Searching for a great way to put behind all the craziness that was 2020 and begin healing the divide between the right and left? Look no further than Solo Opera’s production of Derrick Wang’s one-hour comedic opera in English, Scalia/Ginsburg. Inspired by the opinions of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (liberal) and Antonin Scalia (conservative), the opera highlights their unlikely bi-partisan friendship and mutual love of opera. They disagreed on how to interpret the constitution but were both unwavering in their reverence for the sacredness of it. Filled with witty humor and musical nods to favorite composers, this charming opera is sure to appeal to everyone!
According to Solo Opera Artistic Director, Sylvia Amorino, “We are so excited to receive the rights to share this wonderful opera with our community. We were originally scheduled to produce the show last August timed just before the presidential election. We were, of course, saddened to have had to cancel when the pandemic hit and everything shut down. But we feel the opera’s message, “We are different. We are one.” is almost more important to produce coming out of the pandemic as its message is one of healing, friendship, diversity, and inclusiveness.” Scalia/Ginsburg is booked for Friday, Sept. 10 - 8:00pm and Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 - 2:00pm at the Lesher Center for the Arts. The opera will include an incredible cast: Nikki Einfeld as “Ginsburg”, Christopher Bengochea as “Scalia”, and Kirk Eichelberger as the “Commentator”. The chamber opera will be accompanied by a seven-piece orchestra under the baton of Maestro Alexander Katsman. An incredible production team will be led by Solo Opera Artistic Director, Sylvia Amorino, as stage director/producer. Seating is reserved and ticket prices are Adults: $50, Seniors: $40, Youth 17 and under: $25. Tickets go on sale June 18th at (925) 943-7469 or visit the Lesher Center for the Arts Ticket Office: 1601 Civic Drive Walnut Creek, CA. (A 30-minute lecture by Ian Kelley, Professor of Constitutional Law, one hour before each show.)
Christopher Bengochea Nikki Einfeld Kirk Eichelberger
Lyric coloratura soprano, Nikki Einfeld, has been widely recognized for her “high flying virtuosity” (New York Times) as well as her “blazing intensity and ferocious artistry” (San Francisco Chronicle). Recent highlights from the operatic stage include the role of Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Calgary Opera, Fear and Doubt the World Premiere of Abraham in Flames by Niloufar Talebi the Controller in Flight by Jonathan Dove with Opera Parallèle, Diana in West Edge Opera’s The Chastity Tree, the title role in the world premiere of Death with Interruptions by Kurt Rohde, Curley’s Wife in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men for Manitoba Opera, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Vancouver Opera and New Orleans Opera; Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Mendocino Music Festival and West Bay Opera; the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor with Syracuse Opera and Green Mountain Opera Festival and several appearances with San Francisco Opera including the world premiere of Delores Claiborne by Tobias Picker, Gianetta in The Elixir of Love, Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, among others. Nikki was a 2003 Merolini and an Adler Fellow from 2003-2005. A highly adept interpreter of a wide range of repertoire spanning from the baroque to contemporary, Ms. Einfeld also makes regular guest appearances on the concert stage with the San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, The Marin Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Empyrean Ensemble. As a champion of contemporary music she regularly performs premieres by modern composers on both the concert and operatic stage and is a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble where her collaboration yielded a Best Chamber Music/Opera Performance win from San Francisco Classical Voice in 2016 and 2018. Recently she has also appeared as Margaret Schlegel in the World Premiere performances of the opera Howard’s End America by Allen Shearer and in the micro opera, From the Field by Christopher Stark a one woman opera about the works of Dorothea Lang. Upcoming premieres include an opera by Hiroya Miura about the works of Japanese print designer Tōshūsai Sharaku and a new chamber work by Jamie Sampson, Waving Goodbye.
