The Left Coast Ensemble Presents “Artemisia”

The world premiere (in chamber version) of the opera composed by Laura Schwendinger, libretto by Ginger Strand with the Left Coast EnsembleUpdate with review by SF Classical Voice.

Laura Schwendinger’s opera, Artemisia, will be given its chamber version premiere on June 1st and 2nd at Z Space (450 Florida Street) in San Francisco (notes at Operawire, SF Chronicle Datebook, and SF Classical Voice; KDFC interview w/Schwendinger )

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes (1610).

Artemisia is an opera of passion, betrayal and art in 17th century Italy, and is based on the life of Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi. With a libretto by Ginger Strand, author of The Brothers Vonnegut, Artemisia is a recipient of a National Opera Center Discovery grant.

Artemisia was the first women member of the Accademia del Arte, Florence. When 16, Artemisia was raped by Agostino Tassi, while studying with the elder painter. Tassi was sentenced to prison, after Artemisia’s father Orazio pushed for Tassi’s prosecution, but Tassi never served time in prison.

The case overshadowed Artemisia’s achievements for years. However, today she is regarded as one of the greatest painters of her time. Below top is her “Woman Playing a Lute” (1609-1612) and her self-portrait (ca. 1630).



Betany Coffland, Artemisia
Kyle Stegall, Tomasso
Marnie Breckenridge, Susanna
Jonathan Smucker, Elder 1
Igor Vieira, Elder 2
Nikki Einfeld, Abra

Kate Stenberg, violin
Leighton Fong, cello
Stacey Pelinka, flute
Leslie Tagorda, clarinet
Loren Mach, percussion
Constance Koo, harp
Anne Rainwater, piano

Matilda Hofman, conductor
Jenn BeVard, director
Maggie Whitaker, costume designer
Allen Willner, lighting designer
Andrew Lucia, projections
Angrette McCloskey, set design
Elisabeth Reeves, stage manager

Laura Schwendinger, composer
Ginger Strand, libretto

Tickets from Left Coast Ensemble website

Venue: Z Space
450 Florida St, San Francisco
Saturday, June 1, 2019, 7:30 PM
Sunday, June 2, 2019, 2:00 PM


About the composer

The first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize, Laura Elise Schwendinger, is a Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her music has been performed by leading artists, including Dawn Upshaw (on tour 1997-2013) and on Voices of Our Time, (a TDK/Naxos DVD), Janine Jansen, Matt Haimovitz, the Arditti and Jack Quartets, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the New Juilliard Players, the Franz Liszt chamber orchestra and the American Composers Orchestra, at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully at Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Ojai, Aspen, Tangelwood and Ravinia music festivals, and Off-Broadway in the acclaimed Sounding Beckett Project. Her music has been recorded for the Albany and Centaur labels.

9 thoughts on “The Left Coast Ensemble Presents “Artemisia”

  1. Moses Herzog

    My local college station used to broadcast the San Fran Symphony Orchestra on weekdays. They kind of change the line-up slightly annually so I don’t know if they still do that. I’m guessing this isn’t directly tied in with SFCO?? I wonder if one of the Bay area classical stations might be running it live (so we can listen on a stream)?? Probably too much to hope for. I definitely like the chamber music style better than the operatic version, and enjoyed the girl playing organ at the Wall Street church quite a bit. There was something therapeutic about watching her thin arms play those melodies and chords on the organ (I hope she returns so I can watch her next Christmas if they have another program). Though the chamber music over the opera is a personal taste thing specific to me. I suppose the “artsy crowd” probably prefers the operatic version. There is some opera I like, but it’s rare. I might like 1 piece in 20 if you randomly played them for me. Like that Italian one in “Shawshank Redemption” or Wagner or something that has a lot of “juice” to it.

  2. Moses Herzog

    Here is one of my favorite artists who, except maybe regionally, is kind of an “unknown”, but I have admired her and her talents for some time. If you pay super close attention you may notice something different. I am not going to tell you the “something” that is different, you have to figure it out on your own. But the bottom line is the music is excellent. This actually isn’t my favorite performance of hers, but it’s “representative” of the type of music she does and the feeling you can get from it.

  3. pgl

    Mueller speaks:

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    In other words, Barr is a liar and Trump is a serial liar.

  4. Moses Herzog

    Not sure if I view Edray Goins as a “victim”. Based on the NYT article in its entirety, at first inclination I would say “no”. But it’s kinda hard to say viewing it from a distance. And one thing I will say in Mr. Goins’ defense or to his credit—he seems to understand the importance of undergraduate teaching, which many of his profession’s colleagues have a lazy attitude towards, prefer research work to by comparison, or (and some will deny this charge) professors have an utter disdain for. So I have to say, Mr Goins’ positive and engaged attitude towards undergraduate teaching has at least one part of me pulling for Mr. Goins, whatever his travails are in fact.

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  5. Moses Herzog

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  6. Moses Herzog

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