Heralding voices lifted in song to tell stories of triumphant liberation, gender-fluidity, humor and irreverence, Festival Opera’s Artist Recital Series returns May 22 to Piedmont Center for the Arts with a rousing production, They Sing!
The concert showcases the exceptional vocal talents and artistic expressivity of mezzo-soprano Lily Bogas (she/they) and countertenor Matheus Coura (they/them). Together, Bogas and Coura curated the repertoire for the program that features arias, songs, and duets by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, Bizet, Strauss, Kurt Weill, and Ricky Ian Gordon. Joining them for the late-afternoon performance at 5 p.m. is Festival Opera general director and pianist Zachary Gordin.
Opera has historically blended larger-than-life theatrical elements into the stories told, resulting in grand scale shows that in their totality offer cathartic release as they address themes of love, loss, betrayal, sex, death, politics, and personal identity. In the intimate space at PCA, the three artists bring opera’s escalated frame to salon scale, providing perspectives on roles across the gender spectrum — perspectives that underscore a specific composition or a composer’s work, or compare and contrast the dynamics of solo or duet voices.
Bogas is a student at the Eastman School of Music and will be making their mainstage debut with Festival Opera as Clotilde in Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma later this season in July at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. Recent credits include Taller Daughter in Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up, Dido in Dido and Aeneas, and Cinderella in Into the Woods.
About the concert, Bogas says, “This program is a really exciting opportunity to be able to not only present but celebrate queerness completely in classical music. I don’t always get to express this part of me as freely in other spaces, So sharing this performance with other musicians who are so unapologetically themselves is a treat!”
Brazilian-American countertenor Matheus Coura is a recipient of the SF Artist Grant and a prize winner at the St. Petersburg Opera Guild and Cooper-Bing Competitions. Recent performances include Giuliano in Eliogabalo with West Edge Opera and Narcissus in …two united in a single soul… with San Francisco Ballet. Coura is an internationally published portrait photographer and resident artist at The Convent Arts Collective, where they co-founded the drag revue Bad Habits.
In a press release, Coura says, “I am stoked to present this program featuring songs and arias that over my life I’ve used to explore and express my gender-fluidity. I’m especially excited to showcase my alter-ego Thaïs in some of her favorite roles. Opera has always challenged the gender-binary, and I’m thrilled to continue that tradition with Festival Opera!”
The company encourages audiences to support and discover for themselves the excitement of multifaceted, inclusive and progressive programming for classical voices and to join them for a complimentary wine reception following the performance.
Purchase tickets HERE.
Please note that in compliance with public health safety protocol, all events at the PCA require photo ID and proof of full vaccination and booster for entry, as well as masking while indoors.