the story of a woman
By James Swindell and Mark Warhol
September 11 & 12, 2015
Boston University Dance Theater
Contrapose Dance and Ensemble Warhol joined forces with Fort Point Theatre Channel in presenting an hour long operatic episode entitled JEANNE, the story of a woman. This production is a fully staged excerpt derived from JEANNE, a full-length opera by James Swindell and Mark Warhol. JEANNE, the story of a woman not only intrigued the audience on its own merits, but also left them with a craving to view the completed work.
The music shares moments of poignancy and tenderness, but its real success lies in its ability to integrate all aspects into an intellectually provocative dramatic whole. . . . Having witnessed the first hour of Jeanne, this reviewer is eager to discover the rest.--Boston Music Intelligencer. Click here to read the full review .
JEANNE, the story of a woman featured the choreography of Junichi Fukuda, accompanied by the music of composer Mark Warhol, performed live by the Boston String Quartet, conducted by Andrew Altenbach. Evie Huang on double bass joined the quartet for this particular production. Percussionist Bob Schulz provided additional solo accompaniment for the prelude and postlude.
Opera singers Anna Ward (soprano) and Patrick Massey (tenor), along with Contrapose dancers Nina Brindamour, Danielle Davidson, and Magdalena Gyftopoulos, portrayed a modern-day tale of birth, labor, death … a story of wisdom that comes with age and of innocence that only youth can claim as their own.
Interacting within a set designed by Richard Dorff, the vocalist protagonists, along with the dancers, used movement as another means to communicate their energy, passion, and tension. For JEANNE, the story of a woman is a tale rich with attraction, perhaps considered fatal, as the protagonists are swept away towards their inevitable, inescapable destiny.
JEANNE, the story of a woman was the second collaboration between Contrapose Dance, Ensemble Warhol, and Fort Point Theatre Channel in fully realizing an operatic episode from JEANNE by Swindell and Warhol. An example of this 2011 collaboration, JEANNE’s Fantasy, can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l6q0a42slU.
The artistic forces assembled to create this spectacle included:
Andrew Altenbach, conductor
Anna Ward, soprano
Patrick Massey, tenor
Junichi Fukuda, choreographer
Nina Brindamour, dancer
Danielle Davidson, dancer
Magdalena Gyftopoulos, dancer
Richard Dorff, set design
Penney Pinette, costume designer
Stephen Petrilli, lighting
Robert Schulz, percussion
Evie Huang, double bass
and the Boston String Quartet
Who's Who in the Production
Ensemble Warhol (co-presenter) was founded by artistic director Mark Warhol and is dedicated to the presentation of works by contemporary composers. Since its début in 1999, the ensemble has appeared with many invited artists and has placed on programs the works of composers such as Morton Feldman, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, György Ligeti, Giacinto Scelsi, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Mark Warhol. The Ensemble has appeared as part of the Elizabeth Musser New Music series and the Isolated Acts Festival in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Happy New Ears Festival and Série West in Kortrijk and Ypres, Belgium. It has performed at the Théâtre La Chapelle and La Sala Rossa in Montréal and collaborated with the Deveanaughn Theatre, Apollinaire Theatre, Contrapose Dance, Kelley Donovan & Dancers, and the Fort Point Theatre Channel in Boston. www.markwarhol.net
Contrapose Dance (co-presenter) was founded in 2008 by artistic director Courtney Peix. This repertory company presents modern, contemporary, and balletic works designed to plumb deep emotions and celebrate the exhilaration of pure movement. Most recently, Contrapose Dance has commissioned New York-based choreographers David Parker and Sydney Skybetter and Canada-based Heidi Rood to create new work. The company works with a variety of Boston-based choreographers as well, such as Marcus Schulkind, Gianni Di Marco, Nicole Pierce, and Lorraine Chapman, to encourage and support the development of new work around their home base in Cambridge, Massachusetts. To date, this company of 10-12 dancers has participated in over 50 performances and has 27 original works in its unique repertory. The company has received funding from the Somerville Arts Council, the Boston Center for the Arts Dance Residency, and the National Science Foundation. www.contraposedance.com
