World Premiere! BIENNALE
A Comic Opera

  Music by
Paul Richards
  Libretto by
Wendy Steiner
Mary Birnbaum
stage direction
Gary Thor Wedow
Wendy Steiner
Andrew Lucia
design of Sandro's Sculpture
Grace Laubacher
projections design
Kathleen Doyle
costumes design
Andreas Meyer
sound design
Audrey Chait
stage manager


Naomi O'Connell
Kate, beauty-secrets editor of Woman magazine
Caroline Worra
Bianca, beautician on a cruise ship
Caterina Sforza, Renaissance beauty expert
Christopher Burchett
Sandro, installation artist at the Venice Biennale
Sandro Botticelli, Renaissance painter
Jesse Blumberg

Sergej, Russian sailor, fiancé of Bianca
Nicolò Machiavelli, Renaissance philosopher
William Shakespeareyou know who he is


Nuno Antunes
John Benthal
Jed Distler
David Sytkowski
rehearsal pianist
Mary Wooten
musical contractor

Biennale: A Comic Opera

World Premiere
October 4th, 11th, & 12th, 2013
The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia

Tickets & more information:
The Barnes Foundation, 215-278-7200

With generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,
the Richard L. Fisher Chair of English at the University of Pennsylvania,
and the Penn Humanities Forum.

This performance lasts approximately 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission.

Plot Synopsis

Act One
A cruise ship sails through the Grand Canal in Venice, its smokestack so tall that it dwarfs the Cathedral of San Marco. Soon Kate, the beauty-secrets editor of Woman magazine, walks down the gangplank. Slipping a cosmetic tube to the ship’s beautician Bianca, Kate goes ashore and threads her way through the crowds on the Riva Schiavoni until she comes to a little bridge. Under the archway, she makes a vow and then, clearly relieved, she continues on to the gardens of the Venice Biennale. Throngs of art lovers are braving the heat and confusion in the hopes of finding a work that “speaks their name” ("And You Are There”).

Inside a gallery, Kate watches a video of an artist explaining that he has stopped playing games in art in order to connect to his viewers. The real artist, Sandro, invites her into his installation, "The Music of the Spheres," and they agree to meet the next morning for coffee.  

That evening on the ship, Bianca tells Kate that her longtime boyfriend Sergej has finally proposed, thanks to the lip-gloss Kate gave her earlier. Kate describes her meeting with Sandro, and the two laugh at the lengths women go in order to attract men. Sergej enters and Bianca asks him to tell Kate a joke to cheer her up. Sergej take a surprisingly poetic departure, and Bianca, in fortune-teller fashion, advises Kate to keep her date with Sandro.

Act Two
The next morning, Sandro tells Kate about his muse, the Renaissance beauty-secrets expert, Caterina Sforza, who as an evil video game character always defeated him. Kate defends her role as a modern beauty-secrets expert, and in the process, reveals her distress over a failed affair. Sandro invites her to the glassblowers' island of Murano, but Kate turns him down. Sandro gives her a crystal ball from his installation in parting, and Kate falls into a daydream that will last until the Finale of the opera.

In the daydream, Kate goes to Murano, where Sandro explains that he is soon to die without ever having known love. He invites Kate to join him in a perfect—if short—love, but she fears that neither of them know how to love. Sandro suggests they enroll in Caterina Sforza's Venetian Academy of Love, which is conveniently located directly behind them in the Murano lighthouse.

Act Three
Kate and Sandro attend Caterina Sforza’s student orientation in the Academy of Love. Caterina conjures up Machiavelli and Botticelli, as well as her teaching assistant William Shakespeare, all of whom have suffered because of her power over them. She then explains that only by loving will Kate learn why love is worth the risk, saying that after the intermission Kate can take classes with the world’s two greatest experts in love, Shakespeare and herself.


Act Four
For her lecture, Caterina stages an intimate dinner party between Kate and Sandro, with artichokes as the first course. Caterina shows that eating an artichoke and experiencing an Aristotelian tragedy are the same. Though both end in sadness, they leave a “memory of the heart,” which makes it all worthwhile. 

