Best New Opera Winner, Blue leads list of exciting February-March 2022 events at Seattle Opera
Seattle Opera continues its 2021/22 season with a dynamic lineup of opera events, including community conversations, artist recitals, laser shows, and timely, award-winning opera.
Blue (Feb.26-Mar.12, 2022 at McCaw Hall) tops the list, named the 2020 winner for Best New Opera by the Music Critics Association of North America. This portrait of contemporary African-American life is the creation of a librettist Tazewell thompson (winner of five NAACP awards and two Emmy nominations) and composer Jeanine Tesori (Best known Tony Award winner for Fun Home). A story of love, loss, church and brotherhood, Blue portrays a young couple celebrating the joy of family with the birth of their son. They later rely on a tight-knit community following the death of their son at the hands of a police officer.
“I didn’t want to write about a struggling family,” says the opera librettist, Tazewell thompson. âThere has been enough black struggle and dysfunction on screen and on stage: absent fathers and desperate single mothers barely surviving. I wanted to show a positive home moving forward. In Blue, The Mother is educated and talented with equally talented and educated girlfriends Around Father a policeman are his best friends, fellow police officers, responsible men, wonderful and aspiring fathers for their children.
This emphasis on community was particularly poignant for the opera singers. âBlack love, community and relationships are the true heart and soul of this opera,â says bass Kenneth Kellogg, who is reprising his role as The Father from the original Glimmerglass 2019 production. in a way that hopefully is life changing. When we first played it people came up to me afterwards in tears, thanking me. I think Blue is a life changing experience. life.”
âBlue does not attempt to respond to the long-standing complexities of race and violence that our nation has grappled with for decades,â said Gordon hawkins, who plays the reverend. “Rather, it is an attempt to place us together in the same room of humanity, face to face, so that we can tackle these issues head-on … together.”
Composer Jeanine Tesori hopes audiences “will travel in the shoes of the characters they see on stage – to invest themselves so heavily in the character’s victories and tragedies that they see them as their own. That’s what makes us cry and laugh the audience. The character’s story is the audience’s story. “
Original actors Kenneth Kellogg (The Father) and Gordon hawkins (The Reverend) will be joined by three other singers from the 2019 world premiere at the Glimmerglass Festival: Briana Hunter (The Mother), Ariana Wehr (Girlfriend 1 / Nurse / Congregant 1), and Camron Gray (Police Buddy 1 / Congregant 1). New cast members include Joshua Stewart (The Son), Ellaina Lewis (Girlfriend 2 / Congregant 2), Cheryse McLeod Lewis (Girlfriend 3 / Congregant 3), Korland Simmons (Police Buddy 2 / Congregant 2) and Joshua Conyers (Police Buddy 3).
Tickets are on sale now on seattleopera.org/on-stage/blue-2022/, with prices ranging from $ 35 to $ 249.
To guide conversations around opera, Seattle Opera will center the voices of its artists and partners from the black American community. “By presenting an opera as timely as Blue, we wanted to create a space for our community at large to reflect on how the themes of opera relate to their daily lives,” said Alejandra Valarino Boyer, director of Seattle Opera’s programs and partnerships. “Our community programming will give audiences the chance to hear first-hand from the artists about their experiences directing this work, as well as join the conversation about how opera addresses the challenges and opportunities that face the black communities of Seattle. ” All community events are free and open to the public.
Opera Talk: featuring the cast of Blue
February 10 at 7:00 p.m., Tagney Jones Hall and broadcast live on YouTube
This conversation, moderated by Classical KING FM artist and researcher-in-residence, Dr. Quinton Morris, will feature the main cast of Blue discussing their artistic relationship with opera.
Go blue: a conversation with Tazewell thompson
February 25 at 7:00 p.m., Tagney Jones Hall and broadcast live on YouTube
To delve deeper into the creative journey behind Blue, Seattle Opera researcher-in-residence Dr. Naomi AndrÃ© will speak with Blue librettist. Tazewell thompson.
February 2022, Tagney Jones Hall and broadcast live on YouTube
In partnership with the Northwest African American Museum, Seattle Opera presents a set of community conversations that will delve deeper into topics illustrated in blue and explore their connection to Seattle’s black communities. Dates and times will be announced later this winter.
In addition to its Blue-centric programming, Seattle Opera will present four diverse and engaging musical programs that explore the full range of lyrical expression:
Artist recital: Key’mon W. Murrah
February 4 at 7:30 p.m., Tagney Jones Hall
Fresh out of his appearance as Orpheus in Orpheus and Eurydice, countertenor Key’mon W. Murrah kicks off the Black History Month celebration at the Seattle Opera with a program of spiritual songs and songs. African-American art that shows its “rich tone and formidable presence” (Aspen Times). Works by Duke Ellington, Moses Hogan, Jacqueline Hairston, and Roland hayes deliver a message of hope that draws on the experiences of Murrah who grew up in Louisville, KY. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a renowned countertenor in the privacy of Tagney Jones Hall!
February 11 at 8:00 p.m., Pacific Science Center
Seattle Opera is teaming up with the Pacific Science Center to bring back an audience favorite: Laser Opera. The public will join BRAVO! club members for an unforgettable evening of lyrical favorites accompanied by the brilliant lights and stunning imagery of the Laser Dome at the Pacific Science Center. Tickets available for $ 10.
Artist recital: Takesha MeshÃ© Kizart
March 10 at 7:30 p.m., Tagney Jones Hall
Soprano Takesha MeshÃ© Kizart and pianist Artina McCain present an opera recital on the theme of black motherhood, entitled âMaternitÃ â. Hosted by the Northwest African American Museum, the recital will feature a combination of traditional opera arias and world premieres of new works for accompanied soprano.
Artist recital: Joshua Stewart
March 18 at 7:30 p.m., Tagney Jones Hall
Tenor Joshua Stewart, who appeared as The Son in Blue and last performed at the Seattle Opera as Charlie parker in Charlie parker‘s Yardbird returns with an intimate jazz recital. Its program includes works by Marguerite Bonds, John W. Work, Florence Award, and Georges walker, with additional selections from the Great American Songbook and New Orleans jazz lore.
All Seattle Opera staff, performers, and those involved in productions should be vaccinated. Members of the public must be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test from the previous 72 hours; masks (strongly recommended N95 or KN95 masks) should be worn except for drinking in designated areas. For more information, see seattleopera.org/safety.