Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

The Santa Fe Opera

How do we reimagine opera to reflect the current moment? How does the complexity of the art form help us to hold complicated truths? How can present and future leaders in the industry strengthen our understanding of voice, story, and community? Co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia from the Santa Fe Opera invite artists, creators, educators, collaborators, and audience together to discuss both what and how opera can be for generations to come. www.santafeopera.org/keychange read less
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From Gardening to Greeting Guests, Volunteers Run the World! with Marissa Aurora, Artist & Volunteer Liaison
Há 5 dias
From Gardening to Greeting Guests, Volunteers Run the World! with Marissa Aurora, Artist & Volunteer Liaison
Cue the lights! It’s time to illuminate a vital yet often invisible component of life at Santa Fe Opera: volunteerism. Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia chatted with Marissa Aurora, Santa Fe Opera’s volunteer liaison, on her first anniversary in the role. And what a year it’s been!  Marissa, a multi-discipline artist and radio DJ, has worked hard to revitalize relationships between the Opera and its volunteers. She’s also introduced an exciting new performing arts production internship in collaboration with Northern New Mexico College.  So, how do you quantify the generous contributions of time and talent to organizational well-being? Maybe it’s better to ask why volunteer in the first place? “It's something that has really helped me find meaning and connection with the community, tap deeper into myself, and keep me ticking,” Marissa says. It’s safe to say that the 200+ folks who volunteer their time, talents, and energy to the Opera on an annual basis enjoy similar fulfillment. Marissa’s holistic approach captures the optimism and desire for accessibility that defines the post-pandemic era of volunteerism. “I view my job as building relationships,” she says. The new internship further supports that goal on a deeply communal level. “There is recruitment (for the Opera’s prestigious apprenticeship programs) happening far from Santa Fe. Our idea was to take people that are local to the community, maybe coming from underserved places, and give them this opportunity to learn really valuable skills for their future careers directly from our staff.”  There are many ways to contribute your talents and time to the Santa Fe Opera. Why not fill out an application and see how you can get connected? MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE Northern New Mexico College KMRD-LP 96.9 FM *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Technical Director: Edwin R. Ruiz Production Support from Alex Riegler Show Notes by 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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an Opera America Innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit SantaFeOpera.org. And for more Key Change, visit SantaFeOpera.org/KeyChange.
Harmony in Process: The Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera with Amy "Process" Owens
01-05-2024
Harmony in Process: The Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera with Amy "Process" Owens
What does an award-winning, multi-disciplinary artist, dynamic educator, and former Sweet Potato do for an encore? She brings that boundless energy and collaborative spirit to her new Santa Fe Opera role, fueled by a deep passion for opera and music education.  Co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia roll out a virtual red carpet welcome for Amy Owens, Director of the Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera Program. Get to know this exuberant, optimistic talent and learn more about the program under her stewardship. Andrea, Anna, and Amy also explore the profound community impact of two beloved SFO programs: Opera Makes Sense, a storytelling “playdate” with operatic roots for children ages 3 to 5, and Opera Storytellers Summer Camp, an engaging week-long summer jamboree for 3rd through 6th graders that culminates in the performance of an original 10-minute opera. But back to the aforementioned Sweet Potato. What does a tuber have to do with Amy’s plans for the next iteration of Young Voices? “Being a part of Sweet Potato Kicks The Sun (the very first commission of Opera For All Voices) reinforced for me the possibilities of our art form,” she says, reflecting on the role she originated. Sweet Potato’s complex, modern score reinforced for Amy the limitless possibilities embedded in opera’s creative process. She wants to expand on those opportunities by diversifying the art form’s artistic and audience outlook, thus ensuring opera’s future. “We can prioritize this kind of work with the values of inclusivity, integrity, and storytelling. [That] gives me much hope that I still carry with me.” MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera Program Opera Makes Sense Opera Storytellers Sumer Camp Opera For All Voices New Mexico Philharmonic The Sullivan Foundation RELATED EPISODES Interpreting Ambiguity Sweet Potato Kicks The Sun A Closer Look At Our First Commision Sweet Potato Kicks The Sun *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Technical Director: Edwin R. Ruiz Production Support from Alex Riegler Show Notes by 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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an Opera America Innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit SantaFeOpera.org. And for more Key Change, visit SantaFeOpera.org/KeyChange.
