Mikael Karlsson (Composerwrites music ranging from orchestral music, full evening modern ballets at major opera houses to chamber music, chamber operas and the occasional pop song. In 2014, he was awarded the Lakond Award to “an exceptional mid-career composer” from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Mr. Karlsson’s music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Lincoln Center, MoMA, and as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall. His commissions for dance include works for Nederlands Dans Theater, the Paris Opera, The Vienna State Opera, Ailey II, the Royal Swedish Opera and Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Semperoper (Dresden) and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. He has worked with major contemporary music ensembles in the US (International Contemporary Ensemble, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and Europe (Dahlkvist Quartet) and enjoys an ongoing collaboration with celebrated choreographer Alexander Ekman. Mr. Karlsson lives in Harlem, NYC, and has released 12 albums to date.

Elle Kunnos de Voss (Librettist & Environment Designeris a NY-based Swedish artist and designer. Her work ranges from creative writing, graphics and illustration, production design, set and costume design to architecture. Kunnos de Voss holds an M.A. from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design. After graduating in 2004, Elle moved to New York City and has since completed production design for films, designed sets and costumes for performing arts productions in Europe and the US and is currently developing an opera with LA based composer and artist Micah Silver. For her work on The Echo Drift libretto she received the Opera Genesis Fellowship, alongside composer Mikael Karlsson, in 2015. In Sweden she recently developed Justine, a theatrical dance piece, with choreographer Charlotta Öfverholm. The piece celebrates individuality and deals with justice, in a story of how imagination triumphs over oppression. Other recent work includes set and costume design for Fernando Melos If walls could speak at The Apollo Theater, NYC, costume design for Too Much by Wendy Houston, Dansens Hus Stockholm, The Misanthrope by Hunger and Thirst Theater New York, story and illustration for Book of Loveistanis with co-writer Gudlaug Fridgeirsdottir for Gudrun Publishing / Safnabókin, Reykjiavik. Recent film projects include Peilin Kuo's Piano Forte / Samba Filmworks NY, The Frigid by Aizhan Tuganbay / NY, The Ceremony by Lina Mannheimer / French Quarter Film which premiered at SXSW in 2015, Girls Lost by Alexandra-Therese Keining / Gotafilm which premiered at TIFF 2016.

Kathryn Walat (Librettist) is co-librettist (with composer Gregory Spears) of the opera Paul’s Case, developed by American Opera Projects and produced at PROTOTYPE, after its premiere at UrbanArias in 2013. Called a “masterpiece” and “gem” (New York Observer), it appeared in The New Yorker’s annual list of Ten Notable Performances, and was produced by Pittsburgh Opera in 2014. She is also the librettist of Jason and the Argonauts, commissioned and produced by Lyric Opera of Chicago, and toured to over 20,000 young audience members in Chicago neighborhoods. As a playwright, her work Creation (about music and the artistic process) premiered at the Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, for which she was nominated for an LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Playwriting. Her play Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen premiered Off-Broadway at the Women’s Project, and was published in New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2007; and her politically resonant Bleeding Kansas premiered at the Hangar Theatre and received a Francesca Primus Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association. Commissioned by MCC Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Georges, and Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kate has been in residence at such places as the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the American Academy in Rome, and Yaddo. She received her BA from Brown University, and MFA from Yale School of Drama.

Mallory Catlett (Director) is an Obie award- winning director, dramaturg,and creator of performance across disciplines, such as City Council Meeting, a regional experiment in participatory democracy (with Aaron Landsman and Jim Findlay) that the audience performs; the internationally touring Beowulf, Banana Bag & Bodice’s musical bar room brawl; Dread Scott’s Decision, a Supreme Court recitation and performance installation; and This Was the End, a remix of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Catlett has also directed new opera, including The Scarlet Ibis (Beth Morrison Projects), Brother, Brother (Experiments in Opera), and The Wanton Sublime (AOP). In New York, her work has premiered at HERE, Ontological-Hysteric, PS122, Abrons, Chocolate Factory, Roulette & the Collapsable Hole; been featured at FIAF, the Ice Factory, COIL, Prelude, PROTOTYPE and BAM’s Next Wave; developed with residencies at Baryishniykov Arts, MacDowell, Performing Garage, Abrons, HERE, Mabou Mines, LMCC and Yaddo; and toured internationally to Canada, France, UK, Ireland & Australia. She is a 2015 Foundation for the Contemporary Arts and 2016 Creative Capital grantee.

