Autumn Soiree

A haunted soiree of art songs, poetry, music, and dance. October 14, 2011, Divergence Music & Arts, Houston

Creative Team
Misha Penton: Soprano, artistic direction, production design concept, curation, French translations
Haunted soiree concept inspired by Alison Greene
Staging: Misha Penton & Cast
Story & Poem Selection: Misha Penton, Alison Greene, Jon Harvey
Meg Brooker: Choreography
Frank Vela: Lighting
Serret Jensen: Wigs & Stylist
Costumes: Kambriel, Kim Brown-Dye & Alexandra Sojfer
French translations by Misha Penton
Jenna Wallis, Supertitles & Italian translations

Misha Penton: Unsuspecting Wayfarer in the Night
Jon Harvey: Librarian
Meg Brooker: Autumn Elemental Spirit
Alison Greene: The Ghost of Anne Boleyn
Kelly Switzer: Puppeteer & Puppet Creator
George Heathco: Composer & Electric Guitar
Jeremy Wood: Piano
Mini Timmaraju: Tabla


A note from Misha...
Welcome to our Autumn Soirée! Allow me to tell you little about the genesis of this work and how beautifully it reflects my ideas surrounding performance and music making. Alison Greene came to me with an idea for a scene based on Donizetti’s Anna Bolena --- in particular Anne’s madness in her tower cell before her execution. Hmmmmm....well, I began to choose music for myself, quite unrelated to the Donizetti, and I started hunting around for other artists interested in working on an evening of haunted vignettes. Happily unaware of the final results and relying on the artistry of my collaborators, I asked Kelly Switzer to create a puppet, Jon Harvey to join as our evening’s guide, and George Heathco to compose music to weave the evening of disparate elements together. One might not expect eerie electric guitar infused with tabla and piano to seamlessly tie together the music of Henri Duparc, Gabriel Fauré, Gaetano Donizetti and Edvard Grieg, but it indeed, it does just that. This eve’s music spans the late 1800’s to tonight’s two world premieres: George’s fantastic instrumental music and Isabella, a setting of my text by composer James D. Norman. 

Yes, the elements are multifarious. Trust me. Go with it. It’ll be fun. George Heathco’s intense music, Meg Brooker’s dance, and the symbolist, Fellini-esque staging evoke a dream realm... We’ll take you on a little journey, sometimes dramatic, sometimes forlorn, and perhaps even a bit humorous...The performance is almost exactly one hour and there is no intermission. See you on the other side!

A heartfelt thanks to my wonderful cast and crew and to Raul Cesares, Lynn Birdwell, Lois Alba, and the love of my life and my muse, Dave Nickerson. This performance is dedicated to the memory of my über cool theatrical mother Marie Clare Bertheaud Penton and my Martino musician ancestors... ~ M