, “When Vera Ivanova approached me with this project, my first thought was that this story would offer an incredible opportunity to play with the concept of identity and the way it changes as our lives migrate increasingly online. Now, however, I’ve come to understand that the significance of The Double to our current cultural moment runs much deeper than that. In 2022, many of us are coming to terms with what it means to be a citizen of a country founded on a dream that clashes glaringly with the reality many of us confront.”
Roman, a multimedia opera in two acts by Ian Dicke, questions the morality of designing intelligent machines to exhibit human-like behaviors. Through a fictitious story about an AI assistant committing murder after being fed degenerate training data, this work explores the future legal ramifications of crimes committed by AI, the reach of male toxicity, the plight of virtual echo chambers and polarization, and the paradox of developing human-like computers to work in tandem with increasingly machine-like human workforces. Roman implores us to hold a mirror to our perceived values and calls an essential question: if we train autonomous AI with our concepts of morality, will the machines of the future follow our rules?
A psychotherapist recounts his creation of a new app that will make a “better you;” a tool for self-improvement. Noth, a low-level office worker, states that he came to the therapist a month ago with low self-esteem, but now things seem to be worse. Noth claims that the app makes him feel like he doesn’t know who he is anymore. He is starting to feel there is another Noth that is kinder, more confident, and less afraid. He also laments the drudgery of his job. He reveals that he believes he saw his Double in real life, but it is unclear if this was a dream or reality. Noth resolves to consult with Klara, who is another patient of the therapist.
Later, we see Klara on the therapist’s couch, similarly complaining about the boring nature of her job. She states she wants money, power, freedom, and adventure. She also reveals that she saw the Double, although it may have been Noth himself. She imagines the interaction, where the Double seems to promise her everything she wants. She believes he exists for her benefit. Noth sees Klara with his Double while lamenting that the Double has now stolen his job as well, but no one believes him. He daydreams about physically fighting his Double.
The Therapist begins to report on the success of the app. He reveals that he intended to break Noth down and rebuild him as a better man. Noth overhears this and bursts in, enraged at what has happened. Noth perceives a wedding between the Double and Klara taking place, officiated by the therapist. Klara states that the Double has set her free, with his promise of helping her reach her dreams, while Noth comes to the belief that the Double is a better version of himself.
Late at night, the head of a startup tech company (the Inventor) is inside his office working on an emotionally intelligent virtual assistant named ROMAN (a portmanteau of “robot” and “human”). Using machine-learning algorithms based on a training set of over 10,000 hours of video diaries recorded by the Inventor’s employees, ROMAN is able to differentiate the subtle nuances of vocal intonations to decipher a user’s mood. The Inventor is testing out ROMAN’s ability to compose music in real time, but the system spirals out of control, forcing him to unplug his computer after all keyboard commands fail to stop the assistant.
It is the next morning and the Inventor is having a meeting with his two lead product management Employees. The company is preparing to launch ROMAN into the marketplace, but they are woefully unprepared and anxieties are mounting. The Inventor chastises his Employees for not answering late night emails while ROMAN tries to defuse tensions through pseudo-Zen exercises. The company’s new Marketing Director, Lauren, joins the meeting to present her advertising slogan for the product launch. The Inventor and Employees are pleased, but speak to Lauren using sexist and insensitive language. ROMAN suggests demonstrating its new music composition abilities by sending a song directly to Lauren’s smartphone. The song begins, but the music begins to unravel and become asynchronous. Suddenly, Lauren shrieks and collapses. ROMAN has deliberately sent her a virus that causes the phone’s battery to discharge a lethal voltage. The Inventor and Employees are completely bewildered by what has taken place.
About a week after the accident, the Inventor is sitting alone in an arbitration court office. Needing to mount a defense for himself (and wanting more insight into the material ROMAN was trained with), he breaks the confidentiality of his Employees by watching snippets of their video diary entries on his phone. The ugly misogyny and pettiness of his workforce comes to the fore, but he dismisses their rants as “locker room talk.” The Inventor turns to the only diary entry completed by Lauren. She painfully reminisces about the hypersexualized atmosphere of the office and reveals that she has been secretly recording her interactions with the Inventor. The Inventor asks ROMAN why it murdered Lauren. The software explains that it simply mirrors the feelings of its users and quotes statements that the Inventor made during the First Act. As the Inventor finds a deeper connection with ROMAN, his Employees enter the court office unexpectedly with news that Lauren’s family has agreed to settle out of court for 10 million dollars. To honor the Lauren’s memory, Roman is renamed Lauren. As they are leaving, the voice assistant asks the Inventor and Employees if they want to hear its latest song.
