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Opera Parallèle: ‘Everest’ as Graphic Novel Opera Film - 2021 Music@Menlo: Gather - SF Mime Troupe: Tales of the Resistance, Volume 2: Persistence

Everest Opera Parallele Image.png
Opera Parallèle
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A scene from the graphic novel opera film 'Everest' by Opera Parallèle...


This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, guest host JoAnn Mar talks with directors Nicole Paiement and Brian Staufenbiel from San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle, about the opera ‘Everest’, reimagined as a graphic novel opera film. Also, a conversation about the first weekend of the Music@Menlo 2021 Summer Festival, which runs through August 1; and we broadcast episode two of the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s summer series Tales of the Resistance - Volume 2: Persistence, as part of our Corona Radio Theater Initiative.






This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, guest host JoAnn Mar talks with directors Nicole Paiement and Brian Staufenbiel from San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle, about the opera ‘Everest’, reimagined as a graphic novel opera film. Also, a conversation about the first weekend of the Music@Menlo 2021 Summer Festival, which runs through August 1; and we broadcast episode two of the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s summer series Tales of the Resistance - Volume 2: Persistence, as part of our Corona Radio Theater Initiative.

Conceived by Opera Parallèle’s creative director Brian Staufenbiel, in collaboration with illustrator Mark Simmons and director of photography David Murakami, Everest - A Graphic Novel Opera skillfully combines the power of musical storytelling with the dynamic visuals of graphic novels, along with some good old fashioned movie magic.

The graphic novel treatment of Everest, in which the singers are integrated into an animated environment, is the first of its kind for an opera, and created specifically for a virtual audience. The original one-act opera premiered in 2015 under the baton of Opera Parallèle co-director Nicole Paiement at The Dallas Opera, where she is principal guest conductor.

Everest - A Graphic Novel Opera is based on a 1996 Mount Everest disaster in which eight climbers perished. Composer Joby Talbot and librettist Gene Scheer created the opera based on interviews with survivors of an ill-fated attempt to descend Mount Everest in the midst of a relentless blizzard.

Also, we talk about the 2021 edition of Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival and Institute, titled Gather, which opens this weekend in Atherton. Since its inception in 2003, Music@Menlo, led by founding artistic directors David Finckel and Wu Han, has garnered a reputation as one of the world’s leading chamber music festivals. The 19th edition of this summer festival celebrates its first concerts in its new home, the Spieker Center for the Arts at Menlo School.

Following last summer's all-digital festival, Music@Menlo returns to the live concert stage, although performances from the Spieker Center for the Arts will also be live- streamed. Through August 1, there are nine main-stage programs, plus two free afternoon Prelude performances featuring artists from the chamber music institute's international program.

Plus, Open Air continues its partnership with the San Francisco Mime Troupe by presenting the Troupe’s summer series of serialized radio plays under the banner of our Corona Radio Theater, with the second episode of: Tales of the Resistance - Volume 2: Persistence.

This episode is called: Jailbreak! - ‘Passion… For Justice!’ & ’Little Jimmy’s Election’.

In ‘Passion... For Justice!’, injustice and romance are in the air when an Asian American Antifa activist and a Black American activist drag queen are both thrown in a cell for resisting arrest. And when right-wing insurrectionists attack the jail to free their leader, political passion becomes a … Jailbreak!

Open Air, with guest host JoAnn Mar, can be heard live on Thursday, July 15 at 1pm, and will be archived at this very location afterwards. Listen now or anytime…

Niels Swinkels is a freelance journalist, musicologist, sound engineer, and radio producer. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he studied English and Musicology at the University of Nijmegen. Before moving to San Francisco, he was the Arts Editor, and Senior Classical Music & Opera critic for Brabants Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper. In addition to producing KALW’s Open Air, a weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, he is also a wine guy at Trader Joe’s Nob Hill in San Francisco...