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Telling Hard Truths

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

Release Date: 03/15/2023

Points Unknown: Exploring Our Relationship To Otherness Through The Pigeon Keeper show art Points Unknown: Exploring Our Relationship To Otherness Through The Pigeon Keeper

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

To workshop a new opera in front of an audience is a little like agreeing to a trust fall: at some point, you’ve just got to surrender to the unknown and… trust. Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia return to the orchestral workshop for The Pigeon Keeper, a collaboration between Santa Fe Opera’s Opera For All Voices (OFAV) initiative and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD). Andrea and Anna introduce folks to Caitlin Lynch, Assistant Professor of Music at U-M, and Jayce Ogren, Director of Contemporary Directions Ensemble at U-M, the visionary duo...

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Music Born Out of a Modern Experience: The Pigeon Keeper Orchestral Workshop show art Music Born Out of a Modern Experience: The Pigeon Keeper Orchestral Workshop

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

It takes a village - and multiple revisions! - to mount a modern, original opera. Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia journey to an orchestral workshop for The Pigeon Keeper, a first for (OFAV)!  Imagine a stage filled with an eight-member student orchestra, four principal singers, and a women's chorus. Drop in the composer, librettist, and members of the OFAV team. Truncate the rehearsal period and invite an audience for a live presentation plus a feedback session. Now, you understand the excitement and angst surrounding an orchestral workshop. Andrea reconnects...

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From Gardening to Greeting Guests, Volunteers Run the World! with Marissa Aurora, Artist & Volunteer Liaison show art From Gardening to Greeting Guests, Volunteers Run the World! with Marissa Aurora, Artist & Volunteer Liaison

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

Cue the lights! It’s time to illuminate a vital yet often invisible component of life at Santa Fe Opera: volunteerism. Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia chatted with Marissa Aurora, Santa Fe Opera’s , on her first anniversary in the role. And what a year it’s been!  Marissa, a multi-discipline artist and radio DJ, has worked hard to revitalize relationships between the Opera and its volunteers. She’s also introduced an exciting new performing arts production internship in collaboration with Northern New Mexico College.  So, how do you quantify the...

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Harmony in Process: The Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera with Amy Harmony in Process: The Young Voices of the Santa Fe Opera with Amy "Process" Owens

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

What does an award-winning, multi-disciplinary artist, dynamic educator, and former Sweet Potato do for an encore? She brings that boundless energy and collaborative spirit to her new Santa Fe Opera role, fueled by a deep passion for opera and music education.  Co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia roll out a virtual red carpet welcome for Amy Owens, Director of the . Get to know this exuberant, optimistic talent and learn more about the program under her stewardship. Andrea, Anna, and Amy also explore the profound community impact of two beloved SFO programs: , a storytelling...

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Making Learning Sticky: Creative Compassion for Kids & Educators Through Opera with Charles Gamble show art Making Learning Sticky: Creative Compassion for Kids & Educators Through Opera with Charles Gamble

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

We're taking an Opera For All Voices-adjacent excursion to the realm of wiggly kiddos, innovative teachers, and fresh vocabulary words, highlighting the power of playful arts integration.  Join Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia with special guest Charles Gamble, Santa Fe Opera's Director Of School Programs, as they introduce two of Santa Fe Opera's most dynamic community engagement programs: , a multi-session residency within the Santa Fe Public Schools that incorporates creative arts to make learning delightfully sticky; and , professional development...

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The Key Change Time Machine: Reflecting the Times, Speaking to the Human Condition show art The Key Change Time Machine: Reflecting the Times, Speaking to the Human Condition

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

It’s all systems go for season five of Key Change! But before we commence with the anniversary celebrations, co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia dust off the time machine for a whirlwind tour of seasons past. Think of this episode as part process evaluation––an appraisal of Opera For All Voices (OFAV), the Santa Fe Opera initiative committed to co-commissioning and co-producing new, diverse operatic works––and part indispensable playlist for repeat audiences and newcomers alike, covering the essential artistic and emotional moments that have made Key Change an...

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Season 5: Stretching The Boundaries Of What Opera Can Be show art Season 5: Stretching The Boundaries Of What Opera Can Be

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

It's season 5! This season, we're inviting you, our favorite listeners, on a journey through time and space -- traveling back in time to the origins of Key Change and Opera For All Voices and forward into the future of boundless possibilities. This spring, Andrea Fellows Feinberg and Anna Garcia take you through through the community engagement portal to hear from the voices transforming the future of opera.  And in the fall, they'll offer a backstage pass to latest Opera For All Voices commissions as we continue to shift the conversation about what opera is and what it can be. New...

