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BWW Preview: MOT's UTTERANCE Promises the Eerie & Beautiful this Halloween Weekend

"Utterance will be like nothing you've seen before!" promises the Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT). If any other theater in town made such a wild claim, I'd probably shake my head. But with MOT at the helm, I don't doubt it for a moment.

Utterance is a new work that blends 16th century motets (sacred choral pieces) by Orlande de Lassus with a 2019 companion piece composed by Amanda Schoofs.

In the case of the motets to be featured in Utterance, Artistic Director Jill Anna Ponasik says, "Each section is set to text spoken by a different sibyl. The sibyls were oracles of Ancient Greece, prophetesses said to 'utter' their revelations... Once we had set our sights on the de Lassus motets, we asked composer Amanda Schoofs if she would write a companion piece that could be entwined."

Bringing that music to life is vocal ensemble Aperi Animam alongside flute, cello, and dance trio Cadance Collective. A Milwaukee-based vocal ensemble specializing in sacred music from the Renaissance, Aperi Animam is Latin for "open your soul." This group of young vocalists has been praised for their innovative programming, and Utterance will surely be no exception. Lending instruments and dance to piece, Cadance Collective is a champion of music informing dance and dance informing music.

Together, these art forms will coalesce in Utterance at the Calvary Presbyterian Church, under the aforementioned artistic direction of Ponasik and stage direction of Danny Brylow. Choreography comes courtesy of the ever-marvelous MOT favorite, Christal Wagner.

Utterance will weave the early with the modern for a "kaleidoscopic musical tapestry." Another big promise to make, but one I'm confident in the Milwaukee Opera Theatre to uphold. Says Ponasik: "Utterance is a truly strange and ambitious endeavor. I think people will find it inspiring. It's spooky, eerie, and beautiful."

It's also just in time for Halloween. Catch Utterance October 29th and 30th at 8pm, and October 31st at 5:30 and 8pm at Calvary Presbyterian Church.

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From This Author - Kelsey Lawler