Sf Opera’s “In Song” Video Series Wins 2022 Webby People’S Voice Award

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There’s big cheer at the War Memorial Opera House this week – San Francisco’s mighty opera house hit a home run at the 26th Annual Webby Awards.

“In Song,” the opera company’s five-episode series of free online videos featuring a culturally diverse lineup of singers telling intimate stories, with music, about the origins of their careers and their commitment to their art, won the Webby People’s Voice 2022 Award. In doing so, the series beat competitors such as National Public Radio and SoundCloud by garnering the most online votes between April 5 and April 21 for what The New York Times dubbed “the internet’s highest honor.”

Organized by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the Webbies have been honoring the best the internet has to offer since 1996. The People’s Voice portion of the awards set a record this year, with some 500,000 users voting more than 2 million votes. for their favorite videos, podcasts, websites, games, apps and other categories.

Launched in March 2021 in collaboration with New York-based arts media company Lumahai Productions, the Opera‘s “In Song” series has been shot in locations as diverse as Nashville, Tennessee, and Cairo, Egypt. Although each episode is less than 20 minutes long, overall they offer viewers not only a demonstration of the immense talents of these singers, but also interesting insights, through touching anecdotes or snippets of their interactions with other artists, on what motivates them.

He first took us into the life of African-American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, raised in Washington State by parents who moved from Georgia and Maryland specifically in search of a new home. where they would find more freedom to raise a family. We see how family and church have influenced her, we hear her profess that while singing, “what I do is what my soul feels”, and we are treated to spirituals and German lieder.

Then there was an eye-opening session with the great Samoan tenor Pene Pati, seen in the joyous company of his friends and family in New Zealand, who confessed that as a child he found music “so rooted in our culture, I thought everyone was singing.” His musical snippets included both traditional Samoan music and Italian songs.


The third ‘In Song’ artist was mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, who described her upbringing in rural Georgia and her early experiences with classical music as a ‘rebellious’ teenager, but returned to her roots here in collaboration with winning banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck. of 15 Grammy Awards. Together they perform both music by Henry Purcell and traditional Appalachian folk ballads, in an episode produced in partnership with the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

An exuberant Mexican tenor, Arturo Chacon-Cruz, was next, shown in Miami rehearsing the young members of a fledgling mariachi band and declaring that, although singing was part of his daily life as a child, ” it was never presented as a possibility for a job!” He also talked about the “serenata”, a sentimental, funny and utterly poignant tradition of how a marriage proposal is undertaken in Mexico. Spanish and Italian songs, as well as mariachi music are in the episode, co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Mexico in Miami and the Mexican American Council.

We were then transported to Cairo, where Egyptian-born soprano Amina Edris, surrounded by her extended family and party-going friends, spoke of the influence of her oud-playing uncle, who exposed her to both to Arabic music and the exciting singing of opera. starring Maria Callas. His musical excerpts included both French art songs and Egyptian popular songs.

The five “In Song” videos are still available, free of charge, on the Opera’s website, https://www.sfopera.com/insong, and on its YouTube and Facebook channels, along with more content and conversations between the artists and director Elena Park of Lumahai Productions.

Later this summer, the opera will stage a sixth episode “In Song,” featuring young Chinese soprano Meigui Zhang, a former vocalist from the Merola program who will make her SF opera main stage debut in the revival of “Dream” by Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang. of the Red Room” from June 14 to July 3.

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Copyright © 2022 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, redistribution, or other reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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