100 Creatives

100 Creatives: Misha Penton

(Part of our ongoing series profiling 100 Houston-area artists. No rankings; no order. Check back every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for another edition.)

What she does: Misha Penton is an opera singer and theater artist, but she describes her performance group, Divergence Vocal Theater (which she formed in 2008), as "a little bit more like a rock band or a dance company than a traditional opera company." Drawn to both theater and contemporary opera, she creates original ensemble-based collaborative works that combine theater, dance and multimedia. The company will soon open a new performance space at Spring Street Studios. And this month, Divergence will premiere Klytemnestra, based on the Greek heroine and inspired by local playwright John Harvey's adaptation of Agamemnon.

Why she likes it: "I really do love the collaborative process," says Penton, "and I really think there's something magical when the right people come together." It goes without saying that she enjoys singing, but she's also very design-oriented and sees her long-running relationships with other artists as a kind of design in process, a signature aesthetic that's developed over the course of time. "I'm looking for the crew of the Starship Enterprise," she says.

What inspires her: "Happy accidents," says Penton. She's inspired by what can happen in an uncontrolled creative process, "When you allow the universe to come play with you," she says. Penton is interested in creating opportunities for different art forms to intersect and watching what happens. "It's not a realization of a concrete vision that comes from me," she says. "It's scary, but it's super fun."

If not this, what? "I'd be living in the mountains, skiing and making pottery," says Penton. "I don't know anything about pottery, but I do ski. It just seems like it would be a really great life."

If not here, where? Penton is partial to the misty and mountainous Pacific Northwest, particularly the Canadian side.

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