The “revolutionary” show will be presented for one night only by Opera Steamboat

Opera song
As One presented by Opera Steamboat.
Opera Steamboat/Screenshot

The opera “As One” will be performed at Steamboat for one night only at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 at the Strings Music Pavilion. Presented by Opera Steamboat, the powerful coming-of-age story is one of the most produced contemporary operas in the world, telling the story of a transgender woman’s personal evolution.

Although a central theme is about a gender transition, the heart of the story is the universality of each person’s inner journey… finding out who we are and where we fit into the world. Every one of us goes through this,” said Opera Steamboat Vice Chairman of the Board, Melissa Hampton.

With original music and concept by Laura Kaminsky and a libretto by Kimberly Reed and Mark Campbell, “As One” is a chamber opera in which two voices, Hannah Before (baritone) and Hannah After (mezzo soprano) share the role of only one transgender protagonist. The story follows Hannah’s experience from her small town youth through her college years, culminating in a solo trip out of the country where she is able to embrace her own truth.

Opera Steamboat’s production is unique in that the director, conductor and singers are all members of the transgender community.

The role of Hannah Before will be played by Lucas Bouk who is once again returning to Steamboat after starring here as a young artist in Cosi fan Tutte. Bouk has performed Hannah After twice as a mezzo soprano. Bouk said, “My gender journey is different from Hannah’s, but I identify with many parts of their story. Like Hannah, I was raised to believe there were only two genders. I spent most of my childhood trying to be perfect so no one would know I was different. I couldn’t figure out what the difference was, but I finally figured it out after a lot of research in 2017 when I came out as a trans man. I medically transitioned during the 2020 pandemic on testosterone and now perform as a baritone with my new voice. I am very happy.”

The role of Hannah After will be performed by Nikola Printz, a mezzo soprano, dance enthusiast and trapeze artist who sings in multiple genres from jazz and cabaret to opera. This role encompasses the character of Hannah after going through life and more of their transition, but Printz noted that this production changed Hannah’s role slightly, to be non-binary like Printz.

“The idea of ​​the before/after dichotomy is gone because for many trans people there is no end,” Printz said. “It’s a constant self-discovery. I feel like this take is much more satisfying because it doesn’t matter if you’re trans or cis, you should never stop investigating and letting yourself grow and change.

Alexandra Enyart will conduct this opera for the ninth time on Saturday.

“The story is about becoming a whole person and becoming yourself,” Enyart said. “The score supports this through a beautiful, lush string quartet sound that is so well put together in this style of American minimalism.”

Enyart, Bouk and Printz all agree that opera provides a universal message to any community.

“In every community, there are people living those lives,” Enyart said. “But it’s so universal because really, everyone lives those lives in one way or another – we’re all told to be something. It’s a story where someone is buried, and they have to get out of it and this message really has an impact.