“Ada” is a full-length opera based on the life of Ada Lovelace Byron (1815-1852), a mathemetician and scientist. She was the daughter of the poet, Lord Byron and developed the first computer language.

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The collaborators are Kim Sherman (composer), Margaret Vandenburg (libretto), and Lisa Rothe (director).

Margaret Vandenburg, librettist
Margaret Vandenburg has published in a broad spectrum of genres, including fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary criticism.  Having completed her Ph.D. at Columbia University, she traveled across the street to Barnard College, where she is a Senior Lecturer in English and the former Associate Director of the Writing Program.  A specialist in Modernism, her research focuses on the birth of psychoanalysis and the coming of age of Oedipal models of canonicity.  She is the author of An American in Paris, a historical novel featuring Gertrude Stein, and has published articles on Djuna Barnes and Ernest Hemingway.  Despite her academic proclivities, she is first and foremost a creative writer.

Vandenburg’s college training as an opera singer provided some of the impetus and much of the musical expertise necessary to write Ada, her first libretto.  Her academic background helped in the research stage of the project.  For a writer accustomed to working alone, either in ivory towers or in the privacy of her own study, Ada constitutes a welcome foray into the world of collaborative creativity.  The process of writing the opera feels like a homecoming, the genre where all her creative impulses find common ground.

Lisa Rothe, director
Lisa Rothe has workshopped, developed and directed over one hundred new plays and musicals, working with award winning writers such as James Still, Ellen McLaughlin and Pulitzer nominated Rinde Eckert. Recent directing credits include: Interpreting William by James Still (Indiana Repertory); Eyepiece by Rinde Eckert (Hancher); Looking for the Pony by Andrea Lepcio (Synchronicity Performance Group @ Seven Stages in Atlanta); Penelope by Ellen McLaughlin and composer Sarah Kirkland Snider (Getty Villa, Gallatin School in NYC, Princeton University); My Ohio (Vermont Stage Company); Couldn’t Say by Christopher Wall (MITF - Best Director Award) as well as productions for NYMF and SPF. Future productions:Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata (Epic Theatre and Chautauqua Theatre); Penelope (Playmakers Repertory Theatre). She joined the Lark Play Development Center in January 2010, where she deals with providing expanded opportunities for playwrights and strategic multi-lateral partnerships aimed at advancing new work to production nationally and globally. She is a Fox Fellow recipient, and alum of the Drama League and Women's Project. MFA: NYU Graduate Acting and NYU Grad Director’s Lab.

Lord Byron's
"Child Herold's Pilgrimage"
(opening of Canto the Third)

Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child!
Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart?
When last I saw thy young blue eyes, they smiled,
And then we parted,--not as now we part,
But with a hope.--
Awaking with a start,
The waters heave around me; and on high
The winds lift up their voices: I depart,
Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by,
When Albion's lessening shores could grieve
or glad mine eye.


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