Mina's Corner

Dear Friends,

The coming season – our 18th – is our most inspiring and illuminating yet. Our November 8, 2015 concert features the world premiere of MOR’s newest commission: captivating dances for Bohuslav Martinů’s sprightly jazz ballet La Revue de Cuisine, choreographed by the brilliant Olivier Wevers of Whim W’Him Contemporary Dance Ensemble. The Seattle Times has praised Wevers’ extraordinary ability to set mood and atmosphere through dance, and you’ll be swept away by this evocation of exuberant Parisian musical life between the world wars. Soon after, Europe was plunged into darkness, and on the same program you’ll hear a new arrangement of haunting songs from the Vilna ghetto.  These songs stand as eloquent testimony to the courage of those who bared their souls though music even in the bleakest of times.

On May 22, 2016 you’ll experience an event that the entire musical world is awaiting: the world premiere of Out of Darkness, a compelling two-act opera by Jake Heggie.  Headlined on the front cover of this month’s Opera News, Heggie is arguably the most important opera composer of our day.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Mr. Heggie may well be the richest, most accessible, most captivating opera composer since Benjamin Britten  . .  . He reduces major universal issues to credible personal stories, to which a listener can connect.”  Out of Darkness is a powerful portrait of survival that conveys the vastness of the Holocaust’s scope through emotionally rich depictions of those caught in its grasp.  The opera offers compelling musical witness to survival in the face of unimaginable adversity.

Our production features a world-class cast.  Mezzo soprano Catherine Cook has performed with leading companies around the world in roles that range from Carmen to her unforgettable portrayal of Gertrude Stein in MOR’s production of Tom Cipullo’s After Life.  With a powerful voice and an arresting stage presence, baritone Michael Mayes is known for his consummate portrayals of iconic characters in the operatic repertoire, and for his rare gift for interpreting new works. Soprano Caitlin Lynch, who created the unforgettable role of Krystyna Zywulska in MOR’s premiere of Heggie’s Another Sunrise, returns in this production. Soprano Ava Pine has dazzled audiences and critics with her vocalism and her vivid dramatic portraits on stage.  Baritone Robert Orth, who portrayed Pablo Picasso in After Life, returns in a compelling dramatic role.

Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer will be with us for this major opera premiere, and we hope you’ll join in the celebration with a champagne toast and festive dinner after the show!  We’ll send details for this gala later this year.

These are only a few highlights of a season you won’t want to miss, and it would mean so much to me for you to be part of it.  Together we’ll experience very special musical moments, and we’ll also help ensure that the voices of musical witness will be heard.  

With endless gratitude,

Mina Miller, Artistic Director