ALTERNATIVE OPERA THEATRE.
Alter Ego Chamber Opera (AECO) is an emerging, Philadelphia-based chamber opera company which performs new and reimagined works, endeavoring to serve as a catalyst for change, bringing intimate, experimental opera theatre to the region.
(from L to R) William Lim (Oronte), Madison Marie McIntosh (Ruggiero), Kaitlyn Tierney (Bradamante) Alize Francheska Rozsnyai (Morgana), Matthew Maisano as Balena Canto (Melissa), and Brenna Markey (Alcina) (down center), in Alcina REVAMPED with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, September 24th and 26th, 2021.
Nasrin - CensorED
A work in Development For Fall 2022 Premiere
Nasrin - Censored, by Composer Ramin Akhavijou and Librettist Brandy N. Carie, is an opera surrounding the life and work of Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian political activist renowned for her unwavering commitment to human rights and democracy. She was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to 38 years in jail and 148 lashes for defending women protesting Iran's obligatory hijab law. This multimedia opera uses Nasrin’s words as a text, while also
demonstrating censorship as a process experienced by both the performers and the audience throughout the piece. The opera addresses additional themes of gender, human rights, and sociocultural issues, incorporating real-life footage and soundscape of Nasrin, as well as fresh interviews with activists, feminists, and opera singers.
Ramin Akhavijou - Composer
Iranian composer, Ramin Akhavijou, graduated from the Art University of Tehran with a Master’s degree in Music Composition and later moved to the United States in 2017 to continue his studies at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) where he received his second Master’s degree in Music Composition. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Music Composition and Theory at the University of Pittsburgh where his focus is “Music Perception” and its relation to his compositions. His principal teachers have been Reza Vali, Leonardo Balada, Eric Moe, Mathew Rosenblum, Jesse Stiles, and Amy Williams. The dialectic interrelation between sounds has always been one of his main concerns and motivators for his compositional work and research. He is scientifically investigating this interrelation through various interdisciplinary projects. His passion for science and technology have led him to take diverse compositional paths that are reflected in his wide range of compositions. His opera “languagemachine” was produced by the Pittsburgh Opera Company and performed by the CMU New Music Ensemble in April 2019.
Akhavijou’s works have been performed in many countries by different soloists, ensembles, and orchestras and, he has received numerous honors, prizes, and commissions. He is one of the directors of CFIM (Center For Iranian Music) at Carnegie Mellon University and currently writing his second opera. Find him at http://akhavijou.com
Brandy N. Carie - Librettist
Brandy N. Carie is a writer and director based in LA but originally from Minnesota, whose work explores gender, Americana, and apocalypse. Carie is a winner of the SLOAN/CMU Screenwriting Competition, the Kennedy Center ACTF Harold & Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Award, and a finalist for the Princess Grace award. She has received residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Edward Albee Foundation, and the National Winter Playwrights Retreat. Theatres that have supported Carie's work include Barter Theatre, Mildred's Umbrella Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Kennedy Center, Northlight Theatre, and Pittsburgh's City Theatre. Directing credits include the world premiere of the opera Languagemachine by Lauren D’Errico and Ramin Akhavijou, and the devised internet-adjacent house party/performance Spitshow, with Houston’s Collective 48. Carie earned her MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently developing her Bunker Cycle, a 7-play series about doomsday and American survivalism. Find her at www.brandyncarie.com.
Nasrin - Censored was selected from our December 2021 Call for Scores. Find out more about some of our other finalists at the New Opera Lab.
Friday, September 24th at 8 pm, and Sunday September 26th at 3 pm, 2021 at
The Adrienne Theatre
2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
What did critics say about the show?
Read our review from Broad Street Review, here.
Music G. F. Handel
Libretto Adaptation Alize Francheska Rozsnyai
Conductor Evan Kassof
Director Madeline Whitesell
Music Director Irene Moretto
Alcina Brenna Markey
Ruggiero Madison Marie McIntosh
Bradamante Kaitlyn Tierney
Morgana Alize Francheska
Oronte William Lim
Melissa Matthew Maisano (Balena Canto)
Oberto Andrew Egbuchiem
Harpsichord Irene Moretto
Electronics Thomas Patteson
& Roger A. Martinez
Saxophone Aaron Stewart
Violin Michael Shingo-Crawford
Electric Guitar Will Brobston
Viola Emma Hey
Cello Ezgi Yargici
Click on an artist's name to view their website.
WHO ARE WE?
A soprano "displaying profound imagination and control" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and librettist, Alize Francheska Rozsnyai is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, excelling in baroque and contemporary repertoire. She has performed with companies including Opera Philadelphia, The Center for Contemporary Opera, Experiments in Opera NYC, Opera Fayetteville (Zina, Dark Sisters), The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in England (Phyllis, Iolanthe), Rossini Opera Festival, Cape Cod Symphony, Chautauqua Opera, and the Princeton Symphony.
Ms. Rozsnyai has received honors from many prestigious organizations such as the Career Bridges Grant, Astral Artist National Auditions, Palm Beach Opera Competition, Lotte Lenya Competition, American Traditions Competition, Early Music America, Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship, Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego, Lois Alba Aria Competition, and is the recipient of the generous Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship. She took time off to dedicate herself to the service of others full time from 2015-2017, working in ArtistYear (Americorps).
She is currently on the roster of Matthew Laifer Artist Management.
As a librettist, Alize performed her original adaptation of Pierrot Lunaire (Kennedy Center), as well as two of her own works, The Coffee Cantata (new adaptation) and Phony (music by David Brown), with Alter Ego Chamber Opera. She and composer collaborator Roger A. Martinez are MassOpera NOW Finalists for their work My Friend, Freddy. www.AlizeSoprano.com
Irene Moretto is a pianist, harpsichordist, and violinist who earned a M.M. in Piano Performance and M.M. in Harpsichord Performance from Temple University, where she studied with Dr. Charles Abramovic and Dr. Joyce Lindorff. She also holds a B.M. in Piano Pedagogy. Her love of vocal music led her to attend the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria, where she studied and performed opera and lieder repertoire. She also attended the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute to further her exploration of Early Music.
Irene regularly works as a collaborative pianist and has played for such organizations as the Philadelphia International Music Festival, House Music Philadelphia, and Wilson Vocal Academy. She is a founding member of the new Philly-based opera collective, Alter Ego Chamber Opera. Irene maintains an active piano studio and is on the faculties of The Baldwin School and Merion Mercy Academy. When not at the keyboard, she plays violin for various celebratory events with her string trio, Abellimento Strings.
Tom Sitzler, lyric baritone, has been capturing audiences with his warm, generous voice and convincing stage presence. Growing up in Arizona, Tom was buying CD’s of pianist Glenn Gould and composer Rachmaninoff, while his older brothers and friends were buying the newest albums of the latest bands. This began his lasting love of classical music.
In 2009, Mr. Sitzler stepped into the professional arena of performing as the Old Gypsy in “Il Trovatore” with Union Avenue Opera. That was followed by premiering the role of Bob in “Family Dynamics” by composer Bill Lenihan with St. Louis City Opera. Among many other programs and performances, Tom participated in the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist Program, in New Jersey, covering Figaro in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”. In 2012, Mr. Sitzler was heard singing Silvano from “Un ballo in Maschera” with UAO, where Sarah Bryan Miller from the St. Louis Post Dispatch said, “Tom Sitzler … made the most of a small role” and Mark Bretz from Ladue News said, “Tom Sitzler is entertaining as the sailor.” Later that same year, Mr. Sitzler stepped down from a two-year apprenticeship with the Bach Society of St. Louis, where he performed the bass solos in Mozart’s Requiem, and covered the solos in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. In 2015, Mr. Sitzler returned to St. Louis to perform the title role in “The Boor” with Gateway Opera, where Mark Bretz from Ladue News said, “As the boor, Tom Sitzler proved his own skills both with his strong singing style and a good way with comedy.” Most recently, he was engaged as Germont from “la Traviata” and Scarpia from “Tosca” with Painted Sky Opera. www.TomSitzler.com
Roger A. Martinez is a composer who is interested in music that breaks down stylistic and formal barriers, while remaining accessible to a wide audience. He has written for a variety of settings, including opera, art song, electronic works, media music, and online interactive music installations. Roger is a graduate of San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Technology and Applied Composition program, and has a background in computer science, as well as traditional Western harmony and counterpoint. Roger is second generation Mexican-American, and considers his Mexican heritage to be a point of inspiration for many of his compositions.
Among Roger’s more recent works are Invocación al Laurel (2021), for string trio and voice, based on the poem by Federico García Lorca, and Climate Works (2020) an interactive web app that translates climate data from around the world into music. In 2019, Roger’s opera Potentialite, written in collaboration with librettist Alize Rozsnyai, premiered as part of the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe fest. Roger's film score credits include A Night Like This (2018), by director Frank Battaglia, and Equity (2015), directed by Andrew Donato. He is currently working on music for an upcoming video game project.
Roger is excited about the musical and narrative possibilities inherent in contemporary opera, and looks forward to writing new works for the opera stage. www.RogerAMartinez.com
An excerpt from the Mosaic of Modern Opera (2020) featuring the work of five composer winners from our call-for-scores competition, Andrew Lovett, Jean Ahn, Beth Ratay, Tony Solitro, and Ben Stevenson. Featuring violinist David Matthew Brown, Keyboardist Irene Moretto, and sopranos Kaitlyn Waterson and Alize Francheska.
An excerpt from the world premiere of Phony (2019), by David Matthew Brown (music) and Alize Francheska Rozsnyai (libretto), from AECO's inaugural season. Featuring Timothy Faulkner, tenor, Tom Sitzler, Baritone, and Alize Francheska, Soprano.
SUPPORT AECO's 2022 SEASON NOW!
AECO is now busy at work planning our .
Do you love opera? Have you enjoyed our previous works and do your values align with ours? Do you have a creative, entrepreneurial, or philanthropic nature? We need you on our team!
We seek a diverse group of team members with various skillsets and backgrounds. Please email a letter of interest to AlterEgoChamberOpera@gmail.com by December 15th, 2021 to be considered to join our 2022 Board.
We're interested in hearing from artists of all kinds, as well as fans and fellow producers!
If you're interested in working or collaborating with Alter Ego Chamber Opera, please contact us using our form below, or at AlterEgoChamberOpera@gmail.com.