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The Mother of Us All

Columbia County , Hudson Valley | Arts & Culture

The Mother of Us All

A new production of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein's rarely performed opera, The Mother of Us All, directed by R.B. Schlather, stars a cast of Hudson Valley Hudson. Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House

The Mother of Us All | Stage Direction by R. B. Schlather | November 11, 12, 15, 18 & 19 THE MOTHER OF US ALL | STAGE DIRECTION BY R. B. SCHLATHER | NOVEMBER 11, 12, 15, 18 & 19 The Mother of Us All (1947) An opera by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein

Stage Director R. B. Schlather

Music Director Tony Kieraldo Set and Costume Designer Marsha Ginsberg Lighting Designer JAX Messenger Dramaturg Joan Retallack

Saturday, November 11, 4pm Sunday, November 12, 4pm Saturday, November 18, 4pm Sunday, November 19, 4pm Tickets: $55 premium, $35 patron, $20 standing – all are general admission

Wednesday, November 15, 4pm Tickets: $45 premium, $25 patron, $15 standing – all are general admission

In order to make The Mother of Us All accessible to as many of our community as possible, we have opened up a limited number of ‘General Admission – Standing’ tickets for every performance. The opera has been staged in a non-traditional way, with performers utilizing the entire space and the line between performer and audience intentionally blurred. ‘General Admission – Standing’ ticket holders are invited to stand on the periphery, sit on the carpeted floor or a combination of both.

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To mark the centenary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the re-opening of New York State’s oldest surviving theater, Hudson Hall in partnership with The Millay Colony for the Arts commissioned a new production of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s rarely performed opera The Mother of Us All. Using real and imagined characters, The Mother of Us All is about Susan B. Anthony and the Women’s Suffrage Movement in America, which began in upstate New York. Anthony spoke thrice on the very stage where this opera will be performed.

The young and visionary stage director R. B. Schlather reimagined this two-act opera as a musical theater pageant, performed by a vocal and instrumental ensemble of Hudson Valley residents, and stars the mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens in the lead role. His team of collaborators include the renowned Stein scholar and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor Emerita of Humanities at Bard College Joan Retallack. To accompany the performances of The Mother of Us All, we’re offering a series of pre- and post- performance gatherings including the “Not Talk Back Salon Series,” which invites the public to hear from creative thinkers, local historians and contemporary artists. Other highlights include a pop up canteen by local Hudson restaurant/installation/performance project, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, and a mobile Experimental Reading Room where visitors and cast can immerse themselves in Stein’s world through the written and spoken word.

“His singers offer unafraid, impassioned performances that speak to Schlather’s ability to demolish the barriers of propriety and politeness that seem to plague much of traditional operatic experience.” – Opera Today

DOMINIC ARMSTRONG as Jo the Loiterer NGONDA BADILA as Isabel Wentworth TEA BORISS as Chris the Citizen AMANDA BOYD as Constance Fletcher TERESA BUCHHOLZ as Anne MATHEW DEMING as Anna Hope VERONICA FORMAN as Jenny Reefer CHRISTOPHER JOHNSTONE as Thaddeus Stevens PHIL KLINE as Andrew Johnson BRAD LOHRENZ as Anthony Comstock ELLA LOUDON as Indiana Elliot NANCY ALLEN LUNDY as Gertrude Stein MICHAELA MARTENS as Susan B MARIE MASCARI as Angel More MARC MOLOMOT as John Adams ROBERT OSBORNE as Daniel Webster KENT SMITH as Virgil Thomson LIBBY SOKOLOWSKI as Lillian Russell CHARLES SPRAWLS as Ulysses S. Grant RYAN TRACY as Herman Atlan WHEELOCK WHITNEY as Gloster Heming DYLAN WIDJIONO as Indiana Elliot’s brother ELENA BATT chorus KAM BELLAMY chorus ANNEICE COUSIN chorus MARGOT KIRSIS chorus MICHAEL O’GARA chorus PARKER SHIPP chorus JOHN VAN NESS PHILIP chorus STUART QUIMBY flute LOUIS BONIFATI clarinet CHRISTOPHER WATFORD bassoon STEPHANIE HOLLANDER French horn TODD DUBREY trumpet ALLYSON KEYSER trumpet MIKE BENEDICT percussion NUIKO WADDEN harp DAVID SYTKOWSKI piano coach and repetiteur DANIEL STERMER producing associate ALEBA GARTNER public relations MICHAEL HOFMANN assistant director LILY SCHEFF hair and makeup

OPERA: THE MOTHER OF US ALL: MASTER MISTRESS CALENDAR

*NTB refers to “Not Talk Back.”

FREE! – Friday, October 27, 2-5pm: OPEN REHEARSAL Visit Hudson Hall for a glimpse into the making of The Mother of Us All. The doors will be open and all are welcome to sneak a quick peek or settle in for the afternoon to watch the cast and crew at work.

FREE! – Sunday, October 29, 4-6pm: THE VOTE, THE VOTE, THE SPOOKY VOTE: The Mother of Us All cast their votes in the Hudson Halloween Costume Contest In this beloved annual event, Hudson’s smallest spooky ghosts, ghoulish gremlins and princess fairies come out for trick or treating along Warren Street at 2pm, before gathering at 7th Street Park at 4pm for a parade down to the costume contest at Hudson Hall.

