Inside Indy Terrace
Welcome to Inside Indy Terrace – your exclusive guide to all things Austin Opera! Straight from our rehearsal hall at 3009 Industrial Terrace, Inside Indy Terrace keeps our fans up-to-date on the latest at the Opera with stories, previews, articles, and behind-the-scenes insight.
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AUSTIN OPERA announces the winning teams for the inaugural Opera ATX Residencies for Latinx Creatives
On November 1, 2023, Austin Opera announced the creative teams that will participate in the inaugural Opera ATX Residencies for Latinx Creatives. Composer Carlos Castro and librettist Alejandra Martinez will advance their new opera, El rebozo, during the 2023-2024 Season; and composer Jorge Sosa and librettist John de los Santos will workshop a new one-act opera, Ofrenda, during the 2024-2025 Season. Both works are being developed in English and Spanish.
Austin Opera names Timothy Myers Music Director
On June 12, 2023, Austin Opera General Director & CEO Annie Burridge announced today that Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Timothy Myers has extended his role with the company and will serve as the Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director beginning in the 2023-2024 Season.
announcing the Butler Fund for Spanish Programming and the largest gift in company history
On April 6, 2022, Austin Opera announced a historic $3.3 million gift from Sarah and Ernest Butler creating the Butler Fund for Spanish Programming, and that Claudia Chapa has been appointed our first Curator of Hispanic and Latinx Programming.
Announcement: 2022-2023 Long Center Season
Our new season at the Long Center is opera at its best – thrilling voices, spectacular theater, glorious music – a transcendent experience you won’t want to miss! Subscriptions are now on sale.
John Moore on Singing Steve Jobs
An excerpt of this article appears in our The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs performance program. John Moore graciously opens up about his experience reprising the role of icon Steve Jobs and about singing new music and working with living creators, mixing in a few anecdotes from his life and professional career.
Announcing "concerts at the consulate"
On September 13, 2021, Austin Opera and the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin announced a new collaboration with the creation of a new performance series. Concerts at the Consulate will spotlight Latinx composers and performers and celebrate Hispanic culture. The free series, curated by the renowned Mexican mezzo-soprano and Austin resident Claudia Chapa, kicks off with a concert by mezzo-soprano Stephanie Sanchez celebrating Mexican Independence Day.
Austin Opera named to the Bloomberg Digital Accelerator Program
On July 14, 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Austin Opera as one of 26 organizations in the US—and the only opera company—to take part in their Digital Accelerator Program. The $30 million program takes place over two years, and winners were chosen based on creative excellence, service to diverse communities, talented leadership, and efforts to improve digital capacity during the pandemic.
Announcing Austin Opera's new Board Chair, Susanne Tetzlaff
After five years as a key member of the Board of Trustees, Austin Opera elected Susanne Tetzlaff, J.D. as our new Board Chair. Susanne’s contributions as legal counsel, a member of the Development Committee, the Austin Opera Endowment Board, as Chair-Elect and as a member of our Leadership Giving Circle have played a significant role in getting Austin Opera to this historic juncture in our 35-year history.
2021-2022 Season Announcement
On May 26, 2021, Austin Opera announced its 2021–2022 Season, featuring its trademark blend of classic grand operas, new pioneering works with contemporary stories, and the use of innovative technology to push the boundaries of the audience experience.
Happy 30th Anniversary to Angie Bonnici
Join us in congratulating Angie Bonnici – 2021 marks her 30-year anniversary here at Austin Opera! Her impact over the years has been significant and has led to the notable growth of the company. We couldn’t be prouder to have her as part of our team.