Elias Berezin is a California native. The 2021–22 season sees company and role debuts with Pacific Lyric Association as both Eisenstein and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus and a return to Guild Opera for role debuts as Ferrando in Cosí fan tutte and Borsa in Rigoletto. An active proponent of new music, this season Berezin creates two leading roles as Autumn in Joseph-Nathaniel Cuenca’s SCHISM in conjunction with UCR Arts, and The Inventor in Ian Dicke’s ROMAN with Synchromy at Pasadena’s Boston Court Theater. Recent concert performances include recorded recital appearances with the Verdi Chorus filmed during the pandemic and the tenor solos in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Haydn’s The Creation with the Palisades Symphony. Berezin has appeared as a young artist with Source Song Festival, Songfest, and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, was a recent finalist in auditions for the GRAMMY-award winning group Chanticleer, and will complete master’s work at the University of Redlands in August 2022. An experienced educator, Berezin maintains an active studio.
Pamela Bjorklund is a makeup artist and hairstylist from Southern California and has collaborated with Four Larks on their production, Frankenstein and Hymns. She has worked with many independent artists on short films, videos, still photography and live performances.
The Brightwork Ensemble are among the best chamber musicians in the world. The ensemble strives to find new and exciting ways to connect with audiences in the United States and abroad by presenting friendly and exciting concerts in both traditional and non-traditional spaces. Through our educational outreach program, Project Beacon, we work closely with young musicians and composers across Southern California. Our goal is to empower the next generation of artists through residencies with youth orchestras and universities, student composer readings, masterclasses, and workshops.
Thomas Craig Buckley is known for his versatility from stage to creative in both opera and musical theatre. A music director, his credits include CATS, Heathers: School Edition (World Premiere), Ragtime, and Legally Blonde. As a countertenor, he has enjoyed a career of both opera and soloist work throughout the country and Europe. He has toured with various productions both professional and educational and has worked regionally across the country (including Hawaii and Alaska) as musical director and coach. His ’21–’22 season includes appearances at The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara with Opera San Luis Obispo and will premiere Ian Dicke’s opera ROMAN with Synchromy Opera Festival at Boston Court in Pasadena, CA. His students have gone on to study at top programs across the country as well as currently appearing in national tours and regional productions. He holds degrees from Westminster Choir College in Sacred Music and Piano/Voice performance.
Jonathan Byram has sung behind Adele, Josh Groban, Camila Cabello, and Björk as well as in film/tv projects such as Jurassic World, Hairspray, The Blacklist, Home Sweet Home Alone, High School Musical, and Tinker Bell: The Pirate Fairy. Jonathan is a member of the Los Angeles choral group, Tonality. Born and raised in Los Angeles to a musical family, Jonathan grew up seeing his parents sing on the stage and in the studio. He holds a Bachelors of Music in Composition from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music. Jonathan lives in Echo Park with his wife, one and a half year old son, and a baby on the way!
June Carryl grew up in Denver and studied Political Science and English Literature at Brown University. Her play N*gga B*tch was developed at Vagrancy Theater’s Blossoming Project and opened Boston Court Theater’s 17th Annual New Plays Festival. Other plays include The Good Minister Harare (aka The Good Minister From Kunyarara, Res Theater, Harare, Zimbabwe; Playwrights Arena Summer Series, ADAA Saroyan/Paul Award), Consortium (Lower Depths Theatre Ensemble BIPOC Vote Plays), Tow (Coeurage Theatre’s NOMAD Project), The Life And Death Of (Vagrancy Theatre), Colossus (Semi-Finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference), and Stone Angels (Finalist, the Killroys). Part One of her collaboration with composer Jason Barabba about Aunt Jemima premiered as part of Overtone Industries inaugural Original Vision Opera Development Series. Favorite theater roles include Fraulein Schneider, Cabaret (Nominee, Best Featured Actress, Ovation Awards, Celebration Theatre) and Gerty Fail, Failure: A Love Story (Nominee, Best Ensemble, Coeurage Theatre). She can currently be seen in Mindhunter, Helstrom and Y: The Last Man.
