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Rosśa Crean is a multi-genre recording artist and composer, so don't be afraid of the variety! You can also listen to a lot of Rosśa's work at Soundcloud by clicking here.

Rosśa is always for hire for multimedia and film projects as well. Check out the COMPOSITIONS page to listen to past works!

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Rosśa Crean - Composer/Vocalist/Artist

Rosśa Crean (they/them) jokingly says they “write strange music that they like to listen to when they are by themself, eating raw cookie dough in a dark closet,” but in truth, their music has been referred to as being “funny...and virtuosic” (Classic Concert Nova Scotia), having “exceptionally different, outstanding quality” (Download), and music that “stirs you deep, undertones of humanity” (Access Contemporary Music). Composing and creating music with a focus on the evocative and lyrical, they began their professional career as a Bass-Baritone, specializing in avant-garde and Contemporary Classical music, many of which were their own compositions. While pursuing their Masters at Illinois State University in Composition, they have studied with Stephen Taylor, David Feurzeig, and Nancy Van de Vate. They have trained in several vocal styles, including rock, opera, sean-nós (traditional Gaelic singing), and Indian and Middle Eastern vocal ornamentation. 

 

As a synesthete, Crean occasionally creates projects that focus on neurological responses between sound, color, and emotional states. Their chromesthesia was a creative tool in the creation of the Edward Gorey partnering art installation entitled "Summerland: A Ghost Story," a collaboration with visual artist Ken Gerleve. It has most recently been featured in their opera, "The Great God Pan," (2018-19 American Prize winner) where the prepared piano was notated with specific color designations for each note of a pitch class Crean saw as representing the other world that threatened the moral existence of humanity in the original story on which it was based. Their one-act opera “The Times Are Nightfall,” a queer sequel to “Don Giovanni,” premiered at Opera America in July 2018. Their most recent work, “The Priestess of Morphine,” a monodrama in song cycle style, was commissioned and premiered by the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago in June 2019.

 

A prolific collaborator, Crean has received commissions from and worked with numerous artists, including The Mozart Players at Oberlin College, Opera on Tap (Chicago and New York), Loyola University Museum of Art, bassist Gahlord Dewald, The New Consort, and the Lynx Project. Their musical work has also been featured on Skope TV, Much Music, Fuse TV, and Comcast OnDemand.

 

A staunch advocate for queer and gender equality, Rosśa founded the “Rosśa Crean Presents” performance series in Chicago, Illinois, which showcases emerging POC, LGBTQIA+, and female-identifying composers and performers.

Libretto by Aiden K. Feltkamp 
Music by Rosśa Crean 
Inspired by the writings of Marie-Madeleine (Gertrud Günter) and Ronald K. Siegel, PhD All new translations from the original German by the librettist 

Commissioned by the International Museum of Surgical Science for their exhibit “Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race” 

 

I. The Awakening 

Forensic science is the art of resurrection, 
recreating history through the magic of DNA and fingerprints and handwritten secrets decoded from the particular curves in “dear” and “do not leave me.” 

See here, the ink-fossil of Baroness Gertude Günter von Puttkamer-- the Jewish lesbian erotic poet, Marie-Madeleine, 
who taunted the Nazis with her bright red hardcovers 
and incendiary turns of phrase. 

That’s me. 

The Nazis tried to burn me, 
to bury my words, all memory of my existence, in war-ridden soil. 
They tried, 
but they failed. 

 

II. In Salvation and In Sin 

(Adaptation and translation of “Ich träumte von dir” from Auf Kypros) 

I dreamt of you. -- One summer night, pale blue and trembling at the riverside in all your golden-curled splendor, 
you wanted my burning mouth. 

I've known no fever, no hellfire burning so hot as the sickness in my heart. 
Your wicked eyes shone, 
two abysses like cliffs at the waters’ edge - - my soul sank into them. 

The madness-making moonlight with its sickly pallor 
splayed death over your face 
as I pressed you to me. 

With my yielding, lecherous mouth 
I drank dry your heart's blood 
in the summer night, in the midnight hour when the seacrests sing and surge. 

-- I dreamt only this. 

 

III. Morphine 

The Papaver somniferum,the opium poppy, evolved to defend itself. 
Producing a thick, white milk, 
it deters predators, 

and those foolish enough to bite 
kneel to its bitter, sleep-inducing chemicals. Humans harvested the power of the poppy and named it after the Greek god of dreams. 

I first tangled with that seductive god 
when the male doctors decided 
I was too distraught at my husband’s deathbed. I was too hysterical. 
They shot me up 
without my consent. 

The cool calm crawled under my skin. 

 

IV. Tumbling 

(inspired by “Das Fieber,” “Kokaïn,” and “Der letzte Rausch”)

In darkness, in this terrible place 

completely removed from the world, 
he approached without a sound, without warning... this monster, my uninvited guest... 

My tired heart drags hotter 
until the dream-clouds about me are violent red. Shine, ever effervescent, 
fill me with a marrow-deep delight! 

More! More! 
Burn me inside 
until wings sprout on my savage soul and I fall 
headlong 
into the beckoning bottomless pit. 

I am always -- still! -- so long! -- stuck in this cursed place, 
this city so heavily damned 
that it will never rise again. 

I can only groan with desire -- take me down, Thanatos! 

I can’t breathe in these streets, I can’t find a living body, they’ve all forgotten---- 

My lips, worn down by fever, cradle my last screech: 
I need to get out! 
I’m penned in all around-- these walls will outlast me. 

I have nothing left but you: 
my most beloved, my very last ecstasy! 

 

V. The Harvest Song 

Poppies are monocarpic-- 
they die after flowering. 
Their showy petals are crumpled in the bud; as blooming finishes, the petals lie flat before falling away. 

But I am polycarpic, 
flowering again and again, 
blooming ever brighter 
until I’m corporal again, 
sinew and fingertips and bone again. 

The Nazis are real and they are here. They will try to drive us 
once more into the dirt. 
But my soul persists, 

triumphant, 
after all my tormentors are dead. 

 

VI. The Flower of Oblivion 

(Adaptation and translation of “Die Blume des Vergessens”) 

The sky was a poppy-- 
bleeding, torn to shreds, and falling-- and as the sunset fled like a soft dream, the night tumbled onto the world. 

Braided up into the night’s wings, 
I sobbed out my heartache. 
Only the wild beasts who die in howling torment sink beside me to this loneliness so primeval. 

You sunset, you fire, watch 
the bleeding poppy embroiled in that seething mass of clouds-- I need oblivion’s shimmering bloom-- 
I rip it down from Heaven! 

I’ll wind purple wreaths 
around my heart to stop its weeping. 
I’ll find the deepest dark 
within that dream where we’re united forever.