This wild meditation on transformation and desire scored by the collective voices of fourteen women. Set to Marie Howe’s Magdalene poems, the opera invites an audience into the interior world of Mary Magdalene — enlarging her to cross time and space, she appears as a woman alive now, who strives to heal the unyielding split between the sacred and the sexual. Encountering her life in flashes – wandering through a hotel, lighting birthday candles, making love in the ocean – Magdalene finds transcendence in the mundane to finally become the subject of her own story.
Produced by PROTOTYPE
Magdalene is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature
Photo Credit: Hana Sooyeon Kim
Students and teachers can get a free rush ticket upon presenting valid ID. There is a limit of 1 ticket per person, and the ticket will be given out just before the House closes and the show begins. Entirely subject to availability.
145 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10013
One block south of Spring St.,
enter on Dominick St.
Subway: C or E to Spring St.; 1 to Houston St.; N or R to Prince St.
Bus: M21 to Houston St.; M6 to Spring St.
Both of HERE’s spaces are wheelchair accessible, and fully compliant with ADA requirements
There is an Edison ParkFast lot behind Manhattan Mini Storage on Varick Street and Spring Street. Drivers can enter from Spring or Dominick Street.
272 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
Mary Magdalene is a figure who lives in both the sacred and secular worlds. To devout Christians her significance is difficult to overstate. She is mentioned in the Gospels more times than any of the apostles, and was a witness to the Crucifiction and the Resurrection: to believers this is as close as a human can be to God. The confluence of her story of loyal benefactor, with the faith Mary of Bethany, and a repentant woman cited in the Gospel According to Luke, by Pope Gregory in the sixth century, has been the source of great schisms both within and without Christianity ever since. To what extent it was meant to be an apocryphal story modeling the spirituality of ministering to the abused, or as a deliberate degradation of Mary Magdalene’s character and role in Jesus’ life (and so the role of women in Christian teaching and society) has been to say the least, contentious. That the Catholic church in 1969 officially clarified its stance that the Gospels refer to three different women(and other sects always have); and that the description in the Gospel of the repentant woman is only as “sinful”; and that non-biblical sources describe Mary Magdalene as a deeply intelligent, valued and close advisor to Jesus, has done little to dim her image in the popular imagination as, Jesus’ lover, possible wife, and prostitute. She is now a vassal for all our prejudices and idealisations of womanhood: saint and harlot. The artists creating Magdalene seek distance from these myths and controversies and instead take inspiration from these stories’ elements, among them spirituality, fealty and sexuality, and interpret them through the presentation of a real, contemporary woman, to address in the librettist’s words “the spiritual dimensions of life as they present themselves in this world.”
(Co-creator & Composer) is a Los Angeles-based performer and composer. Lauded as, “something of a nostalgic enigma with a penchant for impeccably balanced songwriting,” her musical background is influenced by years of operatic training and an early childhood spent on a Hindu ashram (The Line of Best Fit). Birrittella’s singing “delivers a delicacy that is emotionally tranquilizing” and “reminiscent of everything from Beach House, to Slowdive, to Julee Cruise” (Pop Matters). Her work has been featured in Vogue, Elle, NPR, and was released on MANIMAL Records. Performances include: Disney Hall’s REDCAT, The LAX Festival, The Chautauqua Institute, The Standard Hotel, The Ace Hotel, SoFar Sounds, The Bootleg Theater, Automata Arts, La Music Lirica (Italy), La Main d’Or (France), and The Ludwig Foundation (Cuba). A native of New England, Birrittella is a graduate of New York University (BA) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA).
Zoe Aja Moore
(Co-creator & Director) is a Los Angeles–based artist and director who uses experimental and rigorous theatrical practices to make performance, theater, opera, and participatory experiences. Her projects engage the performing body as a radical channel of connection to disrupt canonical texts and inherited materials and reconstruct them through a feminized lens. Her work has been presented at venues and festivals including: The Tank, The Ohio Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Standard Hotel, The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, Bootleg Theater, The LAX Festival, REDCAT, home LA, Automata Arts, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Son of Semele, Los Angeles Road Concerts, ltd los angeles, Teatr Studio Warsaw, and National Sawdust. Zoe is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and holds an MFA in Directing from the California Institute of the Arts, where she is currently on faculty in the School of Theater.
(Poet) is the author of four volumes of poetry, Magdalene: Poems; The Kingdom of Ordinary Time; The Good Thief; and What the Living Do, and she is the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others. She has been a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and a recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, and Stanley Kunitz selected Howe for a Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets. In 2015, she received the Academy of American Poets Poetry Fellowship which recognizes distinguished poetic achievement. From 2012-2014, she served as the Poet Laureate of New York State.
