Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

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.

Feb 3, 2021

Key Change is back for Season 3! 

Hold on… Some things have changed around here; some things have changed everywhere. What happens when a global pandemic upends your well-crafted plans? How does art respond within the confines of social distancing? Where’s Brandon?!

Don’t worry, all will be revealed.

To better understand where Opera for All Voices (OFAV) is headed this year, it’s helpful to reflect on where it’s been, to acknowledge achievements, and hear from the people whose talents shaped the initiative’s history. For a trip like that, we’ll need a time machine. Luckily, Andrea knows how to drive one. 

In 2019, the curtain rose on the world premiere of OFAV’s first-ever commission Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun by Augusta Read Thomas and Leslie Dunton-Downer. That energetic beatboxing-infused opera amazed audience members and energized performers.

Bracketed by a sampling of those excited voices, Andrea revisits OFAV’s origin story, trading insights with collaborator Ruth Nott and Cori Ellison, the production’s dramaturg.

If Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun played a crucial foundational role in OFAV’s inaugural season, Hometown to the World, composed by Laura Kaminsky, libretto by Kimberly Reed, was poised to reinforce that vision the following year. 2020 messed with everyone’s momentum, but OFAV maintained belief in its mission, to tell the stories of our time and make opera for all voices. The impetus to develop relevant content and foster rich collaborations has never been more necessary. Safely socially distanced, of course.

What began several years ago as the desire to introduce new audiences to the art form has since grown into a rich resource, brimming with possibility. Andrea explores that journey and this podcast’s evolution before steering the time machine triumphantly toward the future. “If this grand experiment that is OFAV has taught us anything,” she says, “it is how to move forward, even when everything goes sideways, and how to keep dreaming.”

And, yes, she fills everyone in on Brandon’s exciting new endeavor. 


Season 1, Episode 2 “What’s in a name?” - the origin story of Opera for All Voices

Season 1, Episode 3 “Beatboxing and Opera” - Sweet Potato’s Augusta Read Thomas and Nicole Paris on the origin story of their collaboration

Season 2, Episode 1 “Press Play” - Sweet Potato’s Augusta Read Thomas and Leslie Dunton Downer on story and score development on the eve of the Chicago workshop

Season 1, Episode 6 “Hometown to the World” - Hometown’s Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed on telling history and collaboration

Season 2, Episode 9 “America is Impossible Without Us” - Revisiting Hometown’s story, structure, music, and what it means to be an American with Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Read during the San Francisco workshop


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

Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg

Featuring Brandon Neal, Cori Ellison, Ruth Nott, and post-show feedback from Nicole Paris, Rachel de la Torre, Dawn Lura, chorus members, and audience members.

Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios

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

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