MNiatures

Tiny operas, big ideas. This program features newly commissioned 8-10-minute operas from Minnesota artists with a variety of creative backgrounds. The MN Opera new works team will collaborate with four pairs of artists selected through a competitive application process to support the musical, visual, and dramatic development of their work. See the full schedule below of when these exciting mini operas premiere.


Dear America, Beat Your Heart Defiantly, Naked and Open With Love

Libretto & Vocal Arrangement | Rebecca Nichloson
Composer | Asako Hirabayashi

Vocals | Rebecca Nichloson
Piano/Harpsichord/Organ | Asako Hirabayashi
Cello | Sally Dorer
Music Direction | Andrew Sun

This miniature operatic piece centers on the vocal expression of a Midwestern woman who has written, for spiritual catharsis, a series of compelling letters that reflect feelings of grief, loss, exhaustion and, ultimately, hope as she grapples with the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Chim Lạc (Lost Bird)

By Charlie McCarron and Oanh Vu

Voice of Thi Phan | Lady Midnight
Voice of Bà Ngoại Liên | Monique Bach Hac Nguyen
Director, Puppeteer | Andrew Young
Puppeteer – Thi Phan | Liping Vong
Puppeteer | Ty Chapman

When Liên (Monique Bạch Hạc Nguyen) suddenly dies, her granddaughter Thi (Lady Midnight) is confronted with the shame of never fully knowing her, due to their language barrier. But Thi is given a second chance when a magical bird transports her back in time to Bến Tre, Viet Nam, where her grandma grew up.

This modern shadow puppet opera was written by Oanh Vu and was brought to life by the music of Charlie McCarron, the puppetry of Andrew Young and Oanh Vu, and puppeteers liping vong and Ty Chapman.


Xylem

By Ritika Ganguly and Roshan Ganu

Libretto, Composition, Guitar, Ukulele, Vocals | Shinjan Sengupta
Cello | Benjamin Osterhouse
Percussion | Matt Barber

Agitating both the western classical operatic format and South Asian musical theater, this piece creates subtle descriptions of the mood and personalities of its anthropomorphic characters by associating them with certain musical genres. In the visual medium the characters are brought to life as handmade puppets through stop motion. Materiality, 3D space, sculpture, and motion interact with each other to create a fictional world. Materials used are derivatives of fabric, felt, bubble wrap, camping gear and other things, recontextualized to create the world of Xylem. The creators of this work and the orchestra stand as part of the visual canvas they are creating.


Don’t Tread on Me: A Century of Racism

By Kashimana Ahua and Khary Jackson

Vocals | Victoria Korovljev
Vocals | Allen Michael Jones

In the spirit of MNiatures’ goal of tiny operas with big ideas, this piece is a musical snapshot of racism in America over the last 100 years, exploring the mental and emotional experience of those who have endured and thrived in the past, as well as what’s experienced today.


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