Trapped in a Mind with a Friend of Mine

(A One-Act Opera: Owen (tenor), Idealized Martha (soprano), Real Martha (mezzo-soprano), fl., ob., cl., bsn., hrn., tpt., euph., tba., perc., vln. I, vln. II, vla., vc., cb.)

Trapped in a Mind with a Friend of Mine is a new opera I wrote in collaboration with librettist Lauren Wimmer. Inpsired by Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicide, Wimmer wrote a libretto that explored the facets of idealizations, and the deep impact it has on the common man. From a musical standpoint, I wanted to explore how to make new opera more accessible, both for the artists we collaborated with and the audience involved. This led me to write a ballad-inspired aria, one with tastes of postmodernism, and other styles while still communicating the dramatic journey in Owen’s mind.

This entire project would not be possible without the help we attained from the Carnegie Mellon University Crowdfund. Without it, we would have no vocalists, no pit, and no creatives to carry out the vision of the show.


Owen runs into his neighbor, Martha Wright, everyday. He tries to build the courage to talk to her beyond the usual pleasantries. When Owen picks up a package he thought was his, it turns out to be Martha Wright’s. This causes Owen to imagine what it must be like to be Martha Wright. His imagined version of her, Idealized Martha, visits him and shows Owen the beauty of his world around him. She helps him see the wonder of his surroundings and in their relationship. Idealized Martha spends the night with Owen. The next morning Owen wakes up to the sound of moving vans. Martha Wright is moving. Owen yells out to her that he has her package. When Martha Wright picks up the package she reveals she is moving to the West Coast to live with her partner disappointing Owen as the possibility of their companionship dwindles. Idealized Martha awakes and chastises Owen for becoming involved with the real Martha. She warns him that she may be just like him, a depressed man. Owen finds it within himself to dispel Idealized Martha from his mind, at least for today. Owen sings of his peace of mind and that being okay, even for one day is something to be grateful for. Owen leaves his apartment and the mind that has kept him trapped and isolated. He takes in the world around him.

Artistic Team

Stage Director – Rachel Pospisil (
Music Director – Andrew Dewey
Scenic Designer – Katherine Sharpless (
Costumes and Make-Up – Natalia Kian
Publicity Designer – Bernice Yu
Rehearsal Pianist – Derek Hamersly
Composer – Andrew Dewey
Librettist – Lauren Wimmer

Cast List

Owen – Mark Tamvakis
Idealized Martha – Alexia Mate
Real Martha – Hannah Shea


Flute – Jillian Coscio
Oboe – Shoshana Klein
Clarinet – Samantha Locraft
Bassoon – Shane M. Gillen
Horn – Sam Slockbower
Trumpet – Kate Guy
Euphonium – Abigail Lannan (
Tuba – Andrew Hook
Percussion – Michael Houde
Violin I – Erin Lim
Violin II – Nicole Lennartz
Viola – Veronica Janet Lopez
Cello – Bronwyn Hagerty
Double Bass – Mark Stroud