Orlando Sings Presents CONSIDERING MATTHEW SHEPARD

Considering Matthew Shepard is a Grammy-nominated three-part oratorio which is an evocative and compassionate musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard.

By: May. 17, 2024
Orlando Sings Presents CONSIDERING MATTHEW SHEPARD
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Orlando Sing's fully professional vocal ensemble The Solaria Singers will present the oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard on June 1st and 2nd in the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. 

Composed for choir, soloists, speakers and orchestra by Craig Hella Johnson, Considering Matthew Shepard is a Grammy-nominated three-part oratorio which is an evocative and compassionate musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard.

On October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, beaten, and left to die, in what became an infamous act of brutality, and one of America's most notorious anti-gay hate crimes. Considering Matthew Shepherd responds to and reflects upon the devastating events that led to Matthew Shepard's heartbreaking death. 

Through music, poetry, and singing this piece demonstrates that his life and legacy are more than his inhumane suffering and demise. Reflections on Matthew's legacy are compassionately explored in this groundbreaking work. Johnson's riveting piece melds together a variety of texts and musical styles to reflect on Matthew Shepard's remarkable life and legacy. 

Orlando Sings' professional ensemble, Solaria, will present this work, fully staged, in the Pugh Theater with chamber orchestra, soloists, sets and projections. The chorus and orchestra will be conducted by Orlando Sings' artistic and executive director Dr. Andrew Minear and directed by Katrina Ploof, who has a close relationship to the Matthew Shepard story. Ms. Ploof was involved in the regional premieres of Moisés Kaufman's 2000 play The Laramie Project, which also explored the tragic events leading up to Shepard's death.

This piece is especially poignant here in Orlando, where eight years ago this June, the community was shattered by another gay hate crime with the Pulse Massacre. We hope that our Orlando community will gather with us this first weekend of Pride Month to reflect and heal. We hope that the audience leaves the performances with a sense of healing and hope for a brighter future. 

“I have spent a lot of time this past year with Matthew Shepard. Craig Hella Johnson has set his story to some of the most transformative and emotional music I have ever had the privilege to sing.  As presenters and listeners of this work, we become centered on the idea that Matt Shepard is just an “Ordinary Boy” (the title of the second movement), who's extraordinary and horrific death brought light to how queer people were (and still are) being treated in our nation and beyond.

To know the story of Matt Shepard is to feel such heavy grief for the life that was taken. To stand and sing his story on stage as a member of the queer community is to feel great privilege. How incredible that an Ordinary Boy like myself will get a chance to do something extraordinary.” - Zach Pecore, tenor (performing the role of Matthew Shepard)

The program will conclude with a special talk-back opportunity in the theater for audience members to speak with some of the creative team and cast members, and reflect on the performance. 

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

  • June 1 at 8:00 PM

  • June 2 at 2:00 PM 

  • Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

  • Tickets can be purchased online at https://orlandosings.org




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