You’ll find below some of my libretti, including our Medusa piece, plus videos or live versions the works. Medusa, Siren on the Sabine, and Threshold could be about a 40-50 minute program together, and the three pieces go together thematically (Medusa, Sirens, and the Persephone-Demeter myth). This is our universe could be 10-15 minutes and is based on Virginia Woolf’s texts, so to extend a program with that work, I’d look for some other text or write something to go with it. I thought this page would give you a good idea of the work and if it feels like something we might collaborate on. Thanks!— M

MEDUSA (15 min approx)

Medusa (re)Emergent (libretto)

An ongoing performance and media project
Libretto, Composiiton, and Voice Sound Works by Misha Penton

I see my (re)flection
I see myself and am seen
I hear myself and am heard

Formidable  - Ferocious

Exquisite— my armor: intricate in swirls and swooshes and whirls and whooshes
Shimmering and crystalline— chitinous, some even say, magnificent.

Echoes return from steel and glass canyons and spin across headlands and valleys and rise from cathedrals, tunnels, and vaginal caverns. The pointy tips of my wings scrape the very, very, very edge of the cliff and I look down on the concrete turned-to-stone cityscape. I gasp and scream and sing with ferocity and mourning and rage.

Firecloud lighting splits the sky: there is space here, so much space.

I open my wings, I breathe in, I soar— I tower up to the place of clouds
I am flung abroad into space, over stars
Over stars…over stars…over stars
I am she
She is me
My sisters, my kin
Howl with ferocity and mourning:
We whisper. Snarl. Gasp. Speak. Scream. Sing. Sigh.

I call out, I shout and scream and sing and rage

I see my (re)flection
I see myself and am seen
I hear myself and am heard

Rend and reassemble, resemble, dismember, remember, destabilize, reflect, disorganize, destabilize, reflect, destabilize, reflect


Score I created from our performance, here: PDF

SIREN ON THE SABINE (15 min approx)

Siren on the Sabine (libretto)

A meadow grows high around me
Earthy grasses
Reach green to sun
Heat drunk spikelets brush my palms
Over an expanse, bayou oozes, low
And the warming comes, day by day,
in waves

Doves nest and roost
I’m far from my known waters
Unfamiliar distances and shallow moments
Cross my life
Steel towers reflect clear skysails

I followed a sailor’s love, here, to this hot land
Desert edges creep
sloping land to the Great Gulf Bay

I know things
Some say I know all things
I sing of thirsty knowledge
And what-is-it-you-want? Oh?

In this West Land
All will soon be Flood—
I sit in a meadow of bones

Do you hear me?


Live version of Siren on the Sabine, edit:


THRESHOLD (15 - 30 min approx)

Threshold (libretto)
Libretto and Composition / Sound Score by Misha Penton

Step. Over
One. Step. 
Over. Come
Ever. After
Under. World
Other. World
Our. World
Descent, plummet, plunge, dive, crash, wane, degrade
Drop, tumble
Can you stop this? 
“The center cannot hold” 
Plant, reap, sow, eat, grow, sell Plant, reap, rape, eat, sow, grow, sell Train and gate
Load and wait To the market To the market
Sell her to the market
Apart. Apart from Pomegranate, narcissus and honey Guardian of the well
Watcher of the well saw it all: 
His hands on her
His hands on her body
Complicit men
Complicit women Famine upon the land
Chaos upon the land
The world is unrecognizable Darkness
The Portal opens The Portal closes
What kind of world? Thresh / Threshold


Threshold music video I created after we did the live performance:


THIS IS OUR UNIVERSE ( (10 min approx)

This is our universe (libretto)
an experimental opera film by Misha Penton

Text by Virginia Woolf, adapted by Misha Penton. Virginia Woolf’s text for This is our universe is used by permission from The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Virginia Woolf.

“Let us now crawl under the canopy of the currant leaves, and tell stories. Let us inhabit the underworld. Let us take possession of our secret territory, which is lit by pendant currants like candelabra, shining red on one side, black on the other... if we curl up close, we can sit under the canopy of the currant leaves and watch the censers swing. This is our universe.”

[— all our moments strung on sky wire, ever translucent:] “even my body now lets the light through” [and] “I tremble, [and] I quiver, like the leaf in the hedge, as I sit dangling my feet, on the edge of the bed, with a new day to break open.” 

“Alone, I often fall down into nothingness. I must push my foot stealthily lest I should fall off the edge of the world into nothingness…” [and] “There is nobody – here among these grey arches, and moaning pigeons, and cheerful games and tradition and emulation, all so skilfully organised to prevent feeling alone.”

[Where is] “the girl who had shaken her head and made all the jewels, the topaz, the aquamarine, the water-coloured jewels with sparks of fire in them, dance…[who] bared her brows and with wide-opened eyes drove a straight pathway over the waves” [: the small dark-haired girl with dreams in her basket,] “Her shoulder-blades meet[ing] across her back like the wings of a small butterfly…This is our Universe.”


Video I created from the improv process:

Live version of This is our universe, edit: