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Music by Laura Kaminsky
Libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed
Film by Kimberly Reed
Original Concept by Mark Campbell

About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances


Today It Rains is a new chamber opera inspired by a real event in the life of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. On the morning of April 29, 1929 O’Keeffe boarded a train in New York and three days later, arrived for the first time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, transformed by the power of the area’s landscape. The opera imagines O’Keeffe’s personal journey as that train rushes toward its destination and she reexamines her passionate but turbulent marriage with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, her artistic stasis, and her need for new inspiration to guide her work. Along the way, O’Keeffe and fellow traveler and artist Rebecca Strand bemoan the status of “woman artist” and the difficulty of accommodating a marriage in their creative lives. The past becomes the present when the windows in the train’s lounge car turn into paintings and O’Keeffe is transported back to the 291 Gallery where she first met Stieglitz. Later, she imagines that she hears a party of artists and critics on the roof of her train compartment and relives a past argument with Stieglitz. Finally, O’Keeffe learns to honor her creative impulses when she hears Aubrey, a porter on the train, practicing his clarinet. In the final moments of the opera, she approaches Santa Fe and immediately and irreversibly connects with the expansive beauty of the New Mexican landscape.

Like any train journey that covers many miles, the past and the present are blurred, memory becomes reality and the boundaries between sleeping and waking get erased. While taking its inspiration from this iconic artist's journey, the story will resonate with anyone who seeks creative freedom and is inspired by the beauty of nature.

Today It Rains is an 80-minute work performed by a cast of eight singers, accompanied by an ensemble of eleven players. The music will provide a richly varied soundscape for both the psychological and physical aspects of O'Keeffe’s journey. The production will feature a sophisticated projection design that reflects O’Keeffe’s memories, the evolution of her creative inner life and the vast American landscape through which she travels.

Co-commissioned by Opera Parallèle and American Opera Projects, Opera Parallèle will premiere the work in San Francisco in 2019, directed by Brian Staufenbiel and conducted by Nicole Paiment. Today It Rains marks the first full-length work commissioned by Opera Parallèle and is the third opera by the creators of As One, which was produced and commissioned by American Opera Projects in 2014 and has since become one of the most produced new operas in the country.

Co-commissioned by Opera Parallèle and American Opera Projects. The libretto has been commissioned with support from the New York State Council of the Arts.
Image: Rebecca Allan, Winter Rain, Santa Fe 2016, watercolor on paper, 7 x 12 inches

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Laura Kaminsky is a composer with “an ear for the new and interesting” (New York Times), whose music is “full of fire as well as ice, written in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection.” (American Record Guide) Recent/Upcoming Commissions: As One (chamber opera for Sasha Cooke and Kelly Markgraf); Oboe Concerto for Orchestra of St. Luke’s; and Piano Quintet for Ursula Oppens and the Cassatt Quartet, and a new chamber work for Cygnus Ensemble for the Morgan Library and Museum. The Crossroads Project, a multi-media collaboration on climate change recently featured on NPR, has been touring the US since 2012. Grants and awards: the NEA, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, NYSCA, Aaron Copland Fund, Chamber Music America, American Music Center, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, Likhachev Foundation, Kenan Institute for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, North Carolina Arts Council, others. She is Composer-in-Residence at American Opera Projects and professor in the School of the Arts Purchase College/SUNY.

Mark Campbell's most known work is the libretto for Silent Night (2012 Pulitzer Prize; composer Kevin Puts). It premiered at Minnesota Opera, was broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances and is being produced by an unprecedented number of companies over the next two years. Mark’s other operas: The Manchurian Candidate, As One, The Other Room, Later the Same Evening, Volpone, Bastianello/Lucrezia, Rappahannock County and A Letter to East 11th Street. Awards include: Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYFA Playwriting Fellowship, three Drama Desk Award nominations, Rockefeller Foundation Award, Domenic J. Pellicciotti Prize and Jonathan Larson Foundation Award. Upcoming premieres: Burke+Hare (Julian Grant, Music-Theatre Group), The Shining (Paul Moravec, Minnesota Opera), The Trial of Elizabeth Cree (Kevin Puts, Opera Philadelphia), Dinner at Eight (William Bolcom, Minnesota Opera).

reedkimberlyKIMBERLY REED
(co-librettist, filmmaker)
Kimberly Reed, filmmaker and writer based in New York City/Newark, has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, NPR, Details magazine, and The Moth Radio Hour. One of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” and a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) fellow, she has had fellowships at Yaddo and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Reed's first opera, As One, recently opened to critical acclaim at BAM. Reed directed and produced Prodigal Sons, a “whiplash doc that heralds an exciting talent” (SF Weekly); premiering at Telluride Film Festival, it has been shown at 100+ film festivals and on television worldwide, landing on multiple Best-of-the-Year lists and garnering 14 Audience and Jury awards, including the International Film Critics’ FIPRESCI Prize. Reed was producer/editor/writer for Paul Goodman Changed My Life and is currently working on Dark Money, a documentary about Citizens United and campaign finance reform.

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Opera Profile: "Opera Parallèle Commissions Work About O'Keeffe"

December 18, 2015 - BROADWAY WORLD
Opera Profile: "Opera Paralléle Co-Commissions World Premiere of Georgia O'Keefe Opera TODAY IT RAINS"

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World Premiere Production - 2017
Produced by Opera Parallèle

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American Opera Projects, Inc. • 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
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