DSC05971 - Version 2.jpg

Inheritance

a chamber opera

 

About The Project

Inheritance is a chamber opera designed for a lead soprano plus three female voices and a chamber ensemble. This opera’s production will be housed within a multimedia environment that examines gun culture in America through the lens of Sarah Winchester’s life. According to popular belief, Winchester was an eccentric widow self-imprisoned in her labyrinth-like home and seeking refuge from the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. The legend surrounding her life, impossible to extract from her actual history, is indicative of America’s inability to separate fact and fiction within gun-debate discourse. Although the libretto for Inheritance is anchored in Winchester’s biography, this work explores her life and home as a metaphor for America’s violent legacy and deeply complex relationship with guns.

A collaboration between composer Lei Liang, poet/librettist Matt Donovan, production designer/artist Ligia Bouton and soprano/producer Susan Narucki, Innheritance will have its world premiere performances in 2018.  Inheritance is supported by Creative Capital Foundation. 

 

Biographies


Ligia Bouton (Production Design) was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent her childhood in London, England.  She received her education at Vassar College and at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.  Her creative work combines sculpture and drawing with performance, digital video, and photography to recreate appropriated narratives. Each project wrestles with the intersection of functionality and narrative, drawing on sources from art history, classical and contemporary literature, and science.  Recent projects have been shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Guildhall Art Gallery in London, SITE Santa Fe, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.  In 2015 Bouton’s work will be featured in the exhibition, “Charlotte Great and Small” celebrating Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, as well as at Peters Projects in Santa Fe.  Past projects have been installed in New York at Bill Maynes Gallery and Denise Bibro Fine Art, and in New Jersey at City Without Walls. Reviews of this work have appeared in Art in America, Art Papers, The Art Newspaper, The Philadelphia Enquirer and The New York Times.  Bouton’s video work has been shown at Art Claims Impulse in Berlin, in the Biennial of Contemporary Art, Nimes, France, and at the Temporary Art Center, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, as well as in The Female Avant Garde Festival in Prague.

Ligia Bouton is currently Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Foundations at the University of New Mexico, and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her family. Website


Matt Donovan (Librettist) received his MA from Lancaster University and his MFA from New York University where he attended as a New York Times Fellow. He is the author of two collections of poetry – Vellum (Mariner, 2007) and the chapbook Ten Burnt Lakes (Tupelo Press, forthcoming 2017) – as well as the collection of essays, A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption (Trinity Press, April 2016). His poems and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals, including AGNI, Blackbird, American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Threepenny Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review

Matt Donovan is the recipient of a Rome Prize in Literature, a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, a Lannan Writing Residency Fellowship, and the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University. His work has been acclaimed in The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

He teaches in the Creative Writing and Literature Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.  Website


Heralded as “one of the most exciting voices in New Music” (The Wire), Lei Liang (Composer)is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post. Winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, Lei Liang is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Aaron Copland Award. He was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Lei Liang was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series. Other commissions and performances come from Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, the Heidelberger Philharmonisches Orchester, Thailand Philharmonic, Berkeley Symphony, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Manhattan Sinfonietta, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, the Arditti Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New York New Music Ensemble and Boston Musica Viva. Lei Liang’s music is recorded on Mode, New World, Naxos and Bridge Records. As a scholar, he is active in the research and preservation of traditional Asian music.

 

Lei Liang currently serves as Composer-in-Residence at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) where his multimedia works combine computer technology, scientific research with cultural re-imagination and preservation. Lei Liang studied composition with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Robert Cogan, Chaya Czernowin, and Mario Davidovsky, and received degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (BM and MM) and Harvard University (PhD). A Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he held fellowships from Harvard Society of Fellows and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships. He taught in China as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Shaanxi Normal University College of Arts in Xi'an; served as Honorary Professor of Composition and Sound Design at Wuhan Conservatory of Music and as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Middlebury College. Lei Liang currently serves as Professor of Music and Acting Chair of the Music Department at the University of California, San Diego. His music is published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York).  Website


Susan Narucki (Soprano/producer) has earned international acclaim for almost three decades. She has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Netherlands Opera, San Francisco Symphony, MET Chamber Ensemble, on the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall with conductors such as Boulez, Levine, Salonen, Tilson Thomas, de Leeuw and Knussen.  A dedicated advocate of the music of our time, Ms. Narucki has given over one hundred world premieres, and has enjoyed close collaborations with composers including Andriessen, Kurtág, Carter, Dusapin and Crumb. Her extensive discography includes both a Grammy Award and Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Vocal Performance; her recording, The Light that Is Felt: Songs of Charles Ives (New World) with pianist Donald Berman was selected as Editor's Choice of BBC Music Magazine. 

