Taking Stockhausen to the stage: Long Beach Opera

LBO wants to take you to dinner.

A revered but controversial choral work is coming to LBO in their first 2022 production, in a staging that takes place in a retired grocery store, has the cast cooking a meal for the audience, and gathers some of the finest stage+choral singers in the city. STIMMUNG launches March 19, with just four performances in Long Beach. Get your tickets fast, as their shows often sell out.

See the press release below:




STIMMUNG

By Karlheinz Stockhausen

NEW PRODUCTION

March 19, 20, 26, 27 2022
Alexander Gedeon, director
Fahad Siadat & David Harris, music directors

Information about season tickets at longbeachopera.org

Long Beach Opera’s  season begins March 19-27, 2022, with an operatic staging of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s a cappella choral work STIMMUNG. This transcendental meditation through music will become a literal feast for the senses in a new production at LBO, directed by Alexander Gedeon with music direction by Fahad Siadat and David Harris. Stockhausen, one of the most important and controversial figures in the sphere of contemporary music in the 20th and 21st century, created STIMMUNG for 6 a cappella voices to intone a stream of poly-linguistics: the names of gods from dozens of religions; the days of the week in myriad languages; pure vowel tones; absurd non-sequiturs.

Stockhausen’s eerie, static, microtonal vocal score is delivered just above a whisper. LBO’s STIMMUNG takes place in a “magical kitchen” in which the audience encircles the six performers at a central table, as the singers prepare and share a meal with the audience over the hour-long duration of the piece. At the culmination of the performance, singers and the audience alike break bread together.

STIMMUNG offers a chance to reflect on the precariousness and vulnerability of human contact — both the joy and newfound awkwardness of coming together. In STIMMUNG, the identities of audience and performer are reassembled through the prism of communion. It becomes a testament to the intrinsic value of live performance, in the shadow of a collective health crisis and cultural upheaval. STIMMUNG becomes a meditational voyage through multiple cultures: a utopian, albeit imperfect,  vision of collective consciousness.

STIMMUNG will be performed at a former “Fresh n Easy” grocery store,  450 The Promenade North, Long Beach CA 90802.   Season tickets and information is available at longbeachopera.org.

The creative team includes fashion designer Kenneth Nicholson designing costumes, Yuki Izumihara as Production Designer, Pablo Santiago as Lighting Designer and Carlos Mosquera as Sound Designer. The six vocal performers are Kelci Hahn, Joanna Lynn-Jacobs, Kasper, Charlie Kim, David Castillo and Paul An.

Alexander Gedeon describes his interest in creating this production of STIMMUNG:

“As we were thinking about the season for 2022, we were actually in the middle of 2020. And during that time, during the most intense moments of the second wave of the pandemic, we were trying to figure out: what are we going to do if we have the luxury of being able to have people be in person together again? I had been thinking a lot about things that you can theatrically do that you have to do with people in the room. The idea of a connection between the performers and the audience with the sharing of food struck me as inherently dramatic considering we had just learned that the air we breathe had the potential to hurt each other.

And so, as I was thinking about that, I reflected back to this piece STIMMUNG written in 1968, which I first heard when I was a freshman in college in New York. It was winter, and I was seeing my first snow fall. A friend of mine gave me this piece, which is people humming one dominant 7th chord – just this feeling of suspense for 70 minutes. And then they’re intoning the names of all of these gods and goddesses and the days of the week in all these different languages, and  then random non-sequiturs. It’ll be the German word for Wednesday, “Mittwoch”, and then suddenly, “Barbershop.” There’s camp in it. There’s ceremony in it. But there’s also just this really warm, enveloping, vibrational feeling.

The word ‘Stimmung’ actually means ‘mood’, ‘atmosphere’, ‘tuning’. To me, all those words say: vibe; vibration. What is the word for a vibration that also speaks of the atmosphere that you’re in? And then it starts to feel like; well, now this is a reason to have people in a room together.”

Calendar Listing

STIMMUNG
By Karlheinz Stockhausen
NEW PRODUCTION
March 19, 20, 26, 27 2022
All performances at 3:30 PM
Location: Former Grocery Store “Fresh n Easy” in Long Beach
450 The Promenade North, Long Beach CA 90802
 
Information about STIMMUNG and season tickets at longbeachopera.org

Cast and Creative Team

Director: Alexander Gedeon
Music Director: Fahad Siadat & David Harris
Production Design: Yuki Izumihara
Costume Design: Kenneth Nicholson
Lighting Design: Pablo Santiago
Sound Design: Carlos Mosquera
 
Cast: Kelci Hahn, Joanna Lynn-Jacobs, Kasper, Charlie Kim, David Castillo, Paul Chwe MinChul An

Biographies

Kelci Hahn

Kelci Hahn, soprano, is a SAG-AFTRA session singer, soloist and vocal artist hailed for
her “stratospheric ease,” “pure, killer tone,” and “ability to excel in a wide variety of
styles.” She currently sings as a frequent soloist and chorister with both the Los
Angeles Master Chorale, under the Artistic Direction of Grant Gershon, and as a Core
Soprano in the revolutionary choral ensemble, Tonality, under the Artistic Direction of
Dr. Alexander Blake. In 2019, Kelci made her Main Stage debut with the LA Phil in the
groundbreaking performance of Meredith Monk’s Atlas, under the direction of
MacArthur Genius Grant Winner, Yuval Sharon. She can also be seen as the Soprano 1
soloist in Ellen Reid’s The World as You’ve Known it Doesn’t Exist, as part of the LA
Phil’s Sound/Stage Series, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, streaming spring 2022. In
2020, Kelci originated the principal role of Makwa in The Industry’s poignant and
powerful new opera Sweet Land, and is featured in the PBS documentary series,
“Artbound,” that retells the story of this compelling piece. Kelci also performs frequently
with LA Opera Connects as a principal performer, with several credits including Journey
to Cordoba, The White Bird of Poston and The Wreck of the Miranda.

Not only is Kelci a frequent concert soloist and stage performer, but she can also be heard
in over 50 film & tv scores, as a soloist, character vocalist and ensemble member. Most
recently, her voice can be heard as a featured soloist throughout the animated series
“Arcane” by Riot Games, the creators of “League of Legends.” Other notable solo credits
include “Madam Secretary,” “Superman and Lois,” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” Some
recent ensemble credits include “Frozen 2,” “Sing 2”, “Jungle Cruise,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” and more.

Kelci is a credentialed music teacher and continues to work as a Teaching Artist with
the LA Master Chorale and with LA Opera Connects.  For more information, please visit: www.kelcihahn.com

Joanna Lynn-Jacobs

Joanna Lynn-Jacobs (she/they) is a Santa Barbara raised singer and mover. She specializes in classical, contemporary and mixed-genre opera and music theater, and maintains a personal movement and visual arts practice. Recently she has performed the role of Iphigenia of the Sea in Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spaulding’s premier tour of their new opera (…Iphigenia) produced by Real Magic and Octopus Theatricals, and in Ash Fure and LILLETH’s performance installation Hive Rise, with the Industry and MOCA in Los Angeles. Previously, Joanna starred in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s production of Meredith Monk’s opera Atlas, directed by Yuval Sharon, and this year she is thrilled to be joining the company of Meredith Monk’s Cellular Songs in both the ECM album recording and European spring tour.
 
As a singer, Joanna holds a Master of Music in vocal performance from UCLA and draws inspiration from her roots in American folk music, jazz, and blues singing. As a mover, she reclaims her early training in swing dance, salsa, and Argentine tango and has found immense joy and satisfaction incorporating improvised movement such as gaga dance into her artistic and spiritual practice. Joanna is honored to be a part of this production of STIMMUNG, her debut performance at LBO.