Making Learning Sticky: Creative Compassion for Kids & Educators Through Opera with Charles Gamble
17-04-2024
Making Learning Sticky: Creative Compassion for Kids & Educators Through Opera with Charles Gamble
We're taking an Opera For All Voices-adjacent excursion to the realm of wiggly kiddos, innovative teachers, and fresh vocabulary words, highlighting the power of playful arts integration.  Join Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia with special guest Charles Gamble, Santa Fe Opera's Director Of School Programs, as they introduce two of Santa Fe Opera's most dynamic community engagement programs: ALTO: Active Learning Through Opera, a multi-session residency within the Santa Fe Public Schools that incorporates creative arts to make learning delightfully sticky; and NMArt Professional Learning Workshops For Educators, professional development workshops that elevate culturally responsive, student-centered teaching and learning via arts-integrated strategies.   We've all had that one teacher who coaxed us out of our comfort zone and into the world of possibility. That teacher was Miss Moretti of the third grade for a shy, socially awkward Charles. She gave him permission to engage with his artistic passions and live more fearlessly. "It was transformative," he explains. "Those experiences with remarkable teachers helped me find my place alongside the other theater and chorus kids."  We're grateful to that long line of encouraging adults. Without them, Charles may never have found a creative home at SFO. As Director of School Programs, Charles is tirelessly pursuing opportunities to make learning accessible and more operatic.  "Opera has it all. Poetry and dance, theater, media, arts, music. It's all there," he marvels. "There's an understanding that as human beings, we're naturally curious. By drawing the arts into the classroom, we're tapping into that natural curiosity and deepening the engagement that students––and their teachers!––have with whatever else they're learning in school." To Learn More About Becoming a Teaching Artist: https://www.santafeopera.org/alto-faqs/ For more information, please contact: Charles Gamble Director of School Programs cgamble@santafeopera.org MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE ALTO: Active Learning Through Opera | Santa Fe Opera NMArt Professional Learning Workshops For Educators | Santa Fe Opera RELATED EPISODES Destination Santa Fe Opera: Life Skills, Music Making, and Billy Bad the Billionaire: Youth Opera Programs with Amy Owens and Charles Gamble Key Change: Telling Hard Truths *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Technical Director: Edwin R. Ruiz Production Support from Alex Riegler Show Notes by 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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an Opera America Innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit SantaFeOpera.org. And for more Key Change, visit SantaFeOpera.org/KeyChange.
