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Misha Penton – Bath Spa University

Personal statement

Misha Penton is a contemporary opera singer, experimental vocal composer, media artist, and director. She invents and performs solo and collaborative contemporary experimental vocal pieces and post-opera works.

Her work is diverse in form: live performance, audio projects, video works, and site specific / installation performances. Her research explores feminist myth and fairytale, and reimagines Romanticism in the twenty first century.

Academic qualifications

  • MFA, Interdisciplinary Arts Performance Practice, Goddard College
  • BA, Music, Skidmore College.

Professional affiliations 

Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Dallas Museum of Art, Menil Collection, Rothko Chapel, Houston Grand Opera, University of Houston Center for Creative Work, Asia Society Texas, and the Women Composers Festival of Hartford.

Performance, film and video

Please see my website for extensive video and audio of my performance and media projects. 

Thesis title

Voice: Sound, Body, Image. Solo and Collaborative Pathways in the Creation of New Post-Opera Works

Research supervisors

Pamela Karantonis, and James Saunders 

Research overview

Misha Penton's practice-based research will create a new body of dramatic voice works exploring the intersections of classical voice singing and extended vocal techniques through improvisatory and experimental processes. Her research will investigate new strategies in post-operatic (Till, Novak) monodrama creation through a convergence of classical and experimental voice work, original poetics, contemporary theatre practices, and solo and collaborative performer-developed work.

The theoretical framework of the study will be established through feminist theory and feminist musicology, drawing on writers, artists, and thinkers such as Anne Carson, Angela Carter, Anne Sexton, and Virginia Woolf; musicologists including Marcia J. Citron, Catherine Clement, and Susan McClary; and feminist theorists such as Adriana Cavarero, Helene Cixous, and Julia Kristeva.

Misha's research seeks to also redefine and re-describe female characters from the Western canon of myth and literature. Through a poetic and creative process of examining and “unpacking” these works, she will unbind the imagery from its traditional and linear landscape of origin. The voice will be used as a repository and avenue for the exploration of ineffable, non-narrative imagery, and explore the connectivity between mythic deconstructed metaphor, classical and experimental voice, and theatre practices.

Research interests

Voice and vocality, contemporary opera / postopera, new music, improvisation, music and performance composition, devised performance practices, Romanticism, expressionism, feminist theory, Western myth and fairytale.

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