THE STEAMPUNK MURDER-MYSTERY CHAMBER OPERA
by Kamala Sankaram
Miranda is a 60-minute steampunk murder-mystery chamber opera in which the six instrumentalists play, sing, and act all the parts. Through a lush score inspired by diverse genres such as Baroque opera, Hindustani music, tango, hip-hop, and found-sound audioscapes, Miranda’s story unfolds in song, sound, movement, video, and dialogue. Each character in this uncommon world is represented by a different musical genre. As these characters meet tensions arise, secrets are revealed, and the collision of the varied musical styles creates a unique aural tapestry that propels the audience down a symphonic rabbit hole towards Miranda’s untimely death. Voting from their seats, audience members actively participate in solving this musical mystery, ultimately choosing and convicting Miranda’s killer.
Created, composed by, and starring coloratura soprano Kamala Sankaram, Miranda began with the desire to make a new type of operatic work that might radicalize traditional notions of the form and appeal to a younger audience of first time opera-goers. In order to provide a contemporary theatrical frame to the classically driven score, the piece borrows familiar elements of pop culture such as reality TV, courtroom dramas, and steampunk fashion.
Commissioned by HERE Arts Center as part of the HARP artist-in-residence program, Miranda’s premiere, sold-out run in January 2012 was enthusiastically received by critics and even more so by audiences. Classical opera and new music aficionados have combined with theater fans and steampunk enthusiasts to create a cross-generational fan base that has amazed even the creators of the piece.
Kamala Sankaram- Creator/Composer/Co-Librettist
Rob Reese- Director/Co-Librettist
Nick Francone- Lighting/Scenic Design
Jacci Jaye- Costume Design
Matt Schloss- Sound Design
Matt Tennie- Video Design
Lauren Yalango- Choreography
Christopher Grant- Choreography
Kamala Sankaram- Miranda Wright (Accordion)
Drew Fleming- Cor Prater (Electric Guitar)
Pat Muchmore- Izzy Wright (Cello)
Rima Fand- Anjana Challapattee Wright (Violin)
Ed Rosenberg- Amelia Lang (Tenor Sax/Clarinet)
Jeff Hudgins- Francoise Argant (Baritone Sax/Bass Clarinet)
Jerry Miller- The Bailiff
Eric Brenner- D.A.V.E.
Video Cast: Katie Barna, Noam Berg, Shane Breaux, Hubert Chen, Jane Derenowski, Britney Harris, Kaitlin Harvey, Dave McKeel, Christin Meador, Julia Motyka, Ed Rosenberg, Amanda Villalobos
Matt Schloss- Audio Mixer / Op
Heather Smaha- Master Electrician/Light Board Op
Spike McCue- Live Video Mixer
Matt Tennie- Video Op
Christine Liz Pynn- Stage Manager
Nolan Kennedy- Technical Director
Originally Commissioned, Developed, and Produced at HERE through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP).
MIRANDA is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.