The Place Where You Started
The Place Where You Started uses cinematic projections to weave elements of present day Los Angeles with Latin American literature and Magic Realism.
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Meredith, a disillusioned screenwriter meets Macario, an undocumented landscaper. Rigid class boundaries dissolve as their friendship grows – Macario helping Meredith rediscover her true artistic self as she inspires him to heal from a tragic past he’s buried. But their friendship is misunderstood, leading to devastating consequences.
“The Place Where You Started shows there’s more to immigrants than any stereotype about occupation and ethnicity can encompass, demonstrating the peril of unwarranted fear.” – Brett Campbell, Oregon Arts Watch
Written by Composer Mark Lanz Weiser & Librettist Amy Punt
Stage Direction by Kristine McIntyre
Ensemble – Helix Collective
Los Angeles – The new opera by composer Mark Lanz Weiser and Librettist Amy Punt, THE PLACE WHERE YOU STARTED makes its Los Angeles debut May 17 – 19, 2018 at Art Share L.A. The production features the flexible instrumentation of new music ensemble, Helix Collective. A special VIP Reception follows the Opening Night (May 17th) production.
Under the stage direction of the nationally renowned director Kristine McIntyre, THE PLACE WHERE YOU STARTED follows the story of Meredith, a disillusioned screenwriter, who meets Macario, an undocumented landscaper. Rigid class boundaries dissolve as their friendship grows — Macario helping Meredith rediscover her true artistic self as she inspires him to heal from a tragic past he’s buried. Their friendship is misunderstood leading to devastating consequences. View the Trailer for THE PLACE WHERE YOU STARTED at https://youtu.be/
“L.A. is a diverse city, but it is also a segregated one. It divides along both racial and economic lines,” says Librettist Amy Punt. “Meredith and Macario represent these divides, making their friendship unusual; and it’s these differences that drive their character arcs and the drama. The opera explores both the dangers of illegal immigration, while also reflecting women’s struggles in the Entertainment Industry.”
Stirring cinematic projections designed by multimedia artist Omar Ramos, create realistic sets of present day Los Angeles. These images dissolve into a tapestry of Latin American flora. Each frame evokes the Magic Realism of writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the haunting sense of isolation found in the poetry of Emilio Prados.
Composer Mark Lanz Weiser utilizes a modern operatic setting, writing for the voice with an attractive musical vocabulary that is both fresh and modern. Together he and librettist Amy Punt create a story that is engaging, entertaining, devastating, but ultimately hopeful. Punt’s libretto has been described as using “sly humor and realistic dialogue creating sympathetic motivations, even when characters do things that make us flinch.”
Composer Mark Lanz Weiser has always had a passion for the combination of music and drama. He explores the ways drama can influence and shape music through his operas, art songs and concert music. In 2015, Opera San Jose premiered “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” Mark’s opera based on the novel by E. M. Forster. It was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “potent and well-made” and “ravishing” by the San Jose Mercury News. Both publications included the opera on their top 10 lists of 2015 musical events. The same year, Mark was awarded the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize for his second symphony (Sinfonia Magalhães), a musical evocation of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. Other awards include the Ithaca College International Heckscher Composition Prize, the NATS National Art Song competition and residencies at the Yaddo colony in New York, the Virginia Center for the Creative Art, and the 2017 Los Angeles Hear Now festival. His music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes and Editions Bim International Music Publishing. Mark received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance and master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently Assistant Professor in Composition and Director of Undergraduate Music Theory at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
Librettist Amy Punt is a Los Angeles based screenwriter, essayist, and freelance journalist. Her writings have been featured in Salon and The Weeklings, and she has appeared as a commentator on MSNBC. She’s developed scripts with Warner Brothers Animation and guided screenwriters through a professional development program at The Writers Boot Camp, L.A.’s premier screenwriting training facility. Amy began life as an actor in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Theatre from Hope College in Holland Michigan and immediately started directing and producing for Chicago stages such as The Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Bailiwick Repertory, and Strawdog Ensemble. Amy then left Chicago theatre to build an acting troupe at Willow Creek Community Church, which boasted a congregation of 25,000 members. She went on to study film at Regent University and received a Master of Directing for Cinema/TV and Communication. While “The Place Where You Started” is her first foray into opera, it is her return to the stage, a place where she feels very much at home.
Stage Director Kristine McIntyre has directed more than 80 operas across the U.S. with a focus on new, American and 20th century works, including new productions of Jake Heggie’s “Moby Dick,” “Dead Man Walking,” “The End of the Affair” and “Three Decembers;” the world premiers of Mark Lanz Weiser and Amy Punt’s “The Place Where You Started,” “Jane Eyre” by Louis Karchin, and “John Brown” by Kirke Mechem; David T. Little’s Soldier Songs, As One (Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed), several productions of Flight (Dove), Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, new productions of Peter Grimes, Billy Budd, and Jenůfa as well as classic American operas such as Of Mice and Men, The Tender Land, and Vanessa. Other recent productions include a film-noir style Don Giovanni, Otello, Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, Eugene Onegin, The Turn of the Screw, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, La cenerentola, La bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor, Cav / Pag, Werther and an Emmy-award winning production of Manon. Upcoming projects include Florencia en el Amazonas, new productions of Flight, La rondine, and Wozzeck and a new version of her bilingual 50-minute adaptation of The Barber of Seville. In addition, her new Moby Dick production will travel to San Jose, Chicago and Barcelona in the coming years.
THE PLACE WHERE YOU STARTED cast is led by Hannah Cosenz as Meredith and Anthony Moreno as Macario. The cast also includes Jon Keenan, David Castillo, Janet Todd, and Maria Dominique Lopez. To learn more about the cast, please visit www.theplaceopera.com/
Helix Collective is a Los Angeles-based ensemble specializing in multimedia, collaborative performance and recording. Helix has released two critically acclaimed albums and has recorded the scores for over a dozen films. The ensemble is at home in nightclubs and on the concert stage from a residency at Los Angeles’s venerable Silverlake Lounge to performances for the West Michigan and Pacific Symphonies. The group is the resident ensemble of the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival and recently performed at the Women Composers in Media event in Los Angeles. Upcoming performances this season include Classical Revolution: L.A., Beverly Hill’s Greystone Mansion, and Encinitas Music by the Sea. Helix Collective is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a sustainable community of multi-disciplinary, multi-genre artists working together to create accessible, immersive works of art in order to bring joy, connection, solace, and understanding to a wide and diverse audience.
Tickets on sale now!
THE PLACE WHERE YOU STARTED runs May 17, 18, and 19 at 7:30 p.m.
$75 Opening Night VIP Reception
$35 General Admission for each night.
“A remarkable opera” – James Bash, Northwest Reverb