Below is the press release by press contact : Susan Clausen
CITY OPERA to premiere musical selections from the commissioned piece
St. Francis de los Barrios
Joseph Martin Waters, music & Allan Havis, lyrics
presented during the annual NWEAMO Festival
Smith Recital Hall, SDSU School of Music and Dance
Friday, March 17th - 7pm
SAN DIEGO – March 6, 2017 – CITY Opera, San Diego’s newest opera company, has commissioned San Diegans Joseph Martin Waters and Allan Havis to create a new opera based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Selections from St. Francis de los Barrios will be presented at the NWEAMO Festival (New West Evolving Arts and Music Organization.) The festival takes place on the campus of SDSU from March 16th - 19th. CITY OPERA singers will perform Friday, March 17th at 7pm at Smith Hall.
Friday, March 17th at 7pm:
CITY Opera with SWARMIUS present St. Francis de los Barrios
Excerpts from the newly commissioned opera, St. Francis de los Barrios, will be showcased in the second program of the NWEAMO festival. This indie-classical, trans-genre rock opera is based on the story of St. Francis of Assisi, updated to present day Tijuana’s red light district zona norte among trans-gender HIV afflicted sex workers living in danger and poverty. Due to homophobia and lack of access to medication there is an HIV and TB epidemic currently raging in this community only a few miles from downtown San Diego.
With a sweep of magical realism, librettist Allan Havis creates a charismatic, bi-sexual rebel in his mystic Francis. Androgynous, world-weary and himself HIV infected, Francis has started working wonders - curing HIV and healing bullet wounds without medicine. As the Pope is soon expected to see this miraculous young sinner, a corrupt police force wants Francis de los Barrios silenced. There's a price on his head...
The music, by Joseph Martin Waters, ranges from gentle, bossa nova ballads, a 6-part profane motet performed by a doo-wop – beach boys infused a cappella street choir, to metal infused tango-from-hell with wobble-bass electronics. It will be performed by CITY Opera singers and SWARMIUS, the San Diego and New York City-based virtuoso indie-classical ensemble.
Vocalists include: Rudy Alexander Giron - countertenor, Sara Perez - soprano & Jack French - baritone. Musicians include; theSWARMIUS Ensemble: Saximus (Todd Rewoldt - saxophones) Peripateticus (Geoffrey Burleson - piano) Tempus Rhythmicus (Daniel Pate – percussion) Jozefius Rattus (Joseph Martin Waters – electronics) Other musicians include Ian Buss - tenor sax, Bradley Nash - baritone sax, Skyler Digby Mackinnon - trombone, Antarcticus Sean Bassett - electric & classical guitars and Ionosphere Ian Bassett - electric bass.
About CITY Opera - Music for Story’s Sake
City Opera, founded in San Diego in 2014 is spearheaded by Artistic Director, Cynthia Stokes. With a site-specific focus, CITY Opera champions new and contemporary works in English and Spanish, including works by American composers, non-traditional repertoire, and the fundamental reconceptualization of standard operas. CITY Opera tells stories through music that are rooted in our unique citizenry and is dedicated to building community by turning beautiful music into stunning theatre - contributing to the dynamic reimagining of opera in America for the 21st century. CITY Opera creates opera productions in a variety of locations throughout the city of San Diego. Itinerant by choice, they seek to reflect San Diegans and their city in a new and positive way through their unique works. St. Francis de los barrios is CITY Opera’s first commission.
About the NWEAMO (New West Evolving Arts and Music Organization) Festival
The San Diego based NWEAMO is dedicated to the promotion of music that involves the creative use of computers and electronics, and to the development of a diverse community of electro-acoustic composers and performers throughout the world. This year marks its 19th annual international festival. Thefestival will feature a combined effort of 30 composers and performers, many of whom who will be traveling to San Diego from diverse corners of the world. the work that they present will be equally diverse.
