December 1, 2020

Dear Friends,

We hope you enjoyed a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday. We at Hartford Opera Theater are so thankful for your continued support of our programs. We love bringing you new and exciting contemporary opera! 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for us all; and while we worked to pick up the pieces and reinvent our planned season, we also watched as our community, and communities around the country, took up the rallying cry of Black Lives Matter.  The staff and board of HOT reflected upon these major social upheavals and put into action a plan for how HOT could be more anti-racist and supportive to everyone deeply affected by the pandemic. Our approach was two-fold: administratively, we participated in the Catalyst for the Arts program through the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, where we worked with 15 other Hartford arts organizations to strengthen our community through stronger partnerships, greater accessibility, and increased work to identify and eliminate racial disparities and biases; artistically, we commissioned a new mini-opera about a family dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Fortune’s Children, an opera by New in November alumnus composer David Wolfson, was conceived and written specifically to be performed over Zoom. Of course we miss being in the theater and collaborating live with our friends, but we are so excited about the possibilities of harnessing technology to enhance our future productions.

New in November continues to be our flagship event, and this year we made the difficult decision to postpone what would have been our eleventh annual festival.  We did, however, hold our call for scores, and chose four wonderful new operas as the NIN 11 finalists; these four operas: Having Guests for Dinner by Nicholas Bentz, these wings are meant to fly by Steven Serpa, The Total Spiritual by Beth Ratay, and The Secret Life of Siri by Luisa Matthnyssens will be performed in November of 2021.  In honor of our festival weekend, we were proud to produce and release a short video preview of these wings are meant to fly, which is a response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. That beautiful video is still viewable on our Facebook page.

Rather than deter us, our quarantine spurred us to actively reach out and meet new friends and collaborators. Next year we will be working with the Hill-Stead Museum to produce a trio of short operas on children’s stories. Folxtales will pair HOT’s commitment to mount new works with our mission to represent the diversity of Hartford on stage; the operas are by female and non-binary identifying composers, and feature stories that are non-traditional, but still family-friendly.

Our small and mighty group was not deterred by the major blows of 2020. We have reflected, considered, and put to action our mission to present new and exciting contemporary opera and take one more step toward our vision for establishing Opera for the 22nd Century.


Lisabeth Miller
Artistic Director

Hartford Opera Theater

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