Oct 13, 2021
At its heart, Hometown To The World is a simple story of hope set amongst the emotionally complicated aftermath of a 2008 Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in Postville, IA––the largest ever in US history. It’s fitting, then, that host Andrea Fellows-Fineberg and her guest Chorus Master Carmen Flórez-Mansi close out this season of Key Change charting a buoyant, optimistic course towards the future.
In addition to her roles as founder and director of the Choral Arts Society at St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, she’s also music director for the Cathedral Basilica where OFAV usually holds its summer concerts, pandemics not withstanding. Carmen is an artist in her own right, a musician, singer, mother, and community activist––identities that coalesce in her work with Hometown To The World.
As the production prepares for its world premiere at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in December 2021, Andrea and Carmen discuss the joys of working with the talented young adults of the chorus and reflect on their deeply personal responses to Composer Laura Kaminsky’s and Librettist Kimberly Reed’s urgent, ultimately uplifting contemporary opera.
Carmen is no stranger to OFAV’s commitment to developing new operatic works, having held the baton, or magic wand as we like to say, for 2019’s premiere of Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun, the initiative’s first-ever commission. “This was such an honor for me to be asked to be a part of this really important project. Sweet Potato…, the themes in that were about beauty and inclusion and love, and it carries over to what Hometown... is speaking about, but in a much more serious nature,” she says.
For Hometown To The World, Carmen brought together twelve singers ranging in age from 13 to 17 years of age. “I know that they're musically able to hold this together,” she says, her voice swelling with pride as she acknowledges the teens’ willingness to so freely explore raw and powerful emotions, some of which are intensely personal, about immigration that the piece so beautifully confronts. “I think that the music is very challenging. So this will challenge them and also open whole new worlds.”
Hometown To The World challenges audiences to redefine the future, offering hope through family and, of course, opera.
Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.
Hosted by Andrea Fellows Fineberg
Featuring Carmen Flórez-Mansi - Chorus Master, Hometown To The World
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 Dylan Crouch
MUSIC IN THIS EPISODE
This music in this episode is NOT from Hometown To The World... you'll have to catch the stage premiere in Santa Fe or stream the digital premiere from Hawaii Opera Theater to hear more.
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 SantaFeOpera.org