• An illustration of a high-heeled foot on a staircase laden with risk: a spilled bloody mary, a river, a mouse trap. Bright green background.

Five Ways to Die

June 27, 2024 at 7:00 pm
Friday June 28, 2024 at 7:00 pm
Saturday June 29, 2024 at 7:00 pm
Sunday June 30, 2024 at 1:30 pm

145 6th Avenue
New York, NY

Experiments in Opera presents a world premiere production of their new opera, Five Ways to Die, at HERE from June 27-30, 2024Five Ways to Die will feature a chamber ensemble of five instrumentalists and a cast of six singers in four short, interconnected stories featuring secrets, serial killers, magical portals and of course, death. Characters in these uproarious and wild stories—brunching assassins, revolutionary rats, a mom and daughter on a never-ending trip to the mall—die in a multitude of ways, by poison, drowning, or plague, but they do so with a kind of grace and abandon that you would only find at the opera.

Five Ways to Die was written and composed by artists in Experiments in Opera’s critically-acclaimed Writers’ Room, a regularly-occurring program for composers and librettists that Experiments in Opera began in 2019. The Writers’ Room challenges the precedent of single authorship and embraces a model where multiple composers and librettists create a large-scale work that embodies the spirit of an inclusive and collaborative community. Prior Writers’ Room works include Aqua Net & Funyuns (2020) and Everything For Dawn (2022).

“Mischief (or Rathattan)”
New York City’s rats devise a plan to deal with their most annoying pests: human beings.
Libretto Britt Hewitt
Composition Jesse Gelaznik

“Valhalla Valley Mall”
A woman explores an abandoned mall as Sirens induce her to venture further into what becomes an infinite labyrinth.
Libretto & Composition Jason Cady

“Water Prayer”
Water struggles with the inherent loss and destruction of maintaining Earth’s tenuous balance.
Libretto Marcella Murray
Composition Seong Ae Kim

“Serials Killers and The City”
Four women, brunching in the Upper East Side, discuss life, love, and how best to dispose of a body.
Libretto Joanie Brittingham
Composition Del’Shawn Taylor

Alize Francheska Rozsnyai, soprano
Rose Hegele, soprano
Melisa Bonetti Luna, mezzo-soprano
Lisa Neher, mezzo-soprano
Kannan Vasudevan, tenor

Seth Gilman, baritone

Clarinet/bass clarinet: Eileen Mack
Electric guitar: James Moore
Acoustic/Electric bass: Tristan Kastin-Krause
Vibraphone/Percussion: Joe Bergen
Drumset: Matt Evans

Conductor: Dmitry Glivinskiy
Stage Direction: Shannon Sindelar
Scenic Design: Efren Delgadillo
Costume Design: Normandy Sherwood
Lighting Design: Christina Tang
Technical Director: Sarah Schetter
Stage Manager: Max Mooney
Sound Engineer: Nathaniel Butler

This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE: Co-op, HERE’s curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as a technical liaison.

About the Artists

Joanie Brittingham (librettist) is a writer and the Associate Editor for Classical Singer Magazine. She has been praised for her “dramatic versatility” (Opera News), “meltingly beautiful” interpretations (Forbes), “lovely soprano” and “lucid diction” (New York Times), “captivating stage presence” (New York Classical Review), “strength and resistance” (Opera Wire) and “outstanding solo work” (New York Concert Review). Brittingham has performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Symphony Space and with Riverside Theatre, the New Ohio Theatre, Fresh Squeezed Opera, New Amsterdam Opera, Chelsea Opera, the New Works Festival with OPERA America, American Lyric Theatre, and VHRP Live, among others. Her new book Practicing for Singers is available from Amazon. Visit her on Instagram and TikTok @joaniebrittingham or at joaniebrittingham.com.

Jason Cady (composer/librettist) Jason performs on pedal steel guitar and modular synthesizer. Pitchfork called him a “mod-synth mastermind…funny and engaging.” Anthony Tommasini, in the New York Times, described his video opera, I Screwed Up the Future, as “charming fantasy…drably comic and spacey.” Cady’s music has been released on Aerocade, Lockstep Records and Peacock Recordings, and his podcast opera, Buick City, 1:00 AM is available on Apple Podcasts. The University of Michigan Press published his essay in “Beyond Notation: the Music of Earle Brown.” Cady has an M.A. in composition from Wesleyan University, where he studied with Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. He was born in Flint, Michigan and now lives in New York City with his wife, Ann Heppermann, and their two cats. He is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Jesse Gelaznik (composer) is a composer, visual artist, and founder of Dirty Churches. His bizarre contemporary operas have premiered at La MaMa Galleria (Era of Good Feelings, 2019) and the Mattress Factory Museum (RUMPLES a video opera, 2021). His new opera MISCHIEF (Rathattan) with a libretto by Britt Hewitt will be featured as one of the FIVE WAYS TO DIE, by Experiments in Opera. Jesse’s music for art installation is currently on view as the sound component to Andréa Stanislav’s installation “SPINNER SONG” at the Russian Museum of Art in Minneapolis, MN. His music has also recently been commissioned by The Sembrich Opera Museum in conjunction with the Hyde Museum and performed by HUB New Music (Cubes and Anarchy: A Homage to David Smith 2023). Jesse’s music has premiered at Sundance and MoMA (H., 2014), Sharjah Art Foundation for their Biennale X and the Vitoria and Albert Museum Friday Late series (PWR&$$$ 2011).

