“Sourdough: Rise Up”

“Sourdough: Rise Up”

Resonance Works - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Everyday life in the spring of COVID-19 is refracted through a graphic-novel lens as three friends—Shazam, Rockstar, and Boss—wrestle with the changing world around them and their place in it. Linked by a shared sourdough starter, these normal-person superheroes consider their fears and the small, ordinary acts of courage that define them. Together, they reach toward hope, celebrating resilience, change, honesty, and the boundless possibility of freshly baked deliciousness.


Creative Team:

Gilda Lyons, Composer & Librettist
GILDA LYONS, composer, vocalist, and visual artist, combines elements of renaissance, neo-baroque, spectral, folk, agitprop Music Theater, and extended vocalism to create works of uncompromising emotional honesty and melodic beauty. A fierce advocate of contemporary music, Lyons has commissioned, premiered, and workshopped new vocal works by dozens of composers. Her works and performances are available on the Clarion, GPR, Naxos, New Dynamic, New Focus, and Roven Records labels. Lyons currently serves as Co-Chair of the Composition Program at Wintergreen Summer Music Academy and as Assistant Professor of Composition at The Hartt School where she is Acting Chair of the Composition Program. Her music is published by Schott, E.C. Schirmer, and Burning Sled. www.gildalyons.com\

Chris Lyons, Illustrator
Growing up with parents who were artists, Chris Lyons was always surrounded by art, music, and “creative magic.” His artistic childhood inspired him to study communication design and illustration at the University of Buffalo, where he graduated with a B.F.A. in Illustration and Design. He gained his first professional experience as an intern for iconic graphic designer Milton Glaser in New York City. From there he launched a career in freelance illustration, working with clients such as The United States Postal Service, Pentagram, Trader Joe’s, The Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, and The New York Times. Chris Lyons is an adjunct professor in the College of Art + Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In his spare time, Lyons shovels snow, skates on the Erie Canal, and plays pick-up basketball, which fuels his competitive spirit. He lives in Rochester, NY with his wife Anne and their 2 interesting cats, Indy and Skinny.



Shazam – Joanna Latini
Soprano Joanna Latini, a New Jersey native, is quickly making a name for herself for her informed and passionate performances. Opera News hailed Ms. Latini “a generous performer [with] winning personality and a sound both luscious and supple, exuding charm[.]” Her professional experience ranges from Baroque to contemporary new works and musical theatre. In 2018, she was named a National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. The 2019-2020 season brought numerous company and role debuts including her Canadian debut as Musetta in La Boheme with Calgary Opera, her European debut in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France, and role debut as Adina in L’elisir d’amore with Permian Basin Opera. Beginning in the fall of 2020, Ms. Latini will be a First Year Resident Artist with the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

Rockstar – Tess Altiveros
Hailed by Opera News for “a ripe, sensual lyric soprano”, Tess Altiveros’s work has been described as a “tour de force” by the Pioneer Press and “particularly soulful” by the L.A. Times. Known for her versatility, recent credits span repertoire from the 17th century to the 21st, including The Falling and the Rising (Seattle Opera), Le Nozze di Figaro (Kentucky Opera), Die Zauberflote (Pacific Symphony) West Side Story (Boulder Philharmonic & Central City Opera), the West Coast tour of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo under Maestro Stephen Stubbs (Pacific MusicWorks), St Matthew Passion (fully staged with the Colorado Symphony), and the world premiere of Muehleisen’s Borders at Carnegie Hall. Upcoming engagements include L’Elisir d’Amore (Seattle Opera), The Falling and the Rising (Opera on the James), Mozart C Minor Mass (Seattle Pro Musica), Wayward Sisters (Pacific MusicWorks), and Rodas Recordada (Music of Remembrance). A native Seattleite, Ms. Altiveros has been a regular anthem singer for the Seattle Mariners for over a decade.


