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Director Spotlight - Moira O'Sullivan

Welcome back to our Opera for the 22nd Century blog! Today we begin our Spotlight Series -- featuring the amazing cast/creative team of Changing Fortunes - Part II of Fortunes Children: A Zoom Opera by David Wolfson. We hope to see you LIVE on Zoom on Friday, March 12 or Saturday, March 13 at 7pm. Hartford Opera Theater is pleased to welcome back director Moira O'Sullivan to direct Changing Fortunes. Moira made her HOTOpera debut directing excerpts from The Loathly Lady by Paul Richards/Wendy Steiner at our 8th annual New in November Festival; then returned to direct Triangle by Tony Solitro for NIN9 and returned the following season to direct Womb with a View by Beth Ratay at NIN10. We hope you enjoy learning about Moira's career and what returning for Changing Fortunes means to her.


Moira O'Sullivan is a director and actor based in NYC. Most recently, she directed The Mon Valley Medium as part of The Emerging Artists Festival in NYC which then transferred to Carnegie Stage in Pittsburgh. She has directed for Hartford Opera Theater's New in November Festival the last three years (A Womb with A View, The Loathly Lady and Triangle). Other credits include Rosemary (New Wave Theater Collective), and Insomniacs (Playhouse on Park). As an actor, she has been seen Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters and in regional theaters across New England. Favorite shows include Biloxi Blues, Oleanna, and It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. BFA NYU Tisch.


We recently interviewed Moira about returning to direct Changing Fortunes. Here's what she had to say:

HOTOpera: We're thrilled to have you back to direct the sequel to Fortune's Children: A Zoom Opera - Changing Fortunes. What have you been up to since FC Part I?

Moira: After Fortune's Children I went straight into assistant directing All is Calm at Playhouse on Park which was a hybrid stage play/filmed movie. I also launched my own podcast, Back in Town, where I interview artists about where they grew up and how it's impacted their work today. Available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!

HOTOpera: During our last interview, you told us how directing for Zoom is different from the stage. Is it easier to direct for zoom now that you're a veteran?

Moira: I definitely feel more comfortable directing on Zoom now that Fortune's Children was such a success! I think this medium offers creative advantages that traditional theaters do not. It's intimacy lends itself to creating a very conversational opera.

HOTOpera: How have the characters evolved since we last saw them? How has the appearance of the Mother (Sharon) changed the way the brothers conduct themselves?

Moira: As with many people during a pandemic, there are big life changes happening for everyone in the family. Living situations, employment, and health are just a few of the challenges facing the characters this time around. I'm thrilled to add the mother into the mix and spotlight how the pandemic is affecting her life as well.

HOTOpera: What virtual projects (opera, theater or otherwise) have inspired you since the beginning of COVID? Have they given you new ideas about how to create art in extenuating circumstances?

Moira: One of the most inspiring virtual pieces I've seen was the play What Do we Need to Talk About? by Richard Nelson that was streamed by The Public in NYC. It happened early in the pandemic and was the first time I saw someone write specifically for Zoom. It's a continuation of a series of plays about the Apple family and you got to see them come together on a Zoom call. It's so cool to then work on these operas, which feel like the next level of that kind of Zoom writing. Singing on a Zoom call is even more epic!

HOTOpera: What do you have to say to directors who are hesitant to participate in or organize a work created for Zoom?

Moira: I say go for it! There's no reason not to! It's a challenge, of course, but it's also exciting to change with the times and explore a previously unexplored medium! Who knows, it might even influence your work post-pandemic too.


Thank you for visiting our Opera for the 22nd Century blog! We hoped you enjoyed learning about Moira and her thoughts on Changing Fortunes. Stay tuned for our final interview before the world premiere with composer/librettist, David Wolfson. We hope to see you on Zoom on 3/12 or 3/13 at 7pm. Visit our website to learn more about Part II of this innovative chamber opera created for Zoom!


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