A Chamber Opera by Andy Vores
Ms. Leytham directs and reprises her role as Inez Serrano, with Stefani Byrd’s design. "Three self-absorbed people who don't know each other and don't like each other trapped together in one room for eternity—literally. Perhaps not most people's idea of a naturally operatic plot, but Sartre's play is full of drama and sly comedy set in a tiny space packed with vast consequences. No Exit shows the first hour of their damnation; we see the veneer of civilized self-justification crack to reveal fear, spite, vanity, self-delusion. Imagine this same room in ten thousand years, twenty thousand, thirty thousand . . . “ - Andy Vores
Vores’s seductive and scary score is a wonder of musical invention.
LLOYD SCHWARTZ, NEW YORK ARTS
You have to give Guerilla Opera some serious props. A production like their recent version of Andy Vores’ No Exit (which closed last weekend) evinced a level of artistry and ambition that’s rare on the cultural scene… and only added to Guerilla’s reputation as the 800-pound gorilla on our operatic fringe… enough talent (and ambition) on display here to make me hope I might see Guerilla Opera on a more prominent stage sometime soon.
THOMAS GARVEY, THE HUB REVIEW
Leslie ann leytham, director
Leslie Ann Leytham is a San Diego-based mezzo-soprano who focuses much of her attention on contemporary narrative vocal works, not only as a singer and actor, but a costume designer, director, writer and a composer of performance art pieces.
Her work draws from television, film, and opera, centering on the depiction of women in popular culture (thanks to a very bizarre youth spent living in Las Vegas). Dr. Leytham explores the intersectionality and performativity of gender, sexuality and institutional norms in the genres of pop, experimental, and operatic musical genres. Leslie seeks to consistently extend the theoretical and technical boundaries of the voice and has commissioned and premiered works by Martin Hiendl, Nicholas Deyoe, Clinton McCallum, Carolyn Chen, Marti Epstein, Andy Vores, and is currently preparing a regional premiere of a work by Austrian composer, Beat Furrer. She has performed as a featured artist with CityWater Ensemble at San Francisco’s Center for New Music, The Industry Opera Company in Los Angeles, Ensemble Echoi on the Monday Evening Concert Series in Los Angeles, La Jolla Symphony under the direction of Steven Shick, and as a founding member of Boston’s Guerilla Opera Company.
Dr. Leytham earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2005) and a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from The Boston Conservatory (2007). Leslie earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Contemporary Music Performance from the University of California, San Diego where she developed her interdisciplinary work under the guidance of the late violinist János Négyesy and video artist, Tara Knight.
stefani byrd, digital media artist
Her art practice includes video, new media, and interactive technologies. Byrd is most noted for her interactive temporary public art installations that create "empathy training" experiences for the audience. These works are a hybrid of video and performance art that both disorient and re-orient the viewer. Her work is both playful and sophisticated, drawing the viewer into active and often interactive engagement.
Her practice aims to shed light on the complicated nature of communication within a contemporary culture where social stereotypes often define our interactions. Often her work confronts or undermines these stereotypes by turning the tables on traditional power relationships.
She has received grants and support from groups such as: Creative Capital of New York, Flux Projects, the InLight Richmond Festival, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, and Idea Capital. Her work has been featured in such places as the Public Art Review Magazine, the Public Art Archive, the Huffington Post, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Art Papers Magazine.
Byrd's work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Columbus Museum of American Art, and the Diane Marek Collection and Trust.
She received her BFA degree in photography from Georgia State University in 2008. She holds a Masters Degree in Visual Art from the University of California San Diego with an emphasis in New Media / Art + Technology.
She is a Lecturer in the Digital Arts division of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California Irvine. She also Lectures within the Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts (ICAM) major in the Visual Arts department at the University of California San Diego. She lives and works in Southern California.