Thursday, July 21, 2022

Conductor Giampaolo Bisanti in Conversation

Italian conductor Giampaolo Bisanti has been praised for his musical knowledge and passion. In this interview, Giampaolo shares his affection for Donizetti’s music, the influence of his grandmother, working with Christina Scheppelmann, and a new passion—earning his pilot’s license. This is his US opera debut and his first Seattle Opera production.

Friday, July 15, 2022

A Conversation with The Elixir of Love Director Stephen Lawless

English stage director Stephen Lawless was 19 years old when he started his career. He has worked all over the world on the most prestigious stages. This is his first production at Seattle Opera. Learn how Stephen got his start, what he remembers about 9/11, which titles he has not directed, and if he’s a Liverpool or Manchester soccer fan.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Seattle Opera Appoints Michaella Calzaretta Chorus Master & Head of Music Staff

 

Seattle Opera announced today its new chorus master & head of music staff is Michaella Calzaretta, an experienced conductor acclaimed for her high standards and superb preparation skills. Calzaretta will prepare the 36-member Seattle Opera Chorus, which will be featured during the 2022/23 season in The Elixir of Love, Tristan and Isolde, Samson and Delilah in Concert, and La traviata. Additionally, Calzaretta will oversee the company’s musical activities, aiming for the highest standards in musical performance.

Friday, June 17, 2022

A Thousand Splendid Suns Synopsis

Photo by Philip Newton

Music by Sheila Silver
Libretto by Stephen Kitsakos
Adapted from the novel by Khaled Hosseini

Fifteen-year-old Mariam, the cast-off bastard child of a rich father, is forced to leave her rural home after her mother’s suicide and marry a middle-aged shoemaker from Kabul named Rasheed. Alone, scared and forced to wear the burqa, something unfamiliar to her, she tries her best to be a dutiful wife but is unable to conceive a child. Consequently, she lives a loveless existence with a husband who abuses her regularly for her failure to give him a son.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A CONVERSATION WITH MEZZO-SOPRANO J’NAI BRIDGES

Photo by Todd Rosenberg
J’Nai Bridges is among the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos performing today. She has been heralded and praised by critics at The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, to name only a few. J’Nai is a principal cast member of the 2022 Grammy Award-winning recording of Philip Glass’s Akhnaten produced by The Metropolitan Opera. In this conversation with Seattle Opera, J’Nai talks about growing up in Lakewood, WA, a suburb of Tacoma; her love of basketball; and returning home to perform in our concert production of Samson and Delilah.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Black Opera

The Afro Future

By Naomi André, Ph.D.

In 2017, Opera Philadelphia presented We Shall Not Be Moved, a new work by composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The opera follows five North Philadelphia teens as they find refuge at the headquarters of the MOVE organization, where a 1985 standoff with police infamously ended with a neighborhood destroyed and 11 people dead.

In her final essay of this three-part series, Seattle Opera Scholar-in-Residence Naomi André speculates about the future of Black Opera. Using the lens of Afrofuturism—a cultural aesthetic that combines science-fiction, history, and fantasy to explore the African American experience and aims to connect those from the Black diaspora with their forgotten African ancestry—André charts one path forward. In this essay, she uses historic events, music, and the writings of Octavia E. Butler to point the way.

Naomi André is a professor in the University of Michigan, where her teaching and research focus on opera and issues surrounding gender, voice, and race. Her writings include topics on Italian opera, Schoenberg, women composers, and teaching opera in prisons. Her publications include Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement and African Performance Arts and Political Acts (2021), which she co-edited. She has served as Seattle Opera’s Scholar-in-Residence since 2019.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Racial Equity and Social Impact Plan: Progress Report—Year One

“We are not custodians of the old order. We are not curators of establishment art. We must be oriented towards the future. It is our business to improve the quality of life. We had better become positive and not just stand by.”
–Glynn Ross, Founder of Seattle Opera, June 4, 1969

For nearly 60 years, Seattle Opera has used these words to guide creative innovations, to develop richer community partnerships, to increase access to the art form, and to enrich people’s lives. Today, these same words inspire our commitment to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in opera and the community that surrounds us. This report highlights Seattle Opera’s drive towards a more equitable art form and world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Director's Outlook: A Thousand Splendid Suns

By Roya Sadat

A Thousand Splendid Suns' Stage Director, Roya Sadat, shares her perspective on this new opera and how it reflects the culture of her native Afghanistan.

Roya Sadat is Afghanistan’s first woman film and television producer during the post-Taliban era and the winner of more than 20 international film awards, including the 2021 Kim Dae Jung Nobel Peace Film Award and the 2018 International Women of Courage Award presented by the United States Department of State. Sadat is among the BBC’s 100 Inspiring and Influential Women for 2021. Her three films—A Letter to the President (’17), Playing the Taar (’08), and Three Dots (’03)—have been invited to more than 60 International Film Festivals. A Letter to the President was selected as the official entry from Afghanistan for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. In addition, she has produced eight documentary films, three television programs, as well as a music video.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Praise for Blue

Read some of the reviews for Seattle Opera’s current production of Blue, from critics and audiences alike.

Photo credit: Philip Newton
Blue is the 2020 winner of Best New Opera from the Music Critics Association of North America, created by librettist Tazewell Thompson (five NAACP Awards, plus two Emmy nominations) and composer Jeanine Tesori (Tony-winner known for Fun Home). Seattle Opera's Blue runs Feb. 26 & 27 and March 2, 5, 9, 11, & 12, 2022 at McCaw Hall. Tickets & info at seattleopera.org/blue.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A Conversation with Sheila Silver

The Composer of A Thousand Splendid Suns

Sheila Silver is an important voice in American music today. An award-winning composer, she has written for solo instruments, large orchestra, opera, and feature film. Audiences and critics praise her music as powerful, emotionally charged, accessible, and masterfully conceived. “Only few composers in any generation enliven the art form with their musical language and herald new directions in music. Sheila Silver is such a visionary.” (Wetterauer Zeitung, Germany)
 
Sheila spoke with Seattle Opera over Zoom for a chat that covered her inspirations for composing A Thousand Splendid Suns, her deep dive into Hindustani music, growing up in Seattle, and more.