Untitled (inspired by Film Stills)



Untitled (inspired by Film Stills) is a series of four operatic monodramas exploring the stages of transformation and identity in a woman’s life.

Untitled (inspired by Film Stills) is a series of four operatic monodramas exploring the stages of transformation and identity in a woman’s life.

Inspired by iconic photographs from Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977–80), #12, #60, #39, and #48, the piece is a study of four women, each confronting a critical choice that determines the course of their lives.

Both an installation and a live performance, the piece invites audiences to intimately experience the visceral power of operatic storytelling through music. The audience participates in this transformative journey as voyeurs into scenes of lust, creation, empowerment and destruction.

Artists Eve Gigliotti (mezzo- soprano & Creative Producer), Royce Vavrek (libretto), R.B. Schlather (director), and composers Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, Paola Prestini, and Ellen Reid, develop the medium of photography into a live physical and sonic environment that challenges archetypes and identity, the roles we are assigned, and the roles we choose to play.

A National Sawdust Projects production

Cast & Production

Eve Gigliotti, Vocalist and Artistic Producer

A passionate interpreter of new American opera and vocal chamber music, Ms. Gigliotti has premiered the roles of Dodo in the world premiere of Breaking the Waves, written by composer/librettist team Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek (Opera Philadelphia); Al Quds (World Premiere) by Mohammed Fairouz commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Ruth in Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly and Stephen Karam (Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia); The Mother in The Bricklayer by Greg Spears (HGOco); Yoani Songs, a song cycle by Paola Prestini (Bay Chamber Music Festival); and “Archaeology,” a song written exclusively for her by acclaimed composer/librettist team David Little and Royce Vavrek featured in the Opera America Songbook.  Having a range spanning Handel to Wagner, Ms. Gigliotti made her role debuts as Cornelia in Giulio Cesare with Florentine Opera and Bradamante in Alcina with RB Schlather Productions respectively.  She was featured as Siegrüne of with the Grammy Award Winning production of Die Walküre at The Metropolitan Opera (Live in HD Broadcast), as well as Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera. Among other notable companies, Ms. Gigliotti’s credits include: Wolf Trap Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Florentine, Odyssey Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Hawaii Opera Theater, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Royce Vavrek, Librettist

Royce Vavrek has been called “the indie Hofmannsthal” (The New Yorker), a “Metastasio of the downtown opera scene” (The Washington Post), and “an exemplary creator of operatic prose” (The New York Times).  His notable lyrics/libretti include JFK (Fort Worth Opera/American Lyric Theater/Opéra de Montréal), Dog Days (Peak Performances @ Montclair/Beth Morrison Projects/Fort Worth Opera/LA Opera/Prototype Festival/Theatre Bielefeld/Staatstheater Schwerin) and Am I Born (Brooklyn Philharmonic/Brooklyn Youth Chorus) with David T. Little; 27 (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis/Pittsburgh Opera) with Ricky Ian Gordon; Song from the Uproar (Beth Morrison Projects/The Kitchen/LA Opera) and Breaking the Waves (Opera Philadelphia/Beth Morrison Projects) with Missy Mazzoli; Angel’s Bone (Prototype Festival) with Du Yun; O Columbia (HGOco) with Gregory Spears; and The Hubble Cantata (Bay Chamber Concerts/VisionIntoArt/ BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival) with Paola Prestini. Upcoming projects include Midwestern Gothic with Joshua Schmidt for Signature Theatre, Virginia; The House Without a Christmas Tree with Ricky Ian Gordon for Houston Grand Opera; and Proving Up with Missy Mazzoli for Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and The Miller Theatre. Royce is Co-Artistic Director with soprano Lauren Worsham of the opera-theater company The Coterie, and an alumnus of Concordia University (Montreal), the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at NYU, and American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program.