(Composer) is a New Zealand composer, performer and improviser. In 2019, her solo cello piece ‘For Edna,’ commissioned by Amanda Gookin’s women’s empowerment project, Forward Music Project, has been played nationally, including at the Kennedy Centre; her afrobeat trip-hop band Lucked In with poet/rapper, Kwame Write and Alejandro Van Zandt-Escobar will be released on XVI Records, London and her improvised music trio Tre Zampe with Richard Comte & Francesco Pastacaldi will be released on Nunc Records, Paris. In 2016, Adu-Gilmore’s music was featured by Peter Sellars at Ojai Music Festival, where two of her chamber pieces “if the stars align” and “Alyssum” were played by the Calder Quartet and ICE’s Bridget Kibbey. In 2014, as Orchestra Wellington’s Emerging-Composer-in-Residence, Adu-Gilmore premiered as soloist and composer of ‘Blessings as Rain Fall,’ for symphony orchestra and voice.
Ruby Kato Attwood
(Composer) (b.1980, Canada, BFA 2006, Studio Arts, Concordia University) Ruby Kato Attwood is an artist living in Tio’tia:ke (Montréal, Canada). Ruby’s practice engages interdisciplinary media techniques, collaboration and political and historical discourses in the milieus of new and rock music.
(Co-creator & Composer) is a Los Angeles based composer. A graduate of California Institute of the Arts and of the UCLA Film Scoring Program, she has applied her versatile composing abilities to an array of works for film, media and live performances. In addition Sheena composes for production company We Are All In, Bleeding Fingers Music and Imaginary Friends Music Partners.
(Composer) is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, composer, and arranger. She has released four solo recordings of her original songs, one recording with her synth band ‘Pilot Violet’, several recordings as a member of the Knights (including a Grammy Nomination in 2016) and has contributed to multiple film scores, commercials, tv shows, concerts, and artistic endeavors in a plethora of ways.
(Composer) is a composer and vocalist residing in New Haven. She has premiered her compositions at Roulette, National Sawdust, The Stone, Art Hamptons, Cabinet Magazine’s Exhibition Space, Issue Project Room and HERE Arts Center. Recipient of the 2011 Artist Residency at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center in partnership with New York Theater Workshop, Herbst received commissions from Roulette and the Jerome Foundation, Sugar Vendil and the Nouveau Classical Project, Duo Noir, Experiments in Opera at Issue Project Room and Fresh Squeezed Opera. She was a 2012 Con Edison Composer-in-Residence through Exploring the Metropolis, Inc., a 2013 Composer-in-Residence at Atlantic Center for the Arts and a 2018 Composer-in-Residence at Roulette where she developed her second opera in progress, Ashes. As a featured vocalist she has performed with Valgeir Sigursson, Zeena Parkins, Missy Mazzoli, Elliott Sharp, Da Capo Chamber Players, Contemporaneous, Allie Avital Tsypin at The Kitchen, and Marina Rosenfeld’s Teenage Lontano in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. Recent touring has included Casa Del Popolo presented by Pop Montreal, Quebec, the Slingshot Festival in Athens, GA, the New Media Art and Sound Summit in Austin, TX, and a series at Roulette curated by Meredith Monk. She currently attends Yale School of Music for composition where she studies with Martin Bresnick and Aaron Jay Kernis, and released her sophomore album, Empty Me, on Double Double Whammy in the fall of 2018.
(Composer) Molly Joyce’s music has been described as of “serene power” (The New York Times) and “superb effect” (The Wire). Her work has been featured at TEDxMidAtlantic, Bang on a Can, Pitchfork and WNYC’s New Sounds. Molly often sings and plays with her vintage toy organ, and studied at The Juilliard School, Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and Yale School of Music.
(Composer) Praised by I Care If You Listen for writing “some of the most unencumbered, authentic, and joyful music that I have heard in recent years,” Irish composer Emma O’Halloran is known for her unabashed embrace of pop influences. Freely intertwining acoustic and electronic music, she has written for folk musicians, chamber ensembles, turntables, laptop orchestra, symphony orchestra, film, and theatre.