Dmitriy Glivinskiy (conductor) is a Ukrainian vocal coach and conductor and the Music Director of the Opera department and head vocal coach at the University of Connecticut. He is a graduate of Mannes College of Music and of the Peabody Institute where, among his teachers, were Pavlina Dokovska, Boris Slutsky and Scott Jackson Wiley. He is a former faculty member of Hofstra University and Brooklyn College. He is currently part of the creative team for the American Opera Projects and NYU/Tisch Opera Lab which is an incubator for new operas.

Britt Hewitt (librettist) is a performer/composer based in New York City. Hewitt earned her degree in Vocal Arts from The Juilliard School, and has performed as a classical vocalist with organizations like National Sawdust, Opera Saratoga, Le Château de Versailles, Opera Holland Park, The Stone, and Experiments in Opera. She also maintains work as an actor, songwriter, film composer, and librettist. Hewitt is a member of the New York Songwriters Circle and a staff vocalist with Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church’s chamber ensemble. Find out more about Britt’s work and other upcoming engagements here: www.britthewitt.com

Seong Ae Kim (composer) is a Korean-born composer based in New York City. Her recent works spanning the past 5 years have been acutely focused on amplifying self-truth and voicing social justice concerns. As a passionate advocate for social justice, Kim has collaborated with fellow artists and ensembles to address and confront the practitioners of social injustice in our society, particularly those who oppress others through acts of racial discrimination and immigrant scapegoating. She has been recognized with awards from Jerome Foundation, New Music USA and the Composers Now/Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Her recent commissions include Yarn/Wire, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Tinguely Museum in Basel, Hypercube, Amanda Gookin of Forward Music Project, Popebama, Ensemble Ipse, Ensemble mise-en and Parhelion trio among others. She holds PhD in composition from Stony Brook University, MA and BA in composition and conducting from University for music and performing arts in Vienna, Austria. www.seongaekim.com

Marcella Murray (librettist) is a New York-based theater artist from Augusta, Georgia. She is a playwright, performer, collaborator, and puppeteer. Murray’s work is heavily inspired by the observed ways in which people tend to segregate and reconnect. Her work tends to focus on themes of identity within a community and (hopefully) forward momentum in the face of trauma. Her work has been seen at Performance Space NY, Abrons Arts Center, Mabou Mines, Dixon Place, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Chez Bushwick, Detroit Institute of Art, The Brick, French Institute; Alliance Française, The Loading Dock, La MaMa, UNC Chapel Hill/Carolina Center for Performing Arts, UW Madison, MCA Chicago, and BAM. She, along with David Neumann and Tei Blow, created Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed (Obie Special Citation) and Primer for an Impossible Conversation, a digital theater piece. They are currently developing a third piece with the support of UNC Chapel Hill’s Southern Futures commission. Murray is a co-curator of the Object Movement Puppetry Residency and is a guest professor of Theatre at Sarah Lawrence College.

Shannon Sindelar (director) is a theater director and producer based in New York City. Recent directing work includes the NYC premiere of Lisa Clair’s Willa’s Authentic Self and regional premieres of Madeleine George’s Hurricane Diane, Clare Barron’s Dance Nation, and the Southern premiere of Jaclyn Backus’ Men on Boats. She currently serves as producing director for the Obie Award-winning company The Builders Association and managing director for Experiments in Opera. For many years she directed the productions of the cross-media performance group 31 Down. She served as managing and programming director of The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, where she produced theatre auteur Richard Foreman’s works. She co-founded the Incubator Arts Project and served as curator for four years, where she oversaw the Other Forces festival. She is an adjunct professor at Barnard College, an affiliated artist with New Georges, and a board member of the performance ensemble Object Collection. MFA: Carnegie Mellon (John Wells Directing Fellow).

Del’Shawn Taylor (composer) is an award-winning baritone, composer, author, and arts equity advocate. As a soloist, he has won awards from competitions such as American Prize and the Metropolitan International Music Festival, while making solo debuts on national and international stages such as Lincoln Center, Chicago Symphony Center, and the Musical Eisteddfod. As an emerging composer, he has premiered new works in workshops with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and the Julius Quartet, with commissions from organizations like the Opera Theater of Saint Louis and the Cincinnati Song Initiative. As an arts equity advocate and children’s book author, Del’Shawn passionately works with arts organizations to ensure that children regardless of socio-economic background have access to the transformative power of the arts. He serves on the DEI committees of the South Bend Symphony, Inside the Orchestra, Thompson Street Opera Company, the board of Art Song Colorado, and the board of Inside the Orchestra.