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Opera for All Voices (OFAV) began as a consortium of North American opera companies committed to co-commissioning and co-producing new operatic works for audiences of all ages that bear the same artistic integrity and depth of storytelling as main stage works. Over several years it has grown in its mission to tell "stories of our time." Follow host Andrea Fellows Fineberg from The Santa Fe Opera and OFAV collaborators and stakeholders as we explore the process, the context, and the story of commissioning and producing new operas in America.

Jul 11, 2018

What happens when the composer that you've commissioned to write a new opera says to you, "Sit down -- I have something to tell you," and that something is that she's fallen in love... with a beatbox artist?

The first Opera for All Voices (OFAV) commission, Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun, is scheduled to premiere in the Fall of 2019 and this episode is a very early look at the creative process of Grammy Award winning composer, Augusta Read Thomas.

We get a deep dive into how she "sculpts sound" to create magic, and how collaboration is such a crucial element in the way she composes new work.

The collaboration gets even livelier as we meet renowned beat-box artist, founder of Drop The Beats, and actor Nicole Paris, who plays an integral role in the original soundscaping of this new opera.

Listen in and fall in love for yourself.


Special music in this episode used with permission by Augusta Read Thomas.

Helix Spirals for String Quartet: Mvt. I. Loci, memory palace. Performed by the Spektral Quartet.

Of Being is a Bird: Mvt. II. The most triumphant Bird I ever knew or met. Claire Booth, soprano, Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Collon conductor.

Love Twitters for solo piano. Nicola Melville, piano.


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

Hosts: Andrea Fellows Walters and Brandon Neal

Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe

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

Cover art by David Tousley

Special thanks to Halfway to Hell Studios in Albuquerque and C.W. Media in Chicago

OFAV Consortium Members:  Lyric Opera for Kansas City, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera and Seattle Opera.

This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.  

To learn more about Opera for all voices, visit us at