Nicholas DeMaison (Conductor) is a New York-based conductor and composer whose performances, including dozens of premieres of new instrumental, operatic, and choral works, have been described as “consistently invigorating” (New York Times), “enchanted” (Seen and Heard International), and of the stage premiere of Charles Fussell's The Astronauts's Tale at BAM, Opera News wrote: "DeMaison drew shifting, vibrant colors from the accomplished orchestra." Currently the Principal Conductor of ECCE (East Coast Contemporary Ensemble) and Music Director of the Rensselaer Orchestra and Concert Choir in Troy, NY, his recent appearances have included engagements at the Beijing Modern Music Festival (NCPA,Beijing), Handan Grand Theater (Handan, China), MondayEvening Concert Series (Zipper Hall, Los Angeles), The Stone (New York City), Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, NY), and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy, NY), premiering, among other things, new operas by Mojiao Wang (Encounter), James Ilgenfritz (The Ticket That Exploded), and Nathan Davis (Hagoromo). He recently completed a chamber arrangement of Milhaud’s La Mère Coupable, in which form the opera received its US premiere, and is currently working to complete Pauline Oliveros' opera The Nubian Word for Flowers for posthumous premiere, and developing a new semi-staged production of Ibsen/Grieg's Peer Gynt for performance at EMPAC in Troy, NY.

Simon Harding (Projection Designer) is an award-winning designer for live performance. He has designed nationally and internationally for theater, dance, and performance art work. Harding was a co-founder and the resident designer for SaBooge Theatre, designing all of their productions including the critically acclaimed shows HatchedFathom, and Every Day Above Ground. Upcoming/Recent: Custodians of Beauty (Palissimo), Strangers in Paradise(Opera Omaha), The Iceman Cometh [Act IV] (Target Margin Labs). 

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The ensemble’s 35 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists in residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. New initiatives include OpenICE, made possible with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which offers free concerts and related programming wherever ICE performs, and enables a working process with composers to unfold in public settings. DigitICE catalogues the ensemble’s performances in a free online streaming video library. ICE's First Page program is a commissioning consortium that fosters close collaborations between performers, composers, and listeners as new music is developed.  EntICE, a side-by-side youth program, places ICE musicians within youth orchestras as they premiere new commissioned works together. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for ICE.

American Opera Projects (Co-Producer) Brooklyn’s American Opera Projects (AOP) returns to the PROTOTYPE Festival having previously associate produced Weisman and Cote's The Scarlet Ibis (2015) and developed Gregory Spears and Kathryn Walat's Paul's Case (UrbanArias’ production, 2014). AOP develops and launches new operas, and offers training programs for students and emerging composers and librettists. AOP-produced world premieres include Paterson and Cote's Three Way (Nashville Opera, BAM, 2017), Davis and Pelsue’s Hagoromo starring Wendy Whelan (BAM, 2015), Nkeiru Okoye's Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom (Irondale Center, 2014), Lera Auerbach's The Blind (Lincoln Center Festival, 2013), and Kaminsky, Reed, and Campbell's As One (BAM 2014), commissioned and developed by AOP, one of the most produced contemporary operas written in the past 50 years with over 16 new productions through 2018. AOP has fostered the development of 54 composers & librettists, including composer Mikael Karlsson, in Composers & the Voice, a free two-year program training fundamentals of writing for the voice and opera stage. AOP offers C&V alumni residencies at The Hermitage Artist Retreat, which hosted The Echo Drift creators Karlsson, Kunnos de Voss, along with director Catlett. Recent AOP operas that premiered with co-producers include Boquiren and Neer's Independence Eve (UrbanArias, 2017), Sonenberg, Nester, and Campbell's The Summer King (Pittsburgh Opera, 2017; Michigan Opera Theatre, 2018), Tarik O'Regan and Tom Phillips' Heart of Darkness (London's Royal Opera House, 2011; Opera Parallèle, 2015). Upcoming World Premieres: Six Twenty Outrageous (Symphony Space, Feb 2018), and Ashes and Snow (Pittsburgh Opera, Feb 2018 and BAM Next Wave Festival, Nov 2018). aopopera.org



