Minute to Midnight Opera Workshop
The Wende Museum
10808 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230, USA
Minute to Midnight, a comedic opera, takes audiences inside a surreal portrait of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Inside a fictionalized Situation Room, we witness the tensions between John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, and Nikita Khrushchev. In reality, these leaders’ transmissions took hours to reach each other. Minute to Midnight compresses these conversations, putting the characters in each other's presence. The fictionalized Situation Room heightens the absurdity of this conflict and war while grounding the opera in a contemporary conversation: How can we continue to have dialogue through difference and find common ground today?
As history continues to repeat itself, this opera creates a new interpretation of these historic events through a modern lens and an all-female cast. Moments of mutual understanding surface as a critical reminder of the ways in which history comes to define the present.
This workshop concert will showcase an unstaged version of the opera. Audience members will have the chance to offer feedback via a questionnaire, during a feedback session, or during the reception that follows the event.
Dante De Silva is a Los Angeles-based composer and musician. He has received commissions from Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng, Opera Parallele, the Verdehr Trio, the B Band, and the Humboldt State University Percussion Ensemble, among others. In addition to his commissions, performers of his work include Talea Ensemble, Pacific Serenades, pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough, What’s Next, and Composers Inc.. His music has been performed throughout the U.S., as well as parts of Canada and Europe. Dante holds a Ph.D. in composition from UCLA, where his primary teachers were David Lefkowitz and Paul Reale, an M.A. in composition from UC Santa Cruz with David Cope and Paul Nauert, and a B.A. in music with an emphasis in piano performance from Humboldt State University, where he studied with Brian Post (composition), Eugene Novotney (percussion, composition), and Deborah Clasquin (piano).
Alan Olejniczak is an opera librettist and playwright based in San Francisco. His operas, including Atlas of Remote Islands (2023) and Unbound, (2021) with music by Nathan Hall, and Death of Ivan Ilych (2021) with music by John Young. His musical drama Concerto premiered in 2023 with The Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma in partnership with The Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Alan looks forward to premiering his nativity oratorio, Yosef and the Counseling Angel with music by Cole Thomason-Redus in Denver this December. Alan currently has six other operas in development and has set the text for the song cycle A Light Rekindled with Iranian-American composer Amin Sarrafi. Alan is also the Playwright in Residence with The Proscenium, a London-based online theatre company and was the Artist in Residence for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and the first playwright ever selected by the National Parks Arts Foundation. Alan will return to Svalbard in August 2024, for another residency for their Alumni Expedition. Alan is currently an Opera Committee Member of the Dramatist Guild and an Advisory Board Member of Opera Parallèle in San Francisco.