Jun 22, 2022
You’ve heard of main character energy? Well, get ready for youth chorus energy!
Andrea Fellows-Fineberg connects with an optimistic, pragmatic, and empathetic mindset courtesy of the youth chorus members who participated in the December 2021 world premiere of Opera For All Voices’ Hometown To The World. Their insights and post-performance emotion speak to art's ability to foster community––with Ely Aguilar, Francesco Aimale, and Estevan Flórez-Mansi.
We also hear post-show reactions from artists, creators, collaborators, and the audience buoyed by musical excerpts from the premiere at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe.
So much has changed in the decade since the events of Hometown took place in Postville, IA. And yet. “At the end of the opera, I was thinking to myself this opera is beautiful but, like, there's no resolution. And that kind of hurt me,” Estevan says of the myriad issues that still complicate our national discourse on immigration.
The youth chorus took on an increasingly significant role during the evolution of Composer Laura Kaminsky and Librettist Kimberly Reed’s intimate yet expansive one-act opera, questioning character motivations and responding to individual struggles for acceptance.
That experience helped Ely deepen his awareness of human interdependence onstage and off. “This is a world premiere. I feel like this is going to be really touching for a lot of people. And I feel like it's going to bring more people together. But, like, everyone has to put in their own part so we could all do this together.”
Francesco combines Ely’s idealism with a practical call to action. “I don't think twelve kids and three kind-of famous actors are gonna get a ton of messages across. More people in power need to start spreading these issues about how it's wrong to just hate people for being themselves.”
Don’t worry about the chorus. These kids are alright.
Ely Aguilar - Youth Chorus Member, Hometown To The World
Francesco Aimale - Youth Chorus Member, Hometown To The World
Estevan Flórez-Mansi - Youth Chorus Member, Hometown To The World
Laura Kaminsky - Composer, Hometown To The World
Kimberly Reed - Librettist, Hometown To The World
Blythe Gaissert - Linda Larsen, Hometown To The World
Michael Kelly - Abraham Fleischman, Hometown To The World
Many audience members, collaborators, and friends of Hometown To The World.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
The New Colossus - by Emma Lazarus
Season 1, Episode 6 “Hometown to the World”
Season 2, Episode 9 “America Is Impossible Without Us”
Season 3, Episode 3 “Responding to the World”
Season 3, Episode 8 “Bridging Communities with Carmen Flórez-Mansi”
Season 4, Episode 1 “This Doesn’t Happen Without Audience”
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
Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe
Show Notes: 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 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.