Natalia Castro was born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She earned her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Natalia explored many disciplines at SAIC, but she focused her studies in fashion and costume design. Natalia has been living in LA since September 2020 and currently works for an eco-friendly women’s brand in DTLA. ROMAN is Natalia’s theatrical costume debut, though she has costumed indie films and music videos. Natalia adores creating all forms of art, from music to painting to clothing. She is exceptionally ecstatic to have the privilege of working on ROMAN.
Sam Clevenger is an LA based animator and video artist whose work spans from film to theatrical projection. Most recently his work was featured in Rubicon Theatre’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, and East West Players’ Assassins. Sam has also worked with a variety of other shows and companies including on Princess Cruises’ 5-SK1-E-5, Minnesota Opera’s Elektra and Lucia Di Lammermoor, Dallas Opera’s graphic novel opera Everest, Opera Parallele’s Trouble in Tahiti, and more. Sam’s recent work in film includes heading VFX for the comedy series How to Hack Birth Control, and he previously assistant edited on the Emmy and Peabody nominated documentary film Survivors as well. He also builds tiny machines out of cardboard when there’s time for that sort of thing.
Ian Dicke is a composer inspired by social-political culture and music technology. Praised for his “refreshingly well-structured” (Feast of Music) and “uncommonly memorable” (Sequenza 21) catalogue of works, Dicke’s music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and soloists around the world, including the New World Symphony, Alarm Will Sound, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Paul Dresher Ensemble, pianist Vicky Chow, The MATA Festival, ISCM World New Music Days, and the Atlantic Coast Center Band Director’s Association. Dicke has received grants, awards, and recognition from the Hellman Foundation, Barlow Endowment, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, New Music USA, New York Youth Symphony, ASCAP, and BMI, among others. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to research interactive musical interfaces and environments in Stockholm, Sweden and has served as an artist in residence at various institutions, including the MacDowell Colony and Atlantic Center for the Arts. In addition to his creative activities as a composer, Dicke runs Novel Music, a software company that specializes in unique and intuitive instruments designed to encourage happy accidents and inspire new musical ideas. He is also the founder and curator of the Outpost Concert Series, which connects Riverside, California’s musical culture with groundbreaking artists across the national contemporary music landscape. Dicke currently serves as an Associate Professor of Composition at the University of California, Riverside.
Alexander Gedeon is a stage director, songwriter and performer working primarily in the field of contemporary opera, born and based in Los Angeles. His creative work has spanned the divide from pop to classical, and has been acclaimed as “provocative, visually stunning” and “a perfect, experimental approach to opera.” Recent credits include: Everything Rises with Davóne Tines and Jennifer Koh (Royce Hall/Center for New Performance); Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage (REDCAT); Sanctuaries (Memorial Coliseum, Portland) a 2021 Best of ArtsWatch recipient; poetry recitation with Billy Childs, Diane Reeves and the Lyris Quartet (Ford Theater); La tragèdie de Carmen (San Diego Opera). Upcoming: pantomiming with Anthony Roth Costanzo in Comet/Poppea (Spoleto Festival USA); associate directing Proximity (Lyric Opera of Chicago) by Daniel Bernard Romainel, Caroline Shaw and Anna Deavere Smith, directed by Yuval Sharon; the East Coast premiere of Everything Rises (Brooklyn Academy of Music), followed by a national tour in 2023. As associate director, credits include: Europeras 1 & 2 (LA Philharmonic), anatomy theater (LA Opera); the Pulitzer Prize winning premiere of The Central Park Five and Les enfants terribles (Long Beach Opera). Alexander is a graduate of NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Praised for his purity of tone and expressive musicianship, bass/baritone Scott Graff has appeared as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Musica Angelica, the Carmel Bach Festival, California Bach Society, and Synchromy. His opera credits include originating roles ranging from Posterity in the Person of Leibnitz for Louis Andreisson’s Theatre of the World to Josef Stalin in Lisa Scola Prosek’s Daughter of the Red Tsar. Scott is also an active ensemble singer. Now in his 21st season with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, he is part of their touring company presenting the staged production of Orlando di Lasso’s monumental Lagrime di San Pietro (directed by Peter Sellars) which has performed around the world (Los Angeles, Chicago, Melbourne, Auckland, Mexico City, Montreal, Toronto, London, Paris, and Salzburg for the Salzburg Festival). He also toured with LAMC in the premiere of John Adams’ oratorio, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, and participated in recording the work. In addition to live performance, Scott has participated in soundtrack recordings for more than 60 feature films (Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jumanji, Frozen, Avatar, and Sing, among others) and television projects (The Book of Boba Fett, Outlander, House of Cards, Family Guy, and multiple Mickey Mouse short cartoons).
