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The Mary Shelley Opera
Miniature by Reginal Easton [Bodleian Library, Oxford]
Creative Team: Allan Jaffe | Deborah Atherton | Stephen Hannock

Allan Jaffe has arrived at composition through his experience as a jazz-guitarist and improvisor. He has toured the United States and Europe playing improvisations at the side of such musicians as Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Anthony Davis, Ray Anderson, Tim Berne, and George Russell. His ability to play a groove has gotten him work with funk artists such as James Brown and Maceo Parker. His quintet Slickaphonics achieved a large following in Europe. With them, as well as the others mentioned above, Allan has recorded on major labels and has appeared at major festivals, as well as televised performances, in Europe and the U.S. It was during his studies at Yale University that Allan began writing music for the stage and collaborated with director A.J. Antoon. His association with Deborah Atherton began seven years ago with their musical theater adaptation of J.S. LeFanu's vampire story Carmilla. In their most recent collaboration, an opera based on the life of Mary Shelley, Allan draws on his experience in the fields of classical music, jazz and funk, forging a unique approach to rhythm and harmony.

Deborah Atherton has worked extensively as a lyricist and librettist for opera and music theater. She received a commission from the "Opera in the Eighties" program of Opera America for her opera, "Under the Double Moon," written with composer Anthony Davis, which premiered at Opera Theater of St. Louis in 1989. Excerpts from this work, and her other collaboration with Mr. Davis, "The Beginning of Light/Of Time passing," were also presented at the Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center in 1990. Her most recent collaborations, written with composer Allan Jaffe, include "Carmilla," a music theater work (workshopped in 1992 at Music Theater Works) and "Mary Shelley," an opera in progress, both of which explore, through fantasy and modern myth, the darker sides and consequences of creativity. She has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and the Palenville Arts Colony. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and she currently hosts America On Line's weekly chat for literary writers, "Cabaret Voltaire."

Stephen Hannock, who will design the production of Mary Shelley, is a painter and artist in many mediums. After an apprenticeship with Leonard Baskin in Northampton, Massachusetts, he moved to New York City, where he paints and shows regularly at the James Graham & Sons Gallery. He has been described as the “pre-eminent contemporary luminist;” his work in all mediums, including his stage design, reveals the extraordinary behind the ordinary. His paintings are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the LaJolla Museum of Contemporary Art. He recently received an Oscar for Visual Effects for his work on the film “What Dreams May Come.” A book on his work entitled "Luminosity" was published in 2000 by Chronicle Books. For more information about his work visit: http://www.stephenhannock.com/