Composer Lisa Neher and Librettist Kendra Leonard present the One Voice Project Virtual Micro Opera Festival, a weeklong festival of micro opera world premieres. Every day from March 22-26, a new 5-minute unaccompanied opera written by Neher & Leonard will be released on YouTube.
The operas feature acclaimed opera singers from across the United States, including tenor Hugo Vera (Metropolitan Opera), mezzo Margaret O’Connell (Center for Contemporary Opera), soprano Audrey Yoder (Pacific Opera Project), tenor Zach Finkelstein (New York City Opera), and mezzo Lisa Neher herself (Opera Theatre Oregon).
The festival channels the artistic brilliance of opera singers who have frequently found themselves without work and artistic outlets during the pandemic. Each opera is a self-contained story, with plots that address women in sport, the life of musicians during the pandemic, and resilience in the face of obstacles. Several works were composed in collaboration with the singers, with plots drawn from their experiences over the last year. These operas are offered through a Pay as You Can model as a way to make opera accessible to all.
Immediately following the final release on Friday March 26, audiences are invited to a donation-based Talkback and Q&A Reception with the artists, hosted by Gina Morgano of the Practice Parlour Podcast.
|WHAT:||The One Voice Project Micro Opera Festival|
|WHEN:||Mon March 22 – Fri March 26, 2021 |5:00 PM PDT: Operas Released Daily
Fri March 26, 2021 | 5:10 pm PDT: Zoom Talkback and Q&A Reception
|WHERE:||Operas Released as YouTube Premieres: https://www.youtube.com/LisaNeher|
|COST:||Pay as You Can. We invite you to make a donation to @Lisa-Neher on Venmo or email@example.com on PayPal in support of the artists. Consider donating your one-hour salary. All proceeds will be split evenly between the artists.|
Register to receive a link to each day’s micro opera premiere and to RSVP for the Talkback and Q&A Reception with the Artists.
|Monday, March 22 | 5:00 pm PDT||Wide Awake in a New City: Hugo Vera, Tenor|
|Tuesday, March 23 | 5:00 pm PDT||Par for the Course: Audrey Yoder, Soprano|
|Wednesday, March 24 | 5:00 pm PDT||Momentum: Lisa Neher, Mezzo-Soprano|
|Thursday, March 25 | 5:00 pm PDT||Woman Waits with Sword: Margaret O’Connell, Mezzo-Soprano|
|Friday, March 26 | 5:00 pm PDT||Now Available: Zach Finkelstein, Tenor|
|Friday, March 26 | 5:10 pm PDT||Talkback and Q&A Reception with the Artists, Hosted by Gina Morgano of the Practice Parlour Podcast|
Wide Awake in the New City
When you move to a completely new place in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, things are not exactly normal. Raul struggles to unpack and settle into his apartment, wondering if he can serve his students while teaching virtually and finally questioning what he’s doing in his life. His despair turns to excitement and hope with a little change of view.
Wide Awake in the New City acknowledges the uncertainty and doubt we all feel while keeping the flame of hope alive for the future.
This opera was written for tenor Hugo Vera and is based in part on his own life experiences moving during the pandemic. Thanks to Hugo for suggesting the inclusion of Spanish phrases in this opera and consulting on grammar.
Par for the Course
One of the greatest athletes of all time, Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias excelled at every sport she tried. She won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 summer Olympics and later turned to golf, winning 10 Ladies Professional Golf major championships. She often faced sexism in her work and from reporters who criticized her involvement in athletics and her unladylike personality. Known for her brash confidence, she would often say at competitions, “Okay, Babe’s here! Now who’s gonna finish second?”
Sport has played an important role in both of our lives and we are passionate about representing women in sport on the opera stage. We were drawn to Babe by her confidence, her passion for sport, and her example of excellence in spite of a society that was often against her. This micro-opera envisions the moment in which Babe learns that her attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open has been rejected.
Par for the Course was written for soprano Elisabeth Halliday-Quan for Rhymes With Opera’s 2020 Pocket Opera Workshop.
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an officially registered competitor, registered under the initials “K.V.” Switzer. At this time, her own coach believed that a marathon was too far for “fragile women” to run, even though Roberta Gibb had become the first woman to run Boston (without a registration) the year before.
During the race, Kathrine was attacked repeatedly by race manager Jock Semple, who yelled, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers!” (referring to her race bib, number 261). As her boyfriend at the time, Tom Miller, fought him off, Switzer describes feeling frozen with fear and embarrassment in the face of the assault. She wondered briefly if she should quit, but she kept going, finishing in 4 hours, 20 minutes.
After her run, women were banned from racing in men’s events. In 1972, the Boston Marathon established an official women’s race.
Woman Waits with Sword
Woman Waits with Sword celebrates self-reliance. In 17th century France, Alberte-Barbe D’ernécourt, Dame (noble lady) de Saint-Baslemont, has been protecting her people from invaders during the Hundred Years’ War. But when an intruder tries to claim her home and ignores her because of her sex, she becomes the Chevalier (knight or noble lord—assumed to be a man) de Saint-Baslemont and challenges him to a duel he cannot turn down.
This opera was written for mezzo-soprano Margaret O’Connell.
A singer stuck at home expresses anxiety and frustration about his musical career and the treatment of artists by opera companies and ensembles. He wonders how Covid-19 will change the shape of future performances and how to create art during such a challenging time. Amid these struggles, he finds a reason for optimism.
This opera was written for tenor Zach Finkelstein, and the plot was developed in conversation with Zach about his experiences and feelings as a professional singer dealing with the artistic and career ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic.