UnShakable is an opera composed by Performance Santa Fe’s Artistic Director Joseph Illick with a libretto by Andrea Fellows Walters, the Opera’s Director of Community Engagement.
Set in an abandoned theater in New Mexico 25 years in the future, UnShakeable is the story of Wyatt and Meridian, Shakespearean actors and former lovers who have varying degrees of memory loss due to Erasure, a viral pandemic resulting in memory loss. Separated from Meridian at the start of the viral pandemic, Wyatt has been searching for his love ever since. Exploring themes of memory, connection, and the power of story, UnShakeable incorporates language from some of Shakespeare’s iconic works to create a modern romance.
UnShakeable premiered in April 2016 with sold-out performances. Its commission and production was made possible by a deeply appreciated grant from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation.
SHOES FOR THE SANTO NIÑO
A one act opera commissioned by The University of New Mexico for the New Mexico Centenary
Shoes for the Santo Niño is the story of Julianita, the youngest of eleven children, who slips out of her home one evening to take a pair of “practical” shoes, that she has made, to the Santo Niño. Upon entering the church the Santo Niño and saints come to life and Julianita is whisked off into an evening of mystery, magic and miracles.
Commissioned for The Santa Fe Opera’s 50th Anniversary, this one-act opera was presented on the 75th Commemoration of the development of the atomic bomb. Trinity takes place in southern New Mexico in the present day and during World War II.
The story begins at Trinity Test Site, New Mexico, present day. A teenage boy, Atom, is pushed into a room where an older woman already sits. He was caught trying to take a piece of Trinitite from the Trinity test site. He does not see the older woman, at first, and is muttering to himself. Unable to avoid listening to him the older woman interrupts his mutterings after hearing him mention the Trinitite. She pulls from her vast bag, her own rock, a geode. We are then transported to the past when the older woman, whose name we learn is Tessa, was also a teenager. It is during WWII and Prisoners of War (POWs) have been transferred to New Mexico. Young Tessa meets Carlo, an Italian POW, and over time, they develop a friendship, as he introduces her to opera and his love of music. Together they discover that music provides solace when all hope appears gone. Returning to the present, the older Tessa now passes this message on to Atom.
Libretto: Andrea Fellows Walters
Music Director: Wojciech Milewski
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