A BIG Thank you to all!

Dear Friends of White Snake Projects:

Thank you for taking a risk with us by supporting PermaDeath as audience members, donors, hosts, volunteers, creators, artists, panel members, and well-wishers. As I look back over PermaDeath, the most challenging production we’ve ever done, I’m filled with wonder at how we managed to do it!

There were so many moving parts that had to come together at the right time – the CGI led by the indefatigable Curvin Huber, electronics, Faceware, sound and visual effects which combined with acoustic voices and instruments to create the music of PermaDeath, exciting reverberating evocative music composed by Dan Visconti.

None of this would be possible without the committed, crazy and conscientious people on our team!  What can I say about the students and faculty of RISD, Becker, and Lesley, except a big WOW!  We were so lucky to have the best team of singers and musicians, both musically and in terms of attitude, as we experimented with click tracks, tempi, syncing, lag etc.  And we had an inspired and unflappable creative team led by Sam Helfrich who put this show up with minimal fuss as we innovated our way to success.

Speaking of success, I was asked to define “success” in Opus Affairs’ first podcast in its “Visionaries” series.  I explained that I rely on an inner metric of success.  Some milestones I consider are: telling socially relevant stories, using innovative technology, achieving super-high production values on budget, entertaining audiences, and involving young people in the creation and consumption of opera.  I believe we’ve hit these goals with PermaDeath and I’d like to share some anecdotes with you:

  • During one of the Talk Back sessions, Jackson, a 12-year-old first-time opera-goer, who stayed to ask questions (!!!) told us that PermaDeath was his first opera, and definitely not his last. Jackson asked an excellent question about what inspired me to write a video game opera and how I came up with the title, “PermaDeath.”
  • A friend wrote that he “went with my 13-year-old friend and his dad. I love that this young boy has only seen new opera, and that his first connections with the art form were actually intended for him and his age group. He loved every moment, and understood the premise of the show, and was very interested in the video game aspect.”
  • A grandmother wrote to tell me, “I took 2 of my grandchildren to PermaDeath Friday night.  They both loved the app that brought the characters to life and the 8-year-old really enjoyed the performance.  He says his favorite character was Sonny.  Unfortunately, it was a little late for the 6-year-old who fell asleep!”
  • Several cast members who participated in WSP’s panel on ALS, (part of our social activism this year) expressed how moved they were by the panelists, and that their experience during the panel informed their artistry on stage, a perfect confluence of activism and artistry.
  • A young woman from China studying to be a designer emailed that, “It was so hard to find another play or opera like this [that] inspire[s] me so much. The work you [have] done is my goal.”

I’m going to end by recounting an encounter that has and continues to inspire me.  A parent of a Boston Children’s Chorus’ member who sang in our 2016 production of Gilgamesh (part of Ouroboros Trilogy) reached out to me. She explained that “the experience shaped her [daughter] – it was a formative event in her life. She is turning sixteen in two weeks, and the only thing she wants for her birthday is an audio recording of the opera.” I was sad to tell this mother that we didn’t have a recording but that I would like to give her daughter tickets to PermaDeath for her birthday.

After Friday night’s show, I found a beautiful young woman waiting for me.  She was bubbling with excitement, telling me that she and her friends were amazed, delighted and moved by PermaDeath.  She handed me a card with a handwritten note:

“Participating in Gilgamesh . . . was one of the happiest, most fulfilling and transformative times of my life.  I gained so much confidence, both musically and as a person . . . This world needs strong women more than ever right now, and when I think of strong women, I think of you.  I cannot thank you enough for being such an influential role model to me and my friends.  You have shown us all that women can accomplish absolutely anything they set their minds to.”

Inspiration is a two-way street.

This is success.

With much love and gratitude,


Related Reading

PermaDeath—Boston 2018