Fort Point Theatre Channel (producer) is dedicated to creating and sustaining new configurations of the performing arts. FPTC brings together an ensemble of artists from the worlds of theater, music, visual arts, and everything in between as a forum for collaborative expression while enriching the Fort Point community, Boston, and beyond. In reviewing a recent production, My Entertainment World commented that FPTC is “living up to their mission of ‘creating and sustaining new configurations of the performing arts.’ I’d recommend Boston theater-goers keep a close eye on this company.” FPTC is resident at Midway Studios and comprised of a core group of 15 artistic directors: Mario Avila, Olivia Brownlee, Jaime Carrillo, Rick Dorff, Mary Driscoll, Ian W. King, Anne Loyer, Amy MacDonald, Marc S. Miller, Sally Nutt, Hana Pegrimkova, Nick Thorkelson, Douglas Urbank, Daniel J. van Ackere, and Mark Warhol. www.fortpointtc.org
Boston String Quartet has been a creative leader in fusing contemporary music with classical tradition, and the Boston Globe credits it with continually “exploring different ways of sparking musical interest.” The members of the Quartet specialize in retelling modern music with original arrangements of rock, jazz, and world music, and have redefined the twenty-first-century classical musician with a complete approach to artistry through composition/arrangement, storytelling, theatrics, and performing. In addition to its solo work as an ensemble, the Quartet has demonstrated its longstanding commitment to music education through the establishment of mentoring relationships with dozens of secondary schools and colleges throughout the country. To date, the Boston String Quartet has released five albums, most recently WorldSong, a new release from Groove Records. Boston String Quartet recordings may be purchased worldwide from Naxos. www.bostonstringquartet.com
Andrew Altenbach (conductor), Director of Opera at Boston Conservatory, holds a true affinity for collaborating with singers. He recent credits include the Minnesota Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Birmingham, Opera Africa, Indiana University Opera Theatre, Temple University, MetroWest Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theater, and Opera on the James. He recently also served as artistic director of the Boston Opera Collaborative, leading the company in several new productions that received rave reviews and rewards. Previously, Altenbach served as the associate conductor of both Central City Opera and Minnesota Opera. He also music directed Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera to rave reviews. His latest performances in Boston include Iphigenie en Tauride and The Rake’s Progress while this summer he conducted La Bohème at the Lakes Area Music Festival. www.andrewaltenbach.com
Richard Dorff (set design) is a visual artist known for his innovative installations. He attended Massachusetts College of Art and currently works in his studio in East Boston. Richard is a founding member of the Atlantic Works Gallery, as well as serving as an artistic director of Fort Point Theatre Channel. He recently designed and curated INTER-ACTIONS: Performance Art x Art That Performs, FPTC’s multimedia presentation featuring dozens of musicians, actors, poets, and performance artists collaborating with an interactive art installation. It was presented on Boston Common during the 2015 Outside the Box Festival and in Fort Point inside the Channel Center Garage, itself a 10-story-high work of art.
Junichi Fukuda (choreographer) is a native of Japan and hold a BFA in dance from the Boston Conservatory. He is a member of the Portland Ballet Company, Prometheus Dance, and José Mateo Dance Theatre, while he maintains relationships with the New York Baroque Dance Company, Bowen McCauley Dance, and Christopher K. Morgan & Artists as guest artist and choreographer. Junichi’s choreography has been presented nationally and internationally in France, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. His work was chosen for the Official Section’s Solo Contest at 18MASDANZA in Spain and he was the recipient of the 2012 S&R Washington Award and the Dance Place’s 2012 New Releases Choreographer commission. Junichi has been commissioned to create new works for Christopher K. Morgan & Artists and for Bowen McCauley Dance. www.fukudance.com
Evie Huang (double bass) is originally from Kaoshung, Taiwan, where she began studying music from the young age of five. She became principal double bass at the Evergreen Symphony in Taipei in 2005 where she held the position for three years. In 2006 she received first prize at Taiwan’s national Double Bass Concerto competition. She then came to Boston where she joined Larry Wolf’s studio at the New England Conservatory. She is currently a section bass player with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.