Kasper

Kasper (they/them) is a Los Angeles based non-binary performer, diversity consultant, and facilitator. In 2019, they played Reza in the west coast premiere of the musical ONCE(3DT), becoming the first Black femme cast in the show’s history. Other notable credits include: “Geeked Thoughts (Netflix),” “Megachurch Murder (Lifetime),” Hymns (Getty Villa), Hive Rise (Geffen MOCA), Frankenstein (Ovation Award winner/The Wallis), 13th Point (Geffen Playhouse), When Jazz Had the Blues (NAACP Theatre Award winner/Matrix Theatre). They have lent their voice to Disney, providing vocals for the animated series “The Lion Guard” theme song, as well as opening for Grammy Award winning artists like Macy Gray and Verdine White from Earth, Wind & Fire. As co-founder of Hope Collective, they utilize the power of narrative and intentional community building to connect activists to the tangible resources they need to create lasting change. For more information, please visit www.kasperofficial.com

Charlie Kim

Charlie Kim is a versatile performer with several musical identities—tenor, pianist, conductor, educator, and community arts leader. He is thrilled to be making his Long Beach Opera debut as a vocalist for this production. His most recent vocal appearances include Lagrime di San Pietro (Los Angeles Master Chorale world tour), Nanki-Poo in The Mikado(Pacific Opera Project), Ojiichan/Mojave Boy in The White Bird of Poston (Los Angeles Opera Connects) and as a soloist for large events like Big Sing California and High School Choral Festival (Los Angeles Master Chorale). He is currently scheduled to appear as a soloist in Walt Disney Concert Hall for the premiere of Ready, Bright by Derrick Spiva with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Charlie is a member of SAG-AFTRA, with credits as a performer on-screen, in the recording studio, and as a coach for on-screen talent. He can be heard on the soundtrack to “Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker,” “The Complete Symphonies of Charles Ives” with Los Angeles Philharmonic, and “The Sacred Veil” by Eric Whitacre. He has appeared on screen with Cardi B and Weird Al Yankovic and has served as talent coach with names like JK Simmons for Amazon Studios. His commercial work is currently receiving national circulation. As a community arts leader, Charlie is the conductor and artistic director for the San Fernando Valley Master Chorale. He seeks to create more opportunities for high-quality classical music by partnering with other local performance organizations and forging supportive relationships with the City of Los Angeles. Charlie was last seen as conductor and music director with Pacific Opera Project in their recent production of Bizet’s Don Procopio. Charlie currently serves as the Director of Choirs and Orchestra at the Brentwood School in Los Angeles.

David Castillo

David Castillo is a Los Angeles-based artist from the eclectic city of New Orleans. He attended Loyola University New Orleans and arrived in Los Angeles over a decade ago to continue his studies at the USC Thornton School of Music. David graduated with honors from both institutions. David’s previous engagements with Long Beach Opera include the 2020 Songbook in Theresa Wong’s As We Breathe and Frida. Highlights from David’s solo performance work brought him to Paris (Winterreise), The Cleveland Orchestra (Pelléas et Mélisande), the LA Philharmonic (Andriessen’s Theatre of the World, Bernstein’s MassEuroperas 1 & 2War of the Worlds, and in production for Fidelio), Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival (Bernstein’s Mass), and the LA Master Chorale (Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent, Whitacre’s The Gift of MagiAlexander’s Feast, and Matthäus-Passion). Since his boy choir days, David complimented his solo career with his love for choral singing. He resides as a member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and sings as a SAG-AFTRA session singer with credits including “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”, “Encanto,” “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse,” and “Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War” in other areas of Hollywood; you will find David on-camera in several commercials, playing the trumpet in Camila Cabello’s music video “Liar,” and on other soon to be released credits. You will hear David’s voiceover work on several Netflix series’ and commercials.
 
As a producer, David created Seven Deadly Sins, where he worked with singers, dancers, mixologists, and 14 of New Orleans’ best chefs to fuse the culinary, visual, movement, sound arts into a sinfully indulgent experience. His other productions include INNERVISIONS:revisited and William Nedved + Project Runway Winner Kentaro Kameyama’s The Passion of McQueen, and Kentaro’s for Anna. David and Kentaro have several more projects in the works. David is on the vocal faculty at Moorpark College and has two beautiful and silly pups, Pippa and Rafa (@PipNRaf). www.DavidCastillo.LA +@davidcastilyo

Paul Chwe MinChul

Paul Chwe MinChul An is a Korean-American multi-disciplinary bass singer in the Los Angeles area. Critically acclaimed by The New York Times, Opera News, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, and others, he has originated 20 operatic, theatrical, film, and concert roles, in addition to performing 50 roles in the canon in a career spanning two decades. Paul followed the advice of his teacher W. Stephen Smith at Juilliard, who told him to study and perform everything under the sun while achieving a specialist’s facility and depth in each discipline and genre. As an operatic Basso Cantante, he has performed works from Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, to Meredith Monk with local, regional, and national companies such as LA Opera, San Diego Opera, Nashville Opera, Orlando Opera, PROTOTYPE Festival, and Long Beach Opera.
 