Ms. Narucki's creative projects introduce modern music to audiences outside traditional concert hall settings and illuminate broader issues in society. Her work has earned major grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the MAP Fund for the Performing Arts/Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, UC MEXUS and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Her most recent project is the critically acclaimed Cuatro Corridos (2013), a chamber opera that addresses human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexican border. With libretto by internationally acclaimed novelist Jorge Volpi and music by Hebert Vazquez, Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang and Hilda Paredes, Cuatro Corridos has had a dozen performances in the United States and Mexico, most recently as a special event at 2015 FIL/Guadalajara International Book Fair, the largest Spanish language book fair in the world. 

Ms. Narucki was appointed Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego in 2008.  Website



News & Updates

January 21, 2016

Gun Violence Focus of Upcoming UC San Diego Chamber Opera Project

Cynthia Dillon, This Week at UCSD

..."Our goal is to create a work of high artistic values that can spark conversation about a very complicated and critical issue,” said Narucki, who will serve as the soprano and producer on the project.

Liang, interim chair of the UC San Diego music department and composer for Inheritance, will work in collaboration with Narucki; poet/librettist Matt Donovan, from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and production designer/artist Ligia Bouton, from the University of New Mexico. According to the four artists, through investigating this woman trapped in circumstances she inherited, by portraying the ways in which Winchester is reduced to perpetual acts of ineffectual penance, by interrogating a far-reaching history that extends from 19th-century massacres of Native Americans to contemporary school shootings in America, Inheritance is a work that hopes to raise questions about complicity, atonement and gun violence in this country.

“This is yet another project that demonstrates that there is a relevant place for new music in the on-going dialogue on important social issues,” said Liang.

Read the entire article


January 20, 2016

Los Angeles Times

Carolina A. Miranda, Arts and Culture

Six Los Angeles artists and collectives -- along with four others from other parts of California -- are among the 46 recipients of the 2016 Creative Capital awards, grants aimed at supporting emerging artists at crucial junctures in their careers.  Read the entire article


January 12, 2016

Creative Capital Announces 2016 Grantees

Lei Liang/Matt Donovan/Ligia Bouton "Inheritance"

Inheritance is a chamber opera designed for a lead soprano plus three female voices and a chamber ensemble. This opera’s production will be housed within a multimedia environment that examines gun culture in America through the lens of Sarah Winchester’s life. According to popular belief, Winchester was an eccentric widow self-imprisoned in her labyrinth-like home and seeking refuge from the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. The legend surrounding her life, impossible to extract from her actual history, is indicative of America’s inability to separate fact and fiction within gun-debate discourse. Although the libretto for Inheritance is anchored in Winchester’s biography, this work explores her life and home as a metaphor for America’s violent legacy and deeply complex relationship with guns.


January 12, 2016

New York Times: Creative Capital ANnounces Nearly $4.4. Million in Grants

Artistic projects that aim to reflect broad cultural conversations about gender, gun violence and race are among those chosen for nearly $4.4 million worth of grants awarded by Creative Capital, the organization announced on Tuesday.

The winning projects, 46 in all, each receive $50,000 in funding, as well as $45,000 worth of career development services provided by Creative Capital, a group known for applying principles of venture capital to arts financing. Winners were selected from a batch of 2,500 applications that represented both established and emerging artists. Past winners have included the documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, the choreographer Kyle Abraham and the polymath Meredith Monk.

Chris E. Vargas, a Washington-based artist and executive director of the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, won this year for his proposal, “Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects,” which will take the form of an exhibition and a book. Ligia Bouton, Matt Donovan and Lei Liang received financing for their chamber opera, “Inheritence,” about Sarah Winchester and the United States’s relationship with guns.