Sotto Voce is a collectively run opera company based in Buffalo NY. Our repertoire consists of both canonical and new dramatic vocal works and our performances feature both local and national talent.

Our mission is…

  • to celebrate the power of the human voice through spellbinding vocal performances that showcase bel canto technique
  • to work with artists in a collaborative manner that gives talent the support it needs to meet and express its potential
  • to present music drama in innovative performance contexts that reimagine familiar stories and bring to life new ones

Sotto Voce’s Core Team consists of Jessie Downs (founder, soprano, conductor, and composer), Julia Anne Cordani (founding member, soprano, and conductor), and Alex Huddleston (composer, stage and film director). To read about what each of our team members brings to Sotto Voce’s unique productions, read their Directors’ Statements below [COMING SOON]!

Sotto Voce’s History:

Sotto Voce was founded in 2016 by Dr. Jessie Downs. Although the collective’s focus was always on celebrating the power of vocal music-making, it initially carried out its mission through the presentation of works by living composers. While many of Sotto Voce’s earlier performances were presented in concert formats, some of the earliest Sotto Voce projects also foreshadowed the organization’s move towards music drama – such as a living installation of Julius Eastman’s “Buddha” at the Burchfield Penney Art Gallery and a sharing of Pauline Oliveros’s “Sonic Tonic” as a participatory opera at The Cass Project. In 2021, the collective ventured into the world of opera proper with the premiere production of Jessie’s The Second Sight. After Jessie took some time away to work on other passion projects, she again teamed up with founding member Julia Anne Cordani to relaunch the organization in 2023. Jessie and Julia were joined by Jessie’s husband and creative partner Alex Huddleston, who had recently teamed up with Jessie to film a production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore that Jessie conducted, and to co-direct Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the UU Church of Buffalo in May 2023. Both of these projects served as inspiration for Sotto Voce’s new model. The collective’s relaunch – currently underway – marks the organization’s shift to producing operas and an expansion into canonical repertoire. With Alex’s interests in visual storytelling on film, the group’s performance contexts have also expanded in exciting ways. Stay tuned as our story continues!