As an Oratorio soloist and chamber musician, he has performed the works of early to contemporary masters with such groups as NY Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Ensemble VIII, Tenet, and Laude in venues ranging from school gyms to Carnegie Hall. Although Paul does not consider himself fixed to one discipline or genre, he particularly revels in the collaborative process of originating roles. He is lucky to call giants like Meredith Monk, Kamala Sankaram, Ellen Reid, Yuval Sharon, James Darrah, Julian Wachner, Beth Morrison, Kristin Marting, and Alex Gedeon, his friends and collaborators. Adjacent to the stage, Paul Chwe MinChul An is working to carve out space for underrepresented artists. As a consultant to performing arts organizations, as well as member of the Queens Voice Lab, he is joining other beautiful and powerful voices to decolonize, abolish, build, and raise up institutions and communities.

Fahad Siadat

Fahad Siadat creates interdisciplinary storytelling works, folding together words, sound, and movement into ritualistic narratives. His work is described by the press as “Exceptional” (LA Times), “hypnotic” (Backstage) and having “a sophisticated harmonic vocabulary” (San Diego Story) with “characteristic vivaciousness” (Theatre Scene). He is an advocate of innovative and adventurous music, particularly for vocal ensembles and approaches this advocacy as a performer, composer, conductor and entrepreneur. Fahad maintains a robust performing schedule and has performed as soloist with such groups as LA’s groundbreaking opera company The Industry, and the Grammy award-winning ensemble PARTCH. He is the director of the Resonance Collective, a multifaceted organization which explores the intersections of artistic and spiritual practice, as well as the new music vocal ensemble HEX. Fahad is regularly commissioned to compose for concert music ensembles, dance companies, and theater troupes including: The Esoterics, Theater Dybbuk, Rosanna Gamson Dance, Monmouth University, Jacksonville Dance Theater, the California EAR Unit, and the TOCCATA Orchestra. His music has been performed in Europe, China, and across the United States. In 2012, he founded See-A-Dot Music Publishing, Inc., a company devoted to the advocacy of adventurous choral music. To hear his work, visit www.fahadsiadat.com

Kenneth Nicholson

Kenneth Nicholson is an American fashion designer who founded his eponymous label in 2016. In his work, Nicholson evolves historical points of reference with empirical application and innovation. With an emphasis on superior construction, movement, textures and strong silhouettes, Nicholson’s collections are wholly unique unto the brand. Nicholson began designing collections and hosting fashion presentations in his native Houston, TX at the age of 14. He was then awarded a scholarship to San Francisco’s Academy of Art University and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy. In 2018, Nicholson was invited by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to show his new collection, Lover From the Bath, at New York Fashion Week. In 2019 Nicholson collaborated with Reebok designing a series of shoes featured on the runway in his Autumn Winter 2020 collection. In 2020 he wrote and directed his first film “Grasp” and was awarded the Icon 360 Grant and nominated as Emerging Designer of the Year for the CFDA Fashion Awards. In 2021 he was a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, joining the class of some of the most prestigious designers awarded the same and was voted to become an official member of the CFDA as well as a second time nominee for the CFDA Fashion Awards. He also attended his first Met Gala dressing F1 seven time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, and the President and CEO of the CFDA Steven Kolb. As a new label in its 5th year from conception, Kenneth Nicholson has swiftly become a leading brand with offerings that speak on multiple levels. https://www.instagram.com/kenneth.nicholson/

FUNDING INFO 

Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Long Beach Opera receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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longbeachopera.org


Featured image: composer Karlheinz Stockhausen

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