ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Stephen Walley, John Clayton, and Brandon Mecklenburg

This week we are thrilled to introduce the other half of the Spirit sextet – baritones Stephen Walley and Brandon Mecklenburg as the Wind and Light Spirits, joined by tenor John Clayton who will be taking over the role of the Frog Spirit, originally written for contralto Suzanne Fatta. Wind, Light, and Frog will be joining Jessie Downs as Queen Spirit, Beth White as Water Spirit, and Julia Anne Cordani as Bird Spirit in the premiere of The Second Sight – a new opera. You can read more about all our cast members on our Members page. Remember to get your tickets to see and hear all of our fabulous cast first hand!

Jessie Downs on the cover of Delaware Park Living

Sotto Voce’s Artistic Director and composer of The Second Sight is featured in this month’s issue of Delaware Park Living, a magazine that gets distributed to homes and businesses in Buffalo’s Parkside neighborhood.

Jessie did a photoshoot at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo for the issue, showing off the beautiful architecture of this historic building where the opera will be premiered. The spread highlights action shots of singing, movement, and instrument demonstrations from the opera. Jessie’s partner, fellow composer, and Managing Director of Sotto Voce Alex Huddleston joined her at the piano, and former Second Sight cast member, model, and Managing Director of Nickel City Opera Suzanne Fatta provided style advice and joined in on some Spirit movements and vocalizations.

SCENE PREVIEW #4: “My Life is Simple”

We are now less than a month away from the start of production for The Second Sight and our cast and production team are hard at work preparing for the show. This week’s scene preview is of our premiere Freyaria, Claudia Brown, working on her opening arietta, “My Life is Simple.” We hope you enjoy a sneak-peak of this sprightly number, recorded in our performance space, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo!

OperaBuffs Announces “The Second Sight” Lecture-Recital – June 12th at Tacoma Performing Arts Center

We are excited to announce a lecture-recital hosted by OperaBuffs “Inside Opera” Lecture Series, featuring composer-performer Jessie Downs, with performances from and discussions about the connections between her new opera and the operatic canon.

The lecture-recital will be held on June 12 from 10:30a.m. to 12p.m. at Tacoma Performing Arts Center, 351 Tacoma Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14216 and is FREE of charge. There is free parking in the venue lot. The event is mobility-challenged accessible and open to the public. All are welcome.

Dr. Downs will be joined by pianist Jonathon Vogtle and members of the cast of The Second Sight – Claudia Brown (Freyaria) and Beth White (Water Spirit). The trio will perform works by Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, and Downs. The composer will talk about themes such as “reclaiming the mad scene,” “innocence and womanhood,” and “loss and faith” that run through both traditional opera and her new work.

Tickets for the opera premiere will be available for purchase, and donations to the production will be very gratefully accepted. We hope to see you there!

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Claudia Brown

This week we introduce soprano Claudia Brown, who will be premiering the role of Freyaria, the empath mother, in The Second Sight this June. Claudia became Clinical Assistant Professor of Voice and Choral Music at UB 4 years ago and has done amazing things with the program. Having done her Masters of Music in Choral Studies at Cambridge in the UK, she has a masterful grasp of how to both perform and teach in the choral discipline. She is also a trained and experienced performer of opera and oratorio, with a clear, lithe, and shimmering sound. Both her sound and her outgoing and friendly demeanor make her a perfect fit for bringing to life the caring and optimistic Freyaria, whose playful coloratura brightens the world of the opera. Claudia sings with a number of Buffalo choirs. In this recent recording made by the BPO and Westminster Presbyterian of Handel’s Messiah, you can watch Claudia performing “If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us”. Check it out, and remember to get your tickets to see Claudia – along with Ola Rafalo, Jessie Downs, and the Spirits of Sotto Voce – this June!

You can also read more about Claudia on our MEMBERS page.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Beth White, Julia Anne Cordani, and Suzanne Fatta

Previously in our Second Sight premiere count-down, you’ve met composer-performer Jessie Downs (Sashatya) and mezzo-soprano Ola Rafalo (Diskana). This week we are proud to introduce other members of our cast – Beth White (Water Spirit), Julia Anne Cordani (Bird Spirit), and Suzanne Fatta (Frog Spirit). The Spirit music is a rich part of the opera, and we are so lucky to have 6 very unique vocalists bringing this complex music to life. Watch this video to hear and see these lovely ladies at work, visit our MEMBERS page to learn more about their backgrounds, and remember to get your tickets to hear them all live in June!

SCENE PREVIEW #3: The Mourners’ Chorus

This week, the premiere cast of The Second Sight is thrilled to unveil a virtually produced recording of Act III Scene 1a “The Mourners’ Chorus.” Other than our June in Buffalo workshop in 2019, this is the only existing recording of a scene from the opera incorporating the sinfonietta orchestration with the vocalists.

We can’t wait to share more like this – with fabulous staging to boot – come June! Get your tickets today! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-second-sight-a-new-opera-live-premiere-tickets-139116183249?fbclid=IwAR1imxI54J2O2iUAaGl_iWkHo3T40VubKKHn19ecytZ1X6eTN9Yo0cZ4gIw

GIVE-BACK #3: A Classic(al) Mixtape for our Sponsors!

The Premiere Cast of “The Second Sight” has put together a Classic(al) Mixtape – with recordings of a variety of classical arias and art songs – for “Sponsors” who donate $250 or more. As all give-backs are cumulative, at this donation level, you will also receive a Second Sight art print, an individualized page of the opera score, and of course a personalized thank you note recognizing your donation’s tax-deductible status. To donate: Go to https://www.asiwny.org/donate/ , then scroll down to choose “Donate to a Fiscal Sponsor Client” and write “for Sotto Voce” in the NOTES section!