In this world premiere, an illiterate woman is gang-raped as retribution for an ‘honor crime’ her brother allegedly committed. She doesn't surrender. She becomes the first woman in Pakistan to bring her attackers to justice. Her name is Mukhtar.
With a score influenced by traditional Hindustani and Western classical music, Thumbprint, the contemporary opera-theatre work by composer Kamala Sankaram, librettist Susan Yankowitz and directed by Rachel Dickstein, follows Mukhtar’s human rights crusade along a road she must walk and pave at the same time. The libretto stems originally from a series of interviews with Mukhtar herself, and poetically explores the deep family ties and tribal traditions that shape Mukhtar's story. Through acts of courage that astonish even her, Mukhtar is transformed, and so is the world that watches.
A Post-Show Conversation about International Human Rights with esteemed panelists will follow the January 11 show.
Thumbprint started as a song-cycle commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects for the 2009 21c Liederabend at Galapagos Art Space, was further developed for the 2011 iteration at The Kitchen, and will now receive its final development and world-premiere in this co-production by BMP and HERE.
Location: Baruch Performing Arts Center, The Nagelberg Theatre.
Baruch College, 55 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Kamala Sankaram is a composer whose music has been praised as “strikingly original” (Allan Kozinn, The New York Times). She performed as part of American Opera Projects “Opera Grows in Brooklyn” series, at HERE, the Stone, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Santa Fe New Music Festival, and the Lucerne Festival, among others. As a resident artist at HERE, Kamala created Miranda, a steampunk murder mystery opera called “enjoyable, utterly original opera” (New York Post) and “among the very best theater achievements of 2012” (NYTheater.com). She was the 2011 Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis Composer-in-Residence at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy and the 2012 Composer-in-Residence at the Eugene O’Neil Theater. She is the recent recipient of a 2013 Jonathan Larson Award.
Susan Yankowitz is a playwright, novelist, librettist and occasional screenwriter. Among her best-known plays are Night Sky (produced off-Broadway and internationally); Phaedra in Delirium (produced at CSCand WPP, NY; winner, QRL poetic play competition); Terminal and 1969TERMINAL1996, collaborations with Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre (Drama Desk Award); A Knife in the Heart (Sledgehammer Theatre 2002); and Foreign Bodies (finalist, O’Neill Conference 2008.) Cheri, with music by Michael Dellaira, was a finalist for the 2006 Richard Rodgers Award and excerpts were performed by artists from Portland Opera and Tacoma Opera as part of OPERA America's New Works Sampler. She wrote the libretto for Slain in the Spirit, a gospel-and-blues opera with music by Taj Mahal, and book/lyrics for True Romances, music by Elmer Bernstein Silent Witness, her novel, was published by Knopf and her teleplay about Sylvia Plath aired on PBS and won her a WGA nomination for best-written documentary of the season. Her long monologue about Mukhtar is in continual production in the U.S. and internationally, as part of Seven. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is widely published and anthologized.
Steven Osgood conducted the world premieres of Tan Dun’s Peony Pavilion, Jonathan Sheffer’s Blood on the Dining Room Floor, Janice Hamer‘s Lost Childhood, Paula Kimper‘s Patience and Sarah, Xenakis's Oresteia, Missy Mazzoli‘s Song from the Uproar, and most recently Daron Hagen’s Little Nemo in Slumberland. Later in 2013 he appears with Memphis Opera, makes his debut with Hawaii Opera Theater, and conducts workshops with American Lyric Theater and the Metropolitan Opera. In July he returns to Chautauqua Opera to conduct Peter Grimes.
He was Artistic Director of American Opera Projects from 2001 to 2008. He created the company’s nationally recognized Composers and the Voice Workshop Series, and led workshops of dozens of works in development. In recent seasons he has conducted productions with De Nederlands Opera, Ft. Worth Opera Festival, New York City Opera, Long Beach Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Memphis, Edmonton Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard Opera. He has led concerts with the ICE Ensemble, Chautauqua Symphony, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Wintergreen Festival Orchestra. He has been a Cover Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera since 2006. His recordings of Lee Hoiby’s A Month in the Country and Summer and Smoke are available on Albany Records.
Rachel Dickstein is a writer, director, teacher and founding Artistic Director of Ripe Time, a company devoted to creating movement based, ensemble devised adaptations. For the company, she choreographed and directed Septimus and Clarissa(Drama Desk and Drama League nominations) at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, for which she was nominated for a SDC Calloway Outstanding Directing award. Other Ripe Time projects include Fire Throws at 3LD Art and Technology Center,Betrothed Innocents at the Ohio Theatre, The Secret of Steep Ravines at P.S. 122, The Holy Mother of Hadley New York co-produced with New Georges at the Ohio Theatre, and The Palace at 4 A.M at HERE Arts Center. Other projects include Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd In What Language? at the Asia Society, REDCAT and PICA; and Ellen McLaughlin The Trojan Women at Purchase College. Rachel is under commission with People's Light and Theatre to write and direct Sylvan Wood, in collaboration with Susan Zeeman Rogers, a site specific dance-theatre work to be staged at Longwood Gardens. She has served as Assistant Director to Martha Clarke on new opera works at Lincoln Center Festival, New York City Opera, the Munich Bienale, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Recipient of the NEA/TCG Director's Fellowship researching and training with dance master I Ketut Kantor in Bali, Indonesia. She is also a former Drama League Fellow, a graduate of Yale College, and faculty member at Purchase College's Conservatory of the Arts. www.ripetime.org
55 Lexington Ave., New York, NY Entry on 25th St.
— The New York Times , on Kamala Sankaram