34 episodes

Opera for All Voices (OFAV) began as a consortium of North American opera companies committed to co-commissioning and co-producing new operatic works for audiences of all ages that bear the same artistic integrity and depth of storytelling as mainstage works. Over several years it has grown in its mission to tell "stories of our time." Follow host Andrea Fellows Fineberg from The Santa Fe Opera and OFAV collaborators and stakeholders as we explore the process, the context, and the story of commissioning and producing new operas in America. www.santafeopera.org

Key Change The Santa Fe Opera, Opera for All Voices

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 11 Ratings

Opera for All Voices (OFAV) began as a consortium of North American opera companies committed to co-commissioning and co-producing new operatic works for audiences of all ages that bear the same artistic integrity and depth of storytelling as mainstage works. Over several years it has grown in its mission to tell "stories of our time." Follow host Andrea Fellows Fineberg from The Santa Fe Opera and OFAV collaborators and stakeholders as we explore the process, the context, and the story of commissioning and producing new operas in America. www.santafeopera.org

    In a Room Making Music With People: The Pigeon Keeper with Stephanie Fleischmann and David Hanlon

    In a Room Making Music With People: The Pigeon Keeper with Stephanie Fleischmann and David Hanlon

    Hurry up and wait. When your world premier is stopped in its tracks by forces beyond your control, “momentum” is measured a bit differently. Andrea Fellows Fineberg chats with composer David Hanlon and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, the creative duo behind The Pigeon Keeper, about maintaining artistic progress during the pandemic, the limits of virtual collaboration, and finally (finally!) preparing for live performances. 
    All aboard the Opera For All Voices time machine for a quick review! The Pigeon Keeper was initially scheduled for a workshop in 2020 and its world premier in 2021. Best laid plans, right?
    But one thing opera and a pandemic have in common is the power to stretch time. Or maybe freeze it. However defined, those protracted months presented David and Stephanie with additional opportunities to tinker, aided by technology and unexpected (if limited) solitude. 
    “One of the joys of working with Stephanie is it's a very collaborative back-and-forth thing,” David says. Still, he admits that some discoveries can only happen in real life.
    Now that conditions have improved (fingers crossed), The Pigeon Keeper is set to soar. Accompanied by a stirring chorus of young voices provided by the San Francisco Girls Chorus, this OFAV commission follows a father and daughter as they navigate unimaginable loss. 
    The story couldn't be more immediate in light of so many concurrent global tragedies, says Stephanie. “Now, with Ukraine, the question of refugees and children leaving their homes, making huge journeys to other places and losing everything that they know, the resonance and relevance of this piece have only grown in the time we've been waiting to bring it into the world.”
    FEATURING
    David Hanlon, Composer
    Stephanie Fleischmann, Librettist
    Audio Sample from the San Francisco Girls Chorus from The Pigeon Keeper
    Audio Sample of “We’ve Been Getting By” from The Pigeon Keeper featuring bass-baritone Michael Sumuel and pianist Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad.
    MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
    San Francisco Girls Chorus
    Opera America - New Works Exploration Grant
    RELATED EPISODES
    Season 2, Episode 4 “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers” - A first look at The Pigeon Keeper 
    ***
    Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.
    Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios
    Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg
    Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe
    Show Notes: Lisa Widder
    Theme music by Rene Orth with Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano, and Joe Becktell, cello
    Cover art by Dylan Crouch
    This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.  
    To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.

    • 38 min
    Influence and Inclusion: The Impact of Hometown To The World with Estevan, Ely, and Francesco of the Youth Chorus

    Influence and Inclusion: The Impact of Hometown To The World with Estevan, Ely, and Francesco of the Youth Chorus

