Opera on Tap Colorado Presents
SEE/HEAR Illuminated Stories in Song
November 16, 2020, Denver, CO Opera on Tap Colorado presents a visual album of four song cycles featuring live Colorado singers and video artists from across the US featuring Richard Strauss Four Last Songs/Vier letzte Lieder, Ernesto Cordero’s Four Works for Voice and Guitar, Robert Owens’ Mortal Storm, and Nkeiru Okoye’s Brooklyn Cinderella.
“We wanted to do something on a larger scale while responding to the limitations that COVID-19 has created for live performance.” Said Opera on Tap Colorado co-managing diva Eve Orenstein. “We came up with the concept of pairing video artists with song cycles – groups of songs that share a narrative theme – to create something that would be collaborative and also safe for singers and audience members. The videos will bring the music to life and can be experienced from home or in a socially distanced performance setting, like a drive-in.”
Five Colorado singers, Nnamdi Nwankwo, Asha Romeo, Jerome Síbulo, Luisa Marie Rodriguez, and Julie Silver Campbell will record four song cycles that were selected by the Opera on Tap Colorado singers.
Through an open call process, Opera on Tap Colorado received submissions from video artists around the country and four were chosen, including Cai (NYC), David Fodel(CO), Annanya George(CO), and Corwin Evans(Los Angeles), and paired with each song cycle to augment and illuminate the music.
SEE/HEAR will be launched with a hybrid live performance/live-streamed event on December 13 at 4:00pm at the Broomfield Auditorium.
Sunday, December 13th, 4:00PM Doors open at 3:30PM Broomfield Auditorium
3 Community Park Road
Broomfield, CO 80020
Limited seating will be available for $10, with social distancing protocols in place
This performance of SEE/HEAR will be live-streamed at Facebook.com/creativebroomfield/live Facebook.com/ootco
About Opera on Tap Colorado
Opera on Tap was founded in New York City in 2005 when a few singers, out for a drink in Brooklyn, wondered what it would be like if classical singers could gig at local bars like bands do. Opera on Tap has since grown to boast chapters in cities across the country – and now in Colorado! Opera on Tap Colorado will be bringing opera to unexpected places throughout the state, offering audiences exceptional music by outstanding singers, and giving professional singers the opportunity to sing regularly in public in a welcoming, supportive atmosphere. While casual and even raucous, Opera on Tap is not an open mic. Each month, shows will have a theme and singers will perform arias that more or less match that theme. Audiences can expect singers to be top notch performers singing music from actual operas – often with a drink in hand!
About Four Last Songs/Vier letzte Lieder
“Richard Strauss was…living in Switzerland at the end of World War II. Throughout his successful operatic and orchestral career, he’d written songs…inspired by his wife Pauline. She was a successful soprano who performed Strauss’s songs to great acclaim. Towards the end of 1946, Strauss read a poem by Eichendorff, “Im Abendrot” in which an ageing couple at the end of their lives together look at the setting sun and ask, “Is that perhaps death.” The words matched the composer’s feelings entirely, and became the inspiration for the start of a five-song cycle which he never completed. But he did compose four, although they weren’t linked as a group until after his death when Strauss’s publisher named them “Four Last Songs.”
The Eichendorf poem which translates as “At Sunset” is fittingly the last of the four, with the first three songs all settings of poems by Herman Hesse. Beginning with “Spring,” the second is “September” followed by “Going to Sleep” – each seems to be part of Strauss’s preparations for death and it’s hard to imagine a more conscious or deliberate farewell from this master of song.” (https://www.classicfm.com/composers/strauss/guides/richard-strauss-four-last-songs/)
About Four Works for Guitar and Voice
With music by Ernesto Cordero and texts by Juan Ramon Jiménez, Luis Llorens Torres and Nimia Vicens, this song collection is a beauty to behold. Cordero used these four poems from three poets of great import to Puerto Rican identity to illuminate his Puerto Rican experience. The first piece, “Zenobia” has text from a poem by Juan Ramon Jiménez called “Para quererte” (“To love you”). The poem was written to his wife, Zenobia Camprubí, a half Puerto Rican, half Spaniard. The final line “us together, just like the sea and the sky, the sky and the sea, without even trying, just are,” is a metaphor for how two lovers that are a perfect fit for one another, can just be, just like the sea and the sky. The second song, “La Hija del Viejo Pancho,” was written by Luis Llorens Torres, a well-known poet and politician in Puerto Rico’s founding. He spent some time in Spain in law school, and being away from his home, this poem seems to tell the story of where he finds ultimate happiness in his home, Puerto Rico. The third song, “Cadencia” has text from a poem by Nimia Vicens by the same name. It is also a metaphor for perfect love through the beauty of nature. Vicens wrote much of her poetry following Spain’s loss of the Spanish American War, which meant that Puerto Rico belonged to the United States. It has been suggested that artists use the beauty of their homeland, belonging to them, as a response to the trauma of the war and the trauma of their new identity. The fourth piece, “El Viaje Definitivo,” also written by Juan Ramon Jiménez, is a beautiful imagining of what life would be like after death, what continues, what will change and what will remain.
About Mortal Storm
Mortal Storm, a cycle of five songs on poetry by Langston Hughes, was composed in 1965 for Thomas Carey. Having previously sung the composer’s Four Motivations, Carey commissioned the work of Owens after having won First Prize in the Ard International Competition in 1963. Carey sang Mortal Storm frequently throughout Europe and the United States.
Mortal Storm r epresents a marked change in Owens’ songwriting. In the composer’s words, “I moved from realms of Schubert lieder and demanded of the singer the passion and drama of opera.” The broader public was introduced to Owens’ songwriting via Patterson’s Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers, This 1977 publication featured two of Owens’ songs from Mortal Storm, “ Genius Child” and “Faithful One.”
About Brooklyn Cinderella
Brooklyn Cinderella by Nkeiru Okoye is a set of songs born out of the I Hear America Singing program that commissions composers to create operatic songs based on the poetry and prose of Americans of all ages and all walks of life. These songs are based on poems written by Brooklyn children in classes headed by poet Angeli Rasbury. Brooklyn Cinderella was commissioned by American Opera Projects and the Walt Whitman Project.
Nnamdi Nwankwo https://www.instagram.com/nnamdiknwankwo/
Luisa Marie Rodrigurez https://www.instagram.com/luisamarierodriguez/
Jerome Síbulo https://www.instagram.com/jsibulo/
Asha Romeo https://www.instagram.com/asha_romeo/
Julie Campbell http://juliesilversoprano.com
Corwin Evans http://corwinevans.com/
Annanya George https://www.instagram.com/annanyageorge/
David Fodel https://vimeo.com/davidfodel