Resonance Works Presents the Pittsburgh Premiere of New American Opera, ‘I Am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams’

Powerful Contemporary Opera Centers American Immigrant Experience

Friday and Sunday, October 14 and 16, 2022

White Snake Projects’ 2019 premiere of Dreamer • Photo by Kathy Wittman

Resonance Works’ tenth anniversary season opens with a poignant contemporary American opera this October. Celebrated creator Cerise Lim Jacobs and composer Jorge Sosa produced I Am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams in response to the Trump administration’s efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals law (DACA, also known as the Dreamer Act) in 2019. The opera explores the complex journey of immigration through the eyes of its two lead characters.

Creator Cerise Lim Jacobs

“This work is an eloquent response to a specific political context and an exploration of the broader immigrant experience in this country,” says Maria Sensi Sellner, Resonance Works’ Artistic & General Director. “Through its compelling storyline and emotive score, Dreamer asks us to reexamine what it means to be an American, and how our definition of who ‘counts’ as American impacts how we treat each other. We are proud to bring this powerful work to the city of Pittsburgh, which is so uniquely defined by its diverse immigrant communities, both historically and today.”

Composer Jorge Sosa

Building on its reputation for bringing important new American music to Pittsburgh audiences, Resonance Works is the second company to produce Dreamer. This evocative work debuted in Boston at the activist opera company White Snake Projects in 2019. The premiere’s “fiercely personal performances” and “raw and powerful narrative” (I Care if You Listen) earned rave reviews.

White Snake Projects’ 2019 premiere of Dreamer • Photo by Kathy Wittman

I Am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams explores the complex relationship between Rosa, an undocumented Mexican immigrant who is awaiting deportation, and Singa, her court-appointed attorney, an ethnically Chinese immigrant from Indonesia living in the U.S. on a green card. Through Rosa and Singa’s parallel yet divergent immigration experiences, Dreamer examines the complexities of American identity.

Three incredible opera singers have arrived in Pittsburgh to bringthe new production to life.  We asked Selner to tell us a little more about them. Here’s what she had to say:

“Mezzo-soprano Maria Dominique Lopez returns to the in-person Resonance Works stage for the first time since 2015, when she was the featured soloist for Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo. Since then she has had numerous performances across the U.S. and Europe including Jenni Brandon’s 3 Paderewskis at the Kennedy Center, and has recorded vocals for independent films and major motion pictures, including the Academy Award-winning Disney/Pixar film COCO. I met (and was impressed by) Maria the very first time we ever had auditions for Resonance Works, and am thrilled to finally have her back in the Burgh for our 10th anniversary season!

Helen Zhibing Huang is making her Pittsburgh debut, reprising the role of Singa, which she sang “brilliantly” (Opera News) in the Boston world premiere in 2019. A lyric soprano in high demand, she spent the past two summers at the Glimmerglass Festival singing Pamina in The Magic Flute and Frasquita in Carmen.  I love working with Helen not only because of her exceptional musicianship, but the amazing positive energy she brings to every situation.  In creating the role of Singa, she brought her own personal experiences as an immigrant, which enriched the production with emotion and authenticity. 

Soprano Natalie Polito is a multi-talented artist hailed as “captivating” and “charming” in our 2017 production of Falstaff, and as the formidable Foreign Princess in the Pittsburgh premiere of Rusalka. In Dreamer, she has the challenging task of performing three very contrasting roles: as Mother to Singa and Rosa in their memories, and the more threatening gangster and prosecutor.  Natalie (who just started law school herself!) is also a beloved member of our Resonance Works board, and we are thrilled to see her back on the stage and not just in a Zoom call.”

We’ll be catching the first night, October 14 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Carnegie, so stay tuned for our review. The opera will be repeated there on October 16 at 3pm. For tickets to this powerful new American opera visit: https://www.resonanceworks.org/dreamer

COVID-19 Policy: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required upon entry, and all audience members must properly wear a mask at all times while in the venue.

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