Act Five
Shakespeare, disgusted with Caterina’s vulgarization of high art, explains that only poetry can inspire love. He teaches Sandro a speech from The Merchant of Venice about the music of the spheres, a music inaudible to moral ears except through art. The principle of the cosmos is poetry, says Shakespeare, but for Caterina, it is beauty secrets: “The cosmos at its heart is pure cosmetics.” 

Shakespeare demonstrates how a true lover uses poetry to put his beloved in touch with the music of the spheres. Sandro finally makes Kate hear this music in the short time remaining to him. Caterina, furious at Shakespeare’s triumph, kills Sandro with a death ray from the crystal ball he had given Kate.

Kate wakes from her daydream and hurries back to the gallery. She and Sandro marvel at their meeting in art: “My life…begins and ends imagining you,/ All times before and after are a dream.”

LIbrettist's Note

The setting for this opera is the most famous of contemporary art fairs, the Venice Biennale. There, a heartsick beauty-secrets editor of a women’s magazine meets an artist, who invites her into his interactive installation and tells her that it is an appeal to someone special, the only person who will understand what it means. He asks if she might be that person. Drawn to him, but afraid of involvement, she falls into a daydream in which she is transported back to the Renaissance, to a fanciful “Venetian Academy of Love.” Her classes run the gamut from dinner-party seduction to sublime poetry.

The idea for the libretto began with a lecture presented at the Penn Humanities Forum by Meredith Ray on the subject of Renaissance “secrets books.” These alchemical, cosmetic, and proto-medical recipes written by women—and men posing as women—were in wide circulation among European noblewomen. Countress Caterina Sforza's Gli Experimenti was a notable example, the product of her lifelong investigation into the properties of plants and minerals. According to Dr. Ray, secrets books such as Sforza’s played an important role to the rise of modern medicine and chemistry, but until recently historians of science ignored them as frivolous fluff.
The recipes in secrets books sound like the table of contents of a modern women's magazine: how to prevent wrinkles, become a blonde, and make your husband love you, though they also include instructions for turning straw into gold and poisoning popes with impunity. The rhetoric of these treatises survives in phrases like “secrets of the stars” and “exclusive beauty tips.” This age-old female culture still affects every aspect of women’s lives and powers the billion-dollar, multinational beauty and fashion industries. 

According to the apocryphal Book of Enoch, beauty secrets have a divine source. The legend was that angels looking down on the earth were smitten by the beauty of the daughters of men. Leaning over the parapet of heaven for a closer view, they fell to earth and their amorous advances led to a race of giants. Somewhere along the way, they conveyed heavenly knowledge to women, including the arts of cosmetics and female adornment. The references to angels in Biennale are a reminder of this exalted account of beauty secrets. Moreover, as anyone who has been to Venice can attest, these winged creatures turn up everywhere on the city.

It is no doubt mischievous to compare beauty secrets to the sublimity of Shakespearean poetry, but mischief can be revealing.  Throughout history, most women could be artists only in the design of their homes and their physical appearances.  Secrets books attributed the highest respect to such artistry.  They pictured women as powerful artist-magicians, whose virtuosity inspired love and domestic happiness. 

In this respect, Caterina Sforza was a formidable example. An alchemical researcher, she had three husbands and eleven children and ruled as regent over two city-states, personally training her troops for battle. Machiavelli mentions her repeatedly in his treatises on statecraft, and she was so beautiful that Botticelli is said to have used her as the model for the rightmost of the three graces in the Primavera. In our day, Caterina Sforza is among the proto-feminists honored in Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party. She also turns up as a foul-mouthed villain in the video game, Assassin's Creed II, and the subject of best-selling biographies, such as Elizabeth Lev’s The Tigress of Forlì (2011).

These strands converge in the fantasy daydream of Biennale, where humble women's secrets and exalted male artistry face off in the “Venetian Academy of Love.” In this parody of higher learning, Caterina Sforza is a cross between the Queen of the Night and Julia Child. Shakespeare, enthralled by her, must struggle to make an equal case for the value of his artistry in inspiring love. 

