Criminal Element

Music and Libretto by David Smooke



“However ‘Criminal Element’ is ultimately classified genre-wise, 
it adds up to a highly creative, absorbing experience.” 

– The Baltimore Sun



In 2010, Rhymes With Opera commissioned Baltimore composer David Smooke to create Criminal Element, a forty-minute “non-opera” based loosely around the story of outlaw French bank trader Jérôme Kerviel, with an invented language by Smooke.  RWO concluded our 2012-13 season with a new, fully staged production of this innovative new opera.  The production was designed by Valeska Populoh and co-directed by Populoh and composer David Smooke. In addition, this world premiere production included lighting design by David Crandall and video design by Margaret Rorison.

As an "opener" to Criminal Element, RWO also commissioned and premiered twelve one-minute operas by Judah Adashi, Jenny Beck, Sidney Boquiren, Joshua Bornfield,Nomi Epstein, Alexandra Gardner, Tim Hansen, Andrew Histand, Mark Lackey, Anna Meadors, Rachel Peters, and Ashley Wang. These brand-new operas were commissioned especially for this performance.

RWO was joined by Baltimore’s SONAR New Music Ensemble, who accompanied our ensemble for this production.



Valeska Populoh, designer and co-director
David Smooke, co-director
David Crandall, lighting design and technical director
Margaret Rorison, video design
Emilee Wooten, assistant puppet builder
Ruby Fulton, production manager
Rachel Christensen, stage manager

RWO Orchestra

SONAR New Music Ensemble
Colin Sorgi, violin
Lauren Rausch, violin
Jaclyn Dorr, viola
Alicia Ward, cello

George Lam, conductor


World Premiere

Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 7:30pm
505 1/2 Waverly Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 8:00pm
Area 405
405 E Oliver St, Baltimore, MD