‘As One’ opera, by Laura Kaminsky, tells a universal story about a transgender woman – inspired by an article she read in The New York Times about a transgender woman, written before marriage equality became federal law
**UPDATE: Chicago Premiere, November 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 @ 7 PM. More details
Most new operas are never performed again after they premiere, but Laura Kaminsky’s “As One,” the story of a transgender woman, has already played at several different opera companies since it opened at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in New York City in 2014.
It will have its Pittsburgh premiere at the Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters from Feb. 19 to 26.
While the work focuses on the struggles of the transgender protagonist, Hannah, its popularity may be due to the universality of its themes, according to Kaminsky, the composer of the contemporary chamber opera written for two voices and a string quartet.
“The thing that I think is important for [co-librettists] Mark [Campbell], Kim [Reed] and me, from our perspective, is this is a really universal story,” said Kaminsky. “And while it’s particular to the transformation of Hannah into her fully realized self — and it is a trans story — it is in effect a metaphor. Everybody is constantly transforming themselves over the course of their lifetime, and there’s struggle around that, and there’s humor around that. While people see the specificity of it as a transgender story, they immediately grasp the universality of it.”
Kaminsky, a first generation Jewish American from New York, was raised a Jewish humanist and is driven by the notion of tikkun olam, which she said is reflected in much of her work.
“Every day, you have to wake up and try to make the world a better place; it needs help,” she said. “I think a lot of my work does speak to social, political injustice against other people, and against the environment.”