“Orsa Ibernata”Milwaukee Opera Theatre - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Inspired by The Decameron Day 4, Story 1 & Day 4, Story 9
When a clandestine love affair begets tragic consequences, a woman resolves to reunite with her lost love, even at the price of death. Freely adapted from two of The Decameron’s most closely-related stories, “Orsa Ibernata” traces an emotionally penetrating journey through violence and heartbreak to spiritual transcendence against the backdrop of an ethereal and enigmatic woodland surrounding.
Elizabeth Blood, Composer & Soprano
Elizabeth Blood, soprano and composer, earned a degree in vocal performance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. While she mainly stays within the classical realm, Elizabeth’s curiosity leads her to do many unique artistic projects, from singing rock opera in the premiere of a 3D play (Fruition of a Delusion), to singing a cappella as the soundtrack for live dance (DanceCircus), to singing at festivals for social activism and fundraising (FemFest). Elizabeth has been honored to premiere works by many composers, including Amanda Schoofs, Sam Mullooly, Jonathan Smith, Tom Ford, and Alaric Coussons. In Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s production of Utterance, which premiered last Fall, Schoofs (composer of Eternal Burning) said Elizabeth’s exploration of extended vocal techniques and improvisation “shaped the role of Volition.” Now in the capacity of performer and composer, Elizabeth warmly anticipates personal and artistic growth in collaboration with MOT as part of the Decameron Opera Coalition.
Danny Brylow, Librettist & Director
Danny Brylow has contributed to the burgeoning field of contemporary opera and new music-theater as a stage director, performer, translator, and arts administrator. He has participated in the premiere of several new operas, including Judgment of Midas (Ince), Kocho (Fisher), Río de Sangre (Davis), Border Towns (Brooke), and Time and Motion Study (Brooke). As a translator, his English-language adaptations of Don Giovanni (co-written with singer Tim Rebers), Der Ring des Nibelungen, Die Zauberflöte, and Les contes d’Hoffmann have been performed by MOT, Skylight Music Theatre, and Arbor Opera Theater. In 2019, Danny served as Production Dramaturg on a fully staged Carmina Burana and directed the world premiere of Amanda Schoofs’s Eternal Burning as part of Milwaukee Opera Theatre’s Utterance. Danny is a graduate of Bennington College and the Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute and has served as Company Manager of Milwaukee Opera Theatre since 2015.
Christal Wagner, Videographer
Christal Wagner holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she also spent 6 years as an adjunct faculty. She is a mover, choreographer, photographer, videographer, film maker, and performer all throughout the Milwaukee area, and has been a member of Danceworks Performance Company since 2007. In 2012, she co-founded the music and dance performance ensemble Cadance Collective, creating pieces through improvisational practices and original soundscapes. In January 2020, she became the Saint Kate Art Hotel’s first artist in residence with collaborator Kirsten Schmid, creating photography and videography to animate Kristen’s clothing designs through movement. She is a proud SEED Creation Fund Recipient, set to premiere her new filmed work L’homme Armé at the Li Chiao-Ping SEED Creation Performance Festival in August 2020. Christal first performed with MOT in 2011 and is humbled to be on the other side of the performance lens almost ten years later.
About Milwaukee Opera Theatre:
Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) creates dynamic, singer-centered art; explores the beauty of the human voice; sparks the imagination of both audiences and artists; and transforms the bountiful landscape of classic and contemporary lyric theatre. We are Milwaukee’s micro-brewery for opera, proudly producing small batches of high quality, local lyric theatre. We tell stories through music…unconventionally.
Jill Anna Ponasik, Artistic Director
Now in her 12th season as producing artistic director of Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Jill Anna continues to find great joy in connecting artists and audiences through opera. Select past productions include: Oklahoma! (Skylight Music Theatre), Ruddigore (MOT / Skylight Music Theatre), Carmina Burana (MOT / Skylight / Chant Claire Chamber Choir / Danceworks Performance Company), Zie Magic Flute (MOT / Quasimondo Physical Theatre), Doc Danger and the Danger Squad (MOT), Tales of Hoffmann (MOT / Skylight), A Chorus Line (MOT / Theater RED), Song from the Uproar (MOT / Wild Space Dance Company), 1776 (MOT), The Mikado (MOT), Lucy (MOT), Judgement of Midas (Present Music), Guns N’ Rosenkavalier (MOT), Maria de Buenos Aires (MOT / Danceworks), and Fortuna the Time Bender vs. The Schoolgirls of Doom! (MOT). Jill Anna’s work has been presented in parks and gardens, ballrooms and breweries, churches, classrooms, lobbies, recital halls, bookstores, masonic temples, and sometimes, in theatres.