ERA OF GOOD FEELINGS
An opera by Dirty Churches
Composed by Jesse Gelaznik
Costumes and Art Direction by Rachel Blackwell
Libretto by Heather Green (soprano), Daniel Garcia
Choreography by Alexandra Jacob and Constantine Alexis
Pulling from the depths of their collective imaginations, Dirty Churches has conjured an ethereal world of magical genies, witches, shape-shifting cockroaches, exterminators and a tipsy narrator for their new opera ERA OF GOOD FELLINGS. This story unfolds through the eyes of a soul-searching soprano (Heather Green) desperate for the cure to life’s sorrows. Jesse Gelaznik has combined electronic textures with his unique score to bring these vivid, surreal scenarios to life. Rachel Blackwell has created living sculptures, which creep and loom with a mix of existential terror and freak show fun. With this performance Dirty Churches extracts the drama of traditional operatic archetypes and replaces it with a distorted reflection how we view these classic characters, creating an absurdist spectacle of music, dance and experimental theater.
Featuring: Alexandra Jacob, Rachel Blackwell, Heather Green, Samantha Lore, Pablo Narvaez
Musicians: Jesse Gelaznik, H. Leon Harris, Annie Levey-Alluazen, Pedro Vizzarro, Eric Allen, Matt Moon
About the artists
Jesse Gelaznik (Composer)
Dirty Churches founder and composer Jesse Gelaznik specializes in film soundtracks, as well as music for art performances and dance. He has been nominated for best score by the American Independent Film Awards for his work on the feature film H., which screened at Sundance, MoMA and the Berlin International Film Festival. Daniel Garcia and Rania Attieh also recently used his music in the feature film Initials S.G., which premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Gelaznik’s collaborative project with Daniel Garcia, PWR&$$$, received a commission from the Sharjah Art Foundation for their Biennial X and was displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Jesse also performed alto guitar in Glenn Branca’s 13th Symphony Hallucination City.
Rachel Blackwell (Art director and costumes)
Rachel Blackwell creates, constructs and performs as the creatures that inhabit Dirty Churches. The collaboration began when Gelaznik organized a live score to play during a screening for Blackwell’s video Meditations on Death. Both became interested in expanding the spectacle, and Rachel decided to introduce a performance element. She has shown independently and in collaboration at White Box, the 92Y Tribeca, Theater Lab, The Chelsea Hotel and many other galleries, festivals, clubs, theaters and music venues.
Heather Green (Soprano and librettist)
Vocalist and dramatic artist Heather Green is deeply grateful to be a part of Dirty Churches' Era of Good Feelings. Green's operatic credits include: Salome, (Salome); Senta, (Der fliegende Holländer), Sieglinde, (Die Walküre), Minnie, (La Fanciulla del West), and Lady MacBeth in Verdi’s MacBeth. Green also loves collaborating with composers who are still alive, including Gene Pritsker: “Splice” at Sowieso Neuköln, in Berlin; Luis Andrei Cobo: “It’s About Time,” with Cal Arte Ensemble and the Composers Concordance; Patricia Burgess: Yeshe, Queen of Tibet in Boudanath, Nepal; Yoav Gal: Mosheh, (as Bitia) and 3weeks, (as Aspasianus); and Thomas Carlo Bo’s Shadows of the City, (as Lizzie). Green is also an avid writer, holding degrees from Pratt Institute of Art and Design and The Swedish Institute of Health Sciences.
Alexandra Jacob and Constantine Alexis (Choreography and dance)
Alexandra Jacob and Constantine Alexis came together from very different backgrounds to explore new forms of expression in ballet movement. Alexandra spent 10 years dancing lead and principal roles with the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City. She especially relished the deeper technical aspects of traditional ballet movement, but yearned to combine this with her personal aesthetic interests tied more closely to the music and style of 70s/80s goth and post-punk scenes. She found common ground with Constantine Alexis, a musician raised in the 90s indie punk scene who also has a background as a pole dancing instructor. Together they are attempting to create movement that is both highly technical (and true the the deeper nature of ballet), while also explored new aesthetic domains. Constantine and Alexandra are both very excited to be working with Dirty Churches to create dark and light rituals together.
Samantha Lore (Narrator and movement)
Sam is a dancer/performer based out of Brooklyn. Since graduating from Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2017, she has worked with companies and artists such as Shen Wei Dance Arts, Carte Blanche Performance, and Gallim under the direction of Andrea Miller.