Seattle Opera today announced Belonging(s), a new community engagement project that will use personal stories of Puget Sound area residents to create a new kind of homegrown opera.Â The first phase of this multi-year project involves collecting hundreds of stories, each centering on a cherished belonging that embodies struggle, success, and identity.Â Story collection is underway, and continues, in the coming weeks, at a Belonging(s) video booth in the lobby of McCaw Hall before each performance of Porgy and Bess.
â€œOpera is often described in terms of its component parts, or its 400-year old Western European history,â€ says Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera. â€œIâ€™m interested in finding ways that we can think more broadly about opera, as a celebration of the stories we share and the details that make us unique.â€
Belonging(s) begins with a digital quiltâ€”an online repository of videos created by you, your friends, and the people you pass on the streetâ€”that tell stories of our most precious possessions: those objects or memories that help us understand our lives, our relationships, and our legacies.Â From the quilt will come a newly commissioned opera, to be produced in venues throughout the Puget Sound region.Â A composer and librettistâ€”to be identified in an upcoming announcementâ€”will select a small number of stories from the quilt to create an opera that explores the time and place in which we live.
â€œSeattle Opera performs Wagnerâ€™s Ring cycle every four years,â€ says Seattle Opera Education Director Sue Elliott. â€œThe magic ring is an object upon which an entire world projects its conflicts and history.Â Drawing inspiration from the Ring, weâ€™re using stories of our most precious possessions to create new work as part of a local, communal arts practice, using ideas and images from you, your friends, and your neighbors.â€