The Key Change Time Machine: Reflecting the Times, Speaking to the Human Condition
28-02-2024
The Key Change Time Machine: Reflecting the Times, Speaking to the Human Condition
It’s all systems go for season five of Key Change! But before we commence with the anniversary celebrations, co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia dust off the time machine for a whirlwind tour of seasons past. Think of this episode as part process evaluation––an appraisal of Opera For All Voices (OFAV), the Santa Fe Opera initiative committed to co-commissioning and co-producing new, diverse operatic works––and part indispensable playlist for repeat audiences and newcomers alike, covering the essential artistic and emotional moments that have made Key Change an award-winning podcast. Since 2015, OFAV has sought to answer the question: How does one of the oldest art forms remain relevant in an increasingly perilous landscape of aging audiences, funding shortages, budget cuts, and political polarization?  One answer is to produce works that reflect our modern conversations around race, social justice, accountability, and understanding. Key Change offers a complimentary option: Amplify the diverse stories of those involved in the commissions, be they artists, production assistants, or folks with firsthand knowledge of events reimagined for the stage. So, how are we doing? “I think it's kind of amazing how, little by little through the seasons, we’ve touched on the creation of stories being told by people finding their voice,” Anna says, noting that those voices speak truth to power in wildly bold and creative ways.  Key Change has cataloged four seasons of redemptive journeys and harrowing real-life stories while envisioning a future of genuinely collaborative artistic endeavors. We invite you to stay tuned for what’s next. RELATED EPISODES  S1E2 - What's In A Name? The Origin Story Of Opera For All Voices S2E2 - A Seat At The Table: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, And Opera - Part I S2E3 - Bring Your Folding Chair: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, And Opera - Part II S2E6 - The Universe Is Made Of Stories: A Conversation With Peter Sellars S4E4 - Story With Purpose: The Origin Of The Pueblo Opera Cultural Council With Renee Royal And Claudene A. Martinez S3E4 - Singing A Call To Action, Is This America? S4E2 - Influence And Inclusion: The Impact Of Hometown To The World With Estevan, Ely, and Francesco Of The Youth Chorus S4E7 - Telling Hard Truths *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Technical Director: Edwin R. Ruiz Production Support from Alex Riegler Show Notes by 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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an Opera America Innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit SantaFeOpera.org. And for more Key Change, visit SantaFeOpera.org/KeyChange.
Season 5: Stretching The Boundaries Of What Opera Can Be
22-02-2024
Season 5: Stretching The Boundaries Of What Opera Can Be
It's season 5! This season, we're inviting you, our favorite listeners, on a journey through time and space -- traveling back in time to the origins of Key Change and Opera For All Voices and forward into the future of boundless possibilities. This spring, Andrea Fellows Feinberg and Anna Garcia take you through through the community engagement portal to hear from the voices transforming the future of opera.  And in the fall, they'll offer a backstage pass to latest Opera For All Voices commissions as we continue to shift the conversation about what opera is and what it can be. New episodes of Key Change are coming to your favorite podcast app this spring and summer 2024.  *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Technical Director: Edwin R. Ruiz Prouction Support: Alex Riegler Show Notes by  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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W Mellon foundation, and an Opera America innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.
Connections Across Time and Space: Opera in the Cosmos
26-04-2023
Connections Across Time and Space: Opera in the Cosmos
Seven years ago, Santa Fe Opera started a conversation that would reverberate throughout American Opera, shaping this celebrated art form into something more reflective of the world in which it's created. Today, Opera For All Voices (OFAV) commissions have surpassed even our wildest storytelling expectations.  Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia tuck into the time machine for a season-ending trip around the OFAV universe, revisiting the initiative's greatest hits and offering fans a glimpse at what's to come––with Ruth Nott, consultant, Opera for All Voices; Brent Michael Davids, composer; and Mary Kathryn Nagle J.D., playwright, attorney, and member of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. OFAV began with a simple premise. "We wanted to see what other voices were available and had interesting stories to tell," Ruth explains. So, how'd we do?  In the past 18 months alone, OFAV has produced two world premieres in Santa Fe, This Little Light Of Mine and Hometown To The World, a groundbreaking workshop in San Francisco for The Pigeon Keeper, and OFAV on Broadway featuring Hometown To The World. We've also strengthened our bond with the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council. While reminiscing is fun, the Key Change time machine is actually a forward-focused intergalactic vehicle. Brent and Mary Kathryn have plotted next season's creative journey from pueblo to cosmos. "It'll be one of the very first operas that centers a Native woman protagonist," hints Mary Kathryn. "We're asking questions that go far beyond Indian country or the history of the relationship between the United States and Native people. We're asking questions that pertain to all of humanity, and what is our relationship to the universe." Catch a ride for Season Five coming soon! FEATURING Brent Michael Davids - Composer, Member of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Mary Kathryn Nagle J.D. - Attorney at Law/Playwright/Screenwriter and Member Of Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Ruth Nott - Consultant, Opera for All Voices RELATED EPISODES KCP0404 - Story With Purpose: The Origin of the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council with Renee Roybal and Claudene A. Martinez KCP0405 - Spark of Imagination: Generations of the Pueblo Opera Program with Sonja & Seth Martine *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Show Notes by  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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an Opera America Innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.
