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Charles Murdock Lucas – “The Greatest Liberty” with selected arias by Anthony Davis


    This production was presented as part of Our Voices: Immersive Composer Collaborations, a series at the Eastman Opera Theatre. The series immersed the singers, designers, directors, and technicians in a collaborative process with six influential contemporary composers. The singers and composer were involved in the design process from the very start, in contrast to some traditional production modes. Each composer curated the production in collaboration with the artistic staff. The composer for this production was Anthony Davis, and the production consisted of several arias from various full length operatic works composed by Davis.

    The pandemic required that the team use creativity to overcome adversity in production. In the depths of the pandemic, rather than retreat into the comfort of the familiar, this production advanced a series of viewpoints rarely explored in opera to confront conflicting ideas of what makes a community.

    The result of this collaboration was a streamed video performance presented as a gallery of unique American experiences and identities comes to life in singing portraits. This socially conscious collection of work was produced using video editing, animation, and digital painting techniques, some of which were enhanced with machine learning animation.

    This was produced with the strictest safety precautions during the pandemic. For example, the performer did not share the performance space with any persons during remote filming.

    The pandemic allowed us to step back, re-examine the stories that were being told in opera, and re-center the conversation around stories infrequently presented in the artform. The constraints on the production process allowed us to innovate in how we presented these characters to the audience as well, which created a uniquely confrontational performance style

    Production Credits

    Eastman Opera Theatre

    Composer – Anthony Davis

    Various Librettists
    Thulani Davis
    Allan Havis
    Michael John LaChiusa
    Richard Wesley

    Director – Stephen Carr
    Conductor – Wilson Southerland
    Conductor – Timothy Long

    Media Design – Charles Murdock Lucas
    Scene Design – Charles Murdock Lucas
    Costume Design
    – Carly Holzwarth
    Lighting Design – Nic Minetor
    Sound Design – Rich Wattie

    Tech Director – Mark Houser
    Scenic Artist – Nicole LaClair
    Wig Personnel – Carly Holzwarth
    Stage Manager – Joshua Lau

    Actors featured in Photos

    Alexandra Rose Hotz
    Alexandria McNeely
    Georgia Pappa
    Peter Schoellkopff
    Bergsvein Toverud
    Travon Walker