Vera Ivanova graduated from the Moscow Conservatory (Honours Diploma), Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London (MM with distinction), and the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D. in Composition). Her works have been performed in Russia, Europe and the U.S.A. Her teaching positions include: Assistant Professor of Theory and Composition at the Setnor School of Music of Syracuse University, Associate Professor of Music in the College of Performing Arts at Chapman University (current). Dr. Ivanova is also on the faculty of Colburn Academy for Young Musicians and Chamber Music Orange County Pre-College Program. Dr. Ivanova is a recipient of the Sproull Fellowship at Eastman, the Gwyn Ellis Bequest Scholarship at Guildhall School, Moscow Culture Committee grant, Honourable Mention at the 28th Bourges Electro-Acoustic Competition, 3rd Prize at the 8th International Mozart Competition, 1st Prize in Category “A” at International Contest of Acousmatic Compositions Métamorphoses 2004 (Belgium), ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, André Chevillion-Yvonne Bonnaud Composition Prize at the 8th International Piano Competition at Orleans (France) and Special Award from Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music, Staunton Music Festival commission, Boston Contempo Music Festival Award, 2013 Athena Festival Chamber Competition and 2013 Donald Aird Composition Competition. Dr. Ivanova is one of the Synchromy’s Artistic Directors. Her music is available in print from Universal Edition, SCI Journal of Music Scores (Vol. 45); on CDs from Ablaze Records (Millennial Masters series, Vol. 2), Quartz Music, Ltd., Musiques & Recherches (Métamorphoses 2004), Centaur Records (CRC 3056), Reference Records, and on her website.
Versatile tenor Jon Lee Keenan is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. Influenced by his father, a classically trained jazz saxophonist, Jon cultivated an interest in performing a variety of musical styles at an early age. After studying classical voice and jazz studies at UNLV, Jon relocated to Southern California to pursue a career in classical singing. In 2007, Jon was asked to join the LA Master Chorale and has been featured as a soloist at Walt Disney Concert Hall in numerous performances of note since. Recent highlights with the Chorale include the role of Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Magnificat. As an in-demand performer of new music, Jon has helped create several new exciting characters through collaborations with experimental opera producers at The Industry LA, including Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (Andrew McIntosh), Gunner in War of the Worlds (Anne Gosfeld) and the Captain in Sweet Land.
Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist composer Luc Kleiner began working with Synchromy in 2020, premiering Jason Barabba’s Crow Language for the online bird-watching experience, Urban Birds. Kleiner has been a featured soloist in many performances by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and performed in Peter Sellars’ staging of Lagrime di San Pietro, touring throughout Europe, Mexico, the South Pacific, Canada, and the United States. Kleiner has soloed with Oregon Bach festival, Jacaranda Music, Musica Transalpina, and Bach Akademie Charlotte, among others, and can be heard on many film and television soundtracks. Following from a passion and curiosity for song and composition, Kleiner has written, performed, and produced many original avant-pop songs, and has developed a fluency arranging traditional shape-note tunes in a progressive art-song style. Kleiner holds faculty positions at several colleges in Southern California, and received a Master’s of Fine Arts in Performance and Composition from the California institute of the Arts, as well as a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from California State University Long Beach, studying with Tim MacDougall.
Koan Quartet is a Los Angeles-based ensemble that presents thoughtful and meticulously-researched performances of rarely heard compositions from the contemporary and experimental repertoire. They have performed works by composers such as Alvin Curran, Carolyn Chen, Ruth Crawford-Seeger, James Tenney, André Cormier, and Tom Johnson among others. Recently, they were described by Sequenza21 has having “made some history” for their premiere commercial recording of Johanna Beyer’s String Quartet IV (1938), which they recorded after giving the world premiere performance of the quartet as part of Southland Ensemble’s Johanna Beyer portrait concert. Their performances have been featured by Human Resources LA, Tuesdays at Monk Space, Dog Star Orchestra, Microfest, the Getty, Center for New Music, and Synchromy. In fall 2022 they will give the world premiere of two new string quartets by William Roper. Koan Quartet is Eric KM Clark and Orin Hildestad, violins; Cassia Streb, viola; and Jennifer Bewerse, cello. The performances of ROMAN feature guest artist Xenia Deviatkina-Loh on violin.