Competing Interests: How Do You Workshop a New Opera?
12-04-2023
Competing Interests: How Do You Workshop a New Opera?
Roadtrip! After many long months of necessary virtual collaboration, the creative team behind The Pigeon Keeper, a Santa Fe Opera Opera For All Voices (OFAV) commission, finally got to spread their wings for an emotional workshop in San Francisco.  Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia discover what it was like to have everyone (well, almost everyone) in the same room for the very first time––featuring composer David Hanlon, librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, stage director Mary Birnbaum, music director Kelly Kuo, dramaturg Cori Ellison, Ruth Nott, consultant for OFAV, plus Elinore (Ellie) Pett-Ridge Hennessy, Azaria Stauffer-Barney, and Ruby Recht-Appel, all members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC). "Stephanie and I really love working and responding in the moment," says David, excited to sit beside The Pigeon Keeper's librettist in real time and space.  For those unfamiliar with the process of developing new operatic works, workshops put the pieces and performers together for a rigorous, accelerated series of rehearsals, and what some may call a smash-through – the first time the piece is heard by the artists in person all the way through, without stopping (even if there are mistakes.) Then the piece is presented to an invited audience of folks who may be interested to produce or present the opera in the future.  “We're always trying things out, which is really exciting. But,” David admits, “there's a lot of flux to that.”  Workshops are, by their nature, intense. Witnessing The Pigeon Keeper live, with its fairytale-like exploration of chosen family and mass migration, profoundly impacted participants of this workshop, especially members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC), whose voices add poignant commentary to the storytelling. "I'm not gonna lie to you. I read through the music, and I started tearing up," recalls Ellie. "It just feels like home." And it feels one step closer to realizing The Pigeon Keeper as a fully staged production. FEATURING David Hanlon - Composer, The Pigeon Keeper Stephanie Fleischmann - Librettist, The Pigeon Keeper Mary Birnbaum - Stage Director Kelly Kuo - Music Director Cori Ellison - Dramaturg Ruth Nott - Consultant, Opera for All Voices Elinore (Ellie) Pett-Ridge Hennessy, Azaria Stauffer-Barney, and Ruby Recht-Appel - Members, San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) led by Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe RELATED EPISODES KCP0204: Hope Is the Thing With Feathers: A first look at The Pigeon Keeper KCP0404 - In a Room Making Music With People: The Pigeon Keeper with Stephanie Fleischmann and David Hanlon *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Show Notes by  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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W Mellon foundation, and an Opera America innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.
Hometown to the World Debuts on Broadway
29-03-2023
Hometown to the World Debuts on Broadway
If a chorus of 12 teens can provide compelling commentary on immigration enforcement from the stage of a venerable performing arts center in Santa Fe, how might ten times that number of voices impact the debate? From a Broadway venue that has welcomed some of the twentieth century’s most influential social justice visionaries?  Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows-Fineberg and Anna Garcia pilot the time machine east to find out, setting a course for the 2022 premiere of Hometown to the World at New York’s storied Town Hall. Adding their insights to this aural postcard are Hometown’s composer Laura Kaminsky and librettist Kimberly Reed; Melay Araya, artistic director at The Town Hall; several chorus members from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts, as well as the audience. Hometown––an original work commissioned by Santa Fe Opera for its Opera For All Voices (OFAV) initiative––follows the events of a 2008 raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, IA. The opera explores themes of religion, acceptance, and community, igniting a communal desire to create a more equitable world. “People that are already empathetic, they need fuel,” says Melay. “They need the refocusing that Laura and Kim provide in language and song to think larger and to address these issues, not just on the granular level, but as spiritual and ethical questions.” Hometown closes with a Hebrew call to action, delivered by that sprawling chorus of young, hopeful voices: Tikkun Olam! Repair the world! FEATURING Laura Kaminsky - Composer, Hometown to the World Kimberly Reed - Librettist, Hometown to the World Melay Araya - Artistic Director, The Town Hall A chorus comprised of 100+ public high school students from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts 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 during the San Francisco workshop. Season 3, Episode 3 “Responding to the World” - with Stage Director Kristine McIntyre and Dramaturg Cori Ellison. Season 3, Episode 8 “Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi” - with Chorus Master Carmen Flórez-Mansi. Season 4, Episode 1 “This Doesn’t Happen Without Audience” - Andrea prepares for the world premiere in Santa Fe with core members of its artistic team, young performers, and the most influential collaborator: the audience. Season 4, Episode 2 “Influence and Inclusion: The Impact of Hometown to the World with Estevan, Ely, and Francesco of the Youth Chorus” - Post-show reactions from artists, creators, collaborators, and the audience buoyed by musical excerpts from Hometown’s premiere at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe. *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Show Notes by  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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W Mellon foundation, and an Opera America innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.
