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Press Release: The Source

LA Opera 30th Anniversary Season header


LA Opera Presents West Coast 
Premiere of The Source

Performance added to limited engagement, Oct 19-23

(Los Angeles) September 15, 2016 — LA Opera's 2016/17 season will continue with the west coast premiere of The Source, opening on October 19. In this penetrating multimedia work, composer Ted Hearne, librettist Mark Doten, director Daniel Fish and production designer Jim Findlay dive into the media hysteria responsible for the many faces of Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army private who infamously leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

As part of LA Opera's innovative Off Grand series, The Source is the fourth offering in a multi-season collaboration between LA Opera and Beth Morrison Projects to present cutting-edge contemporary works. Due to extraordinary ticket demand, a performance has been added on October 22, extending the run to a total of six performances. (See below for performance dates and times.)

All performances of The Source will take place at REDCAT (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, 90012).

About The Source
In July 2013, Private Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after publishing the largest set of classified documents to date. The conviction provoked a maelstrom of media coverage, ranging from portraits of Manning’s personal life to new dialogues about military abuses. The Source is centered on the time between the initial leak and Manning's arrest.

Accompanied by a seven-instrument chamber ensemble, four vocalists turn the words of Private Manning and others into song. As they descend into the digital chaos of the incident, they use live electronics to manipulate their own voices as they weave a feverish assemblage of Twitter posts, news reports, chat transcripts and declassified military videos. Videos designed by Jim Findlay and Daniel Fish integrate repurposed coverage of the incident as well as newly created material with an immersive, four-wall video installation.

The Source incorporates instant message conversations Manning had with former hacker Adrian Lamo, in which Manning confessed to leaking enormous amounts of classified material to WikiLeaks, as well as excerpts from the logs themselves, media and media response both to Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The written record, reworked into a libretto by Mark Doten, touches on a variety of topics, ranging from the war on terror and abuses of U.S. power overseas to identity and whether or not individuals can make a difference in the modern world.

The Source premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in 2014. The New York Times included the work on its lists of the best classical vocal performances of the year and, along with The New Yorker and The Nation, hailed its subsequent recording as one of the best albums of 2015. Later this season, The Source will tour to San Francisco Opera.

The Creators
Los Angeles-based composer Ted Hearne draws on a wide breadth of influences ranging across music's full terrain, to create intense, personal and multidimensional work. Law of Mosaics, his 30-minute piece for string orchestra, was recently performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony, and was named one of The New Yorker’s most notable albums of 2014. His Katrina Ballads, a modern-day oratorio with a primary source libretto, was awarded the 2009 Gaudeams Prize in composition and was named one of the best classical albums of 2010 by Time Out Chicago and The Washington Post. He performs with Philip White as the vocal-electronics duo R WE WHO R WE.

Librettist Mark Doten is the author of a novel, The Infernal, published by Graywolf Press in 2015. His work has appeared in New York magazine, The Believer, Conjunctions and Guernica. He has an MFA from Columbia University and is the recipient of fellowships from Columbia and the MacDowell Colony. He is the literary fiction editor at Soho Press and lives in Brooklyn.

Singers and Creative Team
The Source is performed by four vocalists—sopranos Mellissa Hughes and Samia Mounts, tenor Isaiah Robinson and bass-baritone Jonathan Woody—under the musical direction of Nathan Koci. The production is directed by Daniel Fish, with production design by Jim Findlay; Mr. Fish and Mr. Findlay also collaborated on the video design. The costumes and lighting are designed respectively by Terese Wadden and Christopher Kuhl.

For artist bios and additional information, visit LAOpera.org/Source.

Performance Dates and Times
There will be six performances of The Source presented by LA Opera at REDCAT:

•    Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at 8pm
•    Thursday, October 20, 2016, at 8pm
•    Friday, October 21, 2016, at 8pm
•    Saturday, October 22, 2016, at 2pm (new; best availability)
•    Saturday, October 22, 2016, at 8pm
•    Sunday, October 23, 2016, at 2pm

Advance Tickets
Tickets are on sale now. Seating for The Source is general admission, with no reserved seat locations. Tickets cost $69 and can be purchased in person at the LA Opera Box Office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, by phone at 213.972.8001 or online at LAOpera.org. For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email LAOpera@LAOpera.org.

About LA Opera Off Grand
The Source is presented under LA Opera's Off Grand banner, which complements the company's mainstage programming through a wide variety forms of artistic exploration in a range of venues throughout Los Angeles. Its objectives are to serve a broader geographical area, increase the diversity of our audience and expand the range of experiences available to existing audiences. The 2016/17 season's Off Grand offerings include two productions at REDCAT, The Source and Thumbprint, as well as a screening of the classic horror film Nosferatu, featuring a new score created by Artist-in-Residence Matthew Aucoin, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. To learn more, visit LAOpera.OffGrand.

About Beth Morrison Projects
The Source is the fourth new work presented as part of LA Opera's multi-season partnership with Beth Morrison Projects. This collaboration, which supports today’s most creative talents working in the fields of opera and music-theater, will continue later this season with the 2017 west coast premiere of Kamala Sankaram's Thumbprint.

To date, BMP has commissioned, developed and produced more than 40 opera and music-theater works that have been presented around the globe. The Los Angeles Times has hailed Beth Morrison as a "contemporary opera mastermind" and The New York Times has described BMP as "bracingly innovative." Learn more at BethMorrisonProjects.org.

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) is a contemporary arts center for innovative visual, performing and media arts located inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. REDCAT has its own street entrance at 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, at the northeast corner of the intersection of West 2nd and Hope Streets. For more information about REDCAT, please click here.

To download production and artist photographs for The Source, click here.

Support for the Los Angeles presentation of The Source
is provided by donors to LA Opera’s Contemporary Opera Initiative.

The Source was commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and Judy and Allen Freedman, with additional commissioning support from Justus and Helen Schlichting.

The 2016/17 tour of The Source is produced by Beth Morrison Projects.

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated
to serving the greater Los Angeles community.


LA Opera Media Contact:
Fran Rizzi, Director of Communications and Public Relations
frizzi@laopera.org | 213.972.7554

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