Sasha Cooke
Husband and Wife to Share Role in Trans Opera

By Brandon Voss

Originally published on Advocate.com July 17 2014 12:53 PM ET

American Opera Projects will present the world premiere of As One, a trans-themed chamber opera with two distinct voices sharing the same role.

"With compassion, candor, and humor, As One chronicles the experiences of a transgender person as she emerges into harmony with herself and the world around her," according to press notes about the production.

American Opera Projects specifically commissioned the one-act monodrama for world-renowned singers — and real-life husband and wife — baritone Kelly Markgraf and Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, who will both play the trans protagonist.

Performances of As One will take place September 4–7 at BAM Fisher, a new space at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Free panel discussions with the artists will be held after select performances.

With concept and music by Laura Kaminsky, AOP's composer in residence, As One includes an original libretto by Mark Campbell and Out100 honoree Kimberly Reed, a celebrated trans filmmaker. "In their first meeting," press notes continue, "Mr. Campbell asked Ms. Reed to relate her own experiences and, moved by her humor, bravery, and compassion, began envisioning a story about the journey of a transgender person from youth to adulthood."

Kaminsky, a married lesbian who often explores social and political issues in her work, was inspired by a 2008 article in The New York Times about a New Jersey marriage in which one of the parties transitioned from male to female, transforming the couple from heterosexual to homosexual.

Directed by Ken Cazan with music direction by Steven Osgood, As One features Utah-based ensemble Fry Street Quartet and film by Reed, who directed the award-winning trans-themed documentary Prodigal Sons.

Caine School of the Arts at Utah State University will also stage As One in April 2015.

For tickets and more information visit BAM.org.

Contributor: 
Brandon Voss