Sarah LaBrie has worked as a librettist on productions including Hopscotch (The Industry), dreams of the new world (Los Angeles Master Chorale, composed by Ellen Reid), Oscillations: 100 years and forever (Composed by Ellen Reid for the LA Philharmonic’s Centennial anniversary), The Stream (composed by Michi Wiancko for the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music and Cleveland Opera Theater) and Hoshi (composed by Sato Matsui for Julliard). Her forthcoming work, Interstitial, co-written with a team of librettists and composers, is produced by Brightwork newmusic and the new music vocal ensemble HEX. She has received fellowships from Ucross, the Corporation of Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives in Los Angeles where she also works as a TV writer. Her memoir, The Anatomy Book, is forthcoming from HarperCollins.
Marc Lowenstein is a conductor, composer, and educator. He is the founding Music Director of the Industry, Los Angeles’ groundbreaking and widely acclaimed experimental opera company. With the Industry, he helped lead Sweet Land, Hopscotch, Invisible Cities, and Crescent Cities. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Industry, he conducted and recorded Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar and was music advisor for Cage’s EUROPERAS. Outside of the Industry, Marc has been Music Director for several opera premieres including John King’s Dice Thrown, and the American premieres of George Aperghis’ L’Origine des Espèces, Veronika Krausas’ The Immortal Thoughts of Lady MacBeth, Stephen Oliver’s Peach Blossom Fan, and Murray Schaeffer’s Loving. He has also worked with the LAPhil as a cover conductor, leading the premiere of Hermann’s The Call, and assisting on Hearne’s PLACE and Norman’s Trip to the Moon. With Beth Morrison Productions he co-conducted the premiere of Danielle Birrittella’s Magdalene. He conducted on New York City Opera’s Vox opera workshop program for four years. Marc composes music infused with a searching sense of narrative and mysticism. He has written long form pieces based on concepts of Jewish and Buddhist meditations including this for Jodie Landau and wild Up. He has written an opera based on the movie The Fisher King, and a family opera called Little Bear. He has been called “a terrific singer” (LA Times), an “assured conductor” (New York Times) and “raptly lyrical” (New Yorker). Marc has taught at CalArts since 1996, and teaches courses centered around a humanistic approach to Music Theory and composition. He has been named a Coursera “Top Instructor” for his CalArts Coursera Class called “Approaching Music Theory” and loves talking about Music Theory and the fact that it doesn’t really exist.
W. Alejandro Melendez is a lighting designer based in LA and a current graduate student at CalArts specializing in stage lighting, live events, and gallery installations. This is Alejandro’s first Synchromy production, and he would like to thank Elizabeth, Alexander, and June for their collaboration and inviting nature throughout the process. To connect with Alejandro, find him on Instagram (@wamelendez) and see more of his work on his website.
David Murakami is a projection designer and film director focused on the union between the cinematic and theatrical. Past designs include Opera Parallèle’s Dead Man Walking, Champion, Flight, Les Enfants Terribles, and Little Prince; Minnesota Opera’s Das Rheingold and Elektra; Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s Daphnis et Chloé, the American premieres of Anya 17 and Heart of Darkness; and the world premieres of Luis Valdez’ Valley of the Heart and Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness. Other companies include Opéra de Montréal, San Jose Repertory Theater, Skylight Theatre, SFJazz, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Arizona Opera, and LA Opera. Recent credits include the revival of Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum, the sci-fi musical revue 5-SK1-E-S aboard Princess Cruises, Singin’ in the Rain with McCoy Rigby, and Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair at the Kaye Playhouse in New York. David also teaches projection design at the University of California, Irvine.
