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.

Aug 25, 2021

When you name an initiative Opera For All Voices (OFAV), it better have the “all voices” to back that claim up! 

In the first of a series of guest-hosted episodes, Andrea passes the mic to the remarkable young talents making Is This America? their own. But before she does, Andrea reminds listeners of what OFAV is all about: telling stories for our time and extending that conversation outward––to all voices.

Javier Jose Mendoza, Director of Orchestral Studies at Florida International University School of Music, Miami, is joined in conversation by FIU students Angeline Fontaine, Elisha Martin, and Pedja Kovacevic, all of whom participated in the university’s full orchestral workshop of Is This America? which is based on selections from This Little Light of Mine by composer Chandler Carter and librettist Diana Solomon-Glover. One of OFAV’s earliest commissions, it’s a celebration of American civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer’s legacy. 

Although new to the work and, in some cases, Ms. Hamer herself, the opera holds special meaning for these three students. Is This America? provides the soundtrack as they contemplate future roles as citizens, artists, and activists, its words and music of the past reverberating through their 21st-century lives.

It’s impossible to listen as Angeline, Elisha, or Pedja discuss bringing Ms. Hamer’s story to life or the broader effect her commitment has had without being awed by their insight. It’s as Javier says, “I don't know if a person that sits through this work if they leave thinking the same way.” That’s the promise of Is This America? and the endowment of OFAV.


Season 2, episode 7: Mother of a Movement - introduction to the commission of This Little Light of Mine with composer Chandler Carter and librettist Diana Solomon-Glover

Season 3, bonus episode: Is This America? - interview with voting and civil rights activist, LaToya Ratlieff, Fannie Lou Hamer’s grand-niece; and Diana Solomon-Glover

Season 3, episode 4: Singing a Call to Action - featuring the interpretative artists and community partners of Is This America?


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

Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg

Guest Host Javier José Mendoza


Angeline Fontaine, Pedja Kovacevic, Elisha Martin

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.

NEW! Cover art by Dylan Crouch

Special thanks to Florida International University School of Music.

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