Patrick Massey (tenor) holds a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2008, Patrick entered the Boston Conservatory where he studied with Dr. Rebecca Folsom. Patrick frequently appears as the tenor soloist for several Boston-based music ensembles such as the Cappella Clausura ensemble, the Fine Arts Chorale, and Longwood Opera. He has performed the role of Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro in Italy with the Flagstaff in Firenze program, Prunier in Puccini’s La Rondine, Basil Howard in Jeffrey Brody’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and premiered The Hourglass by Matthew Raymond Cooper with the Juventas New Music Ensemble. Patrick made an appearance as the Apprentice (Mitya) in Rudolph Rojahn’s critically acclaimed Heart of a Dog with Guerilla Opera as a part of the Opera America conference in Boston. Patrick is currently based in New York. www.patrickmassey.com
Stephen Petrilli (lighting design) is a New York- and Boston-based lighting designer. He has designed shows for Anikaya Dance Theater, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, Contrapose Dance, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, Nathan Trice/Rituals, HT Chen & Dancers, Lostwax Multimedia Dance, Noche Flamenca, Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama, Zoe Dance, Shapiro & Smith Dance, Ailey II, and The Kevin Wynn Collection. He spent five years touring as the lighting/sound supervisor for Pilobolus and has stage managed six seasons of Dance Africa at BAM. Theatre credits include work for Bridge Rep of Boston, the Pearl Theatre Company, NAATCO, Melting Pot Theatre Company, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival in his hometown of Pittsburgh. In the world of music, Stephen has designed for Mos Def at BAM/Brooklyn Next, Bang on a Can, The New York Guitar Festival, and the Salt Marsh Opera. www.stephen-petrilli-lighting.com
Robert Schulz (percussionist) is widely regarded as one of the finest new music percussionists working today. His expertise extends across a broad range of musical styles, ensembles, and instruments. He is principal percussionist for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Musica Viva, and Dinosaur Annex and “house drummer” for Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire. He works as well with the Boston Symphony, Pops, and Ballet orchestras, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Chamber Music Society. As a timpanist, mallet specialist and multi-percussionist, he has been a featured soloist with the Boston Celebrity Series on numerous occasions. In 2004, Mr. Schulz received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance on Yehudi Wyner’s The Mirror (Naxos) and gave the premier of Tan Dun’s Water Concerto with BMOP. He tours nationally and internationally with pipa virtuoso Wu Man and was the featured soloist for the 2006 CrossSound Festival in Juneau, Alaska. In 2010 he recorded Kick and Ride, a concerto for drum set and orchestra, written for him by Eric Moe. With a performance described as "Stunning" by Fanfare Magazine, it was released by BMOP Sound in 2011.
Keun Young Sun (rehearsal pianist) is a native of Seoul, Korea. After she received her Bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Kei-Myung University, Korea, Ms. Sun came to the United States in 1996 to study with Veronica Jochum and Irma Vallecillo at New England Conservatory, where she graduated with Master’s degrees in both solo piano performance and collaborative piano. Ms. Sun founded the Samson piano trio and gives numerous chamber recitals in Korea and the U.S. She often collaborates with faculty members at THE New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division, Endicott College, and Longy School of Music. Ms. Sun received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in collaborative piano at Boston University in 2010, where she was recipient of the Dean’s scholarship and a graduate assistantship. She is a staff pianist at the Boston Conservatory and U-Mass Lowell. http://keunyoungsun.weebly.com/
Anna Ward (soprano) is a passionate and versatile vocalist. She has been featured with the Raylynmor Opera, Lorelei Ensemble, Copley Singers, the Freisinger Chamber Orchestra, the Longfellow Chorus, and Seraphim Singers. She has been a young artist with the Austrian-American Mozart Academy and OperaWorks Advanced Artist program. Ms. Ward takes pleasure in originating new characters, and she has premiered roles in operas by Alla Cohen, Ketty Nez, Patrick Soluri, and Erin Huelskamp. She received her Bachelor’s of Music, summa cum laude, from Western Michigan University as the Robert and Carol Payne-Smith Medallion Scholar and a member of the Lee Honors College. From there, Ms. Ward went on to complete a Master’s of Music in voice performance at the Boston Conservatory, studying under Rebecca Folsom. She is an adjunct faculty member at Roxbury Community College, Middlesex Community College, and Bristol Community College. www.annawardsoprano.com