Blythe Gaissert (Walker Loats) has established herself as a fresh and exciting artist in great demand in the United States and abroad for opera, concert and recital engagements. In the coming 2017-18 season, Ms. Gaissert will be creating the role of Walker Loats in Mikael Karlsson’s cutting edge one woman opera The Echo Drift at the Prototype Festival in NYC, reprising the role of Hannah After in As One with San Diego Opera, and singing Hester Prynne in the Professional Premiere of The Scarlett Professor at Amherst College. She is also a member of the alt/classical/rock group The Knells, who will be releasing their second album in Fall of 2017. A champion of new music, Ms. Gaissert has worked with numerous composers and librettists on dozens of new works, and has been a part of American Opera Projects Composers and the Voice series since 2014. Ms. Gaissert has worked with companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Opera Colorado, Tulsa Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Aldeburgh Festival in England, Lyrique en Mer in France, Opera Southwest, Opera Saratoga, and more. 

John Kelly (Governor & The Moth) is a performance and visual artist. His original works have been performed at The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, the Whitney Biennial, PS 122, BAM’s Next Wave Festival, and London’s Tate Modern. Awards include: 2 Bessie Awards; 2 Obie Awards; 2 NEA American Masterpiece Awards; a CalArts Alpert Award; the Ethyl Eichelberger Award.  Fellowships: The American Academy in Rome; The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; The Guggenheim Foundation; The Sundance Theatre Institute; and a USA Artists Award Fellowship. Acting credits include the Broadway production of James Joyce’s The Dead; Christopher Marlowe’s Dido, Queen of Carthage and Rinde Eckert’s Orpheus X at A.R.T.; Threepenny Opera at Atlantic Theatre Company; David Little’s Dog Days; and The Clerk’s Tale, a film by James Franco. As a vocalist and lyricist he has collaborated with David Del Tredici, recorded with Laurie Anderson, and frequently performed the works of John Cage. He recently released his first solo recording, Beauty Kills Me. Kelly is currently developing a new solo work Time No Line, premiering La MaMa in the spring of 2018.


Concept, Story and Libretto: Elle Kunnos de Voss and Mikael Karlsson
Music: Mikael Karlsson
Art Direction, Graphic Design, Drawings and Set Design: Elle Kunnos de Voss
Character development and Soprano: Amy Shoremount-Obra
Animator: Andre Guimaraes

December 2nd performance at House of Sweden, Washington DC presents:
Soprano: Amy Shoremount-Obra in the role of Walker Loats
Conductor: Carmine Aufiero
Violin: Fung Chern Hwei
Piano: Aaron Likness

Amy Shoremount Obra
Amy Shoremount Obra first garnered wide attention for her fiery portrayal as the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, which she performed with New York City Opera and covered (understudied) at the Metropolitan Opera. She is now being lauded for her foray into repertoire such as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, which she recently performed with Opera Las Vegas and the Savannah Voice Festival (GA).  She made her METROPOLITAN OPERA DEBUT this fall as First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and recently performed Marchesa in Verdi’s Un Giorno di Regno with Boston’s Odyssey Opera, and appeared in concert at the Fire Island Opera Festival.

Additional engagements included Phaedrus in Socrate with Center for Contemporary Opera in NYC and Ifigenia in Handel’s Oreste with the Spoleto Festival, Italy. She also appeared in concert as the soprano soloist in Faure’s Requiem with Mid America Productions at Carnegie Hall, as well as Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Scarsdale New Choral Society. Amy joined the Met Opera again as a cover for their 2013 production of Bellini’s Norma and their 2014 production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. and in 2014, debuted with the Savannah Philharmonic, singing Musetta in La bohème. She also recently performed Konstanze in an adaptation of Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio at the 2014 Viennese Opera Ball of New York. Up next, Ms. Shoremount-Obra looks forward to concerts with the FL Keys Concert Association and to her debut with Annapolis Opera as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte.

