Music faculty to perform new dance-opera based on James Joyce

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Faculty in the UNC Charlotte Department of Music will perform the world premiere of a new “dance-opera” at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, in the Johnson Studio Theatre at Winthrop University.

“Wake — Lucia: a Joycean operatic rite” explores the complicated relationship between James Joyce and his brilliant daughter, Lucia. Inspired by multiple works of James Joyce, as well as more recent scholarly works on Lucia and her artistic life, this half-hour performance is a fantastical dreamscape — a place where sound, body and text are entangled and unwoven again to create an intimate portrait of a fraught parent-child relationship and the essential desire of the human spirit to be free.  

With a libretto compiled by director Kelvin Chan, a score by composer and Winthrop University professor Leonard Mark Lewis and choreography by Kathy Lawson, “Wake — Lucia” creates a world in which Lucia forges her own self-identity, separate from her other identities as guiding light, devoted daughter, muse and troublemaker. “Wake — Lucia” is scored for tenor soloist, violin, cello, oboe, clarinet and piano.

Associate Professor of Voice Brian Arreola, tenor, portrays James Joyce; Lawson, a dancer based in Poland, portrays Lucia. Music faculty Jessica Lindsey (clarinet), Elizabeth Sullivan (oboe) and Mira Frisch (cello) will join violinist Kari Giles and Lewis (on piano) in the instrumental ensemble.

“Wake — Lucia: a Joycean operatic rite” has been produced by Harvest Hill Productions with support from UNC Charlotte. The Aug. 19 performance is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To reserve tickets, email

Photo: Brian Arreola