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CREATIVE TEAM

ZAID JABRI, composer

ZAID JABRI is a Syrian-born composer trained in Poland at the Academy of Music. Since he won the prestigious Adam Didur Prize when still a young student, Mr. Jabri has acquired a reputation as one of the most innovative composers working in Europe, an artist who bridges worlds while inventing the new. His work has been widely performed in Europe, North America and the Middle East and has been commissioned and performed internationally by such ensembles as Gidon Kremer’s Kremerata Baltica; the English Chamber Orchestra; Ensemble Zeran; the Orchestra of the Teatro Communale, Bologne; the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Neue Vocalsolisten, Stuttgart; the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra.

YVETTE CHRISTIANSË, librettist and co-producer

ROSALIND MORRIS, librettist and co-producer

YVETTE CHRISTIANSË is a prize-winning poet, novelist and literary critic whose work centers on slavery and its aftermath in the Cape Colony, and the literary traditions and experiences of the African diaspora. Born and raised under apartheid, which her family fled for Swaziland, she is the author of Unconfessed  (a novel), the poetry volumes, Castaway and Imprendehora, and the acclaimed volume of literary criticism, Toni Morrison: An Ethical Poetics. Her literary re-readings of slavery’s archive and her experiments in extended verse narrative have informed the opera's concept and libretto. Dr. Christiansë is the Claire Tow Professor, and Co-Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Barnard College.

ROSALIND MORRIS (Librettist) is a cultural critic, social theorist and media artist who is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.  She is the director and producer of We are Zama Zama, a documentary film recently acquired by BBC Africa, several related short films, amd the installation project, The Zama Zama Project, (official selection, Berlinale Forum Expanded, 2021). Dr. Morris is also the author of seven books and numerous essays, poetry and libretti. Among her many awards and honors are the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and residencies at Institutes for Advanced Study in Berlin, Princeton, Stellenbosch, and Weimar. 

CRYSTAL MANICH, director

CRYSTAL MANICH (Director) is an Emmy-nominated, internationally renowned Latina director. She has directed more than seventy works of opera, plays, musicals, and film that have been seen across the United States, Argentina, and Australia. She won Best First Time Female Filmmaker at the 2021 Toronto International Women Film Festival for her feature opera film, The Copper Queen. Ms. Manich was nominated for a 2021 Chicago/Midwest Regional Emmy for the livestream of Daniel Catán’s Spanish opera La Hija de Rappaccini. She also directs music videos for singer-songwriter Ivywild and was commissioned with writer Celeste Moreno for the musical La Llorona, currently in development at Theater Latté Da in Minneapolis. Ms. Manich is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

MARK SHAPIRO, conductor and musical director

A six-time ASCAP winner, Mark Shapiro is Music Director of The Prince Edward Island Symphony, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, and Cantori New York. His opera conducting has included five collaborations with Juilliard Vocal Arts as well as American Opera Projects, The Center for Contemporary Opera, and many others. Recent and upcoming projects include a chamber version for Juilliard of The Rake’s Progress that will be released on video in spring 2022; the Canadian premiere of Tracy K. Smith's translation of Beethoven's Ode to Joy; and a double bill of Carmina Burana and Rite of Spring at Carnegie Hall.

TLÁLOC LOPEZ-WATERMANN, set design and lighting

TLÁLOC LOPEZ-WATERMANN is the founder of Light Conversations, LLC, a lighting and video design company based in New York City. He regularly collaborates with stage directors Crystal Manich, Copeland Woodruff, Dean Anthony, JJ Hudson, and James Marvel. He has also designed for directors Ned Canty, Timothy Nelson, Tomer Zvulun, Andrew Eggert, Beth Greenberg, Corinne Hayes, and Sarah Meyers. Mr. Lopez-Watermann has worked at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Seattle Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Louisiane, Toledo Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Roanoke, Opera Naples, and Shreveport Opera. In 2013, he was chosen as the festival lighting designer for the Castleton Festival in Virginia and is also lighting designer in residence for Brevard Music Festival, North Carolina.

PHILIPPE LEONARD, projections

PHILIPPE LEONARD is an experimental media artist who works in multiple formats in the pursuit of sensorily dense observational and expressive art. He has an MFA from Concordia University and an additional master’s degree in Image Arts from Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne University.  His interest in historical technologies of both photographic and cinematographic practice (such as the cyanotype pioneered by John Herschel) and projection strategy (such as the magic lantern of the colonial era), as well as 16mm and digital formats has made him a desired collaborator of musicians around the world. He regularly tours with Godspeed You! Black Emperor as projection designer. His own film art has been featured in festivals across the globe

CARLA BELLISIO, costumes

CARLA BELLISIO is a theater artist based in New York City. She earned a BFA in drama from Carnegie Mellon University where she was awarded the Bess Kimberly Award for achievement in costume design in 2004. Ms. Belissio has designed costumes for numerous theater companies throughout New York including The Immediate Theatre Company, Bond Street Theatre, Epiphany Theatre Company, Target Margin Theater, Slant Theatre Company, Overlap Productions, Will Knot Di Productions, and The Ostara Group. Most recently her work was seen in Thomas Bradshaw's Southern Promises, which captured the attention of The New Yorker. Carla recently designed Opera Omnia's production of The Coronation of Poppea which was lauded in The New York Times.

KATE CASALINO, wigs and makeup

KATE CASALINO specializes in custom lace front and hand tied wigs, designing and styling human and synthetic wigs, and designing and applying makeup for stage, film, and events, and running hair and makeup for theatrical productions. She has served as the makeup designer and supervisor for the Belasco Theater, Samuel J. Friedman, Lincoln Center - Mitzi Newhouse, Yale Repertory, New York Theater Workshop and Theater for a New Audience, among other venues.

JAMES SCHAEFFER, executive producer
CARLY LEVIN, production manager
ALEXA ROSENBERG, stage manager
DEBRA KINZLER, publicity
LILLABETH BRODERSEN, intern
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NAOMI COKE, intern