Songs of Summer: Angel Blue’s Magical Virtual Debut

Review of Songs of Summer part of Seattle Opera's Opera At Home series.
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

Blue Angel 3 Sonya Garza

Virtual art has become the predominant form of expression and community during coronavirus, perhaps because it has the ability to connect audiences and creators alike: the audience sitting in their homes with a cup of coffee, and the creators either alone in a studio or sitting in their own living room. Online art brings connection and empathy to quarantine audiences around the world. Virtual art is human; it’s how we can stay tied to each other in these months of fear and uncertainty.

A beloved Seattle organization that recognizes the power in online performance is Seattle Opera: their website continues the Opera’s work through (sometimes) lonely screens, with performances that are updated weekly. The organization offers a host of ways to engage in opera during quarantine, and their Opera At Home programming is great for those who want to learn more about the medium.

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The Art of Procrastination

Teen Editorial Staff May 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Anya Shukla and Kendall Kieras!

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Our quarantine art viewing is still going strong! One thing we have noticed during online school, however, is that we find ourselves procrastinating far more than we used to. Our emails are open, our phones are right next to us, and YouTube and Netflix are only one click away…

There’s also a lot to procrastinate! Some may say that because AP tests are only forty-five minutes, they cause less stress; others believe that because many final exams have been canceled, we don’t need to study; still others think that because many schools are going pass/fail, grades don’t matter anymore. To all those people, we say only this: we’re teenagers, and even when it’s not necessary, we make procrastinating a full-time job! (Also, do you see how we slid in an AP-English-worthy concession there? Take notes, College Board.)

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Virtual World? See Virtual Art!

Editorial written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

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Is anyone else very, very, very, bored? It’s weird to think that not even a month ago, we were all living entirely different lives. On March 1st, we were still going about our normal routines: taking buses to school, eating lunch (and sharing food!) with friends, and of course, using our TeenTix passes. But all that has changed. Now, I go to my classes via Zoom, I take a walk around the block, and, like everyone else, I try my best to help contain COVID-19. To fill my boredom, I have participated in lots of virtual art. There are many lessons we have learned since quarantine and one of the big ones is that humans are adaptable; we change to fit our environment no matter how drastic the situation.

Just like how we have had to adapt, so has art, by catering to an online audience. One can no longer fill McCaw Hall or the beautiful MOHAI Museum but can instead fill an infinite number of virtual seats through a computer screen. Currently, Jet City Improv is hosting a virtual happy hour via Twitch. Seattle Opera and Seattle Art Museum have created an interactive page full of weekly podcasts, interviews, and hand-picked playlists. And those are just a few of the events going on this month! I love being able to support local art right from my bed by interacting, sharing, and donating to their websites. But the true power of virtual art is the ability to experience it from anywhere, try something new, and hear the voices of people from all over the world.

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Yardbird Sings A New Tune

Review of Charlie Parker's Yardbird at Seattle Opera.
Written by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Ts Flock.

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A flash of light, a sign reading “Birdland” descending and spanning the length of the stage, directly beneath, a lone man staring at his own corpse. These elements serve to transform 7:30 pm on a Wednesday to a midnight in the mid-1950s at Seattle Opera’s latest production, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, inspired by the life (and afterlife) of jazz icon Charlie Parker. The opera begins at the moment of Parker’s death from a heroin overdose...in the bed of his socialite lover at a segregated hotel. As a spirit, he suddenly finds himself back at Birdland bar, where he had been banned years before for drunken conduct, despite the bar being named after him.

The libretto, written by Bridgette A. Wimberly, follows Parker as he reconciles with his life, and attempts to write a classical symphony as a ghost. Yardbird is the next step in a long line of biographical productions attempting to revive legendary figures, following The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, performed last year at the Seattle Opera. Frederick Ballentine (Charlie Parker) & Angela Brown (Addie Parker) in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at Seattle Opera. Photo by Sunny Martini.

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Fresher Start!

Teen Editorial Staff March 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras!

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We all promise ourselves that the new year will bring a “new me,” but let’s all be honest and admit that the few people among us who still maintain resolutions have already forgotten about them by now. Who even designed the calendar system so that the year would start in the middle of winter? No, the true start of the year is now, with the beginning of Spring! It’s bright, it’s sunny, and we’ve got just the art to give you that fresh start we all need right now!

If you’re looking to shock yourself awake this Spring, there’s no better place to start than Rebecca Brewer’s Natural Horror at the Frye Art Museum. Toying with the psychological effect of the relationship between humans and the natural world, the pieces seem to come alive with their bold and flowing shapes evoking expressionistic painting through the medium of crafts.

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#adulting: A New Opera for the Young at Heart

Review of #adulting at 18th and Union

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sofia Gerrard and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson

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To many teens, opera can seem boring. But this descriptor is the antithesis of Low Brow Opera Collective’s opera #adulting. An outrageous take on life as a millennial Seattleite, #adulting is a relatable and modern revitalization of a classic art form.

Eschewing a continuous narrative, #adulting presented its story through a series of sketches that follow its protagonist Bucket and her colorful Craigslist-found roommates as they battle student loans, unemployment, Verizon customer service, and food theft. Each roommate (portrayed beautifully by Eric Angus Jeffords, Christine Oshiki, Krissy Terwilliger, and Jared White) serves as a caricature of a millennial stereotype. Their struggles were comically shallow, but the overarching theme of confusion and uncertainty was entirely relatable and surprisingly poignant. This relatability is in part thanks to the libretto by Natalie Stewart Elder and the score by John Ervin Brooks, which add to the comedic and melodramatic elements with apt emotional shifts.

