Carrie Furnace to Host Opera Theater Summerfest Eco-opera Workshop, 6/27

Music and theater lovers can step out at the Carrie Furnace on Sat., June 27 and into the creative process during a festive evening centered around a free workshop of Opera Theater's commissioned Eco-Opera, A NEW KIND OF FALLOUT, with music by composer Gilda Lyons and libretto by Tammy Ryan. The free event begins at 6 pm when audience members can bring chairs and blankets--or reserve a chair at the site for $10.

Gastropub fare and craft craft beers--include Voodoo of Homestead--will be available from Blue Dust beginning at 4 pm and throughout the evening at the Rankin/Swissvale site. A "Carrie Cabaret" of Broadway and popular standards will be performed by SummerFest Young Artists.

Pre-workshop tours by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Site will begin at 4 pm and can be reserved in advance for $10.

Inspired by the environmental advocacy of Rachel Carson, Springdale, PA, native and scientist who wrote the ground-breaking Silent Spring, the new opera is takes its from Carson's 1963 Congressional testimony in which she described the environmental threat of pesticides like DDT "a new kind of fallout". The story follows a young couple's conflict about the danger of toxic chemicals as they expect their first child.

The workshop will consist of excerpts of A NEW KIND OF FALLOUT with music by Gilda Lyons and libretto by Tammy Ryan. Artistic Director Jonathan Eaton (who is staging the opera), librettist Tammy Ryan (a Pittsburgh-based playwright), Music Director Robert Frankenberry, and cast members will participate in an an audience feedback session following the workshop.

Leading cast members Lara Lynn Cottrill, Christopher Scott, Daphne Alderson, and Desiree Soteres are featured, along with other SummerFest company members. Karen Jeng Lin accompanies cast members at the piano in selected scenes during workshops.

Admission to the workshop is free, but a reservation online otsummerfest.org is requested. See the web site for rain date and inclement weather information. For Mapquest or GPS directions to the Carrie Furnaces, use 128 Ohio St., Swissvale, PA 15218. Parking is free.

BIRTH OF AN ECO-OPERA

Opening on July 18 at SummerFest, this new American work by Gilda Lyons and Tammy Ryan runs July 18-26 for three shows only. A series of free pre-season public workshops regional sites with environmental significance lead up to the opening at the Twentieth Century Club, Oakland. Excerpts from A New Kind of Fallout will have been heard and discussed in venues relevant to the preservation of our eco-systems, including Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh Botanical Gardens, and Chatham University (Carson's alma mater).

Audience feedback continues to inform the creation of the work as produced fully for the first time in July. Workshop attendees will receive special ticket offers to attend A New Kind of Fallout during SummerFest.

BACKGROUND ON A NEW KIND OF FALLOUT

"A New Kind of Fallout is inspired by Rachel Carson - a pioneering woman scientist whose work was instrumental in founding the Green Movement in America," says Eaton. "She also took on a male establishment and won. So we invited two women artists to write the opera - local star playwright Tammy Ryan has created the libretto, and Gilda Lyons is writing the music. We are thrilled with the results, and want to share sections of the work as it is created with our audiences in a series of workshops."

With these developmental workshops of A New Kind of Fallout, SummerFest offers a wonderful opportunity to see a new opera in its early stage. With music by noted composer Gilda Lyons (Night Caps: Moonlight Suite from 2012) and a libretto by Pittsburgh playwright Tammy Ryan (A Soldier's Heart, Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods), A New Kind of Fallout is a full-length work touching on the life of Rachel Carson, the Pittsburgh-trained scientist and author whose seminal 1962 work, Silent Spring, helped launch the environmental movement in the United States. Carson was born in nearby Springdale, PA, and attended Pittsburgh College for Women (now Chatham University).

"This new Eco-Opera, A New Kind of Fallout, is the first in a series of commissions," says Jonathan Eaton, the company's artistic and general director who will stage the full production. "We envisage a series of new operas which will address critical issues we confront in our society today - hot button topics such as global warming, race relations, violence..."

Eaton stressed the importance of new compositions to the operatic form: "Opera is often viewed as something of a museum art form. We want to bring it up to date by creating new works that are relevant, provocative and important to people today.

"Each workshop will present new scenes from the opera - hot off the press - and explore the issues it raises in discussions with the artists," Eaton says. "We think they will be fascinating to anyone who is interested in issues of the environment, in women's role in the modern world, in creating new works - and in experiencing this in unique and beautiful spaces."

ABOUT SUMMERFEST 2015

A New Kind of Fallout premieres on Sat., July 18 at 7:30 pm with additional performances on Fri., July 24 at 7:30 pm; and Sun., July 26 at 2 pm. In addition to A New Kind of Fallout, Opera Theater SummerFest will feature from July 10 through August 2: operas sung in English-The Marriage of Figaro and Figaro Redux with music by Mozart and Capriccio by Richard Strauss-and the musical Damn Yankees; an International Recital Series featuring artists including countertenor Andrey Nemzer and contralto Daphne Alderson; dining options; and late night cabaret by SummerFest company members.
Visit otsummerfest.org for tickets and details on all events.

Box Office: 412-326-9687

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