World Premiere Collaboration

Music for New Bodies

Matthew Aucoin, Composer and Conductor
Peter Sellars, Director 

Music for New Bodies

Morrison Theater at Brockman Hall for Opera

World Premiere | Concert Performance

Co-commission of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, DACAMERA, AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), LA Opera, and Aspen Music Festival and School

A major new work and exciting first collaboration between the brilliant young composer Matthew Aucoin and legendary director Peter Sellars. Music for New Bodies is inspired by the visionary poetry of Jorie Graham, addressing some of the most urgent questions of our time: In our quest for immortality, what have human beings done to the planet, and what are we doing to ourselves? What are these post-human, machine-generated intelligences that we so heedlessly continue to create, and which seem almost capable of replacing us? Music for New Bodies is a 360-degree portrait of the moment we are living in, a piece that brings together questions of environmental responsibility, scientific progress and the ethics of humanity’s questionable quest to surpass the human.

Kathryn Lewek, Soprano
Meryl Dominguez, Soprano
Rachael Wilson, Mezzo-Soprano
Brenton Ryan, Tenor (MM ‘11)
Cory McGee, Bass-Baritone (MM ‘20)

Instrumental ensemble of Shepherd School of Music students and DACAMERA Young Artists

Following the performance, stay for a post-concert conversation with Matthew Aucoin, Peter Sellars and Joseph Campana, poet and director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Rice, moderated by Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg.


Matthew Aucoin, Composer and Conductor

Matthew Aucoin is an American composer, conductor, writer, and pianist. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2018, and is both Artist-in-Residence at Los Angeles Opera and co-artistic director of the American Modern Opera Company.

Peter Sellars

MacArthur Fellow Peter Sellars is a distinguished professor in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he has taught since 1988. Known for exploring challenging moral issues such as race, war, poverty, and the international refugee crisis through his work, his most notable courses include Art as Moral Action and Art as Social Action. Sellars has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists across three decades. Sellars is the founding director of the Boethius Institute at UCLA, which invites scholars, activists, and artists to work together on projects of public significance, exploring radical ways to rethink relationships of communities and complex issues, using the arts as the point of entry and the point of transformation.

Kathryn Lewek, soprano

Kathryn Lewek has established herself as one of this generation’s most thrilling coloratura sopranos, performing some of the most vocally challenging roles in the repertoire and joining the top-ranking operatic performers of all time. Last season reached the remarkable milestone of Kathryn’s 50th performance of Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) as Die Königinder Nacht (The Queen of the Night) at The Metropolitan Opera, which surpasses The Met's record for the most performances of a role by a single artist.The New York Times declared her performance “utterly enthralling, emitting richly glowing bursts of notes like a collapsing star.”

Meryl Dominguez, soprano

Cuban-American soprano Meryl Dominguez has been praised for her “intensity and warm tone” (Bachtrack). In the midst of her final year as a Houston Grand Opera Butler Studio Artist, she is an alumna of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and has been celebrated for her “gorgeous, crystalline highs and a powerful mid-range.” Recent seasons have seen Dominguez in performance with Houston Grand Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, and The Glimmerglass Festival, among others.

Dominguez’s repertoire spans diverse roles, including Violetta (La traviata), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus), and Donizetti’s titular Lucia di Lammermoor. In 2022, she made her return to the international stage in the title role of Maria Stuarda with Musica Viva Hong Kong, where she earned praise for her “Sutherland-like purity in the upper and middle registers, coupled with depth in the lower range” (South China Morning Post).

Rachael Wilson, Mezzo-Soprano

American mezzo-soprano Rachael Wilson is a recent recipient of the honorary Bavarian Art Prize. A native from Las Vegas, Nevada, she is a graduate of the Juilliard School, and was a member of the Opera Studio at the Bayerische Staatsoper, where she joined the Ensemble in 2015 - between 2019 and 2022, Rachael was a member of the Ensemble at the Staatsoper Stuttgart.

This season, Rachael Wilson’s engagements include her role debut as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for Santa Fe Opera and Malmö Opera; Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana at The Royal Opera House and the title role of Carmen in a new production for Theater Basel; further into the future, Rachael will return to the Bayerische Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zürich, Staatsoper Stuttgart and the Glyndebourne Festival, and she make debuts at Opéra de Lausanne and the Staatsoper Hamburg.

Brenton Ryan, tenor

Tenor Brenton Ryan is hailed by Opera News for his “remarkable tonal suavity and refined phrasing,” and is widely recognized at internationally acclaimed opera houses and orchestras as a singer of great vocal diversity and dramatic depth.In the 2023–2024 season, Mr. Ryan returns to Royal Opera CoventGarden to sing Mime and cover Loge in Barrie Kosky’s new production of Das Rheingold. He also makes house debuts at Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona as Eros in John Adams’ Antony and Cleopatra, and with the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia as Monostatos in the Simon McBurney production of Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Ryan returns to Bayerische Staatsoper as Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos on tour in Hong Kong, to the Metropolitan Opera to sing Monostatos in the holiday family version of The Magic Flute, and to Santa Fe Opera as CM in the premiere of Gregory Spears’ The Righteous at Santa Fe Opera. Concert work includes an appearance with the American Symphony Orchestra to sing Schoenberg’s Guerre-Lieder at Carnegie Hall, and the world premiere of Matt Aucoin and Peter Sellars’ Music for New Bodies with Dacamera in Houston.

Cory McGee, bass-baritone

Bass-baritone Cory McGee opens the 2023-2024season performing the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Wolf Trap Opera, before making his debut with Opera Philadelphia as Pietro in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. He also portrays the roles of Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Atlanta Opera, as well as Second Knight in Wagner’s Parsifal and the Imperial Commissioner in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, both with Houston Grand Opera. Concert appearances include Colline in a concert performance of Puccini’s La bohème with Chattanooga Symphony and Handel’s Messiah with Santa Fe Symphony.

Most recently, Mr. McGee was seen as Johann in Massenet’s Werther, the Fifth Jew in Strauss’ Salome, Jailer in Puccini’s Tosca, and Dottore Grenvil in Verdi’s La traviata, all with Houston Grand Opera. With his “icy bass, complemented by an immense and sadistic physicality” (Harry Rose, Parterre Box), McGee sang Caspar in Weber’s Der Freischütz with Wolf Trap Opera. During the 2021-2022 season, he made his debuts as Colline in Puccini’s La bohème with Detroit Opera and Basilio in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera on the James. He was also seen as Theseus in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Santa Fe Opera. Further engagements included Billy in the world premiere of Thompson’s The Snowy Day with Houston Grand Opera.


Morrison Theater at Brockman Hall for Opera