IN Series sets season of live theater centering DEI

Marking its 40th year, the innovative company plans new collaborations and world premieres to play a dozen DC and Baltimore venues.

IN Series  — DC’s leading creator of innovative theater that resonates through music — returns to live performance this fall with a season of collaborations and world premieres reaching outside the traditional boundaries of opera to center Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in programming, casting, and access to works. Plans include performances at a dozen different venues in Washington, DC, and Baltimore.

Art by Richshaad Ryan

“IN Series didn’t rest in 2020–2021,” said Artistic Director Timothy Nelson. “A theater-in-song company that defies description, that consistently says ‘no’ to the ordinary, said ‘yes’ to the opportunity to be present in the lives of our artists, audiences, and community during the dark days of the past year. We made noise. We made color. We made over 20 films — long, short, animated — we made opera podcasts, opera field trips, opera walking tours, we made operatic howls of repentance and cries for justice, we made space for artists to create dozens of recitals and musical truth-telling moments. We made, and made with insistence, insistence on creating life amidst loss; and now we turn with hope and optimism…towards a new season.”

Nelson shared the company’s ongoing commitment to its free digital platform, INvison: The Logan Operahouse Without Walls. IN Series will continue the artist-curated recital series both in-person and streamed in addition to digital streams of all the season’s mainstage works. (Coming next: Black Women of Opera and Song” with Elise Christina Jenkins, soprano, and Elizabeth Hill, piano; Thursday, July 1, 2021, at 7:00 pm.)

New works specifically imagined for the digital space will include: a film of Benjamin Britten’s five CANTICLES, a co-produced episodic serial opera written by numerous acclaimed American composers including Melissa Dunphy and Kamala Sankaram, and creative works developed by members of the Cardwell Dawson Artist Fellowship, an artist residency for exceptional singing-activist-artists whose work elevates and empowers a new generation of Black opera leaders.

IN Series’ 2021–2022 Season

A FESTIVAL THROUGH GRIEF TO HOPE
Live September 2021
Miracle Theater, DC | Edlavitch DCJCC | Goethe Institut, DC | 6 & I Synagogue, DC

Art by Richshaad Ryan

An opening festival weekend of live events based on IN Series’ 2020–2021 season, featuring live music.

Gluck’s ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE will be screened at DC’s Eastern Market Miracle Cinema with husband and wife countertenor Benjamin Williamson and soprano Paula Sides in the title roles with Simone Luti at the piano.

CHRONICLE OF A LIFE AND LOVE, blending Schumann’s song-cycle Frauenliebe und Leben and writings of Shalom Auslander, is adapted for the stage and performed by Elizabeth Mondragon and Noah Mitchel as part of JxJ at the Edlavitch DCJCC.

PIECES OF A LAST ACT combines songs of Wagner with the final transfiguring act of his Tristan und Isolde in an exploration of 2020 care-workers becoming spiritual guides at the end of life, featuring Maribeth Diggle, Brian Arreola, and special guest Alexander Oliver. Screened under the stars at DC’s new Goethe-Institut.

A CONCERT OF NEW BEGINNINGS at Sixth & I is made from the music of Mozart and Bernstein, and features eight of IN Series’ most beloved artists and the words of poets from around the world commissioned by IN Series to write poems meditating on coming through this past year. (Sixth & I is not a sponsor of this program.)

BOHEME IN THE HEIGHTS
Live October 2021
GALA Hispanic Theatre, DC | Patterson Theater, Baltimore

Art by Richshaad Ryan

The animated Spanish-language Afro-LatinX reimagining of Puccini’s classic opera comes to the big screen of DC’s GALA Hispanic Theatre and Baltimore’s Patterson Theatre with live music performed by the original cast. This film, created by young Baltimore animators and set in DC’s Columbia Heights neighborhood in winter and spring of 2020, tells of the exuberant creative power of youth, the transcendence of love, and the heartbreak of first loss.

With Judy Yannini, Louis Riva, Melissa Wimbish, Alex Alburqueque, Carl DuPont, Jarrod Lee, and Peter Burroughs. Led from the piano by Carlos Cesar Rodriguez.

A FAIRY QUEEN
Live December 2021
Atlas Performing Arts Center, DC | Baltimore Theatre Project, MD

Art by Richshaad Ryan

Blending Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the unforgettable music of Henry Purcell, this melodious dream comes to life on stage in the style of a classic radio play with live sound effect creation, featuring local radio personalities Murray Horwitz and John Scherch as master of ceremonies. Acclaimed soprano Claron McFadden joins a full baroque orchestra as the clarion voice of a trumpet,

adorning this celebration of “the winter of our discontent made glorious summer.”

