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PAPER DAUGHTER tells the story of a family in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the 1900 Bubonic Plague. Our story begins on Lunar New Year as a Grandson lights incense for his Mother. Grandfather tells the tale as he remembers it— beginning with patient zero through the quid pro quo shook on in the Oval Office to suppress the news and blame the Chinese. This play provides insight into the arduous immigration process the paper sons and paper daughters had to go through to get in through Angel Island. PAPER DAUGHTER provides an insight into the timelessness of family relationships, prejudice and violence, politicians and oppression and of course, illness.
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[Princess Maleine] moved, it was emotional, it was musically splendid and dramatically exciting. Triumphs of new operas are far between. One feels that–outside of the inconceivable task of getting the right cast and orchestra–Ms. George’s work deserves...a place in the American operatic repertory.
To my ear, it’s on the final five tracks of the NakedEye album [A Series of Indecipherable Glyphs]— representing the majority of its running time — that things open up. The composer Whitney George wraps some ghostly mystery around regular pulses in “[These Hands] Hold Nothing.”
Seth Colter Walls
The New York Times
Whitney George’s music traverses the affective terrain between tragedy and ecstasy, fragility and strength, bringing together romantically delicate intimacy and the spectacular darkness of the macabre. Haunted by ghosts and/of love, George’s operas, staged multimedia works, and chamber music coloristically explore the mysteries of irrationality, nightmare, and memory, sonically seeking lost objects and hidden subjects. Given George’s theatrical inclinations and preoccupation with the tragic, she has turned again and again to opera as both a composer and conductor.
Recently, George has been awarded a number of operatic commissions, premieres, and recognition: in 2017; the Elebash Award for her orchestration of Miriam Gideon’s opera Fortunato, which premiered under George’s baton in May 2019. In the same year; the commission of the two-act opera Princess Maleine by dell'Arte Opera and the video opera Julie by New Camerata Opera which was publicly released in 2020. This 2023 season, Fresh Squeezed Opera commissions Fizz & Ginger, an immersive jazz experience, and the second operatic endeavor with libretitst Bea Goodwin.
George is the artistic director and conductor of The Curiosity Cabinet, a chamber orchestra formed in 2009. She holds an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of the Arts (2008), a master’s degree from Brooklyn College (2010), and DMA from the CUNY Graduate Center (2021). In addition to her composing and conducting, George teaches privately and is on the faculty for Luna Lab.