Boss – Brittany Renee
Hailed by the South Florida Classical for her “luminous tones” and “lush voice,” Metropolitan Opera soprano Brittany Renee amazes audiences with her finesse and shimmering stage presence. This past season Brittany traveled to Turin, Italy to reprise the role of Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess at the Teatro Regio Torino and the Magnetic Opera Festival in Elba, Italy. She was also honored to join the 2019-2020 season as a company member/featured soloist at The Metropolitan Opera in their historic production of Porgy & Bess. This season after a spectacular performance as the Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, she will return to Opera Orlando to make another anticipated role debut as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen. *
* Due to the Coronavirus pandemic Brittany Renee’s 2020 engagements and performances have been rescheduled for a later date in the near future.

Piano – James Lesniak
A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, James Lesniak joined the Pittsburgh Opera music staff in 2006. He has served on the coaching staff of the Brevard Music Center, Glimmerglass Opera, Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, and the National Symphony, and has been an official pianist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He made his conducting debut in 2017 with Pittsburgh Opera’s production of Laura Kaminsky’s As One and more recently conducted their production of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied. For the summer months, he frequently returns to the music staff of the Santa Fe Opera, where he has served as Musical Director for their Winter Concert Tour and was on the music staff for the Grammy Award winning production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Indiana University, and was an apprentice with the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera for two seasons.

Violin – Sandro Leal-Santiesteban
Cuban-born Sandro Leal-Santiesteban made his professional debut at age thirteen as a member of the Grand Theatre of Havana’s Orchestra, conducted by his mother Lourdes Santiesteban. An alumnus of the Sphinx Competition, Sandro has toured numerous U.S. cities with the Sphinx Virtuosi, including Carnegie Hall in New York City. He is a two-time winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society: both as soloist, and as a member of the Beo String Quartet. During his time in Beo, Sandro participated in residencies, recording projects, and performances including the Dakota Chamber Music, Virginia Tech University, the Charleston Ballet in WV, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Charlotte New Music Festival, and the Franz Schubert and Modern Music festival in Graz, Austria. Sandro has worked with such conductors and artists as Claudio Abbado, Kent Nagano, Josh Groban, Evanescence, and Bruce Springsteen. He currently holds the concertmaster position for the Resonance Works Chamber Orchestra and the associate concertmaster position in the Erie Philharmonic.

Bass – Jesica Sharp Crewe

Production Team:

Maria Sensi Sellner, Conductor, Artistic & General Director, DOC Lead Producer
Conductor Maria Sensi Sellner’s artistry, versatility, and fresh approach to programming are making her an increasingly coveted collaborator and an impresario for the 21st century. Praised as “mightily impressive”, she was the first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting and in 2018 was one of six international conductors selected for the Hart Institute for Women Conductors, making her debut with the Dallas Opera. Her programming with Resonance Works has been praised for its “innovative streak” and the “welcome infusion of sophistication and diversity” it brings to Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape. Maria is a cover conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and is Artistic Administrator for the Blackburn Music Academy at Festival Napa Valley. Recent conducting highlights include the world premiere of I am a Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams (Sosa) for White Snake Projects, the US premiere of James MacMillan’s Gloria, and numerous regional premieres, including Dvorak’s Rusalka. Maria holds masters degrees in conducting, composition, and mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. www.MariaSensiSellner.org


Kristian Tchetchko, Recording Engineer


About Resonance Works:

Resonance Works is an artist-driven, multi-modal performing arts company dedicated to exploring the confluence of artist, audience, music, and space through performances that empower musicians and engage audiences. Drawing on the diverse genres of classical music makes Resonance Works unique in Pittsburgh. We are whatever we need to be – opera company, orchestra, choir, new music ensemble, and more – to enrich our community with innovative musical experiences in a variety of neighborhoods. Resonance Works is committed to normalizing equity and diversity in our industry. Beginning in the 2019-20 season, at least half of the music we present each season will be by women, and at least 30% will be by BIPOC creators.