Date of Submission

Fall 2011

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Christopher Gibbs

Abstract/Artist's Statement

La Migraine is an original drama in the style of an opera composed mostly of classical songs and some poetry. It tells the story of three couples whose lives are manipulated by a group of ghosts, all women who have each been scorned by love, led by a devilish Man in white. These morbid characters, along with three silent Furies and a Faustian pianist, make up a dark Underworld that is constantly around and in the background of the couples’ lives. Each of the couples’ relationship is loosely based on a classical story: Orpheus and Eurydice, Hamlet, and the opera Fidelio. Except for some excerpts from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and poems by Emily Dickinson and William Blake, there are not any spoken words, much like an opera. During some songs, key plot points are depicted, whereas other songs are frozen in time to express a character’s emotion. There are songs by Franz Schubert, Sergei Rachmaninov, Samuel Barber, Vicenzo Bellini, Claude Debussy and others.

The purpose of this project was to create an operatic experience strictly using non-operatic resources in a different way. I wanted to give a context to isolated classical songs and prove that performing them does not have to be any different from performing an aria from an opera. The project was a way to experiment with different approaches to performing as a classical singer and a way to practice different methods for directing singers. From the beginning, I established a workshop-environment in order to eliminate the anxiety that comes from performing and to allow everyone involved to feel as though they have a say in the creative process. For me, this tested what kind of director I want to be, what authority really means in an artistic project, and how to overcome the challenges of communication among people of different backgrounds. In the professional theatrical world, every task is distributed to individual people or departments. One of the challenges of this project was that because of the scare resources I had, my role as director also included stage manager, musical director, and producer. Although I definitely had some help with these jobs, ultimately I oversaw them through the entire process. It was eye opening to be able to experience these different roles in order to prepare for the professional world.

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