As One a Haunting Success in San Diego

"a wholly engrossing character study as it traces the topical, personal, transsexual journey of 'Hannah'"

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As One San Diego Opera
Kelly Markgraf and Blythe Gaissert in San Diego Opera's As One Photo: Karli Cadel

The relatively new one act opera, As One (music by Laura Kaminsky, book by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed), has become the most often performed contemporary work in recent years for several reasons. First, it is a wholly engrossing character study as it traces the topical, personal, transsexual journey of “Hannah.”

Second, it achieves a luminous and absorbing effect with absolute economy of means, requiring only two singers, a string quartet, suggested scenery, and simple costumes. It is an opera producer’s dream that is also a spectator’s wonder.

Hannah Before and Hannah After are compellingly sung and impersonated by baritone Kelly Markgraf and mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert. As Hannah evolves from being trapped in a male body to embracing the woman she is, the two perform seamlessly together, to coin a phrase, “as one.”

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