Spotlight Feature - Ashi Day


Welcome back to Spotlight Sundays! We're excited to tell you about our spring production entitled: Folxtales featuring three family-friendly chamber operas. Join us on Saturday, June 4 at the Charter Oak Cultural Center and on Sunday, June 5 at the Hill-Stead Museum, both at 3pm. Tickets are now on sale for both locations and can be purchased through our website. We hope you will join us for a memorable afternoon of chamber operas for children that the whole family will enjoy. Today we're thrilled to introduce the composer/librettist behind our first featured opera: The Green Child. We are delighted to welcome composer and librettist, Ashi Day. We hope you enjoy learning about Ashi, her opera, and what Opera for the 22nd Century means to her.

 

Ashi Day’s vocally-driven works explore the intersections between music and theater; strategic humor and absurdity; and the interplay between the experiences of performers, audiences, and the canon. She also writes a lot of songs about animals.


Her two short mono-operas, For Whom the Dog Tolls and The Green Child, intentionally provide sopranos with the rare opportunity to be playful and victorious for most of the plot, while subtly exploring who is allowed to move freely through the world. She received a 2022 Opera America Discovery Grant for Women Composers award to develop her third opera, Waking the Witch, a one-act piece for countertenor and Pierrot ensemble in which the audience is investigated for suspected sorcery. Her art songs, choral pieces, and theatrical works have been commissioned or performed by Artifice, Whistling Hens, Juventas New Music Ensemble, Calliope’s Call, N.E.O. Voice Festival, Capital Fringe, American University, Washington State University, Denison TUTTI, StageFree, District New Music Coalition, and more.


Ashi is a 2021 DC Arts and Humanities Fellow. A former elementary school music teacher, she now manages several education programs for the Kennedy Center and the Washington National Opera. To learn more about Ashi and her music, visit her website: ashi-day.com


Here is what Ashi wants HOTOpera fans to know about The Green Child :

The Green Child is a 15-min. mini-play for soprano and clarinet based on the possibly-true 12th-Century English legend of the green children of Woolpit, in which one or two mysterious green children showed up in the woods outside of town, unable to speak the language and in need of help. It’s also based on Marcel Schwab’s French version of the story, The Green She-Devil. A fairytale told in broad strokes, the green girl (clarinet) and a girl from the village (soprano) take turns rescuing each other, first from the physical dangers of being young and alone, and later from the danger of a world that will try to inscribe its own arbitrary roles and boundaries. The piece was commissioned by the duo Whistling Hens (Jennifer Piazza-Pick and Natalie Groom), and asks the instrumentalist and singer each to play a character. While good for children, this opera is written, with love, for grown people.


Here is what Ashi had to say about Opera for the 22nd Century:

I want to see opera artists and companies of today returning to what I imagine as the fundamental inquiry that got us this genre in the first place: How can we take an ancient tradition of music + story and recreate it for us, for the time we’re in now? I’d like us to let go of all the things that came in between way-back-when and now unless they serve us. Instead, let’s think about all the tools we might have at our disposal, all the types of people who know about various aspects of music and storytelling and collaborating, and what will resonate with people today. Then, let’s create whatever and however will be most effective and most bighearted towards ourselves, our collaborators, our current and future performers, and anyone who might or see and hear our work.


 

Thank you for tuning in to our Spotlight series featuring Ashi Day and her opera: The Green Child. Follow our social media pages this week to learn more about Folxtales, our cast and creative team and our three operas. We begin rehearsals for Folxtales next week and can't wait to begin preparing this family-friendly program for you. Be sure to purchase your TICKETS for Folxtales so you don't miss out on this heartwarming afternoon of family-friendly opera.

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