Why Opera Will Never Die

Why Opera Will Never Die

San Miguel PEN 2020 Winter Lecture
“To See Your Soul: Opera’s Transformative Power”
By Cori Ellison
Tue, Feb 25, 6:30pm
Rosewood Hotel Ballroom
Nemesio Diez 11
In English and Spanish
150 pesos
People under 25 and Migrants Free

By Signe Hammer

Photos: Cori Ellison

Why, when many have declared opera an outmoded art form, does it continue both to thrill so many fans and to reinvent itself? Join PEN and Opera San Miguel in the Hotel Rosewood ballroom on Tuesday, Feb 18, at 6:30pm, to hear celebrated opera dramaturg, teacher, and mentor Cori Ellison explore the enduring dynamism of this musical form in “To See Your Soul: Opera’s Transformative Power.”

Special Location: Rosewood Hotel Ballroom, Nemesio Diez 11, in a joint presentation with Opera San Miguel, which is holding its 12th-annual Concurso San Miguel de Allende, the nationwide contest for young Mexican singers. Ellison is a 2020 Concurso judge.

“These days,” says Ellison, “one often hears that opera is irrelevant, outdated, dying, off the radar of the wider culture. Yet if we stop and look around us carefully, we see and hear opera used constantly as a symbol of hope, love, freedom, and transcendence. In this talk, we’ll explore how and why such precious spiritual qualities are opera’s birthright and enduring gift to humanity.”

 Ellison, a leading creative figure in the opera world, is staff dramaturg at the Santa Fe Opera and a member of the Vocal Arts Faculty at The Juilliard School, as well as a teaching mentor at American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program. She previously served as staff dramaturg at New York City Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival.

What is a dramaturg? According to Ellison, it is “the impeccably informed advocate for the composer and librettist (living or dead), the bridge between the creators, producers, performers, scholars, and audiences of opera.” In this role, she helps “to shape repertoire choices and new productions,” as well as “overseeing company publications, curating and presenting outreach programs, and striving for all of these endeavors to spring seamlessly from the company’s artistic vision.”

San Miguel PEN is a chapter of PEN International, the organization of writers that fights for freedom of expression around the world. The 150 peso admission helps fund local activities. Join PEN for dinner afterward at Café Rama, down the street from the Rosewood. Tickets at Ticket Central in la Biblioteca or at the door. For more information, visit sanmiguelpen.com.