Telling Hard Truths
15-03-2023
Telling Hard Truths
What do you know about the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer? Chances are, not much. That's about to change.  Co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia dust off the Key Change time machine for a trip back through time and place to the real-life inspiration for This Little Light of Mine (TLLoM), the modern operatic masterpiece commissioned by Santa Fe Opera's Opera For All Voices initiative. Good thing this ride is roomy because joining them are two women who can claim a direct connection to Mrs. Hamer: Jacqueline "Cookie" Hamer Flakes, Mrs. Hamer's last surviving daughter, and LaToya Ratlieff, Mrs. Hamer's grand-niece.  Mrs. Hamer was born to sharecroppers early in the last century when life for an undereducated Black woman was difficult at best. She endured unimaginable cruelty at the hands of white people who sought to block voting access for folks who looked like her. While those encounters battered her body, her powerful, passionate voice never broke. And yet, many are still unaware of Mrs. Hamer’s contributions to the Civil Rights movement or the rousing, emotional speech she delivered at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Cookie shares painful, visceral details of Mrs. Hamer’s life and poignant memories of her spirit in celebration of a life committed to community––and as a reminder that the fight for civil rights is still ours today.  This transformative voyage also features familiar voices from the TLLoM creative team: composer Chandler Carter, librettist Diana Solomon-Glover, music director Jeri Lynne Johnson, stage director Beth Greenberg, and stage manager Laurel McIntyre. Charles Gamble, SFO's director of school programs, Devin DeVargas, Pojoaque Valley High School choir teacher, and members of the Pojoaque Valley Choir complete this episode’s passenger roster. This episode is dedicated in memoriam to Jacqueline "Cookie" Hamer Flakes (September 22, 1966 - March 27, 2023). FEATURING Jacqueline "Cookie" Hamer Flakes LaToya Ratlieff Diana Solomon-Glover – Librettist Chandler Carter – Composer Jeri Lynne Johnson – Conductor & Music Director Beth Greenberg – Stage Director Laurel McIntyre – Stage Manager Charles Gamble – SFO Director of School Programs Devin DeVargas – Pojoaque Valley High School Choir Teacher Members of the Pojoaque Valley High School Choir  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE PLAYLIST A Day In The Life Before A World Premiere Mother of a Movement: This Little Light of Mine BONUS: Is This America?  Singing A Call to Action: Is This America?  Making a Choice With Conviction: A conversation with Jeri Lynne Johnson Lighting a Fire: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Show Notes by  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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W Mellon foundation, and an Opera America innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.