The contemporary heroine of the opera, Kate, is the beauty-secrets editor of a woman’s magazine, and as such, she is following in the footsteps of Caterina. The artist she meets at the Venice Biennale, Sandro, has inherited not only Sandro Botticelli’s name and profession, but the love of beauty that Shakespeare explored in his sonnets and plays. Sandro is also very much an artist of our day.  He has made an interactive installation, trying to establish a direct connection between himself and his audience. Kate cannot tell what he means when he says his work is calling out her name. Is this a real appeal to her as an individual, or a symbolic gesture toward a generic viewer? Will Sandro be “dead” to her once she leaves the Biennale or will their connection continue? And does he value her interaction in the installation, or is the artistry all on his side? Biennale is a love story, but it reflects a host of contemporary issues concerning gender and power in interactive art. 

Biennale is also an experiment with new expressive means. I leave it to my collaborator, the composer Paul Richards,* to describe his musical innovations, but a short note about the projections might be in order. I greatly admire the work of William Kentridge, Ben Katchor, and Peter Greenaway, and I conceived of Biennale from the start in visual terms. Venice itself is a total artistic environment—the quintessential interactive work—and I wanted Biennale to create a similar immersion for its audience in past and present art. The digital designer Andrew Lucia captured extensive still photographs and video footage on a trip with me to the Venice Biennale. In 2011 Grace Laubacher combined this imagery and her own in the whimsical projections that take the place of sets in this opera. My overall goal for Biennale has been to create a synaesthesia of words, imagery, and music worthy of the ideal of opera as Gesamtkunstwerk.

I am immensely grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and in particular, to its program officer Marïet Westerman, who championed this project when it was little more than a libretto. The development of the score and projection tracks would not have been possible without support from Mellon and from my Richard L. Fisher Chair Research Fund at the University of Pennsylvania. Kathleen Greene at the Barnes Foundation has provided a spectacular venue and Professor James English and Jennifer Conway of the Penn Humanities Forum have added their invaluable co-sponsorship.  Sara Varney at the Forum designed our beautiful poster. To all, my profound thanks.
                                                                                                                                                 -Wendy Steiner

* Biennale is Richards’s and Steiner’s second opera collaboration. The first was The Loathly Lady, an adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” produced in 2009 in Philadelphia. It was conducted by Gary Thor Wedow and starred Julianne Baird, Thomas Meglioranza, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Susan Hellauer, and Ruth Cunningham, with an orchestra of mostly early instrumentalists from Parthenia and Piffaro. The staging consisted of projections based on drawings by the artist John Kindness, including animated segments from a pilot for the project that I produced in 2006.

Composer's Note

Inspired by Wendy’s libretto that blends modern Venice with a dream-like memory of the Italian Renaissance, I have aimed for a music that comingles contemporary and ancient operatic and theatrical traditions. While there is no direct quotation of earlier music, some of the piece is composed using adaptations of techniques and tropes from earlier eras, modeled loosely on various fifteenth- to seventeenth-century composers, especially when characters from those eras are singing (Caterina Sforza, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Shakespeare). The instrumental ensemble uses a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments, with keyboards playing a bank of newly created sounds that are part of the effort to blend stylistic models. Some pre-recorded music is employed as well, particularly in the second scene of the piece, where Kate views a video of Sandro talking about his art, and then Sandro engages her in a conversation. Through this technology, Sandro even sings a brief duet with himself. All of this afforded me the opportunity to play with ideas of imitation, of memory, and, like Kate, what it means to take chances and to try something new, inspired by something old.

                                                                                                                                                 -Paul Richards

Artist Bios
Jesse Blumberg, Biennale   Jesse Blumberg

Baritone Jesse Blumberg, equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages, has performed roles at Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Lyric Opera, and at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Jesse has made concert appearances with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Charlotte Symphony, and has given song recitals with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, Mirror Visions Ensemble, and New York Festival of Song. Jesse’s 2012-2013 season included debuts with New York City Opera, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, Oratorio Society of NY, Pacific MusicWorks, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pegasus Early Music, and Fargo-Moorhead Opera. In addition, he returned to American Bach Soloists, Apollo’s Fire, and TENET/Green Mountain Project. In 2013-2014 he will debut with Boston Baroque and Kentucky Opera, and return to Minnesota Opera for Die Zauberflöte. Jesse is also the founder and artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York City.

