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Encompass New Opera Theatre Presents: Unheard Voices: An Immigrant’s Dream

Originally Aired: Sunday, June 9, 2024


Encompass New Opera Theatre presents a dazzling afternoon to celebrate the rich cultural tapestry that is the very fabric of America, whether you, your parents, or your ancestors from long ago immigrated here. Unheard Voices: An Immigrant’s Dream, will feature world premieres sung by the gifted Salvador/American tenor Oswaldo Iraheta with flutist Jessica Aura Taskov, as well as the riveting composer Richard Pearson Thomas with cellist Valeriya Sholokhova. Soprano MaKayla McDonald and the international Ukrainian/Russian duo of Sky Caravan – Milena Dawidowicz, violin and Elena Panova, piano will perform pieces that resonate with today.

Unheard Voices: An Immigrant’s Dream takes us on a musical odyssey with roots in El Salvador, Argentina, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine. Ancestral rhythms, folkloric, and new music will mingle with the soaring voices of opera to paint a vibrant mural of the immigrant experience.

With ancestral voices from his indigenous roots, tenor Oswaldo Iraheta guides us to the heart of Argentina (Angel E. Lasala) and El Salvador (Juan Guerra Gonzalez) through the arduous journey of crossing the Rio Grande with “By the River” (Maury Yeston) and “Polo” (Manuel de Falla). Soprano MaKayla McDonald will perform the compelling aria from Menotti’s The Consul, revealing the challenges of trying to start a life in a new country.

Alma Swansson’s Prayers, a piano and cello premiere by Richard Pearson Thomas, reflects on his great grandmother as a young girl sent to America in 1899 with only a note pinned to her jacket never to see her family again. This tribute expresses the courage, longing, and hope that transcends time and bridges all generations.

Sky Caravan will perform an exciting Romanian medley, as well as John Williams’ Theme from Schindler’s List, and Melody by the Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk, which honors the unwavering spirit of the people of Ukraine.

Cellist Valeriya Sholokhova and Flutist Jessica Aura Taskov will perform premiere works on the program.

Following the performance, there will be a reception to meet the artists!

This concert re-launches the highly successfully Paradigm Shifts Music Festival, the Encompass educational and outreach program bridging indigenous cultures, women’s wisdom, and the global environmental/social justice movements through music. Nancy Rhodes, Artistic Director of Encompass, will curate/direct, and Richard Pearson Thomas, will serve as music director/pianist.


Presented by Encompass New Opera Theatre


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