Founder Gail Simpson’s acceptance speech for winning Bronze at the Anthem Awards!
“I was in Ethiopia when I got the email saying “Activist Aria: More Perfect Union” had won an Anthem Award. Here is the “acceptance speech” I recorded in my Addis Ababa hotel – actually on the floor in the elevator lobby between bells and passing guests!! Thank you The The Anthem Awards for the honor. Thank you Shellie Carlson and Ayeneabeba Maru, my sisters at New Leaf Ethiopia Foundation for helping me record this – and for so much more!! The “speech” is supposed to be a one-sentence call to action that summarizes the message of the video. How did I do?”
Opera Frontier’s collaboration with Circus Abyssinia fused opera, circus arts and Ethiopian cultural elements into something interesting enough to earn this Bronze Telly Award for “Online, General Music Video”. We are proud to be in the company of such artists as Jon Batiste of “The Late Show”. See the list
The National Association of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is the organization behind the Emmy Awards. This article appeared in the April newsletter of the SF/Northern California Chapter. Read full article
“Activist Aria: More Perfect Union” is a finalist!!!! Our very first film recognition!!
During Covid lockdown, Opera Frontier entered film festivals for the first time, hoping to reach new audiences. In March we learned that “Activist Aria: More Perfect Union” was a Finalist nominated for Best Experimental Film in the Indie Short Fest of the LA International Film Festival.
Featured image: Trophy: Indie Short Fest, LA International Film Festival
Activist Aria Panel Discussion with Gail Simpson, William Thomas Hodgson, Garret McQueen and Steve Shlisky
Join Opera Frontier founder Gail Simpson as she discusses “Activist Aria: More Perfect Union” with host William Thomas Hodgson and panelists Garrett McQueen, a classical musician, and Steve Shlisky, an Emmy-award winning filmmaker.
“Activist Aria: More Perfect Union” addresses America’s profound and self-evident need to be ‘more perfect.’ In the new work, a frothy Strauss composition becomes the container to hold both the appealing vision and the harsh reality of America, within which we find hope for its future.
NEW Opera Frontier Video: Activist Aria: More Perfect Union
Responding to the political turmoil during the 2020 covid lockdown, Opera Frontier created this musical documentary short film. Driven by the musical arc of a brilliant Johann Strauss aria (from Die Fledermaus), the film contrasts the appealing vision and the harsh reality of America, illuminating its profound and self-evident need to become “more perfect”. As the tempo of the music quickens, the film turns to a celebration of successful and ongoing struggles for social justice and human rights. Simpson’s lyrics reference inspiring words by Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton!
Prepared for March 8, 2020 to be broadcast in Ethiopia, founder and artistic director Gail Simpson shares her thoughts about how “Rejoice Abyssinia” celebrates women’s history and the impact young women can have on the world.
In January 2019, Opera Frontier went to Addis Ababa Ethiopia to collaborate with Circus Abyssinia. This piece features western classical music and circus arts, fused with traditional Ethiopian instruments and dance. For the collaboration, Opera Frontier repurposed an aria from Handel’s Messiah (Rejoice Greatly) with lyrics that place the four young women — Ethiopian circus artists — at the center of an empowering scene.
OPERA FRONTIER MADE THE NEWS AGAIN! This time we made it internationally! On January 20, 2019, founder and artistic director Gail Simpson was interviewed on Fana TV in Addis Ababa where she had just collaborated with Circus Abyssinia in the filming of what would become the performance piece, “Rejoice Abyssinia”.
These performances feature Heidi Moss Erickson, Gail Simpson, Michael Taylor and the Thalea String Quartet.
Violettas Shift: Violetta’s glorious aria from La Traviata re-imagined as a conversation between two close friends at the end of their shift at the restaurant. They review the delights and sorrows of love, ultimately taking comfort in their friendship and their patrons’ left-over wine.
Flights of Fancy: A Song Cycle by Michael Taylor based on tasting notes Tasting Notes are the formulaic comments that wine critics serve up in their wine reviews. It is a peculiar but important form of literature, especially for winemakers. Opera Frontier decided to set some to music, recruiting composer Michael Taylor for the task. Here are the first two songs.
1) Tasting Notes: Two singers share a glass of wine. One singer describes award-winning Mollydooker 2012 Carnival of Love Shiraz using the tasting notes written by Wine Spectator’s Editor-at-Large, Harvey Steiman (with his permission.) The other singer savors a memory triggered by the taste – of a distant summer by the lake.
Opera Frontier in the News-Valentine’s Day Surprise at the Palace Hotel
Opera Frontier in the News-Valentine’s Day Surprise at the Palace Hotel OPERA FRONTIER MADE THE NEWS! Opera Frontier Popped-up to surprise dinners at the Palace hotel’s Valentine’s Brunch. It was featured on the local news channel KGO TV 11:00 pm News, Feb 13, 2011!