Opera San José Shares LOVE & SECRETS Trilogy Of Virtual Short Operas

Love & Secrets tells three tales of passion and yearning, as couples contend with the tumult, joys, and heartache of love.

Opera San José Shares LOVE & SECRETS Trilogy Of Virtual Short Operas

Romance so often conjures images of affectionate gestures grand and small: flowers, chocolates, initials carved in bark. Opera San José's latest digital offering, Love & Secrets: A Domestic Trilogy, explores what happens below the surface, with three tales of passion and yearning, as couples contend with the tumult, joys, and heartache of love.

"For couples around the globe, this extended period of quarantine has forced romantic relationships into uncharted territories," explains General Director Khori Dastoor, who conceived of and curated this original collection of three chamber operas.

"The rhythm of domestic life has been disrupted and challenged as never before. Despite prolonged physical closeness, feelings of isolation emerge, inviting questions about the very foundations of partnership as each person evolves, both as individuals and in relation to one another. How do we cope when we cannot escape one another, or when losses feel new again? And what do we fight to keep just for ourselves? Love & Secrets: A Domestic Trilogy offers a timely window, both comedic and poignant, into the lives of three couples confronting such challenges, who must navigate a path forward together."

Conducted by Music Director Joseph Marcheso and Resident Conductor Christopher James Ray, who will be leading members of the Opera San José Orchestra, and directed by Opera San José Resident Director Tara Branham, this trilogy of fully-staged works will launch its digital performances 6:00pm, Thursday, April 15 with a post-performance virtual "cast party," and will then be available to stream on demand for a limited time.

Tickets (which include 30 days of on-demand viewing access) are available on a pay-what-you-can basis at $15, $25, or $40 per household. A special opening night ticket ($50 per household) includes admission to the post-show cast party on April 15. For more information or to purchase tickets, the public can visit operasj.org or call (408) 437-4450 (open Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm).

The three short operas to be featured in this trilogy include Wolf-Ferrari's Il segreto di Susanna, a drawing room comedy of errors in the nineteenth-century Italian opera buffa tradition, in which an innocuous secret threatens a young newly-wed couple's chance at happiness. The 40 minute one-act opera will feature Resident Artists soprano Vanessa Becerra and baritone Efraín Solís, conducted by Joseph Marcheso. For the first time since the pandemic, the artists are joined by members of the Opera San José orchestra, whose safe participation was made possible with the implementation of rapid, day-of COVID-19 testing, and other extensive protocols. Irony and whimsy follow in Ned Rorem's Four Dialogues, based on the poetry of Frank O'Hara, in a classic "guy-meets-girl" tale marking one couple's relationship from love's first blush to the pangs of its bitter end, and is performed by celebrated local artist, soprano Marnie Breckenridge and Resident Artist tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli. The achingly gorgeous harmonies of Tom Cipullo's The Husbands concludes the intimate triptych. This haunting meditation based on William Carpenter's prose poem, Rain, summons visions of seasons long past in a stunning rumination on widows, tenderly keeping their departed spouses forever present in their hearts. This 10 minute work featuring Resident Artists mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon and baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, will be conducted by Christopher James Ray. Love & Secrets sets alight the artifices and trappings of "romatic life," blurring past and present, as eternity beckons.

This performance was captured in the Opera San José Heiman Digital Media Studio. Every precaution was taken for the protection of the company's members and crew, with health and safety protocols meeting or exceeding local and state guidelines set by Santa Clara county's valued Public Health Officers. All artists and crew underwent rigorous COVID testing and wellness screenings, while all personnel on the closed set adhered to strict masking, Personal Protective Equipment, and social distancing protocols. The filming space was regularly disinfected, and the HVAC systems in the Heiman Digital Media Studio featured an active filtration system effective against all three categories of indoor air pollutants, designed to ensure continuous circulation and increased intake of filtered air from the outside. Members of the creative team included Tara Branham (Stage Director), Steven C. Kemp (Set Designer), Alyssa Oania (Costume Coordinator), David Lee Cuthbert (Lighting Designer), ChrisTina Martin (Hair and Makeup Designer), and Rapt Productions (Video Production).

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