Anna Lee van Buren Endowed Chair in Clarinet, Coordinator of Winds and Percussion and Professor of Clarinet Garrick Zoeter, M.M.; Coordinator of Strings and Professor of Bass Donovan Stokes, D.M.; and Director of Brass Studies and Trombone Artist-in-Residence Matthew Niess, D.M.A., were featured in the studio recording of Verdi’s “La Traviata” for the Victory Hall Opera’s (VHO) full-length documentary film “Unsung.” The soundtrack was recorded in September 2020 and the movie is scheduled for release on Saturday, Feb. 27. Visit www.victoryhallopera.org to learn more.
“Unsung” was created by the cast of Victory Hall Opera and directed by Miriam Gordon-Stewart. The project is underscored by the new studio recording of Verdi’s “La Traviata” as conducted by Kathleen Kelly. The CD soundtrack was released on Monday, Feb. 1.
In 2020, as COVID-19 swept across the globe, opera houses were shuttered. Short-term measures became whole-season cancellations, and singers — including the VHO’s “La Traviata” cast of international stars — faced major change.
“Unsung” is a reimagining of VHO’s originally planned “La Traviata,” and a world-first: a feature film about opera singers, made by opera singers. Instead of filming the story of the opera, VHO created something else: filmed by its cast, under the remote direction of Miriam Gordon-Stewart, “Unsung” shows the journeys of these five singers as they mourn, rage, speak out and adapt to life with nowhere to sing. Verdi’s score serves to illuminate their emotional journeys, as they carry its music within themselves. From the stages of the world to the kitchens of America, VHO singers each find their path in these uncertain times.
Will their careers survive such a long-term break? Will their families find a way to make rent and mortgage payments? Will the biggest opera houses reopen in time, or will our cast face unimaginable choices?
“Unsung” is underscored by a VHO studio recording of “La Traviata,” in VHO Director of Music Brenda Patterson’s new chamber arrangement. The cast came together in Charlottesville, Virginia, where, after filming themselves separately for months, they met for the first time to sing Verdi’s timeless score together.
“As behind the scenes as it gets, folks . . . a beautiful & honest account . . . that moved and inspired me.” – star mezzo Jamie Barton