Christopher Bengochea, the critically acclaimed and prize-winning international opera tenor is quickly being sought after by opera houses, concert venues, and audiences alike. Mr. Bengochea has been heralded as having "power, sure intonation, and fine diction that come in a package tied with a ribbon of 'natural sound.' tenor, Christopher Bengochea has delighted audiences with his unique combination of vocal and dramatic interpretations in performances ranging from oratorio to opera. It is a unique, broadly-projected "wide" sound that can serve lyrical or heroic music equally well.” Bengochea’s operatic repertoire embraces a wide range of roles, including Ruggero in La Rondine, Don Jose in Carmen, Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, the title role in Les Contes of Hoffmann, Radames in Aida, Canio in Pagliacci, and Cavarodossi in Tosca. Companies with which he has performed include: Opera San Jose, Atlanta Opera, Opera Idaho, Opera Canada, Opera San Luis Obispo, Charlottesville Opera, da Corneto Opera, Center City Opera, Opera Company Brooklyn, Jarvis Conservatory, Intermountain Opera, Townsend Opera/Modesto Opera, Rimrock Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, West Bay Opera, Teatro Felice, Caramoor Opera, Tigulio Festival Opera, Stockton Opera Association, Opera Santa Barbara. Bengochea is an award winner at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Bass Kirk Eichelberger has been praised for “commanding the stage at every turn” (San Francisco Chronicle) and for his “resonant bass and riveting stage presence” (Dayton City Paper). During the 2017/2018 season his engagements included Alidoro in La Cenerentola with Opéra de Montréal, Zuniga in Carmen for the Spokane Symphony and Opera Coeur d’Alene and Commendatore in Don Giovanni for the Edmonton Opera. Other recent and upcoming engagements include Betto in Gianni Schicchi and Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville for the Livermore Valley Opera, and Commendatore for Manitoba Opera. San Francisco’s Young Women’s Choral Projects has engaged him for Abraham in Flames. He has also appeared at the Met in New York, Kansas City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera Memphis and Vancouver Opera. Eichelberger was a national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and also the MacAllister Awards for Opera Singers. He holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
Hailed as a “fiercely entertaining crash course on the U.S. Constitution and the people who uphold it” (Broad Street Review), Scalia/Ginsburg is the American opera by polymathic composer-librettist Derrick Wang that launched the current era of Supreme Court-themed books, films, and art. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without first having seen Scalia/Ginsburg?” Inspired by the unlikely friendship of the titular U.S. Supreme Court Justices, this “perfect…jewel” (Opera Today) was first heard in 2013 at the Supreme Court of the United States, was premiered at Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival (2015), presented in a revised version at The Glimmerglass Festival (2017), and continues to be produced nationwide. An early version of the libretto was published in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, with prefaces by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia themselves. The opera is also featured in Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s book My Own Words as its own chapter, the audiobook version of which is narrated by the composer-librettist from New York’s Steinway Hall.
Derrick Wang is an interdisciplinary composer, writer, and thinker unlocking value in unlikely places.
As a composer, his music has received awards from organizations including ASCAP and BMI and has been performed by artists ranging from the American Modern Ensemble to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, in venues from New York to Shanghai, and his orchestrations have been heard at Juilliard and Carnegie Hall.
As a librettist/lyricist, his words, set to his own music, have been performed at the Library of Congress, York Theatre, Ars Nova Theater, Joe’s Pub at the New York Public Theater, and Baltimore Center Stage, and he has served as a Resident Artist (Composer & Librettist) at American Lyric Theater.
As a scholar, his work has been published with prefaces by U.S. Supreme Court Justices and acclaimed for “successfully integrat[ing] huge amounts of constitutional theory [and] legal scholarship” (Above the Law) into music. He serves on the faculty of The Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches music and law in the Business of Music program at the Peabody Conservatory.
As a thinker and speaker, he currently serves as Founding Advisor at Arsapio, LLC, a creative consultancy for polymathic growth, and he addresses select audiences and organizations in the United States and abroad, including TEDxBroadway, the Second Circuit Judicial Conference, National Constitution Center, Stanford Arts Institute & Stanford Law School, Columbia Law School, and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
Formerly an attorney in private practice, he advised creative clients across industries in the launch, operation, and growth of their ventures, and was named to Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers® Maryland Rising Stars list for his work in intellectual property law.
He has also spent time at premier Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator, where he shadowed a group of over 100 startups while researching the creativity of tech entrepreneurship.
He is a graduate of Harvard University (AB magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), the Yale School of Music (MM Composition), and the University of Maryland Carey School of Law (JD). For more information, visit www.derrickwang.com.