Virtual Opera: EVEREST – A GRAPHIC NOVEL OPERA (The Dallas Opera and San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle)

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by Connor McCormick on July 6, 2021

in Theater-Regional,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area,Virtual


The Dallas Opera (TDO) is bringing a new film to its streaming platform, thedallasopera.TV, as part of its Originals collection. Available starting July 16, 2021, San Francisco-based Opera Parallèle’s innovative film production of Everest – A Graphic Novel Opera is offered exclusively for a period of six months for pay-per-view/on-demand viewing. Subscriptions to the streaming service are not required for purchase.

Sasha Cooke as Jan Arnol
Sasha Cooke filming

Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s one-act opera, Everest, was commissioned and given its world premiere by the Dallas Opera in 2015 under the baton of Nicole Paiement, who serves as TDO’s Principal Guest Conductor, as well as General and Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle. The graphic novel treatment of Everest is the first of its kind for an opera, and was created specifically for a virtual audience by Opera Parallèle’s Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel, in collaboration with Illustrator Mark Simmons and Director of Photography David Murakami.

Beck Weathers and the souls of Everest

Maestro Paiement said, “Opera Parallèle is all about telling remarkable stories in new ways and this idea of creating a new genre, the graphic novel opera film, expanded the company’s interdisciplinary way of making art. This unique concept explores the very notion of what opera can be beyond the traditional confines of the lyric theater stage and should resonate with the public. Helping us to accomplish this, I am so very pleased that we are collaborating with recognized industry leader, The Dallas Opera, and that they will host our new genre-bending approach to opera on their innovative digital platform.”

Hadleigh Adams as Doug Hansen
Hadleigh Adams Filming

The cast for this film production includes Sasha Cooke (Jan Arnold), Nathan Granner (Rob Hall), Kevin Burdette (Beck Weathers), Hadleigh Adams (Doug Hansen), Matt Boehler (Guy Cotter, Mike Groom and Vocal Ensemble), Charlotte Fanvu (Meg Weathers), Shawnette Sulker (Vocal Ensemble), Whitney Steele (Vocal Ensemble), and Kevin Gino (Vocal Ensemble). Both Cooke and Burdette starred in TDO’s premiere of the staged production.

Kevin Burdette as Beck Weathers, Nathan Granner as Rob Hall,
Hadleigh Adams as Doug Hansen, Sasha Cooke as Jan Arnold; Nathan Granner filming

Everest – A Graphic Novel Opera is based on the documented 1996 Mount Everest disaster when eight climbers perished. Composer Joby Talbot and librettist Gene Scheer created the opera based on interviews with survivors of their ill-fated attempt to descend the summit of Mount Everest in the midst of a relentless blizzard.

Kevin Burdette as Beck Weathers, Charlotte Fanvu as Meg Weathers;
Kevin Burdette filming

The story takes place on May 10 and 11, 1996, and follows the fates of three expedition climbers, Rob Hall, Doug Hansen, and Beck Weathers. The opera’s scenes move between the climbers and their families at home, exploring both the cost of ambition and the collective hope we derive from challenging ourselves in some of the world’s most famous and unforgiving terrain.

Rob Hall on the top of Everest

The Everest creative team is led by Opera Parallèle’s Director & Creator Brian Staufenbiel; Conductor Nicole Paiement; Illustrator Mark Simmons; Director of Photography David Murakami; Audio Engineer Miles Lassi; Project Manager Daniel Harvey; Assistant Conductor Jessica Bejarano; and Production Manager Tony Shayne.

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About Opera Parallèle

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