Start your engines! Austin Opera returns to live performance with an innovative outdoor production of Puccini’s Tosca at Circuit of the Americas
March 11, 2021 – Austin Opera announces the company’s much-anticipated return to live performance with an innovative outdoor staging of Puccini’s Tosca at one of the most exciting venues in Austin: Germania Insurance Amphitheater at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the city’s Formula 1 racetrack located just 15 miles outside the downtown core. The two performances are set for Thursday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature the Austin Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Timothy Myers, the company’s Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor. David Lefkowich (2018’s La traviata) will direct the massive outdoor production, which will employ more than 125 local artists and stage crew who have been out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
TEXAS OPERA ALLIANCE NAMES RYAN SPEEDO GREEN AS ITS FIRST ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
March 1, 2021 – The Texas Opera Alliance today announces that acclaimed bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green will be its first Artist in Residence. Beginning Friday, March 12, and culminating with his performance at the end of the month in Austin Opera’s An All-Star Concert, Green will participate in a variety of outreach and performance programs for the Alliance’s five member companies: Austin Opera, The Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and OPERA San Antonio.
Green is renowned for his sensitive portrayals of a wide range of heroic roles on some of the world’s greatest stages. But he is also well known for his unique path in the opera world, an improbable journey that began in a juvenile detention facility and carried him from solitary confinement to stardom. Green’s gripping life story is the subject of a best–selling book, Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family, which has recently been adapted for the stage.
Announcement: Latonia Moore Joins the Cast of Austin Opera's Tosca
October 30, 2020 – Austin Opera today announces a casting update for its spring 2021 production of Puccini’s Tosca. Celebrated American soprano Latonia Moore joins the cast in the title role, replacing Leah Crocetto, who has withdrawn from the production for an extended engagement in Australia.
A native of Houston, Moore makes her Austin Opera debut as the fiery diva caught in the crossfire of love. She has recently sung Tosca at Washington National Opera, Opera Australia, and in Rouen, France. Last season, she was highly praised for her role as Serena in a new production of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera, where she stopped the show at each performance singing “My Man’s Gone Now.”
Austin Opera secures its future with expanded leadership team and new fund-raising initiative
September 17, 2020 – Austin Opera General Director & CEO Annie Burridge today announces the appointment of Timothy Myers, the company’s current Artistic Advisor, as the newest member of its artistic leadership team. Supported by a $2.5-million endowment fund created by longtime patrons Sarah and Ernest Butler, Myers will be the Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor. In addition, Burridge announces an extension of her current contract as General Director & CEO through 2026 and launches the Austin Opera Forward campaign, a new fund-raising initiative to power the company into the future. The first phase of the campaign has already raised $2-million towards a goal of $3-million.
Announcing the Sarah & Ernest Butler Performance Series
August 10, 2020 – Austin Opera today announces a new joint leadership gift with Houston Grand Opera (HGO) of $1 million from Austin philanthropists and longtime patrons Sarah and Ernest Butler. Their gift will be used to form an unprecedented partnership with HGO to co-produce and present a diverse slate of new digital opera performances beginning this fall, which will be known as the Sarah and Ernest Butler Performance Series. The gift allows Austin Opera to incorporate these new co-productions into its programming online and at the Blue Starlite Drive-In movie theaters in Austin and Round Rock.
Re-Opening Task Force - Austin Opera Singer and Registered Nurse, Kathryn Grumley, Now Serves as Special Advisor
As mentioned in our July 2020 issue of Inside Indy Terrace, Austin Opera has created a Re-Opening Task Force of Trustees and advisors with medical and public health expertise to guide the development of new safety protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of both artists and audience members when we return to the Long Center in January 2021. A new member of this task force is Kathryn Grumley, serving as the task force’s Special Advisor.
Kathryn is a registered nurse who has been working on the frontlines of the pandemic, taking crisis ER and ICU COVID-19 assignments in Austin, Houston, Arizona, and Aruba. In addition to her career as an RN, Kathryn (or Kat as she is known at Austin Opera) is a professional opera singer!
Need an opera brain break? Austin Opera has you covered!
Summer 2020 – Introducing the newest educational offering from Austin Opera – Opera Brain Break! These short videos combine favorite opera clips from previous productions and Live from Indy Terrace episodes with quick activities that encourage taking a mental breather.
Austin Opera’s Director of Education, Debra Erck, developed the Opera Brain Break idea after hearing about the unique challenges for children (and parents) facing large periods of time working indoors due to the pandemic. She found they were looking for enriching activities that would refresh and refocus children in-between school assignments, at the end of a lunch break, or whenever curiosities arose.
