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Sun January 17, 2021

Activist Aria: More Perfect Union

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January 17 at 5 pm Pacific time

The world premiere of a groundbreaking new aria and music video, 'Activist Aria: A More Perfect Union' addresses America's profound and self-evident need to be "more perfect." A frothy Strauss composition becomes the vessel to hold both the appealing vision and the harsh reality of America, within which we find hope for its future. The premiere will be followed by a live panel discussion.

This 6-minute music video evolved in response to the unprecedented events of 2020: COVID-19 isolation, the contentious presidential election, and the anguish caused by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others.

"With extra time on my hands, I decided to learn 'Klange der Heimat' from Johann Strauss's opera Die Fledermaus. I listened many times to Barbara Hendricks' splendid recording of it. As I studied the aria, America convulsed with palpable racial tension and I began to wonder how a Black singer would feel performing a song steeped in nostalgia for one's homeland. Even the word 'homeland' conjures uncomfortable associations with toxic nationalism and white supremacy.

At Opera Frontier, we usually take lighthearted liberties with masterpieces from the opera repertoire. But for 'Activist Aria: More Perfect Union,' I was inspired to rewrite the lyrics to reflect America's profound and self-evident need to become 'more perfect.' Thus, a frothy Strauss composition became the container to hold both the appealing vision and the harsh reality of America, within which we find hope for its future."

'Activist Aria: More Perfect Union' will debut on Sunday, January 17 at 5pm PST. The video premiere will be followed by a live panel discussion with Opera Frontier founder Gail Simpson and other activists and opera artists. The piece features Gail Simpson as soprano, orchestration by Jason Sherbundy, and video editing by Steve Shlisky, with the help of Taylor Mosley.

Free

Presented by Opera Frontier.
January 17 at 5 pm Pacific time

The world premiere of a groundbreaking new aria and music video, 'Activist Aria: A More Perfect Union' addresses America's profound and self-evident need to be "more perfect." A frothy Strauss composition becomes the vessel to hold both the appealing vision and the harsh reality of America, within which we find hope for its future. The premiere will be followed by a live panel discussion.

This 6-minute music video evolved in response to the unprecedented events of 2020: COVID-19 isolation, the contentious presidential election, and the anguish caused by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others.

"With extra time on my hands, I decided to learn 'Klange der Heimat' from Johann Strauss's opera Die Fledermaus. I listened many times to Barbara Hendricks' splendid recording of it. As I studied the aria, America convulsed with palpable racial tension and I began to wonder how a Black singer would feel performing a song steeped in nostalgia for one's homeland. Even the word 'homeland' conjures uncomfortable associations with toxic nationalism and white supremacy.

At Opera Frontier, we usually take lighthearted liberties with masterpieces from the opera repertoire. But for 'Activist Aria: More Perfect Union,' I was inspired to rewrite the lyrics to reflect America's profound and self-evident need to become 'more perfect.' Thus, a frothy Strauss composition became the container to hold both the appealing vision and the harsh reality of America, within which we find hope for its future."

'Activist Aria: More Perfect Union' will debut on Sunday, January 17 at 5pm PST. The video premiere will be followed by a live panel discussion with Opera Frontier founder Gail Simpson and other activists and opera artists. The piece features Gail Simpson as soprano, orchestration by Jason Sherbundy, and video editing by Steve Shlisky, with the help of Taylor Mosley.

Free

Presented by Opera Frontier.
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