Timothy Nelson, Director and Music Director, leads an international cast: Ben Williamson, Sara Couden, Carl Dupont, Jarrod Lee, Sylvia Leith, Lucy Page, Aaron Sheehan, and Melissa Wimbish.

I WAS LOOKING AT THE CEILING AND THEN I SAW THE SKY
Live February 2022
A co-production with Theater Alliance
Anacostia Playhouse, DC

Art by Richshaad Ryan

To begin its year-long and cities-wide celebration of its 40th anniversary, IN Series produces composer John Adams and poet June Jordon’s song-play, I WAS LOOKING AT THE CEILING AND THEN I SAW THE SKY. A work blending America’s popular music styles and exploring the hurt and hope in our society, this is one of the nation’s not-to-miss operatic happenings of the year, breaking through the darkness of what has come before, and rising into the light of possibility ahead.

Theater Alliance Artistic Director Raymond O. Caldwell directs.

ZAVALA-ZAVALA
A world premiere
Live April 2022
Kennedy Center’s The REACH, DC

Art by Richshaad Ryan

Brian Arreola and Anna Deeny Morales’s new opera ZAVALA-ZAVALA tells a story of family separation and survival at the U.S./Mexico border, inspired by true events. Opening the program will be a world-premiere IN Series commission, setting the poems of Gabriela Mistral in her original Spanish, as well as luminescent English translations by Langston Hughes.

IN Series is joined by the orchestras of Georgetown University and members of the Post Classical Ensemble, with Elizabeth Mondragon, Judy Yannini, and San Francisco Opera’s Efrain Solis, under the baton of Angel-Gil Ordoñez.

OTHELLO / DESDEMONA
Live June 2022
Source Theatre, DC | Dupont Underground, DC | Baltimore Theatre Project, MD

Art by Richshaad Ryan

A groundbreaking epic theater experience in two evenings:

OTHELLO: An audacious reimagining of Verdi and Shakespeare’s masterpiece, with new musical “sea-interludes” composed and performed by Matthew Evan Taylor and in an all new English poetic treatment by Andrew Albin, featuring the searing images of British visual artist Keith Piper. Featuring Limmie Pulliam as Othello and Maribeth Diggle as Desdemona.n Directed by Timothy Nelson; Simone Luti music directs.

DESDEMONA: Audiences return the second evening for Toni Morrison’s shattering and meditative play told with the music of the immortal Nina Simone, featuring world-renowned crossover soprano Claron McFadden. The work comes to life within a sculpture installation by renowned visual artist Maya Freelon. Maribeth Diggle takes the role of Desdemona in both evenings, which will be performed at Source Theatre and a DC site-specific location, as well as at the Baltimore Theatre Project, and in a series of adventure performances in The Dupont Underground.

Four themed subscription packages are available for the season:
• IN Siders will have access to opening nights and special events with cast and creatives.
• IN Focus is intended to delve deeper into the art in a series of additional programs led by Anne Midgette.
• Out With IN features a tasting of wines paired with each show by sommelier Dora Lobo and exclusive meal deals with local restaurants.
• Mix-IN-Match allows subscribers to create their own package of productions.
Individual tickets will go on sale in August.
For more information about subscribing, click here.

ABOUT IN SERIES

IN Series is the standard-bearer for innovative opera theater in Washington DC. We make theater from music: transforming artists, audiences, and community by disrupting expectations, nourishing empathy, stimulating insight, and deepening the conversation. IN Series envisions a thriving global community in which opera is a fully integrated and essential part of collective conversation. In picturing the journey to this end, IN Series is a change-maker — a force that, with each groundbreaking production and outreach event, radically transforms perceptions of the “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why” of opera: who gets to make opera and for whom is it made; what is defined as an operatic experience; where operas take place; why we make opera; and why opera matters. The unusual 2020–2021 season inspired the company to create INVISION: The Logan Operahouse Without Walls, a first-of-its-kind multi-venue virtual performing arts center, which hosts innovative works of opera theater both filmed on stage and made for the screen. Find it available for FREE at invision.inseries.org.

Founded by Carla Hübner in 1982 as a concert series of the former Mount Vernon College, “The In Series” became an independent nonprofit arts organization in 2000 and has been a resident company at Source Theater since 2008. Timothy Nelson assumed the artistic directorship in 2018, quickly establishing the newly rebranded “IN Series” as DC’s home for “thought, debate, history, and innovation” (DC Metro Theater Arts) in opera.

SEE ALSO:
IN Series to build a digital opera house without walls
by Olivia Hampton

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