Over 225 Students Experience Opera Through New Online Program
from Inside Indy Terrace July 2020 Edition
In the last issue of Inside Indy Terrace, we introduced “Opera on the Spot,” Austin Opera’s fun and interactive online program launched to digitally connect with students, arts educators, and their families. Since then, both Teaching Artist Julie Silva and Director of Education Debra Erck have been busy as the popularity of the offering grows.
If you’ve ever filled in “Mad Libs,” you are familiar with the popular interactive element of “Opera on the Spot.” A summer road-trip favorite, “Mad Libs” is a shell of a story that is completed (often hilariously) when the user provides random nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs in corresponding blanks. In Austin Opera’s version, the Teaching Artist brings them to life…
Celebrating Patron Services Manager Dianne van Hulle
from Inside Indy Terrace July 2020 Edition
Austin Opera would like to congratulate a very special member of our opera family upon her retirement, Patron Services Manager Dianne van Hulle. Our longest-serving employee to date, Dianne joined the opera as one of its first full-time staffers in July of 1987. Over the years, she was deeply dedicated to providing exemplary service to patrons, artists, volunteers, and staff, always with a smile and a positive attitude, and sometimes with a tale or two about life in her home state of Louisiana!…
Austin Opera's Principal Coach and Pianist steps into the spotlight
Pianist Nyle Matsuoka
by Michael Solomon
Mack Brown is not a Wagnerian, and Darrell Royal couldn’t tell you the difference between Verdi and Puccini.
Luckily, Austin Opera has Nyle Matsuoka.
Nyle’s official title is Austin Opera’s Principal Coach and Pianist. What does that mean, I ask him? He laughs and says “Everything. I am the jack of all musical trades, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Nyle, 35, is originally from Twin Falls, a small town in southern Idaho, but one with a strong musical community. Piano lessons started at age 10, and by the time he was 12 he had declared to his very supportive parents and grandparents that he was going to be a concert pianist.
Soon, though, he developed a diverting flirtation with the oboe, and he balanced his passion for both instruments through the beginning of college at Utah State University, where he finally settled on the major of piano performance.
“Even though I eventually chose the piano, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the oboe,” he explains. “The oboe was my conduit to the vocal repertoire. It’s such an incredibly vocal instrument, and it really helped me understand…
Opera on the Spot: Austin Opera's newest educational digital programming
Teaching Artist Julie Silva
How do you continue to engage young people in the community and enrich existing music curriculum when you are not able to bring people to the opera? How do you pivot your educational mission during a time of social distancing?
Introducing Opera on the Spot, a fun and interactive online program launched last week by Austin Opera. Out of both necessity and a desire to connect with students, arts educators, and their families, Opera on the Spot was developed by Director of Education Debra Erck and Austin Opera teaching artist Julie Silva. The new offering is geared towards young students who actively participate in the creative process as they learn about opera. This program is mobile, accessible, and perfect for students of all ages.
Inside Indy Terrace sat down with Ms. Silva to find out more about Opera on the Spot, her career as an opera singer, and her adventures as a teaching artist for Austin Opera.
Q: Julie, how did you begin singing with Austin Opera?
A: My first show with Austin Opera was Verdi’s Aïda in 2015, singing with the chorus. Since then, I have sung in several shows with Austin Opera, including recently as…
Know your role: Finding an outlet to be more effective at work
By: Chris Morrow, Senior Developer at inQuest, Founding Volunteer Instructor at Code2College, and Austin Opera Supernumerary
Like most software developers, I spend a lot of my day staring at a screen. “How am I going to write this?” or “Why is this not working!?” are pretty common thoughts as I’m racking my brain to find elegant solutions for the project I’m working on. After a while, it gets tiresome, and I need a change of pace before diving right back in. I find it’s easier to stay focused and centered on my work by having a hobby. For me, one of those hobbies is performing with Austin Opera.
What do you do in an Opera?
