Show artwork for prism

prism prism

Composed by Ellen Reid, with libretto by Roxie Perkins

January 26 – February 8

The winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music, streaming online for two weeks only.

"p r i s m" concluded streaming on February 8, 2021. We hope you enjoyed the performance.

A mother and daughter lock themselves away from the world to protect themselves from the dangers lurking outside. But when the girl’s memories contradict her mother’s stories of the past, she must choose between discovering the truth or holding on to the comforts of the only life she's ever truly known.

This unforgettable work by composer Ellen Reid and librettist Roxie Perkins erupts with color, using choral and orchestral manipulation to deliver an eerily distinct sonic world as it explores the trauma of sexual abuse and the elasticity of memory that can follow in its wake. 

A Beth Morrison Projects production directed by James Darrah, the opera had its world premiere in Los Angeles in 2018, presented by LA Opera Off Grand at REDCAT, then received subsequent performances at the Prototype Festival in New York and later in São Paolo, Brazil. The opera was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Music and was named "Best New Opera" by the Music Critics Association of North America.

After watching "p r i s m," be sure to check out Lumee's Dream, a new Digital Short by the same creative team that dives deeper into the themes and emotions of the acclaimed opera.

Advisory: This performance contains scenes that depict partial nudity and sexual violence. Parental discretion is advised. This production uses strobe lighting.

"Stunning... with Ellen Reid's incandescent 'prism,' an opera composer is born."

Los Angeles Times

Creators

Composer
Ellen Reid
Librettist
Roxie Perkins

Cast

Lumee
Rebecca Jo Loeb
Bibi
Anna Schubert
Dancer
Tatiana Barber
Dancer
Chris Emile
Dancer
Charbel Rohayem
Dancer
Gigi Todisco

Creative Team

Conductor
Julian Wachner
Director
James Darrah
Set Design
Adam Rigg
Choreographer / Assistant Director
Chris Emile
Costume Design
Molly Irelan
Lighting Design
Pablo Santiago
Sound Design
Garth MacAleavey
Instrumental Ensemble
Choral Ensemble
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street

Notes & Credits

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Notes & Credits

A Note from Librettist Roxie Perkins
"p r i s m" poses the question: how far will you go to protect the one you love from the world, the truth, and themselves? The opera is told from the point of view of Bibi, an ill girl who lives locked away with her mother, Lumee, in a sterile sanctuary in order to heal Bibi from a mysterious illness that infected her in the outside world. Unable to walk, Bibi’s life is completely controlled by her mother—from their daily routines of medicine and prayer, to the games they play for fun. Despite Bibi’s desperate desire to please Lumee, day after day whenever Bibi attempts to take her medicine she is overwhelmed by the feeling of a monstrous presence awakening outside their door, and she becomes too nauseous to swallow her dose. Frustrated with Bibi’s disobedience, Lumee threatens to take away their game if Bibi continues to refuse her medicine.

Fearful of Lumee’s waning affection, Bibi decides to surprise Lumee that night by swallowing her medicine on her own. However, as soon as Bibi touches her dose she feels a presence both familiar and new awaken outside their door. Hypnotized by lush sounds and colors, Bibi has an out of body experience as she plunges her hand deep into the can of medicine—sending waves of sensations through her body that she’s never felt before. This act of rebellion leads to further strain in her and her mother’s fraying relationship, ultimately forcing Bibi to question her mother’s rules and story of their past. Drowning in sensations and colors new and familiar, Bibi must choose between staying in the familiar confinement of Lumee’s sanctuary or braving the world on her own. This new work explores how far a person will go to feel better—despite the cost.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Creative Team
Music by Ellen Reid
Libretto by Roxie Perkins
Direction by James Darrah
Music Direction by Julian Wachner
Assistant Music Direction by Daniela Candilari
Choreography/Assistant Direction by Chris Emile
Scenic Design by Adam Rigg
Costume Design by Molly Irelan
Lighting Design by Pablo Santiago-Brandwein
Sound Design by Garth MacAleavy
Wig Design by Lauren Oppelt

Production Manager: Jarid Sumner
Stage Manager: Lindsey Turteltaub
Assistant Stage Manager: Seth Betzle

Produced by Beth Morrison Projects in association with Trinity Church Wall Street
Co-premiered with LA Opera Off Grand
The Prototype Festival production of "p r i s m" was co-presented with La MaMa

Vocalists
Bibi: Anna Schubert
Lumee: Rebecca Jo Loeb

Dancers
Charbel Rohayem
Chris Emile
Gigi Todisco
Tatiana Barber

The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Paul An
Melissa Attebury
Sarah Hawkey
Madeline Healey
Tim Hodges
Nick Karageorgiou
Thomas McCargar
Molly Netter
Timothy Parsons
Pamela Terry
Tommy Wazelle
Jonathan Woody

Novus NY
Melissa Baker, flute
Alicia Lee, clarinet
Laura Weiner, horn
Conor Hanick, piano
Ashley Jackson, harp
Ian Rosenbaum, percussion
Victor Caccese, percussion
Jonny Allen, drum kit
Alex Fortes, violin
Katie Hyun, violin
Karen Kim, violin
Yumi Oshima, viola
Serafim Smigelskiy, cello
Kris Saebo, contrabass

COMMISSIONING CREDITS
Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, David & Kiki Gindler, Linda & Stuart Nelson, and Elizabeth & Justus Schlichting, with additional commissioning support from Nancy and Barry Sanders, OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers, funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and The Opera Fund: Repertoire Development; The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trust; and National Endowment for the Arts – Art Works.

Developed by Beth Morrison Projects, Lyric Theatre @Illinois, Arizona State University School of Music, Trinity Wall Street, and PROTOTYPE Festival

Don't miss Ellen Reid's Digital Short Lumee's Dream, inspired by a scene in "prism." Available to stream for free beginning January 29. Learn More

The running time is approximately 82 minutes.

LA Opera Off Grand is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support for prism from a consortium of generous donors to LA Opera’s Contemporary Opera Initiative, chaired by Barry and Nancy Sanders.

Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, David & Kiki Gindler, Linda & Stuart Nelson, and Elizabeth & Justus Schlichting, with additional support from Nancy and Barry Sanders, OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers, funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trust; and National Endowment for the Arts – Art Works. Developed by Beth Morrison Projects, Lyric Theatre @Illinois, Arizona State University School of Music, Trinity Wall Street, and PROTOTYPE Festival.

Artwork for prism
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