TWO CORNERS by B.E. Boykin
Don't miss your first glimpse at a brand new opera.
After premiering B.E. Boykin’s song cycle Moments In Sonder, FLO commissioned the up-and-coming composer to write her first opera: Two Corners. Kearstin Piper Brown, a Rochester-based artist quickly gaining national attention for her work in traditional and contemporary opera,will sing the lead role of Florine with 2023 young artists rounding out the workshop cast.
Two Corners, composed by B.E. Boykin with libretto by Jarrod Lee, explores the evolving friendship of a Black woman, Florine, and a white woman, Sarah, during the unrest of the Civil Rights movement. Told through a series of flashbacks, Florine and Sarah reflect on their different perspectives of race, friendship, and the status quo.
B.E. (Brittney Elizabeth) Boykin is a native of Alexandria, Virginia and comes from a musical family. At the age of 7, she began piano lessons and continued her studies through high school under the tutelage of Mrs. Alma Sanford. Mrs. Sanford guided her through various competitions, such as the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition where she garnered 1st place for 3 consecutive years in the local competition, as well as being awarded The Washington Post “Music and Dance Award” in the spring of 2007.”
Boykin then pursued her classical piano studies at Spelman College under the leadership of Dr. Rachel Chung. After graduating Spelman College in 2011 with a B.A. in Music, Boykin continued her studies at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. During her time at Westminster, she was awarded the R and R Young Composition Prize just a few months shy of graduating with her M.M. in Sacred Music with a concentration in choral studies in May, 2013.
Jarrod Lee, librettist, hails from Sylacauga, Alabama and presently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. Jarrod’s collaborations include Oshun and Two Corners with composer B.E. Boykin, Voices of Zion and the art song See your Equal, which placed third in the composition category of the George Shirley Vocal Competition, with composer Ronald “Trey” Walton and collaborations with composer Timothy Amukele called Journey to You and a community opera called Spirit Moves. Jarrod has received commissions from the Alliance for New Music Theater, IN Series, Finger Lakes Opera, and the Washington National Opera. In addition to original stories, Jarrod has worked in translating a deconstruction of Die Zauberflӧte (The Magic Flute) called Black Flute with playwright Sybil Roberts.
American soprano Kearstin Piper Brown is delighted to begin her season with a return to Opera in Williamsburg as Musetta in La Bohème. She also headlined First Inversion's Holding on Through Song IV and made her PBS Great Performances debut in Lynn Nottage and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel opera at the Lincoln Center Theater. Kearstin performed at the reopening of the Hochstein Performance Hall in Rochester, will make her debut with Santa Fe Opera in the world premiere of This Little Light of Mine, and debut with the Binghamton Community Orchestra. Later, Kearstin will make her Carnegie Hall debut singing the music of J.S. Bach and Margaret Bonds with the Cecilia Chorus of New York, and debut with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Handel's Messiah.
Soprano Anna Donnelly has performed with Chicago Opera Theater, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Miami Music Festival, and Bloomington Chamber Opera. Recent credits include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore. In January 2023, Anna was granted an Encouragement Award from the St. Louis District of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition. She recently completed a Master of Music degree at Indiana University.
Mezzo-soprano Kaswanna Kanyinda has been praised for her dramatic presence and as a “talent to keep a sharp lookout for.” Previously, she portrayed Flosshilde in Michigan Opera Theatre’s Twilight: Gods and lead roles in Opera MODO’s productions of La Gioconda and Dialogues of the Carmelites. Kaswanna earned her masters degree in 2016 from the University of Michigan, where she performed several leading roles.
Soprano Ellen Robertson is now active in the Chicago area. Most recently, she appeared as an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera, where sang the role of La Zia (Puccini’s Madama Butterfly). She sang the roles of Mimì (Puccini’s La bohème) and Diana (Jake Heggie’s If I Were You) with Northwestern Opera Theater and Euridice (Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice) and Virtù (Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea) with Eastman Opera Theatre.
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Tenor Pedro Valdez is gaining attention for his effortless lyrical range. Pedro was a Madison Opera Studio Artist singing Don Curzio in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. Pedro apprenticed with Northern Lights Music Festival in 2021, singing Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La cenerentola. Other roles include Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Alberto in La Curandera, First Sailor in Dido and Æneas, and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte.
Tenor Conor Brereton is from Las Vegas, Nevada. He has performed a wide variety of roles on the operatic stage, such as Ouf I in L’Étoile (Indiana University), Sroufe in Adolphus Hailstork’s Rise for Freedom (University of Michigan), Gabriel von Einsenstein in Die Fledermaus (University of Michigan), Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (Miami Music Festival), L’imperatore in Turandot (Opera Grand Rapids), and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi (Festival Napa Valley).
Gerard Floriano is an accomplished choral and orchestral conductor who has worked extensively in opera. Maestro Floriano maintains a busy schedule as artistic director, music director and guest conductor, having led concerts throughout Europe and the United States. He is the visionary force and Artistic Director of Finger Lakes Opera. Now in its ninth season, FLO is the premier summer opera experience for audiences in western New York and the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Floriano has been described by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle as “nothing less than a virtuosic conductor” who leads his orchestra “with color, precision and a welcome degree of sweep.” FLO’s production of L'elisir d'amore garnered this acclaim from Rochester City Newspaper, "...Musical director and Finger Lakes Opera artistic director Gerard Floriano paced the whole show to perfection, and the orchestra had every Donizettian detail in place.”
Kimille Howard is a New York based director, deviser, writer and filmmaker. She is an Assistant Stage Director at the Metropolitan Opera and recently worked on the new James Robinson production of Porgy and Bess. She is the Artistic Director of the Lucille Lortel Theatre’s NYC Public High School Playwriting Fellowship and a cofounder of the Black Classical Music Archive. Select directing credits: The Italian Girl (Tulsa Opera), American Apollo (Des Moines Metro Opera), B.R.O.K.E.N Code B.I.R.D Switching (Berkshire Theatre Group), Quamino's Map (Chicago Opera Theater), and many more.
Cori Ellison, a leading creative figure in the opera world, has been staff Dramaturg at Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, and New York City Opera. She is a founding faculty member of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program and has developed new operatic works for companies including Glyndebourne, Icelandic Opera, Canadian Opera, Norwegian Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Chicago Opera Theater, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Beth Morrison Projects. As production dramaturg, she has shepherded projects at Salzburg Landestheater, Washington National Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Boston, and Bard Summerscape. A faculty member at The Juilliard School and Ravinia Steans Music Institute Program for Singers, she works with singers at young artist programs and conservatories nationwide. She creates supertitles for opera companies worldwide, and helped launch Met Titles, the Met’s simultaneous translation system. Her English singing translations include Hansel and Gretel (NY City Opera), La vestale (English National Opera) and Shostakovich’s Cherry Tree Towers (Bard Summerscape).
Lutin Tanner, from Mankato, Minnesota, received a BA in Dance and Theatre from Western Michigan University. He danced with Garth Fagan Dance from 1995-2000, and then transitioned to resident Lighting Designer & Production Manager for Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. Using his unique dance lighting perspective Lutin has worked with a wide range of artists from Rasta Thomas, Nathan Trice, Ronald K. Brown Evidence, and Eglevsky Ballet to name a few. Lutin is Garth Fagan Dance’s Resident Lighting Designer & Production Stage Manager.