I do have some musical training and background; however,…
Artistry in the Time of Social Distancing
As Austin Opera follows shelter in place orders, Inside Indy Terrace is not coming from our physical rehearsal hall but from the spirit it embodies. As everyone settles into home offices and gets accustomed to new ways to communicate and collaborate, Austin Opera is working hard to continue to bring opera to Austin.
Despite the inherent challenges of these unprecedented times, the opportunity for ingenuity is abundant.
Meet Dr. Charles Carson, One of Our "Opera Overtures" Featured Presenters
Dr. Charles Carson
by Julie Fiore, Austin Opera’s Director of Digital & Audience Experiences
I had the pleasure of sharing a cold brew coffee with Dr. Charles Carson, Professor of Musicology at The University of Texas at Austin, on a warm September afternoon in 2019. We meandered through recollections of music school, of how “perfect” the first act of Turandot is, of our mutual respect for Maria Callas, and of how organic experiencing music can be.
Dr. Carson’s enthusiasm for opera was apparent from the start. Right away, he offered up his “How-I-Found-Opera” story and it struck me, not because it was unexpected, but because of the impact it had on his life.
“People ask, ‘does opera outreach work?’ It works,” he said.
Dive Back Into the Magic of Austin Opera's "Everest!"
- Read (or re-read) Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, the book on which Everest is based. Not only is it a real-life account of the 1996 tragedy, Into Thin Air is a riveting, transformative read. It moves quickly, just like the opera, and unlocks deeper points of reference in the stage work. For another perspective, follow up with (Texan and character in the opera) Dr. Beck Weathers’ retelling, Left For Dead.
- View the movie Everest (2015). You can rent the movie on Amazon Prime, YouTube, or iTunes for a small fee. Both the opera and the movie are based on the books listed in No. 1.
- Experience the thrill of Everest virtually with our app! Austin Opera has teamed up with local innovative technology firm Subvrsive to create a one-of-a-kind augmented reality (AR) experience for you to enjoy! Using a smartphone, explore the climbers’ icy paths, trace the formidable mountain, and hear the sounds of wind and snow through the app-based experience, accessible from anywhere! Search your preferred app store for Austin Opera AR or use the QR code on this PDF to download now.
Austin Opera Awards Samantha Miller Opera Educator of the Year 2020
Austin Opera is proud to introduce Samantha Miller as this year’s recipient of the Austin Opera Educator of the Year Award. This award was created in 2019 to recognize outstanding educators who creatively motivate and inspire students and colleagues through the arts disciplines.
Samantha Miller currently serves as the Choir Director at Manor New Tech Middle School. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, with a B.M. in Choral Music Studies. Ms. Miller is in her seventh year of directing choirs in Manor ISD, starting her tenure at Manor Middle School before moving to create the choir program at Manor New Tech Middle School in 2017. Under her direction, in three years the New Tech Gladiator Choirs have become the most successful competition choirs in the history of Manor ISD, receiving consistent Superior ratings at University Interscholastic League competitions (UIL), Music Across Texas, and the Texas Renaissance Festival. All three years, top-ranked singers have also successfully qualified for membership in the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region 26 Choir. Their outstanding musicianship has won them invitations to perform at conventions in Downtown Austin, The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, The Texas Capitol, and Carnegie Hall.
Ms. Miller and her students regularly attend Austin Opera final dress rehearsal performances through our Access Opera program. Prior to the live experience, she utilizes the Access Opera multimedia curriculum to present the music and story of each opera to her students.
After teaching the provided curriculum, she then turns the reins over to her students, who use the same resources to present their learning to the faculty members and parents who will chaperone them to the live performances.
The learning continues long after the busses leave the production; Ms. Miller extends the opera curriculum by encouraging her students to utilize their unique interests and skills, such as creative writing and digital art, to respond to their live opera experience. The artwork seen here was created by one of her students in reaction to their Access Opera experience of Everest, produced by Austin Opera in January 2020.
Thanks to Samantha’s masterful teaching and commitment, hundreds of students have been introduced to opera. Her enthusiasm for the art form has impacted Fine Arts instruction across Manor ISD, where students from every campus have now participated in one of Austin Opera’s educational programs.