    You’ve heard of main character energy? Well, get ready for youth chorus energy!
    Andrea Fellows-Fineberg connects with an optimistic, pragmatic, and empathetic mindset courtesy of the youth chorus members who participated in the December 2021 world premiere of Opera For All Voices’ Hometown To The World. Their insights and post-performance emotion speak to art's ability to foster community––with Ely Aguilar, Francesco Aimale, and Estevan Flórez-Mansi.
    We also hear post-show reactions from artists, creators, collaborators, and the audience buoyed by musical excerpts from the premiere at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe. 
    So much has changed in the decade since the events of Hometown took place in Postville, IA. And yet. “At the end of the opera, I was thinking to myself this opera is beautiful but, like, there's no resolution. And that kind of hurt me,” Estevan says of the myriad issues that still complicate our national discourse on immigration. 
    The youth chorus took on an increasingly significant role during the evolution of Composer Laura Kaminsky and Librettist Kimberly Reed’s intimate yet expansive one-act opera, questioning character motivations and responding to individual struggles for acceptance.
    That experience helped Ely deepen his awareness of human interdependence onstage and off. “This is a world premiere. I feel like this is going to be really touching for a lot of people. And I feel like it's going to bring more people together. But, like, everyone has to put in their own part so we could all do this together.”
    Francesco combines Ely’s idealism with a practical call to action. “I don't think twelve kids and three kind-of famous actors are gonna get a ton of messages across. More people in power need to start spreading these issues about how it's wrong to just hate people for being themselves.”
    Don’t worry about the chorus. These kids are alright.
    FEATURING
    Ely Aguilar - Youth Chorus Member, Hometown To The World
    Francesco Aimale - Youth Chorus Member, Hometown To The World
    Estevan Flórez-Mansi - Youth Chorus Member, Hometown To The World
    Laura Kaminsky - Composer, Hometown To The World
    Kimberly Reed - Librettist, Hometown To The World
    Blythe Gaissert - Linda Larsen, Hometown To The World
    Michael Kelly - Abraham Fleischman, Hometown To The World
    Many audience members, collaborators, and friends of Hometown To The World.

    MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
    The New Colossus - by Emma Lazarus
    RELATED EPISODES
    Season 1, Episode 6 “Hometown to the World”
    Season 2, Episode 9 “America Is Impossible Without Us” 
    Season 3, Episode 3 “Responding to the World” 
    Season 3, Episode 8 “Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi” 
    Season 4, Episode 1 “This Doesn’t Happen Without Audience” 
    ***
    Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.
    Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios
    Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg
    Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe
    Show Notes: Lisa Widder
    Theme music by Rene Orth with Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano, and Joe Becktell, cello
    Cover art by Dylan Crouch
    This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.  
    To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.

    • 37 min
    This Doesn’t Happen Without Audience: The Hometown To The World Premiere

    This Doesn’t Happen Without Audience: The Hometown To The World Premiere

    When an initiative is called Opera For All Voices, who’s the “all”? Key Change Season Four examines OFAV’s burgeoning legacy of co-creating new operatic works through a community-centric lens, beginning with an OG favorite, Hometown To The World.
    Host Andrea Fellows-Fineberg revisits the production with core members of its artistic team, young performers, and the most influential collaborator: the audience––featuring Ruth Nott, Composer Laura Kaminsky, Librettist Kimberly Reed, and a behind-the-scenes segment with Estevan Flórez-Mansi, youth chorus member.
    There’s perhaps no better modern operatic representation of community than Hometown To The World, a story of family, solidarity, and immigration set amidst the turmoil of a 2008 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The timing of Hometown’s world premiere in December 2021 only intensified its message. 
    As the world grappled with the anxiety of a global pandemic, OFAV’s talented group of artists dedicated themselves to addressing complex contemporary issues via a centuries-old art form––even as they had to remain socially distanced to engage the audience with this profound work. “I think that's part of what I love so much about live performance,” says Andrea. “You can sing all you want and sing as beautifully all you want, but if no one's there to appreciate it, to experience it, that's just singing.” 
    Kimberly agrees, noting that when opera amplifies previously overlooked stories, the audience begins to see itself and each other in profound new ways. “That constant dialogue and constant reshaping of our world around us, that's just what life is about.”
    FEATURING
    Andrea Klunder - Key Change Producer
    Ruth Nott - Managing Director, Opera Parallèle
    Laura Kaminsky - Composer, Hometown To The World
    Kimberly Reed - Librettist, Hometown To The World
    Estevan Flórez-Mansi - Youth Chorus Member, Hometown To The World
    And many HTTW artists, collaborators and audience members
    MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
    Hawai’i Opera Theater - Digital Premier, Hometown To The World
    As One
    RELATED EPISODES
    Season 1, Episode 6 “Hometown to the World” - Hometown’s Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed on telling history and collaboration
    Season 2, Episode 9 “America Is Impossible Without Us” - Revisiting Hometown’s story, structure, music, and what it means to be an American with Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed during the San Francisco workshop.
    Season 3, Episode 3 "Responding to the World" -  Stage Director Kristine McIntyre shares her own connection to the story, as the granddaughter of Italian immigrants.  Dramaturg Cori Ellison points out that both sides of the operatic equation - new work and standard repertory pieces - can thrive alongside each other.
    Season 3, Episode 8 “Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi" - Chorus Master Carmen Flórez-Mansi discusses the joys of working with Hometown’s talented young adults and reflects on her deeply personal responses to this urgent and ultimately uplifting contemporary opera.
    ***
    Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.
    Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg
    Featuring Cori Ellison, Ruth Nott, Composer: Laura Kaminsky, Librettist: Kimberly Reed, Stage Stage Director: Kristine McIntyre 
    Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios
    Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe
    Theme music by Rene Orth with Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano, and Joe Becktell, cello.
    Cover art by Dylan Crouch
    Show notes by Lisa Widder
    This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.  
    To learn more about Opera for All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.

