Aniara: fragments of time and space

a choral-theater work over three years in the making
in collaboration with Klockriketeatern and composer Robert Maggio


Based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner Harry Martinson, Aniara follows the physical and emotional voyage of a group that has left a dying earth; thrown permanently off course, their spaceship is headed toward the constellation Lyra, forever. Aniara explores our relationship to one another, to Earth, and to the passage of time. Another milestone in The Crossing’s ongoing question: 

“Who are we; why do we do what we do?”


The Aniara Team

The Ensemble

The Crossing is a professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally and dedicated to new music. It is committed to working with creative teams to make and record new, substantial works for choir – most often addressing social issues – with the possibility of changing the way we think about writing for choir, singing in choir, and listening to music for choir.

Highly sought-after for collaborative projects, The Crossing’s first such partnership was as the resident choir of the Spoleto Festival in Italy, in 2007. Since then, collaborators include the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Beth Morrison Projects, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Mostly Mozart Festival, National Gallery of Art, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum, Institute for Advanced Study, Carnegie Hall, National Sawdust, and Northwestern University. The Crossing holds an annual residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana. 

With a commitment to recording its commissions, The Crossing has issued 14 releases, receiving a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance in 2018, its second nomination in as many years. The Crossing, with Donald Nally, is the American Composers Forum’s 2017 Champion of New Music. They are the recipients of the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America.

 The Crossing in Northern Liberties; Becky Oehlers Photography

 Robert Maggio

The Composer

Robert Maggio is an accomplished composer and long-time member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop in New York City; he has composed songs and incidental music for numerous professional theaters, including productions at Yale Repertory Theater, Philadelphia Theater Company, Peoples Light and Theater Company, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz; his music for theater has received several Barrymore Award nominations in Philadelphia. His new work Touch Tones will receive its premiere at The Arden Theater next season.

Dance companies across the United States have commissioned Maggio for new scores and some of the nation's top orchestras have performed Maggio's orchestral music across North America; Maggio is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the American Composers Forum, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, ASCAP, BMI, New Music USA and Meet the Composer.

The Author

Harry Martinson (1904 -1978) was a Swedish author and poet; in 1949 he was elected into the Swedish Academy; he was awarded a joint Nobel Prize in Literature in 1974 together with fellow Swede Eyvind Johnson; his Aniara was published in 1956.

 Dan Henriksson


The Co-Directors

Dan Henriksson has been the Artistic Director and General Manager of Klockriketeatern since 2005, carrying out many national and international co-productions; he has directed both theater and opera works and worked as a professional actor for theater, film, TV and radio in Swedish, Finnish and Russian languages; his dramaturgical works include librettos, translations and adaptations; he has taught for twenty years at the University of the Arts/Theater Academy of Helsinki.

Donald Nally is responsible for imagining, programming, commissioning, and conducting The Crossing of Philadelphia; he is the John W. Beattie Chair in Music and director of choral organizations at Northwestern University; he has served as chorus master for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Spoleto USA, The Chicago Bach Project, Haymarket Opera Company, and the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He is the recipient of the distinguished alumni merit award from Westminster Choir College, and both the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal and the Michael Korn Founders Award from Chorus America; he is the only conductor to have two ensembles receive the Margaret Hillis Award for Excellence in Choral Music: The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia and The Crossing.

 Donald Nally; Becky Oehlers Photography

The Choreographer/Dancer

Antti Silvennoinen is an actor, director and choreographer; he is artistic director of Wusheng Company, a unique group specializing in Chinese Peking Opera; he studied traditional acting and directing of Chinese Peking Opera at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts (NACTA); he has taught at the National Theatre Academy since 2012.

The Actors

 Matti Raita; Photo by Kasper Gustavsson

Matti Raita began working with Klockriketeatern in 2004 and completed his MA degree at the Theatre Academy of Helsinki in 2013; he has worked with theater companies in 40 different cities in 14 countries in Europe; he has worked as a lighting designer, technician, and actor in a production of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire with Theatre Institutet.

Carl Alm completed an MA in acting at the Swedish Department of Acting at the Theatre Academy of  Helsinki; he works professionally across Europe, including with Klockriketeatern; he played the lead role of Joseph K in Der Prozess, under the direction of internationally renowned Russian director Andrey Mogughy.

 Carl Alm

the scenic designer

joonas tikkanen.jpg

Joonas Tikkanen is a lighting, video and set designer based in Helsinki, Finland. He has been working as a freelance designer from 2009 and works with a vast variety of productions in Finland and internationally. in 2017 he founded HUE Lighting.

More at

The Sound Designer

Nick Tipp.jpg

Nick Tipp (USA)

The Costume Designer

Erika Turunen brings a firm foundation in costuming for opera and contemporary dance; she has worked regularly at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet since 1995; she will design costumes for choreography by Tero Saarinen to the music of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Cello Concerto, premiering at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2018.

The Venue

Christ Church Neighborhood House is an arts incubator that supports artists and audiences by providing a platform for the creation and presentation of new work; in addition to housing the Christ Church Parish and Preservation Trust offices, Neighborhood House serves a core constituency of cross-disciplinary performing artists who imagine new and experimental works in their 120-seat theater. 

 Neighborhood House Performing Space

Neighborhood House Performing Space


Aniara has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.