CITY Opera’s St. Francis de los barrios - takes place during the NWEAMO Festival on Friday, March 17th at 7pm at Smith Hall, SDSU. Tickets are$20 general; $15 seniors; $10 students
Directions & Parking:
Joseph Waters (Music - St. Francis de los barrios) Composer of acoustic, electro-acoustic and interdisciplinary works, Dr. Joseph Waters belongs to the first generation of classicalcomposers that grew up playing in rock bands. These roots coalesce in an expansive aesthetic trajectory exploring connections between European-African hybrid genres such as drum & bass, metal, hip-hop, salsa, reggae, be-bop, ragtime, etc. with Euro-centric classical and Gypsy music. Waters performs on laptop in SWARMIUS ensemble, with SDSU Professor
SAXIMUS (aka Todd Rewoldt — classical saxophone) and world class virtuoso instrumentalists and singers. Together, the members of SWARMIUS create a hip classical music of the present, combining the harmonic, contrapuntal and formal sophistication of the European masters with the rhythmic subtlety and complexity of the African masters. SWARMIUS performs Waters’ compositions globally and has music available on iTunes, Pandora, Amazon etc. Waters is Professor of Music and Coordinator of Composition Studies — Acoustic and Electro-Acoustic, and runs the Electronic Music Studio, the Digital Recording Facility, and the Computer Lab. He is Artistic Director of NWEAMO (New-West Electronic Arts & Music Organization). NWEAMO organizes an annual international electro-acoustic festival whose aim is to foster connections between the classical electro-acoustic avant-garde community and the community of experimental composers.
Allan Havis (lyrics - St. Francis de los barrios) received an MFA from Yale and has had his plays produced across the country and overseas, including San Diego Rep, Long Wharf, South Coast Rep, American Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, and Rowholt Theater-Verlag (German Radio). Works commissioned by England's Chichester Festival, Sundance, San Diego Rep, South Coast Rep, Mixed Blood, Malashock Dance, Carolina Chamber Chorale. Nineteen published plays: Penguin/Mentor, Theatre Communications Group, Broadway Play Publishing, Smith & Kraus, and Applause Books. University of Illinois Press published his “American Political Plays”. Harper/Collins published his novel “Albert the Astronomer”. His book Cult Films” was published 2008. In 2010, Southern Illinois University Press published “American Political Plays, Post 9/11”. In collaboration with renowned composer Anthony Davis, his play “Lilith” was reimagined as an opera, premiering as a recital at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Concert Hall 2009 and staged at Qualcomm Institute/Calit2, 2015. His second opera with Anthony Davis, “Lear on the 2nd Floor”, was showcased at Princeton in 2012 and staged at Conrad Prebys Music Center, 2013. Recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Kennedy Center/American Express, CBS, HBO, National Endowment for the Arts Awards, San Diego Theatre Critics Circle 2003 Outstanding New Play for “Nuevo California” and San Diego’s 2008 Patté Best Play award for “The Tutor”. He teaches theatre at UC San Diego.
Cynthia Stokes (Artistic Director, CITY Opera) has devoted her professional career to creating provocative and thrilling opera productions across America. She is the Artistic Director of San Diego CITY Opera, San Diego’s newest opera company dedicated to encourage San Diegans to see their community in new positive ways by presenting opera in site-specific locations throughout the city. CITY Opera’s first production, “Queen of Carthage” was part of La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival in 2015. This spring she staged Dominic Argento’s song cycle “The Andrée Expedition” with three singers in an abandoned factory. Upcoming productions include: “Rigoletto” for Opera Las Vegas; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Mendelssohn) for Mainly Mozart; “Cenerentola” and “La hija de Rappaccini” for Alamo City Opera; an untitled improvisational opera for New York’s Rhymes with Opera; and “Glory Denied” for San Diego CITY Opera. Other credits include: Piedmont Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera San Jose, Glimmerglass Opera, San Diego Opera; Opera Philadelphia, and Los Angeles Opera. Ms. Stokes is currently on faculty at The Taos Opera Institute. She has an M.F.A. in Directing from UC San Diego.
Press Contact: Susan Clausen * CLAUSEN COMMUNICATIONS * 619-933-0038 * email@example.com