    • 37 min
    Season 4 - The Voices of the Community

    Season 4 - The Voices of the Community

    Opera. Change is in the air. These are the stories of Opera For All Voices, its continuing mission to seek out more voices, to explore other ways of sharing story, to boldly go where opera has yet to get.
    In January of 2016, we started a conversation with opera companies across the country about how to create nimble new works that would resonate more deeply with our communities.
    Six years, four commissions, two world premiers, eight states, three universities, one global pandemic, and one performance on the deck of a retired oil tanker later... A whole new frontier is on the horizon. 
    This season on Key Change, we're celebrating the voices of the community in this new opera frontier -- the instigators, the creators, the artists, the presenters, and the audience.
    Season 4 begins June 2022.
    P.S. If you're new to Key Change, we recommend catching up on the stories of:
    Hometown To The World
    Season 1, Ep 6: Hometown to the World: Discovering Postville
    Season 2, Ep 9: America Is Impossible Without Us
    Season 3, Ep 3: Responding to the World
    Season 3, Ep 8: Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi
    and The Pigeon Keeper
    Season 2, Ep 4: Hope is the Thing With Feathers: a first look at The Pigeon Keeper
    ***
    Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.
    Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios
    Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg
    Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe
    Theme music by Rene Orth with Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano, and Joe Becktell, cello.
    Cover art by Dylan Crouch.
    This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.  
    To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.

    • 1 min
    Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi

    Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi

    At its heart, Hometown To The World is a simple story of hope set amongst the emotionally complicated aftermath of a 2008 Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in Postville, IA––the largest ever in US history. It’s fitting, then, that host Andrea Fellows-Fineberg and her guest Chorus Master Carmen Flórez-Mansi close out this season of Key Change charting a buoyant, optimistic course towards the future.
    In addition to her roles as founder and director of the Choral Arts Society at St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, she’s also music director for the Cathedral Basilica where OFAV usually holds its summer concerts, pandemics not withstanding. Carmen is an artist in her own right, a musician, singer, mother, and community activist––identities that coalesce in her work with Hometown To The World.
    As the production prepares for its world premiere at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in December 2021, Andrea and Carmen discuss the joys of working with the talented young adults of the chorus and reflect on their deeply personal responses to Composer Laura Kaminsky’s and Librettist Kimberly Reed’s urgent, ultimately uplifting contemporary opera. 
    Carmen is no stranger to OFAV’s commitment to developing new operatic works, having held the baton, or magic wand as we like to say, for 2019’s premiere of Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun, the initiative’s first-ever commission. “This was such an honor for me to be asked to be a part of this really important project. Sweet Potato…, the themes in that were about beauty and inclusion and love, and it carries over to what Hometown... is speaking about, but in a much more serious nature,” she says. 
    For Hometown To The World, Carmen brought together twelve singers ranging in age from 13 to 17 years of age. “I know that they're musically able to hold this together,” she says, her voice swelling with pride as she acknowledges the teens’ willingness to so freely explore raw and powerful emotions, some of which are intensely personal, about immigration that the piece so beautifully confronts. “I think that the music is very challenging. So this will challenge them and also open whole new worlds.” 
    Hometown To The World challenges audiences to redefine the future, offering hope through family and, of course, opera. 
     
