Interstate is a new music drama with a focused performance style using only two performers: Kathleen Kelly at the piano and Jennifer Cresswell as the sole singer. The music is composed by Kamala Sankaram.
Interstate is loosely based on the last part of Aileen Wuornos' life as she speaks from prison to her closest friend 'on the outside'. As their complicated relationship unfolds, the opera poses the question: who is actually the one in captivity?
Aileen Wuornos is the serial killer whose story formed the basis for the film, Monster.
Kamala Sankaram, Composer
Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times) and “new voice from whom we will surely be hearing more” (LA Times), Kamala Sankaram writes highly theatrical music that defies categorization.
Kathleen Kelly, Librettist
Jennifer Cresswell, Librettist
Kathleen Kelly is a pianist, conductor, educator, and writer - and like many classical musicians, a recent experimenter with digital content.
Soprano Jennifer Cresswell has recently been heard as Der Trommler in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Magda Sorel in The Consul, and Hannah After in As One.
Interstate The Proposal
with Mary Chun, Mark Streshinsky & Alexa Anderson
Interstate Libretto Reading
Artist Interviews: Interstate
InFocus Issue 20
Get to know them: First Opera Stories
previous work samples
Librettist Kathleen Kelly introduces
Librettist Jennifer Cresswell introduces
"What Good would the moon be?"
An Excerpt from "Interstate"
"What Good would the moon be?"
Excerpt from "Interstate"
kamala sankaram Bio:
Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times) and “new voice from whom we will surely be hearing more” (LA Times), Kamala Sankaram writes highly theatrical music that defies categorization. Recent commissions include the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Shakespeare Theatre Company, among others. Awards, grants and residencies include: Jonathan Larson Award, NEA ArtWorks, MAP Fund, Opera America, NY IT Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical, the Civilians, HERE, the MacDowell Colony, and the Watermill Center.
Known for her work with emerging technologies, her recent genre-defying hit Looking at You (with librettist Rob Handel) featured live data mining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers. Sankaram and Handel also created all decicions will be made by consensus, a short absurdist opera performed live over Zoom and featured on NBC and the BBC3. With librettist Jerre Dye, she created The Parksville Murders, the world’s first virtual reality opera (Samsung VR, Jaunt VR, Kennedy Center Reach Festival, “Best Virtual Reality Video” NY Independent Film Festival, Salem Horror Festival and the Topanga Film Festival.) Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from th New School and is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase.
kathleen kelly Bio:
Kathleen Kelly is a pianist, conductor, educator, and writer - and like many classical musicians, a recent experimenter with digital content. She has appeared internationally as a recital pianist, including appearances at Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Vienna’s Musikverein. She is a published poet and essayist, and has written several English adaptations of operas as well as several librettos. She was most closely associated with the San Francisco, Metropolitan, Houston Grand, and Vienna State Operas before joining the faculty of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in 2018.
Jennifer Cresswell Bio:
Soprano and co-librettist Jennifer Cresswell has recently been heard as Der Trommler in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Magda Sorel in The Consul, and Hannah After in As One. The 2019 – 2020 season included giving the Ohio and Tennessee premieres of Juliana Hall’s song cycle, Through the Guarded Gate, performing Simple Song #3 at Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium as part of the David Lang residency, and in concerts featuring the music of George Gershwin and Kurt Weill with tenor George Shirley. Jennifer is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, where she has been named a Presidential Graduate Scholar by the Rackham Graduate School and an Elsie Choy Lee Scholar by the Center for the Education of Women.
Music video produced by Kathleen Kelly and the performers
Featuring Jamie Barton & Ryan McKinny, with Kathleen Kelly, piano
What Good Would the Moon Be, from Street Scene
Music by Kurt Weil, lyrics by Langston Hughes
Jennifer Cresswell, Mezzo with Kathleen Kelly, Piano
Excerpt from Interstate, On the Banks of the Ohio
By anonymous composer
Jennifer Cresswell, Mezzo and Kathleen Kelly, Piano