After Life/Josephine

After Life and Josephine

Music by Tom Cipullo

JOSEPHINE libretto by Tom Cipullo

AFTER LIFE Libretto by David Mason

Two short operas, One composer.

“. . . with bubbling musical heat emanating from the stage . . . UrbanArias, one of the region’s more exciting and reliably entertaining music groups producing new work, presented two one-act operas by composer Tom Cipullo, one of them a premiere . . . Beautifully prepared, vocally stunning, and theatrically riveting . . .” – Patrick Rucker, The Washington Post
Click here to read the full review

“Classical WETA morning host David Ginder chats with Urban Arias’ General Director Robert Wood about After Life (focusing on Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein) and Josephine (in its world premiere, about Josephine Baker), about Tom Cipullo’s appealing music, and about how opera on a small scale is as compelling as grand opera.” – David Ginder, WETA

Images by Teresa Wood Photography




JOSEPHINE: It is April 1975, and Josephine Baker is preparing for her last, and most spectacular, comeback. In her dressing room, she muses on sex, race, war, the stage, her countless affairs, her experiences in pre-war Paris, and her deux amours.

AFTER LIFE: Tom Cipullo’s moving opera examines the question, “what responsibility does a famous artist have in times of great turmoil?” The opera imagines Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso, both dead, arguing with each other in the afterlife about their actions during World War II; they are confronted by a young girl who once sold Stein a rose on a country road in France, and who was later sent to a concentration camp where she died. “Why,” she asks, “did you survive and I did not?” While the question may be unanswerable, both artists are forced to examine their consciences to offer a reply. David Mason’s libretto treats the challenging topic with humor and drama, and Cipullo’s music soars.


JOSEPHINE (World Premiere)

Melissa Wimbish as Josephine Baker


AFTER LIFE (East Coast Premiere)

Catherine Cook as Gertrude Stein

Michael Mayes as Pablo Picasso

Ava Pine as The Young Girl

Conducted by Robert Wood

Directed by Alan Paul

Set and Lighting Design by David L. Arsenault

Costume Design by Hunter S. Kaczorowski