    RELATED EPISODES
    Hometown to the World: Discovering "Postville" with Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed
    America Is Impossible Without Us: Revisiting Hometown to the World
    Responding to the World, Hometown to the World
    ***
    Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.
    Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg
    Featuring Carmen Flórez-Mansi - Chorus Master, Hometown To The World
    Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios
    Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe
    Theme music by Rene Orth with Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano, and Joe Becktell, cello.
    Cover art by Dylan Crouch
     
    MUSIC IN THIS EPISODE
    This music in this episode is NOT from Hometown To The World... you'll have to catch the stage premiere in Santa Fe or stream the digital premiere from Hawaii Opera Theater to hear more.
    Hawaii Opera Theater
    The Lensic Performing Arts Center
    ***
    This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.  
    To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org

    • 43 min
    Lighting a Fire: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer

    Lighting a Fire: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer

    To appreciate the life and legacy of civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer is to speak truth to power and unite in song. In June of 2021, Opera For All Voices did just that, hosting an online workshop of This Little Light Of Mine, the one-act opera commissioned by Santa Fe Opera, composed by Chandler Carter with a libretto by Diana Solomon-Glover, in collaboration with Kentucky Opera led by Barbara Lynne Jamison.
    No one’s better suited to take the mic than for this exploration Ms. Hamer’s lasting impact than Diana. She delivers three riveting segments beginning with Ann and Chester Grundy, community activists from Lexington, KY,  who had encounters with Fannie Lou Hamer.  When Ann Grundy offered to escort Ms. Hamer around Berea College campus for a week-long speaking engagement in 1964, little did she know the ripple effect that Ms. Hamer’s presence in her life would have. 
    One year later and 40 miles away, Mrs. Grundy’s soon-to-be husband Chester met Ms. Hamer at the University of Kentucky. “She asked us what are we doing?” At 18, he was unable to interpret the profound nature of that question. While he wishes he could go back in time to give a more substantive answer, Mr. Grundy knows one thing for sure. “[Fannie Lou Hamer] was a kind of, I would say, a transitional person, someone you never forget, somebody who did something that changed the kind of orbit of your life.”
    In the second segment, Diana speaks with Dr. Aldon Morris, the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, and Reverend Dr. James Forbes Jr, Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church in NYC. After reading an article he wrote for Northwestern Magazine, Diana was inspired to engage Dr. Morris in conversation about the power of art, music specifically, to affect long-held mindsets about sociological issues. 
    “Music has just been a central component of our long struggle to be free,” he says, a galvanizing force for centuries. The act of singing itself gave Ms. Hamer the courage to defy intimidation and brutality, to be the light in times of darkness.  
    Rev. Forbes agrees. Music has always played a central role to worship in Black churches. Ms. Hamer instinctively understood that perseverance and truth were woven into the lyrics she sang. “You just sing about it,” Rev. Forbes says, “[and] you may be able to get away with a political critique.”
    The final segment features Diana, Barbara Lynne, and Andrea reflecting on the role of art and artists in a world afraid to confront the truth. Beyond portraying key events in the life of voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, This Little Light Of Mine introduces audiences to truths that may be new to them and, in the process, energize them to transform the future.
    “The music gave so much power to the movement and, it's very hard to describe in words, but the thing that music does to us is totally experiential,” Diana and her guests remind us. “It kind of defies language.”
    RELATED EPISODES:
    Season 2, episode 7: Mother of a Movement - introduction to the commission of This Little Light of Mine with composer Chandler Carter and librettist Diana Solomon-Glover
    Season 3, bonus episode: Is This America? - interview with voting and civil rights activist, LaToya Ratlieff, Fannie Lou Hamer’s grand-niece; and Diana Solomon-Glover
    Season 3, episode 4: Singing a Call to Action - featuring the interpretative artists and community partners of Is This America?
    Season 3, episode 6: Building a Better Society - featuring guest host Javier Mendoza and Florida International University students who performed a live stream of Is This America?
    ***
    Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.
    Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg
    Guest Host Diana Solomon-Glover
    Featuring:
    Ann & Chester Grundy - Community activists
    Diana Solomon-Glover - Librettist, This Little Light Of Mine, and Key

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

wereawesome ,

Love this podcast!

I’ve really enjoyed listening to this podcast. I highly recommend!

lfw1031 ,

not your grandfather's opera

Interesting concept, good content. Excited to hear how this initiative will broaden opera's appeal and performance in non-traditional spaces featuring much-needed alternative stories.

Top Podcasts In Arts

NPR
The Moth
Roman Mars
Art Basel
SEBASTIAN
Jason Weiser, Carissa Weiser

You Might Also Like