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Connections Across Time and Space: Opera in the Cosmos show art Connections Across Time and Space: Opera in the Cosmos

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

Seven years ago, Santa Fe Opera started a conversation that would reverberate throughout American Opera, shaping this celebrated art form into something more reflective of the world in which it's created. Today, Opera For All Voices (OFAV) commissions have surpassed even our wildest storytelling expectations.  Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia tuck into the time machine for a season-ending trip around the OFAV universe, revisiting the initiative's greatest hits and offering fans a glimpse at what's to come––with Ruth Nott, consultant, Opera for All Voices;...

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Competing Interests: How Do You Workshop a New Opera? show art Competing Interests: How Do You Workshop a New Opera?

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

Roadtrip! After many long months of necessary virtual collaboration, the creative team behind The Pigeon Keeper, a Santa Fe Opera Opera For All Voices (OFAV) commission, finally got to spread their wings for an emotional workshop in San Francisco.  Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia discover what it was like to have everyone (well, almost everyone) in the same room for the very first time––featuring composer David Hanlon, librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, stage director Mary Birnbaum, music director Kelly Kuo, dramaturg Cori Ellison, Ruth Nott, consultant for...

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Hometown to the World Debuts on Broadway show art Hometown to the World Debuts on Broadway

Key Change: Creating Opera for All Voices

If a chorus of 12 teens can provide compelling commentary on immigration enforcement from the stage of a venerable performing arts center in Santa Fe, how might ten times that number of voices impact the debate? From a Broadway venue that has welcomed some of the twentieth century’s most influential social justice visionaries?  Key Change co-hosts Andrea Fellows-Fineberg and Anna Garcia pilot the time machine east to find out, setting a course for the 2022 premiere of  at New York’s storied . Adding their insights to this aural postcard are Hometown’s composer Laura Kaminsky...

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More Episodes

What do you know about the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer? Chances are, not much. That's about to change. 

Co-hosts Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia dust off the Key Change time machine for a trip back through time and place to the real-life inspiration for This Little Light of Mine (TLLoM), the modern operatic masterpiece commissioned by Santa Fe Opera's Opera For All Voices initiative. Good thing this ride is roomy because joining them are two women who can claim a direct connection to Mrs. Hamer: Jacqueline "Cookie" Hamer Flakes, Mrs. Hamer's last surviving daughter, and LaToya Ratlieff, Mrs. Hamer's grand-niece. 

Mrs. Hamer was born to sharecroppers early in the last century when life for an undereducated Black woman was difficult at best. She endured unimaginable cruelty at the hands of white people who sought to block voting access for folks who looked like her. While those encounters battered her body, her powerful, passionate voice never broke. And yet, many are still unaware of Mrs. Hamer’s contributions to the Civil Rights movement or the rousing, emotional speech she delivered at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Cookie shares painful, visceral details of Mrs. Hamer’s life and poignant memories of her spirit in celebration of a life committed to community––and as a reminder that the fight for civil rights is still ours today. 

This transformative voyage also features familiar voices from the TLLoM creative team: composer Chandler Carter, librettist Diana Solomon-Glover, music director Jeri Lynne Johnson, stage director Beth Greenberg, and stage manager Laurel McIntyre. Charles Gamble, SFO's director of school programs, Devin DeVargas, Pojoaque Valley High School choir teacher, and members of the Pojoaque Valley Choir complete this episode’s passenger roster.

This episode is dedicated in memoriam to Jacqueline "Cookie" Hamer Flakes (September 22, 1966 - March 27, 2023).


FEATURING

Jacqueline "Cookie" Hamer Flakes

LaToya Ratlieff

Diana Solomon-Glover – Librettist

Chandler Carter – Composer

Jeri Lynne Johnson – Conductor & Music Director

Beth Greenberg – Stage Director

Laurel McIntyre – Stage Manager

Charles Gamble – SFO Director of School Programs

Devin DeVargas – Pojoaque Valley High School Choir Teacher

Members of the Pojoaque Valley High School Choir 


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Fannie Lou Hamer: Stand Up


THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE PLAYLIST

A Day In The Life Before A World Premiere

Mother of a Movement: This Little Light of Mine

BONUS: Is This America? 

Singing A Call to Action: Is This America? 

Making a Choice With Conviction: A conversation with Jeri Lynne Johnson

Lighting a Fire: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer

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Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.

Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios

Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg & Anna Garcia

Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe

Show Notes by  Lisa Widder

Theme music by Rene Orth with Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano, and Joe Becktell, cello

Cover art by Dylan Crouch

This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Hankins Foundation, the Andrew W Mellon foundation, and an Opera America innovation Grant supported by the Anne & Gordon Getty Foundation.  

To learn more about Opera For All Voices, visit us at SantaFeOpera.org.