(Composer) is a composer-performer, songwriter and visual artist from California. In her “original art songs that are by turns seductive and confessional” (Steve Smith, The New Yorker), Tanner’s passion for storytelling manifests Recent works have been performed by the Albany Symphony with conductor David Alan Miller (commissioned for the 2019 American Music Festival), Miami-based chamber orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble with conductor Jacomo Bairos, the Mannes American Composers ensemble with conductor Michael Repper, and the Yale Philarmonia with conductor Julian Pellicano. Upcoming projects include an orchestral piece for the New York Youth Symphony (a First Music co-commission with Interlochen Center for the Arts). Tanner is thrilled to have been named a 2019 recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Scholarship. Her most recent album, “The Summer Sinks,” was recorded with LA-based studio Oak House Recording and can be heard on all streaming platforms. Tanner received a Bachelors from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance, where she studied composition with Evan Chambers, Kristin Kuster, and Michael Daugherty. She received her Masters from the Yale School of Music, where she studied composition with Hannah Lash, Christopher Theofanidis, Aaron Jay Kernis and David Lang.
(Composer) PROTOTYPE Festival: Bombay Rickey Meets the Psychology of Desire, Thumbprint. NEW YORK: Here Arts Center: Looking at You, Miranda, Sounding; Opera on Tap: The Parksville Murders. SELECT REGIONAL: Shakespeare Theatre Company: The Oresteia; Washington National Opera: Taking Up Serpents; Houston Grand Opera: A Rose, Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers; Opera Ithaca: The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace, Opera Memphis: Formidable, LA Opera: Thumbprint. INTERNATIONAL: Tête-à-Tête Opera (London, England):Bombay Rickey Meets the Psychology of Desire. FILM: Dentist, Five Infomercials for Dentists. AWARDS: Jonathan Larson Award; Innovative Theatre Award: Best Production of a Musical (Miranda); Independent Music Award: Best Eclectic Album (Electric Bhairavi). OTHER: Concert music includes commissions by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Forward Music Project, Duo Cortona, Anti-Social Music, and the South Asian Symphony Orchestra, among others. Kamala is also the leader of Bombay Rickey, a critically acclaimed operatic Bollywood surf ensemble. Upcoming commissions include The Glimmerglass Festival and Washington National Opera. TEACHING: SUNY Purchase: Adjunct Professor of Composition. TRAINING: New School for Social Research: PhD.
(Composer) hails from the peripheries of Iceland. Within her works, Bergrún seeks to establish an internal logic from which the soundscapes emerge, sometimes integrating visual and aural phenomena into an indivisible whole. Her work has been performed widely and by groups such as the Oslo Philharmonic (NO), International Contemporary Ensemble ICE (US) and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (IS).
(Composer) is a US composer and avant-folk vocalist. She has collaborated with artists such as the Rochester Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, Sō Percussion, and Iarla Ó Lionáird. Annika is a doctoral candidate in composition at Princeton University where her research focuses on Dolly Parton’s Vocal technique and interpretation as compositional practice. www.aksocolofsky.com
(Composer) is a versatile performer, cellist & composer. She was a founding members of the experimental dream-pop band múm in her early teens before leaving the band to finish her classical education. Along with her solo projects, Gyða writes music for films, dance & installations. Her albums Epicycle (2016) & Evolution (2018) both won the album of the year at the Iceland music awards.
(Composer) is a composer and sound artist. Her work has been hailed as “ineffably moving” by Mark Swed of the LA Times, “radiant” by Alex Ross of The New Yorker, and it’s been said that her vocal writing would “make you believe that the mythical sirens really existed” (KCRW). Recent projects include dreams of the new world commissioned by Los Angeles Master Chorale, Petrichor commissioned by LACO, HOPSCOTCH with The Industry (dir. Yuval Sharon), and a sound installation for HBO. Upcoming projects include a sound installation for Los Angeles Philharmonic. She splits her time between LA and New York. Headshot by James Matthew Daniel
(Music Director) “A stalwart contributor to the contemporary opera scene” (Opera Ithaca), Mila Henry has collaborated extensively with Beth Morrison Projects, HERE and PROTOTYPE. She has provided music direction for rock musicals, hybrid performance pieces and folk operas, and as a pianist, has performed at the Library of Congress (OPERA America), The Apollo and Dutch National Opera (Opera Philadelphia), and LA Opera (BMP). She can be heard on Voices of Women (Affetto Records) and Love & Trouble (Roven Records), and with the band Opera Cowgirls. In July 2019, she began her new role as Artistic Director of American Opera Projects.
(Music Director) Enjoying a rich and vibrant genre-crossing conducting career, Marc is the founding Music Director of The Industry. He conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group in the Industry’s new performing edition of Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar, and was Music Advisor for the LAPhil’s EUROPERAS 1&2. He has conducted numerous other operatic premieres and was Music Director for Hopscotch. As a composer, Marc has written several long form pieces based on concepts of Jewish and Buddhist meditations and has written two and a half other operas. He teaches at CalArts and has published a course for Coursera entitled “Approaching Music Theory.”