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“The Beauty That Still Remains” press release

FROM THE PAGE TO THE VIRTUAL STAGE: ON SITE OPERA PRODUCES FIRST  OPERA BY MAIL EXPERIENCE WITH THE BEAUTY THAT STILL REMAINS: DIARIES IN SONG

Three Unique Experiences Captured in Digital Recordings and Keepsake Diaries to Immortalized Words of Solace, Heartbreak and Hope

NEW YORK, October 7, 2020 –  On Site Opera, New York’s pioneering opera company rooted in site-specific storytelling and the immersive experience, is taking music to the mail with The Beauty That Still Remains: Diaries in Song beginning this November and available for purchase through February. Incorporating the music of Leoš Janáček and the text of Ozef Kalda in The Diary of the One Who Vanished, the music of Dominick Argento and text by Virginia Woolf, in From The Diary of Virginia Woolf, and the music of Juliana Hall and text from Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl in A World Turned Upside Down, this 3-part production provides ticket holders with an immersive audio experience of music, story-telling and nostalgia, keepsake diaries by mail with texts, articles, program notes and more. Virtual panel discussions surrounding each diary will also held online free for ticket holders.

Audiences can purchase the complete series of three song cycles or opt for individual cycles. The first song cycle, The Diary of the One Who Vanished will arrive in mailboxes as early as November 16. Composer Leoš Janáček wrote the cycle in 1917 when he became obsessed with a married woman 40 years his junior. Emotional anguish led him to write more than 700 love letters and this haunting 22-part song cycle about a village boy who falls in love with a gypsy girl and decides to leave his family and village to be with her. The songs are an aching self-portrait of infatuation, identity, and ultimately, alienation. This work, originally written in Czech, will be performed in English in a translation by Bernard Keefe. Additionally, an accompanying article written by On Site Opera’s Music Director Geoff McDonald will be included in the diary materials.

Two weeks later, the second song cycle, From The Diary of Virginia Woolf by Dominick Argento, will begin to arrive in mailboxes. A 1975 Pulitzer Prize winner for Music, this 8-part song cycle sets highly confessional diary texts that illuminate English writer Virginia Woolf’s inward struggles and self-discovery leading up to the weeks before her suicide in 1941. Reflective in the musical melodies, the work contains portions of the personal journey the writer kept over a period of 22 years: from introspective and contemplative moments, to accounts of people encountered, as well as events and places visited. A writer most known for her stream of consciousness style, the work captures a cadence and flow of free-form writings while creating a melodically rich and varying work from a mind suffering from mental illness. An article written by Dr. Drew Shannon, the historian of the International Virginia Woolf Society, will be included in the diary materials to provide additional background and context of Woolf and her celebrated diary.

A World Turned Upside Down, the final work, arriving in mailboxes in the weeks to follow, comes from the secret annex of the young German-Dutch diarist and most well-known Jewish victim of the Holocaust, Anne Frank. Composed by Juliana Hall in 2016, these 7 songs for soprano and piano reflect the somber fear she felt of her world being upturned when suddenly the threat of the Nazi regime touched her family during World War II. The song cycle brings to life through music the terror that Anne and her family felt as they tried to survive persecution amid the most dangerous of circumstances. Additional scholarly materials will be available for ticket holders on the life and experiences of Anne Frank. An article on the diary’s journey from private musings to international sensation written by award-winning journalist Erin Blakemore will accompany the cycle.

“Performing arts organizations have two options right now—continue to create and keep moving forward, or risk closing their doors permanently,” considers Eric Einhorn, the company’s General and Artistic Director. “Since words and music are two of our most universal communicators, merging them together in this unique remote experience celebrates those who have documented their own challenges throughout history in a deeply personal way while continuing to cultivate touchpoints for art, humanity and inspiration. While opera has never been delivered by mail in this way before, there is no better way to experience the authentic emotions of our three protagonists than with a replica of their text in a diary and an intimate recorded experience available to audiences everywhere.”

The cast of The Beauty That Still Remains: Diaries in Song includes tenor Bernard Holcomb, mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cariddi, soprano Cristina Maria Castro, and pianist Howard Watkins. The series is Music Directed by Geoffrey McDonald, and Directed by Eric Einhorn.

SCHEDULE AND TICKET INFORMATION

All diaries will go on sale on November 1 and will be available for purchase through mid-February at https://osopera.org
Shipping begins November 16: The Diary of the One Who Vanished
Shipping begins November 30: From The Diary of Virginia Woolf
Shipping begins December 14: A World Turned Upside Down

Individual song cycles are available for $45. The full series, which includes a keepsake box to house all three diaries, is available for $120.

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ABOUT ON SITE OPERA

Founded in 2012, On Site Opera is the leading presenter of site-specific operas in non- traditional venues throughout New York City. Rooted in collaboration and storytelling, On Site Opera celebrates the connection between artist and audience through highly-curated experiences led by seasoned opera artists and bold and innovative creative teams. To date, OSO has produced 18 operas in as many unique locations to critical acclaim, including Shostakovich’s The Tale of The Silly Baby Mouse using large-scale puppets in performances for families at the Bronx Zoo; Gershwin’s Blue Monday in the historic Cotton Club of Harlem; and Rameau’s Pygmalion in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, which explored new technology in opera through the use of Google Glass supertitles. Each production invites New Yorkers to explore their city in new and unique ways, while cultivating a new generation of opera audiences.

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