A Time Capsule for 2070
“What production or opera experience has impacted you the most?” That was the question OPERA America posed to members as part of a project to assemble a virtual time capsule for the year 2070. More than 300 people submitted their memories in 280 characters or less, providing glimpses of how the art form has enriched the lives of artists, administrators, trustees, operagoers, and their communities. One hundred of the submissions can be explored below.
“In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100 members of the opera community came together for a virtual performance — produced by OPERA America — of Light Shall Lift Us, an uplifting choral work created by composer Paul Moravec and me. It reached 25,000-plus viewers.” —Mark Campbell, librettist and lyricist
“Heartbeat Opera’s Fidelio. The real incarcerated men and women, some imprisoned for life, singing Beethoven’s Prisoners' Chorus said more about our lives and society than anything I’ve ever seen on stage. ‘O what joy, in the open air. Freely to breathe again!’ they sang in German.” —Aleba Gartner, founder, Aleba & Co.
“Lyricizing the drama of Fannie Lou Hamer’s story and her contribution to democracy (in This Little Light of Mine) has filled me with a unique sense of gratitude — not only for the chance to know her as if I am one of her descendants, but for the many artists who have partnered with me to share it with others.” —Diana Solomon-Glover, librettist
“Two works that embody 21st century opera — what is best about American opera and what it can and should be — are Kamala Sankaram and Jerre Dye’s thoughtful, intimate, and cinematic Taking Up Serpents and Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s American grand opera Moby-Dick. — Lidiya Yankovskaya, music director, Chicago Opera Theater
“Watching Lauren Worsham perform “Mirror, Mirror” in Robert Woodruff's staggering production of my opera Dog Days, I saw that a show could transcend its component parts and achieve a kind of lift-off as something new. It was exhilarating.” —David T. Little, composer and librettist
“The powerful music and lyrics of I Dream, a modern R&B opera, masterfully articulated the mood and emotion of a significant period in American history and struck a chord of social relevance around issues of race, economic opportunity, inclusion, and equity.” —Arlene Ferebee, trustee Opera Carolina
“The most powerful experience I’ve had in the theater was An American Soldier in its premiere production at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The story of Danny Chen is gut-wrenching, and as a child of an immigrant, I reacted viscerally to Danny’s search to be American enough for others.” —Mitra Sadeghpour, educator and consultant
“Elmer Gantry, written by Robert Aldridge and Hershel Garfein, was a production that changed Nashville Opera. It proved that even a smaller company could dream big and produce a world-premiere opera that eventually garnered multiple Grammy awards.” —John Hoomes, CEO and artistic director, Nashville Opera
“Susan Kander and I created the opera dwb (driving while black). Written before the murder of George Floyd, our performances seemed to be right on time. Talkbacks after shows proved how art can both open and heal wounds. Opera is learning to reach people where they are!” —Roberta Gumbel, soprano and librettist
“When stages were closed by COVID-19, nine indie opera companies from across the U.S. commissioned 10 creative teams and produced Tales from a Safe Distance, a world-premiere episodic anthology of pandemic-themed operatic films.” —Matt Boresi, composer/librettist
This virtual time capsule was assembled on the occasion of OPERA America's 50th Anniversary.