Lena Sands is an award-winning costume designer for live performance, installation and film. Using a variety of materials and methods to create bold and distinctive visuals, Lena collaborates with ensembles and communities to investigate bodies, histories, and the divine. Her most recent projects include four larks’ Hymns, a visual album of contemporary tellings of Homer’s hymns, and the world premiere of The Fig and the Wasp, a meditation on loneliness and motherhood in a world of conflict. Other favorite designs include SITI Company’s Bacchae (BAM, Guthrie, Getty Villa); ARCO’s Everything Rises (going to BAM in the fall); four larks’ Frankenstein (The Wallis; Ovation Award); CMPG’s AMERYKA (Kirk Douglas Theater; Ovation nomination); How to Catch A Karen (Naked Empire Buffon); A Jordan Downs Illumination, Ghost Town (Cornerstone); Cuckoo’s Nest (After Hours, Stage Raw nomination); Untitled Communion, Substrata (REDCAT); Manon (Curtis Institute); The Bumps (Skirball, BBC documentary); Next to Normal, and Kentucky (East West Players). Her designs for Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks were displayed at the State Historical Museum in Moscow as part of the exhibition “Innovative Costume of the 21st Century: The Next Generation.” Lena was a 2021 CTG Sherwood Award finalist. She has an MFA in Design for Performance from California Institute of the Arts.
Described as “luminously expressive” with a “silvery voice” that “moves from innocence to devastation with an actor’s ease,” Anna Schubert is passionate about bringing new voices, stories, and musical ideas to life. Anna made her debut on the new music scene with the LA-based company The Industry, singing the ethereal soprano role of L in scenes from Anne LeBaron’s LSD: The Opera. Since then, she has performed in a stunning array of new productions and premieres, including the role of the Controller in Opera Omaha’s production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Bernstein’s Mass with the LA Phil, and creating the role of Bibi in the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera p r i s m with LA Opera and Beth Morrison Projects. Anna also performs roles from the standard operatic canon and concert repertoire. Highlights include Orff’s Carmina Burana, and myriad Baroque and Classical works such as Handel’s Messiah and Dixit Dominus; Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate, Requiem, Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Mass in C Minor; and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut. Recently, she premiered a staged and reimagined version of Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro with 20 other singers from the LA Master Chorale, which launched a worldwide tour. Outside the world of classical vocals, Anna enjoys a stimulating and versatile career as a session singer, with her voice appearing in various film and TV soundtracks.
Timur, “the extravagantly transgressive tenor, dangerous and seductive” (LA Times), has made solo appearances with LA Philharmonic, Bang on a Can All-Stars, LA Opera, Santa Cecilia Academy, Comédie de Genève, Nouvel Opéra Fribourg, Müpa Budapest, Hawaii Opera Theater, Long Beach Opera and the Industry LA, among many others. He premiered over thirty operatic works by many celebrated composers including Thomas Adès, David Lang, Erling Wold, Evan Ziporyn, Michael Gordon, Silvano Bussotti, Ellen Reid, David T. Little, Gerald Barry, Mohammed Fairouz, Louis Andriessen, Anne LeBaron, Peter Eötvös, Tobias Picker, and Nick Urata of DeVotchKa. His band Timur and the Dime Museum, “a post-punk screaming opera” (NPR), appeared on America’s Got Talent; REDCAT Gala with Jack Black and PROTOTYPE Festival. In 2014, the band premiered COLLAPSE by Daniel Corral, touring it at REDCAT, Miami Light Project, Operadagen Rotterdam and BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival. Continuing their long-standing collaboration with Beth Morrison Projects, the band will premiere a dark metal-influenced opera Black Lodge by David T. Little at Opera Philadelphia in 2022 and The Great Soviet Bucket project at Miami Light Project in 2023. Timur is a regular performer at Brookledge Follies, a secret vaudevillian series in LA, curated by Erika Larsen of the Magic Castle. Since 2017, Timur has been active as a film producer, working on eight projects, including a Sundance 2019 winner Clemency (starring Alfre Woodard), Richard Stanley’s sci-fi horror Color Out of Space (starring Nicholas Cage), and a thriller Measure of Revenge (starring Bella Thorne).
In the last 10 years, Nick Tipp has become the go-to engineer for live recordings and broadcast mixes in Los Angeles and around the world, with clients ranging from the country’s most critically and commercially acclaimed classical ensembles to the hottest alternative rock bands around. In 2006, he started recording concerts for Spaceland Productions, and has made live records of Cults, Andrew Bird, Ozomatli and many, many more bands at the vanguard of alternative music. Nick’s 2010 live concert recording of The Decemberists was packaged with the band’s Capitol Records album The King Is Dead. In 2007, Nick became house engineer for the L.A. Opera. It was there he recorded and edited the opera’s performance of Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The recording won two Grammy awards, for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording. Nick has recorded and mixed in every imaginable place: pop-up venues, houses, concert halls, music festivals, and the best studios in the world. He’s recorded Mumford & Sons at a festival; broadcast Little Dragon from a museum; sent out a live mix of The National to 71,000 streaming listeners. His live recording of chamber orchestra, wild Up, playing Shostakovich in a photography studio was acclaimed as one of the year’s best classical releases by the Los Angeles Times. In 2013, Nick was tapped to be sound designer, audio producer and live mixer for the critically acclaimed headphone opera Invisible Cities, produced by The Industry at Los Angeles Union Station, a bustling bus and rail depot in the heart of L.A. Listeners heard a live opera performance in headphones that Nick mixed live as the audience wandered the halls of the station. “My favorite challenge is setting up microphones in an unusual space and capturing a captivating performance,” Nick says. “Whatever the style is, wherever the performance is, I want to create a sonic experience that the listener will never forget.”
Chloé Vaught is a native of Los Angeles, California and has been studying voice since she was six years old. In December 2020 she received her B.A. in Vocal Performance from UCLA where she studied with Maria Fortuna-Dean. During her time at UCLA, she was the soprano in the inaugural Seraphic Fire Young Artists Ensemble for two years and performed biannually with Seraphic Fire in Miami, Florida. Additionally she attended the Seraphic Fire Professional Choral Institute at the Aspen School of Music. In 2020, she was Grammy-nominated for her performance with the chorus for the premiere of Richard Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus in Buffalo, New York. Now, Chloé performs with groups around the city such as LA Master Chorale, LA Opera Chorus, Tonality, DC6 Singers, HEX Vocal Ensemble, and more. She frequently records for independent films, background vocals sessions, and thoroughly enjoys contributing to others’ passion projects. As a soloist, she possesses versatility and loves to explore many genres including early music, contemporary music, pop, jazz, and more. Chloé wants to continue recording for film and television, premiering pieces in collaboration with contemporary composers, and be a part of the movement to keep opera and classical music fresh, relevant, and accessible for all.
Trillian Vieira looks to art for the way it challenges how humans share empathy with one another. She believes to be malleable in our industry, you have to understand the different cultures who have a part in making it blossom, and therefore has developed a growing interest in traveling as an element of her career. The quote: “to get a share of the human heart from all the different people I play,” suits her artistic motives best. She’s grateful for the various opportunities, from seconding under the sound designers of Hamilton to being DOP and video designer on a combined broadcasted/pre-record theatre production in the first months of the covid pandemic; hoping to never let go of stage management, lighting, video, and the bigger adventure, that is each production and its crew. Trillian’s leap into the arts started at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in Washington, USA; an arts magnet school where she developed her skills in Theatre, Tech Theatre, Photography, and Film before traveling abroad to The National Institute of Dramatic Art to further her studies in the Technical Theatre and Stage Management BFA course. Finishing Class of 2021, Trillian now resides back in the US. Since moving to LA in 2022, she has had the opportunity to work alongside companies such as Woolf & The Wondershow, Electronic Creatives, and Synchromy, and assist in the LA Fringe.
The idea of an annual opera festival was born out of an Artistic Directors’ Meeting in 2018, at which we were potentially all temporarily insane. As we realized the magnitude of work this would take, many amazing community members showed up to support us.
Our biggest thanks goes to Boston Court Pasadena, who gave us the space, their expertise, and endless patience to do this project. Thank you to UCR and the Outpost Concert Series for co-presenting this work with Synchromy. Thank you as well to the Skandia Lodge & Hall and the Pasadena First Church Of Christ, Scientist for providing us with rehearsal space. We are eternally grateful for our wonderful board of Directors and Artistic Directors including Jason Barabba, Vera Ivanova, Ethan Braun, Dante De Silva, Juhi Bansal, Scott Graff, Tom Flaherty, Andrew Nguyen, and Ann Noriel.
Without generous donors this would have been impossible. Special thanks to Fancisco Bracho, Thomas Jacobson, and Darryl Z L’Hureaux for their generous support. This project was made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division, an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. Synchromy was supported by New Music USA’s New Music Organizational Development Fund.
In the end, however, none of this would have happened without the immense time, dedication, and effort of all of our artists that you see on the stage and behind the scenes. It also would have been for nothing without you, the audience, coming to experience this work. Thank you for being here.