Christopher Burchett, Biennale   Christopher Burchett

New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, Virginia Opera, Opera Omaha, Eugene Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Kentucky Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Estates Theatre in Prague. 2012-Blazes in The Lighthouse/Boston Lyric Opera, Chou En-Lai in Nixon in China/Eugene Opera, Carmina Burana/The York Symphony Orchestra, Baroque concerts in Quebec, Canada/L'Harmonie des Saisons, Faure's Requiem/Omaha Symphony, Dvorak's Stabat Mater/Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Soldier in Oceanic Verses/Kennedy Center (World premiere), Bruno Mahler in Music in the Air/Music By the Lake Festival, Einstein on Mercer Street/Trinity Wall Street "Concerts at One" series, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus/Virginia Opera, Handel's Messiah at Avery Fisher Hall/Trinity Wall Street Choir and Orchestra. 2013-Soldier Songs/PROTOTYPE New Music Festival, "Signature Series" recital/Boston Lyric Opera, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony/The York Symphony Orchestra, Soldier in Oceanic Verses/BBC Orchestra at the Barbican Centre (European premiere), Sandro in Biennale/Barnes Foundation (World premiere), War Requiem/Washington National Chorus at the Kennedy Center, Carmina Burana/Omaha Symphony, Liederabend/Beth Morrison Projects', Handel's Messiah/Portland Baroque Orchestra.

Future engagements-Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos/Virginia Opera, Victor in The Poe Project/Fargo-Moorhead Opera (World Premiere), Father Palmer in Silent Night/Fort Worth Opera, Dr. Alex Murry in A Wrinkle in Time/Fort Worth Opera (world premiere) in 2015.
Naomi O'Connell, Biennale   Naomi O’Connell

Hailed by The New York Times as a “radiant mezzo-soprano,” Irish singer Naomi O'Connell recently made her West End debut in London starring in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play Master Class opposite Tyne Daly. This season, Ms. O’Connell will return to Garsington Opera in Offenbach’s Vert Vert and will also sing the world premiere of Paul Richards’s Biennale in Philadelphia.  Notable past engagements include Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, co-produced by the Juilliard Opera Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program conducted by Alan Gilbert and directed by Stephen Wadsworth; New York City Opera’s new production of Offenbach’s La Périchole directed by Christopher Alden; and her professional operatic debut singing the title role in Offenbach’s La Périchole with Garsington Opera, where London critics hailed her as “a star in the making.”

A gifted musician and natural performer, Ms. O’Connell deftly balances her love of opera with that of art song, musical theatre and popular song with repertoire ranging from Schumann, Strauss and Ravel to Bernstein, Kurt Weill and Randy Newman.  She has performed with the New York Festival of Song, Marlboro Music Festival, Juilliard ChamberFest and FOCUS! Festivals, and Steans Musical Institute at Ravinia. Recent recital appearances include her critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall, entitled ‘Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches.’

Caroline Worra, Biennale  
Caroline Worra
Bianca, Caterina

Caroline Worra (soprano) has sung over 50 different operatic roles including 20 World, American, and Regional Premieres. She was internationally acclaimed for her performances of Jenny in The Mines of Sulphur (Grammy nominated CD for Best Opera Recording) and as the title role for The Greater Good; Passion of Boule de Suif (Opera News and New York Times pick for one of the top classical CDs of the year). Her third full opera recording, Glory Denied, was just released by Albany Records in August 2013.

Ms. Worra has worked with over 20 opera companies including The Metropolitan Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Boston Lyric Opera, Dallas Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and six seasons at both Glimmerglass Opera and New York City Opera. Overseas she has performed at Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Sicily and at The Wexford Festival Opera (winner of The 2009 Best Opera of Ireland Award - The Mines of Sulphur). 

Highlights from this past year include a nomination for "Best Actress in an Opera" from DCTheatre Scene for her performances of the one woman show Before Breakfast (Urban Arias) and performing Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte with Sir Thomas Allen (Boston Lyric Opera).