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The Turn of the Screw: A Visually and Mentally Haunting Experience

Review of The Turn of the Screw at Seattle Opera. Written by TeenTix Press Corps Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Hannah Schoettmer!
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Seattle Opera's newest opera, an adaptation of the book The Turn of The Screw by Henry James, will leave you forever haunted by the spirits that reside in the Bly mansion. In mere minutes, we are staring into a somber world cast by phantom-like blue walls. What was most memorable to me in The Turn of The Screw was the attention put into the set. When looking at the stage, it was the little things I noticed, like the blue plaid design of the governesses skirt, or the haunting lights that illuminated the children’s mischievous faces. Seeing these set details, created by scenic designer Robert Dahlstrom, lighting designer Connie Yun, and production designer Adam Larsent, communicated to me the thoughts put into helping tell each piece of the story.

The Turn of the Screw by Seattle Opera. Photo by Philip Newton.

The set transported us into the world of a traditionally spooky haunted house. What begins as a brick wall against a gray background transforms into a stately home and a dreary lake. This wall gives us a glimpse into the lives of the two haunted souls who reside in the Bly Manor. This is very central to the story because everything we see is from the governess's perspective. Some may even say the governess is mad, which can be interpreted from the dialogue in the book. In turn, this wall represents the governess's mind and shows that perhaps some things have not played out the way we, the audience, have interpreted them to be. All this is woven together by some great lighting, one wall, and a powerful projector. In these scenes, color is used in a very clever and mysterious way. In Act One, the set is washed in a mundane gray that evokes a feeling of normality, or the very cliche saying “same old, same old.” As the story progresses, the color theme changes to undertones of blue. The transition to these colors gradually overwhelms the longer the governess stays at Bly Manor and the more invested we are in the plot. At the climax, we first catch a glimpse of the ghost of Peter Quint. His set is bathed in dark blue, despite being outside, foreshadowing our meeting him and hinting that there may be more to what we see. Later on, we see a chair washed in purple light, a murky lake with hidden secrets, and two twin beds left in the kind of darkness that makes you want to wrap a blanket around yourself and cower. These color choices and themes allude to a feeling of mystery and suspense that excites us and suggests a ghostly encounter by using colors that are mysterious and dark to remind us something's not quite right. These undertones also appear in the carefully curated clothing each character wears. My favorite costume, designed by the costume designer Deborah Trout, is that of Miss Jessel, consisted of an eerie plum colored dress.

The Turn of the Screw by Seattle Opera. Photo by Philip Newton.

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SPECIAL DEAL: 2 for $10 on Turn of the Screw

​Catch the last weekend of performances at a special price for TeenTix Members!

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Get in the spooky mood with this dark, mysterious opera!

Our generous friends at Seattle Opera are offering a special deal for their current production of The Turn of the Screw: TeenTix Members can see this opera at the 2 for $10 price at either of the closing weekend performances:

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Seattle Opera’s: La Traviata

An opera for die-hard-opera-fanatics and opera-newbies alike!

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After attending Seattle Opera’s: La Traviata, I can officially say that I have been to the Opera!

As a die-hard-theater-goer, I figured it was high time I had my first operatic experience, but I was unsure of where or what to attend as a newcomer. Luckily, I had the perfect friend to phone! I immediately rang my wonderful sister- a trained singer, an opera fanatic and a Senior in the Audio Engineering Program at Evergreen State college- and out of her mouth came five beautiful words “Let’s go see La Traviata.” She went on to explain that the easy-to-follow plot was exactly what a first-time opera attender would want, as well as, La Traviata was a classic that she’d been meaning to see live. With this, I knew we had to attend the show. When the fourteenth finally rolled around, we spent THREE HOURS doing our hair and makeup while listening to Aidan Lang’s La Traviata podcast (which the Seattle Opera oh-so-courteously emailed me prior to the show) on repeat. The time had finally come to strut our way to Mccaw Hall and take our seats in the stunning theater. Within moments of the first set of traditional red curtains being drawn, I was hooked- ready to delve into Violetta and Alfredo’s passionate story of lover’s heartache. The minimalist set- one pair of red curtains after another- allowed me to lock in on the plot and the singing, and Corinne Winters’ (Violetta) & Joshua Dennis’s (Alfredo) voices did not disappoint: seemingly soaring through the packed house with precision and ease. As well as the ensemble/party-goers looming presence over Violetta & Alfredo’s relationship was ever-present in the group-orientated choreography; along with, the push, pull and heartbreak of the young couples love being dynamically translated through the entrances and exits of existent/nonexistent red curtains. La Traviata’s fast pace and beautiful symbolism kept the audience on the edge of their seats for the entirety of the one-hour, fifty-minute production, and was the perfect Opera to see as a ‘newby’. Afterwards, I picked my sister’s brain to get an experienced Opera attender’s opinion and, shockingly enough, we agreed on a plethora of things. This experience just goes to show that whether you are a die-hard-theater-goer or a die-hard-opera-fanatic art is universal. I couldn’t have asked to see a better first-opera, and I’m very excited to farther expand my knowledge of opera. Also, If you haven’t had a taste of the opera scene yet either, La Traviata is playing at Mccaw Hall until January 28th, don't miss it!

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Interview: Speight Jenkins, General Director, Seattle Opera

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In September, after three decades of wowing Seattle audiences with amazing opera productions, award-winning Seattle Opera legend Speight Jenkins will step down as the General Director. I got a chance to sit down with him and gain some insight into his role as General Director, what he does, how he got there, his best advice for teens looking into arts careers, and some great advice for first-time opera goers.

Katelyn H. You are the General Director of the Opera. What does that mean?

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