Mar 1, 2023
It’s October 28, 2022. As a brisk, still night settles over Santa Fe, things are heating up inside The Lensic Performing Arts Center. Longtime opera patrons mingle alongside never opera goers. Soon, the curtain will rise on This Little Light of Mine (TLLoM), a modern operatic masterpiece composed by Chandler Carter with libretto by Diana Solomon-Glover.
The one-act production is an unflinching yet uplifting dramatization of the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Black woman born on the very lowest rung of the American caste system. A Black woman who nonetheless rose to speak at the 1964 Democratic National Convention and became an exemplar of the Civil Rights movement. A Black woman who knew her worth despite a world that told her otherwise.
But hold on! A lot has happened between the time Opera For All Voices (OFAV) of The Santa Fe Opera first commissioned TLLoM and this triumphant evening. Key Change co-hosts (yep, a lot has happened) Andrea Fellows Fineberg and Anna Garcia check in with members of the production’s creative team in the hours leading up to the world premiere.
What do they want folks to understand about Mrs. Hamer’s life and legacy? How has the piece expanded discussions around whose stories get told onstage? And what’s the connection between self-care and a tiny table?
If OFAV’s goal to foster community beyond opera’s traditional audience is central to this conversation, then TLLoM acts as the initiative’s standard bearer. It’s a fitting tribute to Mrs. Hamer’s innate ability to speak truth to power and galvanize individuals under one unifying voice.
Chandler Carter – Composer
Diana Solomon-Glover – Librettist
Jeri Lynne Johnson – Conductor & Music Director
Beth Greenberg – Stage Director
Laurel McIntyre – Stage Manager
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE PLAYLIST
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.