A Day in the Life Before a World Premiere
01-03-2023
A Day in the Life Before a World Premiere
It’s October 28, 2022. As a brisk, still night settles over Santa Fe, things are heating up inside The Lensic Performing Arts Center. Longtime opera patrons mingle alongside never opera goers. Soon, the curtain will rise on This Little Light of Mine (TLLoM), a modern operatic masterpiece composed by Chandler Carter with libretto by Diana Solomon-Glover.  The one-act production is an unflinching yet uplifting dramatization of the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Black woman born on the very lowest rung of the American caste system. A Black woman who nonetheless rose to speak at the 1964 Democratic National Convention and became an exemplar of the Civil Rights movement. A Black woman who knew her worth despite a world that told her otherwise.  But hold on! A lot has happened between the time Opera For All Voices (OFAV) of The Santa Fe Opera first commissioned TLLoM and this triumphant evening. Key Change co-hosts (yep, a lot has happened) Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia check in with members of the production’s creative team in the hours leading up to the world premiere. What do they want folks to understand about Mrs. Hamer’s life and legacy? How has the piece expanded discussions around whose stories get told onstage? And what’s the connection between self-care and a tiny table?  If OFAV’s goal to foster community beyond opera’s traditional audience is central to this conversation, then TLLoM acts as the initiative’s standard bearer. It’s a fitting tribute to Mrs. Hamer’s innate ability to speak truth to power and galvanize individuals under one unifying voice.    FEATURING Chandler Carter – Composer Diana Solomon-Glover – Librettist Jeri Lynne Johnson – Conductor & Music Director Beth Greenberg – Stage Director Laurel McIntyre – Stage Manager   MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE The Lensic Performing Arts Center Kentucky Opera REPS ON SET New Mexico Black Leadership Council   THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE PLAYLIST  Mother of a Movement: This Little Light of Mine BONUS: Is This America?  Singing A Call to Action: Is This America?  Making a Choice With Conviction: A conversation with Jeri Lynne Johnson Lighting a Fire: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer   *** 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 & Anna Garcia Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe Show Notes by  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 Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W Mellon foundation, and an Opera America innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.   To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.
Spark of Imagination: Generations of the Pueblo Opera Program with Sonja & Seth Martinez
20-07-2022
Spark of Imagination: Generations of the Pueblo Opera Program with Sonja & Seth Martinez
If you’re unfamiliar with Santa Fe Opera’s Pueblo Opera Program (POP), take a quick journey back in time for part one of this conversation. Go ahead; we’ll wait. In it, you’ll meet Renee Roybal and Claudene A. Martinez, both members of Pueblo of San Ildefonso. The pair recall the early days of POP and the formation of the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council (POCC). Now that you’re sufficiently caught up, join Andrea Fellows Fineberg as her time machine co-pilot Kyle Gray, SFO’s Manager of Community Relations & Government Affairs, wraps up the conversation (for now.)  Renee and Claudene return to share recollections of their early collaborative interactions with legendary director Peter Sellars in conjunction with the 2018 world premiere of Doctor Atomic. Then Sonja and Seth Martinez, Renee’s daughter and grandson, share memories of the SFO visits that shaped their affinity for opera. The discussion concludes with a roundtable wishlist of future POP-lead initiatives. “I definitely remember paying attention to the weather,” Sonja laughs, recalling stormy visits to the outdoor opera house before its much-anticipated roof upgrade. The unexpected theatrics only added to the excitement of attending world-class opera in her own backyard. What could compare to opera amid wild thunderstorms? The thrill of watching family and friends perform on that same majestic stage. “It was very exciting!” says Seth of the corn dance that POCC created as part of Doctor Atomic. He hopes SFO continues to integrate Indigenous traditions into its future seasons (along with more comedy, operas about space, and significant historical events). Meanwhile, his mother envisions expanded opportunities for Indigenous children to explore performance- and stagecraft-based endeavors. POP and POCC ensure that that future is within reach. FEATURING Andrea Fellows Fineberg - Host, Key Change Kyle Gray, Santa Fe Opera Manager of Community Relations & Government Affairs Renee Roybal, Pueblo of San Ildefonso Claudene A. Martinez, Pueblo of San Ildefonso Sonja Martinez Seth Martinez MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE Doctor Atomic - Santa Fe Opera, 2018 RELATED EPISODES Season 4, Episode 4: Story With Purpose: The Origin of the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council with Renee Roybal and Claudene A. Martinez Season 2, Episode 6: The Universe is Made of Stories: A conversation with Peter Sellars  *** 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.
