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Shenandoah Conservatory’s ‘Hydrogen Jukebox’ honored in national competition

Crystal Graham

shenandoah universityShenandoah Conservatory’s production of “Hydrogen Jukebox” was featured as part of a three-way tie for first place in the National Opera Association’s 2022-23 Opera Production Competition Division I category.

The first place designation also included Baylor University’s “Monsieur et Madame Denis” by Jacques Offenbach and Laurencin and Michel Delaporte and SUNY Potsdam and Crane School of Music’s “The Enchanted Pig” by Jonathan Dove and Alasdair Middleton.

“‘Hydrogen Jukebox’ was a performance project that embodies Shenandoah Conservatory’s mission to be a collaborative community,” said Director of Opera and Associate Professor Ella Marchment, B.Mus. “It’s a huge honor to be the winners of this national competition and the result is testament to the commitment and investment of all students involved who collectively were on stage in character for the entire evening.”

“Hydrogen Jukebox” was directed by Marchment, and featured original choreography by Adjunct Instructor of Dance Lindsay Browning, B.F.A.; music direction by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Vocal Coaching Wei-Han Wu, D.M.A., and lighting design by Oak Neel ’24 (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design & Production – Lighting Design).

“Hydrogen Jukebox” is a chamber opera set to music by Philip Glass and the words of iconic beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Named for and inspired by Ginsberg’s 1955 poem “Howl,” “Hydrogen Jukebox” is a melodrama that creates a portrait of the sensory overload and upheaval of America from the 1950s through the 1980s — covering the end of World War II through the thick of the Cold War.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.