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DIS/INFORM

BY JENNIFER WILLIAMS

May 17, 2024 @ 5:00 PM

OPERA America

Marc A. Scorca Hall

330 7th Avenue

New York, NY

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About

PROTESTRA partnered with director Jennifer Williams to bring her latest devised opera, Dis/Inform, to life at Marc A. Scorca Hall inside OPERA America.

 

Dis/Inform is a story about the global disinformation crisis told through an intimate, human perspective. It is about a fictional character who is inspired by real-life, anonymized testimonies of individuals in rural America who have been drawn into the alternate realities of disinformation. It traces how they became alienated from their trusted outlets, the fear and isolation that drove them to alternative spheres, and how disinformation reshaped unexpected dimensions of life.

A “devised opera” presents familiar concepts such as plot line, characters, and a dramatic arc typically seen in traditional operatic compositions. The music, however, is created through a collaborative compositional process in which an ensemble of artists generates a performance through structured improvisation. This method of generating a collaborative musical framework adds to the repertoire in a novel yet sustainable way by establishing a central story and harmonic structure, all the while allowing for each performance of the work to become a one-of-a-kind experience based on the individual interpretation of the performers. Thus, the premiere of Dis/Inform was unique from its future iterations, but the story and musical structure remain.

The inspiration for Dis/Inform originated from Williams’ time spent volunteering with United Vision Project, a nonprofit organization working to forge meaningful dialogue between strangers in a fraught socio-political climate. In that same spirit of using communication as a tool to better understand one another’s unique experiences, the following devising artists collaborated over the span of one week to conceptualize and create their performance, culminating in an immersive experience for audience and performer alike:

Jennifer Williams, director
Jungah Han, visual artist
Žilvinas Jonušas, associate designer
Asa Benally, costume designer
Noah Mourra, stagehand and installer
Erin Schwab, soprano
Shanyse Strickland, horn
Kayla Williams, viola
Anthime Miller, cello
Morgan Parker, percussion

The development of Dis/Inform was made possible through funding from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Women Composers: Discovery Grants program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

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