Story With Purpose: The Origin of the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council with Renee Roybal and Claudene A. Martinez
13-07-2022
Story With Purpose: The Origin of the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council with Renee Roybal and Claudene A. Martinez
All aboard the Key Change time machine for a two-part trip! On this half of the journey, we toggle back to the origins of a beloved community-based program and then forward to celebrate its exciting expansion. 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Pueblo Opera Program, lovingly known around the Santa Fe Opera as POP.  Key Change commemorates this momentous event by passing the mic to colleague Kyle Gray, SFO’s Manager of Community Relations & Government Affairs. Kyle and his guests discuss the POP legacy and Pueblo Opera Cultural Council (POCC), which blossomed out of an artistic collaboration between legendary director Peter Sellars and SFO’s Indigenous neighbors during the 2018 production of Doctor Atomic — with guests Renee Roybal, Pueblo of San Ildefonso, and Claudene A. Martinez, Pueblo of San Ildefonso. “I’m 63 years old, and I’ve been going to and enjoying opera since I was a teenager,” Renee says. For nearly 50 years, POP has introduced thousands of Native American children to the grand adventure of opera. Both women have fond memories of inspiring behind-the-scenes tours, inventive performances, and rides on plush buses to the most anticipated social event of the summer.  With POP’s legacy secure, the women have focused on POCC, which features members of the San Ildefonso Pueblo, Santa Clara Pueblo, and Tesuque Pueblo. POCC seeks to foster the Indigenous tradition of cross-cultural hospitality. Claudene says the Doctor Atomic experience was a meaningful beginning for the advisory. “I think that’s how POCC [will] continue to work with the opera, on other future moments that we could get involved in and educate.” FEATURING Andrea Fellows Fineberg - Host, Key Change Kyle Gray, Santa Fe Opera Manager of Community Relations & Government Affairs Renee Roybal, Pueblo of San Ildefonso Claudene A. Martinez, Pueblo of San Ildefonso MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE Doctor Atomic - Santa Fe Opera, 2018 RELATED EPISODES DSFO0201: More Voices at the Table: Community Engagement and Opera with Kyle Gray *** 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.
In a Room Making Music With People: The Pigeon Keeper with Stephanie Fleischmann and David Hanlon
29-06-2022
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.
Influence and Inclusion: The Impact of Hometown To The World with Estevan, Ely, and Francesco of the Youth Chorus
22-06-2022
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.
This Doesn’t Happen Without Audience: The Hometown To The World Premiere
15-06-2022
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.
Season 4: The Voices of the Community
07-06-2022
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.
