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Eastman Opera Theatre to premiere ‘Our Voices’

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

Eastman Opera Theatre will premiere its first virtual presentation, “Our Voices: Immersive Composer Collaborations,” on Dec. 16-20.  

“Our Voices” is the collective title for six performances of music by six contemporary composers: Anthony Davis, Ricky Ian Gordon, Lori Laitman, Missy Mazzoli, Ben Moore and Errollyn Wallen. This virtual experience will be directed by Lindsay Warren Baker, Stephen Carr, Steven Daigle and Madeleine Snow, with music direction by Timothy Long and Wilson Southerland.

Each composer will curate a program of their vocal music, join in group discussions and individual coachings with students and faculty members, and guide the process up to the fall performances.

“Adversity breeds creativity,” said Carr, associate artistic director. “Our students will work one-on-one with some of the most prominent and prolific living composers of vocal music, and take an active role in the scenic, costume and lighting design of their own performances. We hope that they’ll emerge from this time as more fully fleshed artists, with a deeper understanding and greater appreciation of all that goes into this most collaborative of art forms.”

According to Moore, “Now is the time for artists to explore new ways to express themselves and Eastman has thoroughly taken on the challenge. Paradoxically, restrictions can sometimes open new doors and spark the imagination. That is undoubtedly the case for Eastman’s students and faculty.”

Presented in an “opera festival” style and a virtual landscape, “Our Voices” will offer six premieres across five days. Each video features a 15-minute interview with the composer and director, providing insight into the composition and rehearsal process of the particular work being shown.

“The Greatest Liberty” with selected arias by Davis is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, followed by “Heart Melodies” by Gordon at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, “I Shall Not Live in Vain” with music by Laitman at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, “The World Within Me” with selections from “Songs from the Uproar” by Mazzoli at 2 p.m. Dec. 19, “The Journey Towards Freedom” with selected songs and arias by Moore at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, and “The Journey to Here” with songs by Wallen at 2 p.m. Dec. 20.

Each day’s presentation will be added to the previous days’ videos, so that all six will be available to watch after Dec. 20. The complete series will be available for streaming in the months to follow.

“It has never been more essential to learn how to tell stories through music and to reflect our turbulent but hopeful times through art,” Mazzoli said. “I am confident that the next generation can do this in surprising, vital and moving ways, and I love that the Eastman Opera Theatre has given them this opportunity.”

Visit esm.rochester.edu/voice/eastman-opera-theatre for information.

Stock photo.