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Resonance Works Announces A Reinvented Fall Season

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All performances for the rest of 2020 will be presented exclusively online.  

Tickets are now on sale for the three new series in Resonance Works' reimagined fall 2020 season: The March of the Women, The Decameron Opera Coalition presents "Tales from a Safe Distance", and the Virtual Resonance Chamber Series, which kicks off this Saturday, September 12. All performances for the rest of 2020 will be presented exclusively online.

Praised for its "innovative streak" and the "infusion of sophistication and diversity" in its programming, Pittsburgh's 7-year old multi-modal performing arts company has been approaching the difficult circumstances of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as a time for new approaches and bold collaborations.

"In the normal circumstances of a live performance, people assemble in a particular place at a particular time. Since this is not feasible right now, we are considering new possibilities for performances without these limitations, and also how people experience online content." says Artistic & General Director Maria Sensi Sellner. For Resonance Works, the result is programming that spans a series of shorter performances, which will premiere weekly and then remain available on-demand for three months. Interactive live stream events with the artists will accompany each premiere, and all will be easily accessible through their new ticketing platform.

The March of the Women series premieres in three parts from September 19 - October 3, and celebrates the recent centennial of the 19th amendment with music by 24 women composers of the past and present, performed by 18 artists from Pittsburgh and beyond. Part 1, entitled "For Those We've Lost" is dedicated to the memory of all those that have died this year due to violence and to the pandemic, and features the powerful Stabat Mater by Julia Perry. In Part 2: "Four Centuries of Song", WQED-FM's Anna Singer portrays composer and suffragette Ethel Smyth looking back from the afterlife on what it was like to be a woman composer in Rachel J. Peters' "Ethel Smyth Plays Golf in Limbo", kicking off an inspiring survey of art song by women from the 17th through 20th centuries. Part 3: "Voices of Today" includes music written in the last 5 years (including a world premiere!), and features works by Missy Mazzoli and Carnegie Mellon alumnae. Part 3 will also include a set of songs from Sing Out Strong: Immigrant Voices, which were commissioned last fall in conjunction with the world premiere of the opera "I Am a Dreamer Who no Longer Dreams" by Boston's White Snake Projects. Resonance Works was to have given the second ever production of "Dreamer" in October, but it has been postponed to 2021. Two of the "Dreamer" cast, mezzo-soprano Maria Lopez and soprano Helen Zhibing Huang will perform these songs, created by writers and composers with connections to the immigrant experience.

October sees the world premiere of the most ambitious operatic commission to emerge from the global pandemic. Tales from a Safe Distance will be presented by the newly formed Decameron Opera Coalition, a partnership of 9 opera companies from around the U.S. along with composer Peter Hilliard and librettist Matt Boresi. Resonance Works is thrilled to be the lead producer of this bold new endeavor, inspired by Boccaccio's The Decameron. A masterwork of classical Italian literature, The Decameron is the tale of ten people who are quarantined together outside of Florence during the Black Plague in the 14th Century. Tales from a Safe Distance reimagines this story to reflect the way people are connecting with each other through technology during this extraordinary time in the world's history. Four episodes will be released weekly, featuring multiple stories from participating companies and 10 unique creative teams. The host of the project, providing a musical and dramatic prologue & epilogue for this unique and unforgettable new work, is the acclaimed Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni.

Resonance Works commissioned composer/librettist Gilda Lyons for their chapter of Tales, entitled "Sourdough: Rise Up", in which everyday life in the spring of COVID-19 is refracted through a graphic-novel lens as three friends wrestle with the changing world around them and their place in it. Accomplished illustrator Chris Lyons (whose clients have included TIME, the USPS, The Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Target, and The New York Times, among others) collaborated with his sister Gilda to create a graphic novel film of this mini-opera. Soprano Joanna Latini, who was to have made her role debut as Gilda in Rigoletto with Resonance Works this past May, is joined by sopranos Tess Altiveros and Brittany Renee, who both make their Resonance Works debut with this exciting world premiere. "Sourdough: Rise Up" is a part of the 4th and final episode of Tales, which premieres on October 30 at 8:00 p.m.. The entirety of Tales from a Safe Distance will remain available online through the end of the year.

In addition to these mainstage digital offerings, Resonance Works is bringing their popular chamber music series into the digital realm, as an artist-curated recital series in an effort to support artists more directly in this difficult time. Almost all earned revenue from the Virtual Resonance Chamber Series will go directly to the artists. Flutist Lindsey Goodman kicks off the series this Saturday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. with a recital that takes a look at bugs - in computers, people, and nature. "Electroacoustic Entomology" features music by Evan Williams, Mara Helmuth, and Elainie Lillios.

"Seven months into the pandemic, we've all learned a lot. Some have learned how to organize their homes, wrestle with Zoom, or keep glasses fog-free while wearing masks. I've learned that a wholly-unique kind of audience intimacy is engaged when performing from my living room, that my students love seeing my face on video screens as much as I love seeing theirs, and that there is always music to be made." - Lindsey Goodman

Future performances in this series will be announced on an ongoing basis throughout the season. Tickets are $9 for each of these chamber series programs, and patrons are invited to add an additional donation to support the performing artist.


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