0308: Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi
13-10-2021
0308: 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
0307: Lighting a Fire: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer
01-09-2021
0307: 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 Change guest host Reverend Dr. James Forbes, Jr. - Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church, NYC Dr. Aldon Morris - The Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University  Barbara Lynne Jamison - General Director, Kentucky Opera 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. NEW! Cover art by Dylan Crouch Episode Recording Engineer: Andrew Kung Photography Special thanks to Kentucky Opera   MUSIC IN THIS EPISODE This episode contains excerpts from the This Little Light of Mine workshop in collaboration with Kentucky Opera, featuring Nicole Joy Mitchell as Fannie Lou Hamer. Credits:  Composer: Chandler Carter  Librettist: Diana Solomon-Glover  Director: Beth Greenberg  Chorus master: Everett McCorvey  Music Director: Jeri Lynne Johnson  Fannie Lou Hamer: Nicole Joy Mitchell  Dorothy Jean Hamer: Aundi Marie Moore  June Johnson/SNCC Worker: Heather Hill    MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE The Reckoning Is Here - Dr. Aldon Morris, Northwestern Magazine *** 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
0306: Building a Better Society with Florida International University Music Students
25-08-2021
0306: Building a Better Society with Florida International University Music Students
When you name an initiative Opera For All Voices (OFAV), it better have the “all voices” to back that claim up!  In the first of a series of guest-hosted episodes, Andrea passes the mic to the remarkable young talents making Is This America? their own. But before she does, Andrea reminds listeners of what OFAV is all about: telling stories for our time and extending that conversation outward––to all voices. Javier Jose Mendoza, Director of Orchestral Studies at Florida International University School of Music, Miami, is joined in conversation by FIU students Angeline Fontaine, Elisha Martin, and Pedja Kovacevic, all of whom participated in the university’s full orchestral workshop of Is This America? which is based on selections from This Little Light of Mine by composer Chandler Carter and librettist Diana Solomon-Glover. One of OFAV’s earliest commissions, it’s a celebration of American civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer’s legacy.  Although new to the work and, in some cases, Ms. Hamer herself, the opera holds special meaning for these three students. Is This America? provides the soundtrack as they contemplate future roles as citizens, artists, and activists, its words and music of the past reverberating through their 21st-century lives. It’s impossible to listen as Angeline, Elisha, or Pedja discuss bringing Ms. Hamer’s story to life or the broader effect her commitment has had without being awed by their insight. It’s as Javier says, “I don't know if a person that sits through this work if they leave thinking the same way.” That’s the promise of Is This America? and the endowment of OFAV. 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? *** Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices. Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg Guest Host Javier José Mendoza Featuring: Angeline Fontaine, Pedja Kovacevic, Elisha Martin 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. NEW! Cover art by Dylan Crouch Special thanks to Florida International University School of Music. 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
0305: Making a Choice With Conviction: A Conversation with Jeri Lynne Johnson
03-03-2021
0305: Making a Choice With Conviction: A Conversation with Jeri Lynne Johnson
"When people talk about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that's art." ~Jeri Lynne Johnson Near the end of last year’s contentious presidential campaign, opera and activism joined forces on the deck of a moored oil tanker to ask audiences how does democracy function and for whom does it function? In the wake of that election, artists’ responsibility to speak up and out is even more vital. In this episode of Key Change, host Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Is This America? music director Jeri Lynne Johnson explore the role artists play in activism. They’ll also share memories of the whirlwind logistical maneuvers that ultimately brought the life and work of Fannie Lou Hamer to life. Jeri is no stranger to art as a means of everyday activism. As a Black woman, every time she steps up to the podium is an act of activism. She’s also an incredibly skilled and passionate interpreter of new music, qualities that made her an excellent candidate to deliver on OFAV’s mission to tell stories of our time in a bold way.  For her part, Jeri had given up on the possibility of collaborating on a live performance until at least 2021. When the opportunity arose for Is This America? she didn’t hesitate, gravitating toward an insistency to make art in any way possible. “I mean, it was almost this mandate, I think, for us to make this piece at this time,” she says.  And, what a time. The production, which juxtaposed the uncertainty of October 2020 with the emotional, often brutal events of the civil rights era, turned out to be more prescient than originally imagined. Is this America? reinforced democratic ideals through collaboration. Whether they were consciously aware of it or not, the artists on stage, the community organizing partners, and the audience formed an activist ecosystem that evening dedicated to fostering more equitable, inclusive spaces in the future.  Jeri agrees. “Art, and the ability to engage in who we are in whatever capacity that is, we are now going to be the rebuilders of society in whatever way that looks like, and I think that we, as artists, are uniquely qualified to do this.” VIEW THE FULL WORKSHOP:Is This America? ALSO MENTIONED IN EPISODE: Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination - by Robin D.G. Kelley 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? *** Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices. Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg Featuring: Jeri Lynne Johnson - Music Director, Is This America? 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 David Tousley Special thanks to PortSide NewYork and Carolina Salguero. Is This America? was sponsored by Lynn  J. Loacker. 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