Upcoming: Lizzie Borden - Boston Lyric Opera; Orphee - Pittsburgh Opera

Creative Team
Paul Richards, Biennale  
Paul Richards

Paul Richards, Research Foundation Professor of Composition at the University of Florida, is the recipient of numerous prizes and commissions.  His works have been heard throughout the United States and internationally on six continents.  Awards include Special Distinction in the ASCAP Rudolph Nissim Prize, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s Fresh Ink competition prize, the New Music for Sligo/IMRO composition prize, and many others. Commissions have come from orchestras, wind ensembles, choirs, and chamber ensembles, and his works have been recorded by Richard Stoltzman, the Slovak Radio Orchestra, the Moravian Philharmonic, and numerous chamber groups.  Music by Paul Richards is recorded on the Meyer Media, MMC, ERM, Capstone, Mark, and Summit labels, and is published by Southern Music, Carl Fischer Music, TrevCo Music, the International Horn Society Press, Jeanné, Inc., and Margalit Music.
Wendy Steiner, Biennale   Wendy Steiner
librettist & producer

Wendy Steiner was the Richard L. Fisher Professor of English until 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania, where she founded and directed the Penn Humanities Forum. Among her books are: The Real Real Thing (2010), Venus in Exile (2001), and The Scandal of Pleasure (1995: NYTimes “100 Best Books of 1996”); her cultural journalism has appeared in US and UK publications. Steiner wrote the libretto for The Loathly Lady (music, Paul Richards; art, John Kindness), and produced LL in 2009 in Philadelphia. She co-created Traces on the Farther Side, a music visualization in real time, with Andrew Lucia (2011: music, Frances White; performance, Parthenia Viol Consort). She is working on a book about Village Health Works, a medical-architectural development in Kigutu, Burundi.
Gary Thor Wedow   Gary Thor Wedow

Gary Thor Wedow has been hailed for ‘hot music making’ by the Baltimore Sun and ‘convincingly elegant period style’ in Opera News. This coming season includes The Magic Flute with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Don Pasquale for Arizona Opera, Abduction from the Seraglio for Utah Opera, Messiah with the Seattle Symphony, the American stage premiere of J. C. Bach’s Endimione  with The New York City Opera and the world premier of Paul Richards and Wendy Steiner’s Biennale at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Highlights of his 2012-2013 season included his acclaimed debut conducting Messiah with the New York Philharmonic, Xerxes (Indiana University), Rinaldo (Portland Opera with the Portland Baroque Orchestra), Die Fledermaus (Virginia Opera), Il viaggio a Reims (Wolf Trap Opera Company) and a return to Seattle Opera for a double bill of La voix humaine and Suor Angelica.

A faculty member of The Juilliard School where he has conducted l’incoronazione di Poppea, La finta giardiniera, Ariodante and Don Giovanni, Maestro Wedow this season will lead the St. Matthew Passion on tour with the Juilliard 415 Historical Performance ensemble in Aiken, South Carolina; Spivey Hall in Morrow, Georgia; culminating in Alice Tully Hall, New York City.

Having been closely associated with New York City Opera for many years, Maestro Wedow recently led Telemann’s Orpheus andthe Christopher Alden production of Don Giovanni, and past performances include Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Bizet’s Carme . A frequent guest at Seattle Opera he has led Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Gluck’s Orphée and Iphigénie en Tauride in the Stephen Wadsworth production and Mozart’s Magic Flute. He has regularly conducted at Wolf Trap Opera, The Seattle Symphony, The Berkshire Choral Festival and The Amherst Early Music Festival and has been engaged by Berkshire Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Madison Opera, Tokyo’s New National Theatre and Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society where he was Associate Conductor.

Maestro Wedow was born in LaPorte, Indiana and resides in New York City. He was a student of piano virtuoso Jorge Bolet.
Mary Birnbaum, Biennale   Mary Birnbaum

Mary Birnbaum is a NYC-based theater and opera director. Maryjoined the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at Juilliard in 2010 as its inaugural directing fellow and is now the Associate Director of the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program where she teaches/coaches acting for singers. After graduating from Harvard, Birnbaum attended Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris where she studied movement and design and began to devise theatre. Birnbaum founded Art Party ( in 2009 and as Artistic Director has collaborated with Flux Factory, The Foundry Theater Company, American Opera Projects, the New Museum and Bryant Park. She has created productions at Melbourne Opera Studio (Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters/Nonsense Songs), The Juilliard School (La Finta Giardiniera, Le Donne Curiose), LA’s Son of Semele Theater and the New Orleans Fringe Festival. She has assisted faculty member Stephen Wadsworth at Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and on Broadway. In the summer of 2013, she was be the Associate Director of the Ring Cycle at Seattle Opera.
Andrew Lucia (imagery and design) is a designer specializing in a computational approach to the analysis and production of material organization, architecture, and data. Andrew is a Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University teaching design studios and seminars in visual representation, previously having taught graduate seminars in the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at PennDesign. Andrew is principal of Andrew Lucia Design & Research Studio, with current and past projects and collaborations including architectural, graphic, web, & stage design; interactive/kinetic media explorations & installations; data/information visualization & pattern recognition research. Andrew is a former Senior Associate member of the hybrid design and research unit, Labstudio. Andrew’s solo and collaborative works and writings have been widely published and exhibited internationally, including in Leonardo Music Journal, Science, American Journal of Pathology, the New York Times, & Wired Magazine
Kathleen Doyle, Biennale   Kathleen Doyle
costume designer

Kathleen Doyle designs costumes, puppets and masks for theater, opera, film, dance and animation.  Based in New York, recent projects include ‘Sunfish’ at the Daegu Opera House in Korea, ‘Acteon’ at The Kennedy Center, 'The Snow Queen' at Here Art Center, 'Sassy Swings Tokyo' at La MaMa, 'Cendrillon' and ‘Musilda’ at Manhattan School of Music, ‘Fireweather’ at The Joyce Theater, ‘Lollapalooza’ at Jazz At Lincoln Center,  ‘On The Town’ at Boston Lyric Stage, ‘Girl of The Golden West’ at The New Ohio, ‘The Magic Flute’, ‘The Musicians of Bremen’ and ‘The Barber of Seville’ at Crested Butte Music Festival, ‘Xerxes’ at The Connecticut Music Festival, ‘Anyone Can Whistle’ at Pace,  ‘Der Zwerg’, ‘L’Heure Espagnole’ and ‘The Four Note Opera’ at Opera Hub, Romeo & Juliet at The Actor’s Shakespeare Project, and ‘The Harlem Renaissance Tour’ in the historic neighborhood.   Her artwork was recently exhibited in a solo show ‘Criacoes’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil.    M.F.A. in Theatrical Design, Tisch School of The Arts, N.Y.U.  M.A. in Dramaturgy, Villanova University.   Goodwill Ambassador to Peru, 2004.  Fulbright Scholar to Japan 2001, and to China  2005.  
Grace Laubacher  
Grace Laubacher
scenic designer

Grace Laubacher is a designer of theatre, opera, and sculptural installations based in New York City.  Recent projects include Blue Surge and The Women (Stella Adler Studio of Acting), Le Donne Curiose (The Juilliard School), Words, Razors and the Wounded Heart (Less Than Rent Theater Co.); Yelloween (a promotion in Rockefeller Center sponsored by Veuve Clicquot); and Dive (an interactive installation produced in collaboration with Sightline Theater Company. Grace has previously worked as an assistant designer and set dresser at the National Theatre of England (Snow Globe, designed by Nadia Lakhani) and The Box (a neo-vaudeville nightclub).  She has worked with the design team of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More to create new performance and entertainment spaces in their Chelsea venue. She is also currently the set designer and associate technical director of the Play Group Theatre in White Plains, NY.  Education: MA Performance Design, Central Saint Martins (London); BA Harvard University. 
Audrey Chait   Audrey Chait
production stage manager

Audrey Chait is a Brooklyn-based director, writer, and producer of theater and opera. Directing credits include Britten's Turn of the Screw, Die Fledermaus, Offenbach's Monsieur Choufleuri, and most recently a devised opera project for Manhattan School of Music's Summer Voice Festival. She has served as production manager and/or stage manager for shows with On Site Opera, Opera North, Cape Town Opera School, and Brown Opera Productions. Ms. Chait holds a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University, where she studied playwriting with Erik Ehn, and has worked as an administrator for Juilliard Vocal Arts. She has served as a Rotary International ambassador to Kashihara, Japan, and traveled to Berlin to work with Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Institute.