Ms. Shoremount-Obra has also found additional success in the realm of contemporary music. Starting with her cover of John Zorn's La Machine de l'Être- a one-woman monodrama, with New York City Opera in 2011, Ms. Shoremount-Obra was also a resident artist with American Opera Projects’ “Composer and the Voice” Program, premiering new works all season for a team of up-and-coming composers. She has collaborated with such composers as Tarik O’Regan, Paola Prestini and Mikael Karlsson.

As a concert artist, Amy has appeared at prominent venues in NYC and throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, David H. Koch Theater, the Oslo Konserthus and the Oslo National Gallery in Norway, The Tanglewood Institute, and The Sheldon in St. Louis, as well as other concerts and music festivals in Chicago, London, and Italy. She has also been a featured performer representing The Metropolitan Opera at the Viennese Opera Ball in New York City for five consecutive years, and has performed with the MET at the 92nd St. Y in a tribute to librettist J.D. McClatchy. She also made her debut with the New York City Ballet in 2009 performing the role of First Fairy in Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Ms. Shoremount-Obra has been named a National Semi-Finalist and the New York Regional Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Finalist in the George London Competition, a Finalist in the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition, and a Semi-Finalist in the Competizione dell'Opera in Dresden and a Finalist in the Shreveport Opera Competition. She was also awarded two consecutive career grants from the Met National Council’s Education fund. She holds degrees from Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School.
Artist Websites: Amy Shoremount-Obra

Carmine Aufiero
Carmine Aufiero, hailed by the New York Times for the “sweep and energy” of his conducting, is the founding artistic director of Chelsea Opera.  He has led every production since the company’s inception in 2004, to June,2012, garnering critical acclaim from Opera News, Classical Singer Magazine, and the New York Times.  

Mr. Aufiero made his New York conducting debut with Chelsea Opera's Suor Angelicain 2004 and has since led performances of Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Amahland the Night Visitors, and Gianni Schicchiin New York and Los Angeles, to rave reviews.   A New Jersey native, he became assistant conductor to New Jersey's Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea under Alphonse Stephenson (music director of Broadway’s ‘A Chorus Line) in 2000, with whom he conducted concerts at the Festival of the Atlantic, the Trenton War Memorial and in 2001, Carnegie Hall.   In 2002, Mr.Aufiero conducted the premiere of Kyle Gann's Cinderella's Bad Magic in St. Petersburg, Russia.  

The following year he was engaged as pianist and assistant conductor for the American Symphony Orchestra's production of Janacek's Osud under Leon Botstein.   Mr. Aufiero studied orchestral conducting with Harold Farberman, and composition, theory, and improvisation with Robert Abramson.   His academic credits include undergraduate studies in piano and conducting at Westminster Choir College, continuing his studies at the Conductors Institute at Bard College where he received his MFA in Orchestral Conducting.

From 2005-2008 Mr. Aufiero served as coach and conductor for Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance.  In spring 2008 he conducted Chelsea Opera’s performances commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the NYC premiere of Douglas Moore’s Ballad of Baby Doe.  In the fall of 2008 Mr.Aufiero conducted Don Giovanni as well asWilliam Walton’s The Bear (based on Chekov’s one-act play) and The Scarf by Lee Hoiby, all with Chelsea Opera.  

As a guest conductor, Mr. Aufiero led the Marcello Giordani Foundation Gala Concert in 2010 where he collaborated with such celebrated artisists as Marcello Giordani, Lise Lindstrom, Leah Crocetto, Stephen Costello, and Victor Antipenko.

That same year he was invited to La MusicaLirica’s summer festival in Novafeltria, Italy, where he conducted performances of Don Giovanni and La Traviata, in addition to his duties assisting acclaimed conductor Joseph Rescigno.

In 2013, Mr. Aufiero was invited as a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania by International Opera Theater and PiPhilly, as part of their panel, “The Power of Italian Language in the Arts.”  

An active vocal coach and accompanist, since 2008 Mr. Aufiero has been pianist and assistant to the voice studio of renowned Metropolitan Opera soprano Diana Soviero,collaborating on master classes for vocal technique, style and repertoire study.

