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What Blue Means to Me


 Artists Mirror on this Groundbreaking Opera

From left: Joshua Stewart (The Son), Briana Hunter (The Mom), and Kenneth Kellogg (The Father). Credit score: Philip Newton

The solid members of Seattle Opera’s upcoming manufacturing of Blue shared with Seattle Opera the affect that performing this poignant new opera has had on their lives, each personally and professionally. That is the second of two posts on Why Blue Issues, within the artists’ personal phrases.

Blue
is the two
020 winner of Finest New Opera from the
Music Critics Affiliation of North America, created by librettist
Tazewell Thompson (5 NAACP Awards, plus two Emmy nominations) and
composer Jeanine Tesori (Tony-winner recognized for Enjoyable Dwelling). Seattle Opera’s Blue runs Feb. 26 & 27 and March 2, 5, 9, 11, & 12, 2022 at McCaw Corridor. Tickets & information at seattleopera.org/blue.

“I completely relate my actual relationships with my pals to my relationship with The Father in Blue. I am an enormous sports activities fan and my closest pals and I’m going to sporting occasions on a regular basis. We have now splendidly deep conversations. I’m lucky that I can pull from actual life occasions and apply them to this opera. As an illustration, my spouse and I predict (we’re VERY EXCITED) and my pals gave me some unbelievable recommendation. They teased me some as nicely. My real-life experiences occur within the present!”

–Joshua Conyers, Policeman 3/Congregant 3

“I really feel just about each emotion singing these roles. I actually attempt to carry as a lot enjoyable and lightheartedness but in addition sincerity as attainable after I’m singing The Nurse. Partly as a result of I do know what’s coming, however partly as a result of I get to share an important, comedic second with the viewers. Singing Girlfriend 1 pushes me each time I do it. The vocal vary is sort of excessive however so is the emotional vary. The primary week of rehearsals for the premiere, my twin sister instructed me that she was going to have a child. A Black boy. So, I’ve felt and proceed to really feel all these feelings as myself. As The Girlfriend in Act 1 and an aunt, I’ve the identical hopes and needs for my nephew as I’ve for The Son.”

–Ariana Wehr, The Nurse/Girlfriend 1/Congregant 1

From left: Ellaina Lewis (Girlfriend 2/ Congregant2), Ariana Wehr (The Nurse/Girlfriend 1/Congregant 1), Briana Hunter (The Mom), and Cheryse McLeod Lewis (Girlfriend 3/ Congregant 3). Credit score: Philip Newton

“As an opera singer, I converse by many various characters—some iconic and heroic, even god-like. However with the contributions of recent works like Blue into the mainstream of recent American Musical Theater, right now’s iconic figures are actually being drawn from the lives of these extra accessible to us. I consider Blue shines a lightweight on the heroes who stroll amongst us. Mates, household, prolonged communities of people who raise us up and assist us. Every member empathizes with the unimaginable emotional turmoil inflicted upon this straightforward Black American household. Blue doesn’t try to reply the longstanding complexities of race and violence that our nation has been grappling with for many years. Moderately, it’s an try to put us collectively in the identical room of humanity, head to head, in order that we might handle these points head-on…collectively.”

–Gordon Hawkins, The Reverend

“There are a number of scenes in Blue that make me proud. One happens after I’m not even on stage, truly. The scene the place The Mom talks about her love for The Father along with her girlfriends is so touching. I imply, listening to a Black girl specific her love for a Black man on the opera stage is completely beautiful to me. Furthermore, Jeanine Tesori’s musical setting is completely lovely. It makes me proud to be a present husband. The hospital scene is one other joyful scene. Once I’m launched to my son for the primary time, I actually get flashbacks of when my precise son was born. Regardless that the infant is a prop—a doll child—after I look in its eyes, I see my son. I relive all these feelings and emotions every time we carry out the scene.”

–Kenneth Kellogg, The Father

From
left: Camron Grey (Policeman 1/Congregant 1), Kenneth Kellogg (The
Father), Korland Simmons (Policeman 2/ Congregant 2), and Joshua Conyers
(Policeman 3/ Congregant 3). Credit score: Philip Newton

“My favourite scene within the opera is the opening scene as a result of it grabs you from the opening and takes you on a journey with The Mom and Girlfriends 1, 2, and three. You actually get to know them and the internal dynamics of their group and particular person relationships. I believe this scene grounds your complete opera in a true-to-life approach. All of us descend from girls. Every of The Girlfriends symbolize the completely different faces of moms, aunts, cousins, and sisters many people know. This village of girls brings the opera to life from starting to finish by empathizing every character and their position in the neighborhood. That’s the magic of Blue—neighborhood and household.”

–Camron Grey, Policeman 1/Congregant 1

“Sure, I believe the closeness is the toughest a part of performing in Blue. It strikes a nerve for me as a reminder of the few occasions that I’ve had shut encounters with police. It strikes a nerve for me as a reminder of the lads in my household who’ve been incarcerated and who’ve struggled to stay life outdoors the partitions of a jail. It strikes a nerve for me as I bear in mind protesting, right here in Seattle, within the aftermath of George Floyd’s homicide. I can not assist however carry these tales with me onto the stage, in hopes that I may help create an area for the viewers (and me) to proceed rethinking the ways in which we police Black and Brown our bodies.”

–Korland Simmons, Policeman 2/ Congregant 2

“It’s an honor to painting the particular bond that Black girls expertise in our closest friendships. It’s a particular sisterhood that seems like household.”

–Cheryse McLeod Lewis, Girlfriend 3/ Congregant 3



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