Tuesday, November 22, 2022

New Podcast: A Buddhist Perspective on Tristan and Isolde

Mary Elizabeth Williams (Isolde) in Tristan and Isolde. © Sunny Martini

Seattle Opera subscriber Dr. Chris Rebholz, a practicing Buddhist, discusses Wagner’s Tristan with Seattle Opera Dramaturg Jonathan Dean. Fascinated by Buddhism when he wrote Tristan and Isolde, Wagner created an opera all about compassion, karma, desire, enlightenment, and the difficulty of reconciling both conventional and ultimate reality (aka “Day vs. Night”). Dr. Rebholz teaches adult classes on Buddhism at Seattle’s Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism. A clinical and forensic psychologist, in private practice, who specializes in evaluating neurodiverse adults for healthcare and the courts, she teaches corporate seminars on neurodiversity as well as continuing legal education on issues of mental health and the law.

 

Monday, November 21, 2022

How You Can Support Afghan Refugees

© Bloomberg News
After the early withdrawal of US troops and the takeover of the Afghan government by the Taliban in August 2021, the US evacuated 80,000 Afghans who were at risk for their roles in helping the US and NATO missions in Afghanistan. Many of these evacuees were Special Immigration Visa candidates who should have been evacuated months earlier. Among the evacuees were human rights defenders, women in government, political activists, artists, and others under threat by the new government. Unfortunately, Afghan evacuees could lose their right to live in the US because they entered the country under the Humanitarian Parole process. Humanitarian Parole gives only temporary permission to stay US and does not provide a path to legal permanent residency or citizenship.

Afghans with this status have two years of eligibility and must pursue other ways of attaining permanent immigration, such as asylum. Asylum is a lengthy and complex process, and often requires specialized legal help. Also complicating the matter, many Afghans forced to flee their country were advised to destroy identification documents, professional certificates, and other valuable information that could serve as evidence needed to support an asylum claim.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Converge Media's TraeAnna Holiday on storytelling, accessibility, and learning to love opera

TraeAnna Holiday is an Emmy Award-winning artist, activist, and community leader. She is a founding member and media director of King County Equity Now, an advocacy and policy non-profit committed to realizing measurable markers of equity for Washington’s Black community. Weekday mornings at 11am she hosts The Day with Trae on Converge Media, where she aims to highlight Black brilliance from across the Puget Sound. TraeAnna recently sat down with Seattle Opera to discuss her newfound love of opera and the ways the industry can make itself more accessible to the Black community.

Friday, November 4, 2022

New Podcast: MARY ELIZABETH WILLIAMS Discusses Isolde

American soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams, beloved in Seattle for performances such as Tosca, Abigaille in Nabucco, and Serena in Porgy and Bess, just made her role debut as Isolde, the first time she’s ever sung a Wagner opera. She discussed the character, the singing, and her two-and-a-half year journey towards this achievement with Seattle Opera Dramaturg Jonathan Dean. This podcast features clips of Williams singing Tosca (conducted by Julian Kovatchev) and “Pace, pace, mio Dio” from La forza del destino (conducted by Carlo Montanaro), as well as Amber Wagner singing Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde (conducted by Jordan de Souza).
Mary Elizabeth Williams rehearsing Tristan und Isolde with Stefan Vinke. © Sunny Martini

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Praise for Tristan and Isolde

The reviews are in for Tristan and Isolde and it's a hit! Read what critics had to say about this beautiful production.

Mary Elizabeth Williams (Isolde) and Stefan Vinke (Tristan) in Tristan and Isolde. © Sunny Martini.

Monday, October 10, 2022

TRANSPORTING IT TO A NEW PLANE

Mary Elizabeth Williams has a habit of stealing the show when she appears at Seattle Opera. Her uncanny ability to fuse sound, sense, and stage action has made her a company favorite—not to mention the kind of singer Wagner fantasized about when he dreamed up his “total work of art." Preparing Isolde for the first time has been an extraordinary adventure for Williams, who now invites us to come along with her on this journey.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Five Ways Wagner Changed Opera Forever

German composer Richard Wagner (1813–1883) was tremendously influential on the development of opera. With his groundbreaking music dramas and extensive theoretical writings about art and theater, Wagner changed not only the way people wrote opera, but also the way audiences engaged with the art form. Here are five ways the eccentric polemicist changed opera forever.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A PATH TO HEALING

Seattle Opera’s Veterans Choir Keeps Singing

By Glenn Hare

Seattle Opera’s Veteran Choir performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and “Hallelujah” at the Northwest Folklife Festival at Seattle Center on Memorial Day, 2022.

Three years ago, Kim Christensen and her small family were living in Foxborough, Mass., in a home surrounded by two acres of land. Financial troubles, the sudden death of her husband from a heart attack, and the pandemic changed her life. The foreclosure and periods of homelessness made caring for her autistic son extremely difficult and each day brought challenges and anxiety. Kim’s life was turned upside-down. “It was exhausting,” she remembers, “both physically and mentally.” 
 
After relocating to Seattle, Kim started taking classes at Path with Art and joined Seattle Opera’s Veteran Choir last spring. The choir is an ongoing partnership between the opera and Path with Art, a Seattle organization that utilizes the arts to bring dignity, awareness, and recovery to its participants. 
 
“It’s nice to be able to talk to people who understand my situation,” says Kim, a former US Army videographer.

Friday, August 19, 2022

A CONVERSATION WITH TENOR MICHAEL FABIANO

THE FOUNDER OF ARTSMART

Photo credit: Jiyang Chen.

American tenor Michael Fabiano is the recipient of the 2014 Beverly Sills Artist Award and the 2014 Richard Tucker Award, the first singer to win both awards in the same year. This season he will perform at the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, and the Wiener Staatsoper, to name a few. Michael is a co-founder of ArtSmart, a national non-profit that provides free music lessons and mentorship by paid, professional artists to youth living in under-resourced communities. He is hosting a recital at Seattle Opera on Thursday, September 15, to benefit ArtSmart and the opera’s youth programs. In this interview, Michael shares why music education is beneficial and the inspirations behind ArtSmart. His last appearance at Seattle Opera was as Rodolfo in our 2012/13 production of La bohème.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

A Super Milestone

Longtime Seattle Opera supernumerary reaches 100th production

Luther Hintz backstage at Seattle Opera's 1998 production of Tristan and Isolde. Courtesy of Luther Hintz.
Luther Hintz has seen more shows at Seattle Opera than just about anyone else in the world. And he’s had a unique vantage point: a view from the stage. Luther is a supernumerary—an extra, in opera parlance. Supernumeraries (or “supers,” for short) don’t sing, but they do get dressed up in costume to play the roles of townsfolk, soldiers, servants, or anything else needed to complete an opera scene. This summer’s production of The Elixir of Love marks Luther’s 100th production with Seattle Opera—a major milestone in a relationship stretching back nearly 40 years.