R.B. Schlather, Director

Celebrated American artist and opera director R. B. Schlather has been described as “having a gift for drawing out vivid performances” (New York Times), and an “ability to demolish the barriers of propriety and politeness that seem to plague much of traditional operatic experience” (Opera News). In the 2016/17 season he makes his directing debut with Curtis Opera Theater with a new production of John Adam’s “Doctor Atomic,” and is developing a commission from Opera Philadelphia for a performance at the Barnes Foundation. He is an Artist-in-Residence at celebrated Brooklyn new music venue National Sawdust, directing three performances including a workshop of Handel’s “Ariodante” with regular collaborator Geoffrey McDonald. His one-week performance installation of David Lang’s “little match girl passion” originally commissioned for Perez Art Museum Miami performs at The School | Jack Shainman Galery, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in December. As a stage director he has professional affiliations with the Bard Music Festival at the Richard B. Fisher Center, Opera Philadelphia,Boston Lyric Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu, English National Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Canadian Opera Company,Tanglewood Music Festival, New York City Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, (le) Poisson Rouge, Salon/Sanctuary Concerts, and Ash Lawn Opera. His solo performance DON’T CALL ME CRUEL, BABY was presented by CATCH! (2015) and Prelude NYC (2015). He performed at the Guggenheim Museum and The Kitchen in Gerard & Kelly’s Timelining (2014/5). His work has been published by Emergency Index(2011). He lives and works in New York City and Hudson, NY. Mr. Schlather is represented by Columbia Artist Management, Inc.

Paola Prestini, composer

Paola Prestini is “the enterprising composer and impresario” (The New York Times) behind the new Brooklyn venue National Sawdust and the ”Visionary-In-Chief” (Time Out NY) of the production company VisionIntoArt (VIA), home to VIA Records. Named one of NPR’s “Top 100 Composers in the World under 40,” her compositions are deemed “radiant… amorously evocative” by The New York Times, and ”spellbinding” by The Washington Post. She has collaborated with poets, filmmakers, conservationists, and astrophysicists in multi-media works that have been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, and the Kronos Quartet, and have premiered at BAM, the Krannert Center, the Walker Art Center, and Celebrate Brooklyn. Her music is released on VIA Records, Innova, and Tzadik. She studied at the Juilliard School and was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans. paolaprestini.com.

Missy Mazzoli, composer

Recently deemed “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York” (New York Times) and “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” (Time Out New York), Missy Mazzoli has had her music performed globally by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, New York City Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra and many others. From 2012-2015 she was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia, Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre-Group, and in 2011-2012 was composer-in-residence with the Albany Symphony. In February 2012 Beth Morrison Projects presented Song from the Uproar, Missy’s first multimedia chamber opera, which had a sold-out run at venerable New York venue The Kitchen. The Wall Street Journal called this work “both powerful and new”, and the New York Times claimed that “in the electric surge of Ms. Mazzoli’s score you felt the joy, risk and limitless potential of free spirits unbound.” Recent months included the sold-out west coast premiere of Song from the Uproar with LA Opera, as well as the premiere of new works performed by pianist Emanuel Ax, Kronos Quartet, ETHEL, the LA Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony. Missy also performs regularly with her band Victoire, a chamber pop group she founded in 2008, dedicated to her own compositions. They released their debut album Cathedral City in 2010 to great acclaim from the New Yorker, NPR, and Time Out New York.  Missy’s 2014 work Vespers for a New Dark Age was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Victoire, and percussionist Glenn Kotche, and premiered there in 2014. With librettist Royce Vavrek, Missy is currently working on an operatic adaptation of Breaking the Waves, a 1996 film by Lars von Trier. Breaking the Waves will premiere at Opera Philadelphia in September 2016, and at Beth Morrison Projects’ Prototype Festival in New York in January 2017.  Missy is the recipient of a 2015 grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, four ASCAP Young Composer Awards and a Fulbright Grant to the Netherlands. She is currently on the composition faculty at Mannes College of Music and her music is published by G. Schirmer.

Nico Muhly, composer

Nico Muhly (b.1981) is an American composer and sought-after collaborator whose influences range from American minimalism to the Anglican choral tradition. The recipient of commissions from The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and others, he has written more than 80 works for the concert stage, including the operas Two Boys (2010), Dark Sisters (2011), and the forthcoming Marnie; the song cycles Sentences (2015), for countertenor Iestyn Davies, and Impossible Things (2009), for tenor Mark Padmore; a viola concerto for violist Nadia Sirota; and the choral works My Days (2011) and Recordare, Domine (2013), written for the Hilliard Ensemble and the Tallis Scholars respectively. Muhly is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Benjamin Millepied and, as an arranger, has paired with Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, Joanna Newsom, and Antony and the Johnsons, among others. He has composed for stage and screen, with credits that include music for the 2013 Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie and scores for the films Kill Your Darlings; Me, Earl And The Dying Girl; and the Academy Award-winning The Reader. Born in Vermont, Muhly studied composition with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse at the Juilliard School before working as an editor and conductor for Philip Glass. He is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes (2006) and Mothertongue (2008). He currently lives in New York City.



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