Beginning with 2014's production of Adamo's Little Women, Mr. Aufiero began his association with Opera on the James as principle guest conductor.  He return this season to conduct le nozze di Figaro and La bohème.

As a guest conductor, Mr. Aufiero led the Marcello Giordani Foundation Gala Concert in 2010 where he collaborated with such celebrated artisists as Marcello Giordani, Lise Lindstrom, Leah Crocetto, Stephen Costello, and Victor Antipenko.

That same year he was invited to La MusicaLirica’s summer festival in Novafeltria, Italy, where he conducted performances of Don Giovanni and La Traviata, in addition to his duties assisting acclaimed conductor Joseph Rescigno.

In 2013, Mr. Aufiero was invited as a guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania by International Opera Theater and PiPhilly, as part of their panel, “The Power of Italian Language in the Arts.”  

An active vocal coach and accompanist, since 2008 Mr. Aufiero has been pianist and assistant to the voice studio of renowned Metropolitan Opera soprano Diana Soviero, collaborating on master classes for vocal technique, style and repertoire study.

Beginning with 2014's production of Adamo's Little Women, Mr. Aufiero began his association with Opera on the James as guest conductor.  He returns this season to conduct La bohème.
Future engagements include associate conducting duties with Opera Carolina in Spring of 2015.

Aaron Likness
Aaron Likness is an active pianist and collaborator in the New York and Boston metropolitan areas, hailed for “superb clarity” and “effortless elegance” in performances of a wide variety of classical, avant-garde, and contemporary music. Recent seasons have included appearances with Callithumpian Consort, Collage New Music, Discovery Ensemble, Dr. Faustus, East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, the Fidelio String Quartet, and members of the Boston Symphony in such venues as Boston’s Goethe-Institut, Jordan Hall, and Sanders Theatre, and New York’s (le) poisson rouge. His performances have also been broadcast on WGBH’s Live from Fraser series.

An enthusiastic advocate of new music, Likness has worked with such leading composers as Hanspeter Kyburz, Tristan Murail, Tobias Picker, Salvatore Sciarrino, and Christian Wolff. He has also performed US and world premieres of works by Beat Furrer, Jonathan Howard Katz, Ryan Krause, Katarina Miljkovic, Stratis Minakakis, Wolfgang Rihm, Vanessa Wheeler, and other composers of the new generation. His adventurous performances and collaborations have included Rzewski’s Coming Together with poet Saul Williams, Cage’s raucous masterpiece Concert for Piano and Orchestra with conductor Stephen Drury, video and multimedia works, music for amplified toy pianos, and performances of traditional Javanese music with Gamelan Nyai Saraswati and Boston Village Gamelan. Likness is a member of Boston’s acclaimed new-music sinfonietta, Sound Icon.

A native of Durham, NC, Likness attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning the school’s most prestigious awards in performance and composition. He went on to pursue graduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he was named recipient of the John Cage Award for outstanding performances of contemporary music. Currently based in New York, Likness is a DMA candidate at CUNY Graduate Center. His principal teachers have been Thomas Otten, Stephen Drury, and Ursula Oppens.

Fung Chern Hwei
Genres and styles are languages and accents for violinist Fung Chern Hwei when it comes to performing music. Ever since settling down in New York City from his native Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he has not stopped exploring possibilities and pushing limits of his instrument of choice. Being the current first violinist of the progressive, genre-bending improvising string quartet, Sirius Quartet, and one half of the experimental Malaysian violin-theremin duo, FUGU, Mr Fung sets out to search for a new sound and language never-before-heard on the violin by blending all the musical styles that he explored and still discovering. Playing as a multi-genre violinist enabled him opportunities to play with people from various musical realms such as Uri Caine, Bobby McFerrin, Charles Dutoit, Joshua Bell, Billy Martin, Stanley Clarke, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Linda Oh. An enthusiast in the new concert music genre, he is a frequently collaborates with composer Mikael Karlsson, and worked with Paul Chihara, Elliott Sharp, and Dieter Dolezel.

 One of Chern Hwei's latest albums, FUGU (Evolver Records), was regarded as "a high risk journey that adventurous listeners should undertake without second thoughts" by the Impro Jazz Magazine from France.