FREE! – Saturday, November 4, 4-5:30pm: BOOK READING: Local Glories: Opera Houses on Main Street, Where Art and Community Meet by Ann Satterthwaite Ann Satterthwaite is a city planner in Washington, DC. She is involved in environmental, cultural, and preservation planning to improve community liveability, civic engagement, and sustainability. In this discussion of her 2016 book, Satterthwaite highlights the important role 19th century opera houses played as centers of popular culture, community and politics.

FREE! – Wednesday, November 8, 4-6pm: Full Rehearsal for Students with valid ID Full-time students with a valid ID are invited to a full rehearsal on a first-come, first-served basis. Teachers may email [email protected] to reserve a block of tickets for their students, and students may also reserve online at hudsonhall.org.

FREE! – Thursday, November 9, 6-7:30pm: *NTB – QUEER NARRATIVES: Joe Cermatori, Skidmore College Department of English, critic, dramaturg, and theater artist; Khary Septh, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief + James Powell, Arts + Culture Editor, of The Tenth Magazine How do sexuality and ethnicity intersect in a world where identity is fluid? Join three leading minds for a lively discussion.

Saturday, November 11: 3-8pm: POP UP CANTEEN by Lil’ Debs Oasis + EXPERIMENTAL READING ROOM

4-6pm: THE MOTHER OF US ALL #1 (ticketed)

FREE! – 6-7:30pm: *NTB – OPERA SYSTEMS – THEN AND NOW: Christopher Alden (Glimmerglass Festival, 1998) + Michaela Martens + R. B. Schlather (Hudson Hall, 2017) Director R. B. Schlather was just 12-years-old when he first fell in love with opera, seeing a production of The Mother of Us All at Glimmerglass Festival in 1998. Christopher Alden was the director of that production, and he joins R. B. and mezzo-soprano Michaela Martens for a look at mounting two productions of this rarely performed opera almost twenty years apart.

Sunday, November 12 3-8pm: POP UP CANTEEN by Lil’ Debs Oasis + EXPERIMENTAL READING ROOM

4-6pm: THE MOTHER OF US ALL #2 (ticketed)

FREE! – 6-7:30pm: *NTB – LOCAL SUFFRAGE + ABOLITIONISM + GENDER EQUALITY: Local historian Carole Osterink + Lacy Schutz, Executive Director, Shaker Museum + Members of the Cast The Gossips of Rivertown blogger and local historian Carole Osterink digs deep under the layers of Hudson’s colorful history to reveal how the past often plays a key role in the development of our city’s present and future. Together with the Executive Director of the Shaker Museum, Lacy Schutz, and members of the cast of The Mother of Us All, Osterink shares details of Hudson’s fascinating part to play in the story of women’s suffrage, abolitionism and gender equality.

Wednesday, November 15: 3-8pm: POP UP CANTEEN by Lil’ Debs Oasis + EXPERIMENTAL READING ROOM

4-6pm: THE MOTHER OF US ALL #3 (ticketed)

FREE!– 6-7:30pm: NTB – GERTRUDE STEIN, SUSAN B, & HISTORY INTERRUPT ONE ANOTHER: Joan Retallack, poet and Stein scholar; erica kaufman, poet and Bard professor.

The Mother of Us All dramaturg Joan Retallack is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor Emerita of Humanities at Bard College and a leading Stein scholar. Retallack and her Stein/Susan B-savvy colleague erica kaufman will performatively explore both humor and gravitas in the chronic American crisis of democracy as it manifests in the language of poet-librettist (G.S.), abolitionist & suffragist (S.B.A.)—enlivening their (our) merging as audience and citizens of a world where the arts continue to present many strange things we need to consider.

Saturday, November 18 3-8pm: POP UP CANTEEN by Lil’ Debs Oasis + EXPERIMENTAL READING ROOM

4-6pm: THE MOTHER OF US ALL #4 (ticketed)

FREE! – 6-7:30pm: NTB – BLACK DADA: A Conversation with Adam Pendleton Adam Pendleton is a rising star in the art world whose work has been included in the Venice Biennale and acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Tate Modern. Based in Germantown, New York, Pendleton has recently released his new book, “Black Dada Reader.” Black Dada—Pendleton’s term for a broad conceptualization of blackness—is the animating force of his work in painting, video, sculpture, and performance.

Sunday, November 19 3-7pm: POP UP CANTEEN by Lil’ Debs Oasis + EXPERIMENTAL READING ROOM

4-6pm: THE MOTHER OF US ALL #5 (ticketed)

6-9pm: THE MOTHER OF ALL TOWN BALLS: DJ FULATHELA + SPECIAL GUESTS ($10 cover charge + cash bar) Come celebrate the closing night of The Mother of Us All with the mother of all dance-offs in Hudson Hall’s historic 1855 theater with Hudson’s favorite spinner, DJ Fulathela and special guests to be announced.


Event Details

    Nov. 11, 2017 - Nov. 11, 2017
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM