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From My Mother’s Mother premieres Saturday at Korean Festival

Poet and Ph.D. candidate Janine Joseph writes opera libretto

Janine Joseph
Janine Joseph

The libretto of From My Mother’s Mother,  the fifth chamber opera in Houston Grand Opera’s East + West series, was written by Janine Joseph, a Ph.D. candidate in literature and creative writing.

Earlier this academic year, Joseph was awarded a CLASS Dissertation Completion Fellowship to finish her doctorate degree. Her dissertation “Extended Stay” is a collection of linked poems called a poetic sequence. Her book tracks the life of a young undocumented immigrant from the Philippines over a twenty-year period  from her arrival in the United States to the her receipt of her green card.

The opera series celebrates Houston as a meeting place for Eastern and Western cultures. Joseph has written a poignant account of the passing down and, sometimes, rejection of tradition through multiple generations of Korean-American women. Dr. Jeeyoung Kim was commissioned to compose the music for this an opera focused on Korea.

Dr. Jeeyoung Kim says of the composition, “I felt very emotional when I composed the piece. The story reminds me of the love and sacrifice of my own grandmother and mother, as well as my relationship with my own daughter who was born and is raised in the United States.”

Mika Shigematsu will return to HGO to create the role of the mother (Om-Ma). The grandmother (Hal-Mo-Ni) will be brought to life by Hyo Na Kim. Hana Park will sing the role of the daughter (Soo-Yun), and the role of her husband (Jensen) will be performed by Houstonian, Lee Gregory.

Furthermore, internationally recognized specialist in gayageum (a strung Korean zither), Na Jung Jin, will lend her award-winning expertise to this production.

Sandra Bernhard, director of HGO’s community collaboration efforts, said, “From my Mother’s Mother explores what we embrace and what we leave behind as we merge our traditions with others in a new country, using a new language, sometimes with our own new family.”

Schedule of performances – all FREE and open to the public:

Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 1 p.m. - Korean Festival at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney Street)

 Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 2 p.m - Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Brown Auditorium, 1001 Bissonnet Street).
Note: seats may be reserved at this performance. Download and print the flyer to get free admission to the museum on that day.

 Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 6 p.m. - Houston Public Library, Downtown (Auditorium, 500 McKinney Street)

 Friday, November 9, 2012 at 12 p.m. - University of Houston, Quintero Theatre (133 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts Building, Entrance 16 off Cullen)
Note: Seats may be reserved at this performance.

 Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7 p.m. - University of Houston, Quintero Theatre (133 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts Building, Entrance 16 off Cullen)
Note: Seats may be reserved at this performance.

For more information, or to reserve tickets visit: https://www.houstongrandopera.org/Site/Tickets/calendar/view.aspx?id=3651

Related Links

From My Mother's Mother: An Opera About the Korean Immigrant Experience in Houston
Houston Press

Flier