Milwaukee, WI (April 11, 2018)…Tomorrow’s the wedding! Tonight’s the party! Bride-to-be Milica and her girlfriends prepare for her new life in the Milwaukee premiere of Svadba–Wedding, presented by Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Wild Space Dance Company. Composed by Montreal-based Ana Sokolović and sung in Serbian, this a cappella opera follows the six friends through a boisterous night of girl-talk, dancing, bridal traditions and a touch of soul-searching. English translation of lyrics will be available at the performance. Performances are at 7:30 pm, May 8-10, 2018 (Tuesday – Thursday) at Best Place, 901 W. Juneau, one of the city’s favorite wedding venues. Tickets are $50 VIP, which offers a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and seating at the head table, $28 general admission, $18 for student/artist and are available at is https://svadba.bpt.me or 800-838-3006. English translation of lyrics will be available at the performance.
Svadba–Wedding is a virtuosic a cappella tour de force for six female opera singers. Drawing on her Serbian heritage, composer Ana Sokolović weaves together Balkan folk songs, scat jazz and contemporary music into a rich, layered score. Vocal techniques, such as overtones, extreme chest voice, heightened nasal voice, whispering and rhythmic riffs, capture the joy and compassion of the bridal party. Gramophone magazine described Svadba–Wedding as “Unbounded…effervescent… propulsive…to get an idea of what the composer’s palette resembles, imagine a Balkan Bobby McFerrin.”
“Svadba–Wedding captures the essence of bridal preparations and the emotions intertwined with those traditions,” says Milwaukee Opera Theatre Director Jill Anna Ponasik and Svadba stage director. “Melodies punctuated by trills, murmurs and clicks mirror the mixed feelings shared by brides and bridesmaids — anticipation, anxiety, hope, jealousy and the enduring bonds of friendship.”
The scenes unfold in a playful narrative as Milica and her friends celebrate their last night as unmarried friends. Sokolović describes Milica’s rite of passage as “universal, an archetype of human experience” and Svadba–Wedding as an opportunity “to delve deep into the quality and richness of a short but decisive moment in time.” Everything from hair coloring and partying to poignant moments of changing lives is expressed through song and dance. Milwaukee Opera Theatre singers and Wild Space dancers together embody the spirit and character of the six friends. As the singers move throughout Best Place hall, the dancers engage in Serbian folk dance or kolo (“circle”), swirl through bridal netting, and connect the audience with the unique aural language of Svadba.
“Working with Jill Anna and the singers is an exciting challenge,” says Wild Space Artistic Director Debra Loewen and Svadba choreographer. “We have found inventive ways to mix the onomatopoeia of the vocalizations, Serbian folk dance steps and improvisation. In a way, we are creating a new kolo, a circle of song, sound, dance and female camaraderie.”
Serbian-born composer Ana Sokolović, who has lived in Montreal for two decades, has been immersed in the arts all her life. Before taking up theatre and music, she studied classical ballet. She studied composition at university under Dusan Radić, then completed a master’s degree at the Université de Montréal in the mid-1990s. Her work is suffused with her fascination for different forms of artistic expression. Both rich and playful, her compositions draw the listener into a vividly imagined world, often inspired by Balkan folk music and its asymmetrical festive rhythms. The winds of change brought by her work quickly vaulted her to a prominent position on the Quebec, Canadian and international contemporary music scenes. Over the years, Sokolović has earned a steady stream of commissions and awards and her repertoire includes orchestral, vocal, chamber, operatic and theatrical pieces. Svadba–Wedding, originally commissioned and produced by Toronto’s Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, debuted to critical acclaim in 2011.
About Milwaukee Opera Theatre
Milwaukee Opera Theatre creates dynamic, singer-centered art by exploring the beauty of the human voice, sparking the imagination of both audiences and artists and transforming the bountiful landscape of classic and contemporary lyric theatre.
About Wild Space Dance Company
Led by Founder/Artistic Director Debra Loewen, Wild Space Dance Company is celebrating three decades of inventive performances and innovative outreach programs. Known for site-specific works and artistic collaborations, Wild Space takes audiences on adventures through built and natural landscapes, visual art, history and the human condition through wry humor, clever choreography and emotionally-charged dance. An affiliate of UPAF, Wild Space is a company-in-residence at Lincoln Center Middle School of the Arts in Milwaukee. Wild Space performances programs are supported in part by grants from UPAF, Milwaukee County CAMPAC and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, call Wild Space at 414/271-0307 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Svadba–Wedding is sponsored by the generous support of Supporters of Opera Singers, CAMPAC, Milwaukee County Arts Fund, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and UPAF.
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