published Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Group revives 'Shanewis' opera

IF YOU GO

What: "Shanewis: The Robin Woman"

When: 6 p.m. Friday, April 19, and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20

Where: Ross's Landing, 100 Riverfront Parkway

Admission: Free

Phone: 423-265-0771

Website: www.artistiaffamati.com

An opera that hasn't been performed in 87 years will be presented twice this weekend as part of the Spark festival.

Artisti Affamati will present "Shanewis: The Robin Woman" by Charles Wakefield Cadman at 6 p.m. Friday, April 19, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Ross's Landing. It tells the story of an American Indian woman discovered for her beautiful voice and taken under the tutelage of a wealthy woman.

"Shanewis" is the first staged production by Artisti Affamati, which translates to "Starving Artists." The group formed shortly after the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera's opera program went on hiatus, under the leadership of Sara Snider Schone, who organizes Divas & Drinks, a monthly open mike for opera singers at The Foundry.

Schone discovered "Shanewis" two years ago and was charmed by its story and music.

"I stumbled across this opera when I was looking for unusual American arias for a competition," she said. "I was immediately drawn to the beautiful melodies and usual subject matter and thought it would be great fun to put it on."

According to Schone, "Shanewis" debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918 and was the first American opera to have been presented at the Met for more than a single season.

The cast is composed of Divas & Drinks regulars and members of other local performing arts groups, including the CSO, Chattanooga Bach Choir and Choral Arts of Chattanooga. In addition to Schone, the principle cast features John Thomas Cecil, Ted Long, Marianna Allen and Beth DuRoy. Trish Wileman is directing. Tim Hinck is the pianist.

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