SIGN & SING – VISIBLE SPEECH
The Latest Update
SIGN & SING at Princeton University
On Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 2pm, SIGN & SING performed at Princeton University, our first performance beyond New York! Deaf actor Beth Applebaum, soprano Heather O’Donovan, and pianist Adam Rothenberg performed a series of works related to childhood memories. SIGN & SING continues to develop our performance style for VISIBLE SPEECH, seamlessly integrating ASL and new opera.
VISIBLE SPEECH: Documentary & Performances Update
VISIBLE SPEECH’s Composer Richard Einhorn and Director Katherine Dubbs will be featured in an upcoming documentary about the project, premiering at the end of 2017.
As we develop this work, SIGN & SING would like to share its recent performance, where we are working on developing optimal performance practices in integrating ASL and opera successfully to create accessible and inventive storytelling.
VISIBLE SPEECH: VISIBLE SPEECH is an exploration of communication, listening, and human connection told in English, American Sign Language (ASL), and classical music. Sign & Sing has commissioned this ASL-music piece as the unprecedented introduction of musical work written for, by, and with (D)eaf creators, further educating the public on accessibility as an elevation of storytelling.
SIGN & SING: Although simultaneous ASL performance with live music has become popular in rock music and in musical theatre, the combination of both languages – music and sign – is rarely witnessed in the operatic world. SIGN & SING is a newly created non-profit performance program that integrates American Sign Language (ASL) and classical music in order to emphasize and enhance storytelling in an operatic and recital environment. SIGN & SING will continue to interpret existing music to challenge the definitions of access, listening, and communication within opera today, but Visible Speech is the program’s first commission to intensify our commitment to accessibility and equity in our performance experiences, from inception through execution. Further information about our program can be found at http://www.signandsing.org/.
Composer Richard Einhorn’s “opera with silent film,” Voices of Light, has been hailed in reviews as “a great masterpiece of contemporary music” and “a work of meticulous genius.” Voices of Light has had over 150 performances, including sold-out performances at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Cabrillo Festival, Sydney Opera House, and Wolf Trap. Richard is deaf and uses hearing aids and assisted listening technology.
Katherine Dubbs is an opera director and producer in New York. She is the Founder and Executive Producer of SIGN & SING. Previously as Founder and Artistic Director of Princeton Opera Company, Katherine continues to focus on community-based theater and new approaches to musical performance. She is currently working at Chautauqua Opera Company as the Assistant Company Manager. For her development of SIGN & SING, she is the 2015 and 2016 Marin Alsop Award winner, the 2016 Emerging Leader of New York Arts Fellow, and the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing grant winner.
Sign & Sing, inaugurated in December 2015 as the winner of last year’s Marin Alsop Awards, is the integration of American Sign Language (ASL) and classical music in order to elevate storytelling in an operatic and recital environment. The first Sign & Sing performances at Symphony Space successfully garnered 140 audience members and engaged 15 performers. Now in its second season, Sign & Sing will continue to interpret existing music to challenge the definitions of access, listening, and communication within opera today.
Voices of Light is a 1994 musical composition by Richard Einhorn. It was inspired by the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. Live performances of the composition have accompanied screenings of the film. The libretto is based on excerpts from a variety of ancient writings, most of it from Medieval female mystics.
℗ 1995 Sony BMG Music Entertainment.
ASL Librettist Katherine Dubbs performs “Solitary Hotel” by Samuel Barber and James Joyce with pianist Marian Schirrmeister.
This video serves as an example of Sign & Sing’s development and creation process. All American Sign Language writing was created by Dubbs, and those decisions heighten the emotional experience found in the music and in the written text. The video and its subsequent live performance won the 2015 Marin Alsop Entrepreneurial Award.
Start and End Dates
09/16/2017 — 09/23/2017
New York, New York