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Photo by Matthew Dunivan Photography

Marella Martin Koch is a New York City-based librettist, director, and playwright originally
from Los Angeles. Praised for her “cleverness in constructing humor for opera” (DC Theatre
), her 20-minute opera Pepito written with composer Nicolás Lell Benavides for
Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative was recognized for its “complete characters in swift, sure lines” (The Washington Post) at its Kennedy Center premiere in 2019. The original cast recording was released in April 2020, and a short animated version by New Opera West premiered in January 2021.


Marella wrote the lyrics for Marianne Dashwood, Songs of Love & Misery and Elinor Dashwood, two song cycles written with the composer Aferdian and commissioned by mezzo-soprano Meagan Martin. Marianne Dashwood premiered at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and has since been performed at Yale School of Music and the SUNY Plattsburgh Jane Austen & The Arts Conference. Elinor Dashwood premiered in New York City at the National Opera Center and ahead of a West Coast premiere at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Marella's short opera Ten Minutes in the Life or Death of… (music by Tyler J. Rubin) premiered to critical acclaim at West Edge Opera’s Snapshot 2021. Elinor & Marianne: an original concept album (music by Aferdian) was commissioned by The Rally Cat, received a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council 2020 Creative Engagement Award, and premiered online in December 2021. 

Full-length operatic works in development include the West Edge Opera Aperture commission Dolores with Benavides, an adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility with Aferdian, 28th Ave with Michael Lanci, and Good Fellowship with Tyler J. Rubin. In addition to her work in opera, Marella is also the bookwriter/lyricist of Adam & Eve, music by Minhui Lee, a one-act musical that has been developed at The Duplex, the Kraine Theatre, Catwalk Institute, and Access Theater. Her first musical as bookwriter/lyricist, Danny & The Rocket with composer Casey O’Neil, won the Pocono Mountains Music Festival Lab and was also developed at Tisch New Musical Theater Workshop and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s 2017 Writer’s Retreat. She wrote the screenplay and lyrics for the musical short film Luv, Connected?! (story/directed by Makiko Shibuya) and is the librettist of several short operas and musicals, including How Love Feels (Barrington Stage Company, Common Man Musicals, National Asian Artists Project; music by Jonathan Fadner), The Oath (The Duplex; music by Ross Baum), and I Celebrate (Randall Eng's NYU Opera Lab/"Park and Bark" with American Opera Projects; music by Rubin).

Plays include Night (a short play about the concerns of root vegetables) and Friend Animals (a full-length play about the tensions between faith, freedom, and identity). Friend Animals is currently in incubation with Midnight Oil Collective.


Marella is the Founder and Director of The Rally Cat, an energized multidisciplinary performing arts company that inspires and empowers artists and communities through opera, musical theatre, and theatre. She is also a director and has helmed productions, workshops, and virtual projects at Dixon Place, The Kraine Theater/Frigid Festival, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Players Theatre, Two River Theater, AMDA Plus (NYC), CalArts, and NYU/Tisch. B.A., UC Berkeley, Theatre and Performance Studies.M.F.A., NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Coming up: For Mom (music by Lanci) commissioned by Parea SeriesTres minutos (music by Benavides; dramaturgy by Hector Vega) commissioned by Music of Remembrance and National Endowment for the Arts Grantee.

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