I know when I think of an opera I think of women singing soprano in Italian, but then there is the Queen rock opera Bohemian Rhapsody. Well now there is a trans opera.
Review: Two voices tell a deeply human transgender story 'As One'I think that this would be one opera that I would go to see.
By John von Rhein
November 19, 2017
Various books, films and plays of recent years have dealt with the emotional and social stakes of coming out as a transgender individual in 21st century America. But no opera addressed the difficult journey faced by those individuals until “As One” burst on the scene at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in 2014.
The chamber opera, with music by Laura Kaminsky and text by the Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell and filmmaker Kimberly Reed, and video projections by Reed, traces the psychological journey of a young transgender protagonist, Hannah, with insight and empathy, even humor. It makes the character’s coming to terms with her identity a poignant coming-of-age story just about every audience member can relate to.
The 90-minute work’s local premiere by Chicago Fringe Opera last week at the Center on Halsted marked another milestone in this enterprising alternative-opera troupe’s odyssey through substantial if smaller-scaled contemporary American repertory.
Kaminsky and her collaborators came up with the brilliant idea of having Hannah sung by a baritone (Hannah Before) and a mezzo-soprano (Hannah After). Both singers are onstage the entire time, sometimes singing separately, other times as one. Rather than disappear after Hannah has fully transitioned, Hanna Before remains a part of who she is and supportively guides her journey to self-acceptance.