ActivateNON:op Open Opera Works



On the Cusp @ Ear Taxi 2021

September 24 – 25, 8pm, SITE/less, 1250 Augusta Street

$20 in person | $10 live stream: Purchase Tickets

Western popular culture has historically identified those who are not members of the privileged class as “others” or ”outsiders”, going so far as to cast men to play women’s parts, whites to perform in blackface, redface, and yellowface, and casting non-disabled actors in disabled roles. On the Cusp presents works from the historical avant-garde—Samuel Beckett’s Cascando, Sam Shepard’s Tongues, Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart—that lie “on the cusp” between music and theatre and that embrace difference and interrogate the boundary between “outside” and “inside”.

Where are the boundaries between sound, speech, act, silence, metaphor, and the real? Between inside and outside? Between us and them?


HPSCHD@50 Festival

February 28 – March 4, March 19, 2020
Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Immerse yourself in a universe of sound and light, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Cage and Lejaren Hiller’s HPSCHD with NON:op Open Opera Works. Reimagined for the 21st century, the Festival included two afternoon performances in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall, a symposium at Northwestern University’s Deering Library, and a panel discussion and third “do-it-yourself” production at the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. feature a diverse group of local artists, 7 harpsichords, 52 channels of computer-generated sound, and hundreds and hundreds of still and moving images.

HPSCHD@50: Every Neighborhood Is a Universe celebrates Cage and Hiller’s visionary investigation of abundance through the vastness of the universe by exploring Chicago’s long history of diversity and community. With a series of events and a transformative, immersive environment, HPSCHD@50 examined the social and artistic history, impact, and continuing relevance of Cage and Hiller’s monument to abundance and diversity in an era of austerity and exclusion.

Performers: Billie Howard, Alvin Waddles, Svetlana Belsky, Shi-An Costello, Francis Yun, Martha Stiehl, Amy Wurtz


un/becoming: a pygmalion story

May 24 – 25, 2019
Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park & Wicker Park Lutheran Church

Once upon a time, Pygmalion, disgusted with the unbecoming women who surrounded him, carved his own perfect embodiment of femininity. That domineering hand continues to sculpt today, using far more insidious tools than a hammer and chisel to create inflexible molds that reduce “woman” to a singular, acceptable archetype. un/becoming unites the voices of female composers and performers to challenge restrictive definitions of femininity and to liberate Pygmalion’s statue so that she may sculpt her own fate.

Harrah Friedlander, concept & direction; Michaella Cipriani & Harrah Friedlander, sopranos; Elenna Sindler & Ilana Goldstein, mezzo-sopranos; Alexandria Hill, violin; Denielle Wilson, cello

Thunder, Perfect Mind

November 6 – 7, 2015 • Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W 35th Street