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What would you do if you discovered your great grandfather's long-lost opera? Help us resurrect "Andina" for the world to finally see!
We put on a long lost opera. Watch the documentary at www.AndinaLives.com
We put on a long lost opera. Watch the documentary at www.AndinaLives.com
91 backers pledged $5,076 to help bring this project to life.

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Andina, the Opera That Never Was

$5,076

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Arlen's great grandfather and the handwritten musical score
Arlen's great grandfather and the handwritten musical score

About two years ago, Arlen learned that his great grandfather was a talented composer, and he left behind a long-lost opera that's never been performed. This opera was his life's work, and it's been passed down from generation to generation in his family. Nobody knows what this antique sheet music sounds like. But that's about to change on Friday, September 18, 2015.

Update: Stretch Goals!

Our journey isn't over yet...
Our journey isn't over yet...

We hit the bare minimum goal that we set, but we're still a ways from putting on the best show we can. The more contributions we can get, the better a job we can do, and the more rewards we can offer!

More about the project

If only there was a how to manual for this...
If only there was a how to manual for this...

When Arlen cracked open this musical time capsule, he had no idea what to expect. Once he heard a bit of the music for the first time (with just a piano and singers), he knew there was no turning back. He's assembled an awesome team and together they're resurrecting this long-lost opera, 80 years after it was written.

Antique opera materials we found in a box
Antique opera materials we found in a box

"Andina" is a dark, evocative opera that defies the stereotypes of its genre. It tells the story of a young Colombian mountain girl who is caught between two suitors: one, a wealthy don from the city; the other, a simple local farmhand.

A group of singers at a "first read" of the opera
A group of singers at a "first read" of the opera

We're going to perform this opera for a one night only concert event Friday, September 18th, at the Athenaeum Theatre, one of Chicago's most historic theaters. And, we're making a documentary movie about the whole adventure from start to finish. We need your help to make this dream a reality.

The Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago
The Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago

Where does my donation go?

Art is a serious business.
Art is a serious business.

We're big believers in paying people fairly for their work. That's why we're not asking anyone to work on this project for free. We're all artists and craftspeople, and we believe art has to be sustainable. That means artists have to find a way to make a living doing what they love. Still, we've got tons of costs to cover with this project; theater rental, rehearsal space, materials, advertising, etc.

But we're proud to say that 100% of your donations will be used for paying local artists and craftspeople in Chicago for their hard work on this project. That means your donation goes directly toward paying the singers, the violinists, the costume designer, the lighting technician, the english horn player, and the sound dude.

What kind of donor rewards can I get?

You mean, besides the warm and fuzzy feeling you'll instantly get for supporting the arts? Your rewards can also include buttons, bumper stickers, the opera soundtrack, video of the complete performance, and a behind the scenes documentary film about this entire adventure from start to finish.

Meet the team behind Andina

  • The Composer:  Eustasio Rosales, born in Bogota, Colombia, was Chicago's first Hispanic composer. He was a musical prodigy, having composed his first overture for orchestra at age 12. During Eustasio's lifetime, his music was performed at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra among other venues in North and South America. When he died of a heart attack on Christmas Day, 1934, his crowning achievement, an opera called Andina, went into a box. It stayed in that box for almost a century. Now, at long last, it's finally getting an opportunity to come to life.
  • Our Conductor: Chris Ramaekers, winner of the American Prize in Orchestral Conducting, is currently the principal conductor of the Ravenswood Community Orchestra and Director of Orchestras at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
  • Our Cast: Alison Wahl ("Rosa"), Harrah Friedlander ("Ana"), Nathalie Colas ("Inez"), Tobias Wright ("Juan"), Daniel Berry ("Don Carlos")
  • Our Music Transcriptionist:  Dr. Pablo Santiago Chin is a Costa Rican born composer who has translated the faded and crumbling antique sheet music written in the 1930s into a modern computer score.
  • Our Orchestra: The Chicago Composers Orchestra is one of the best regarded ensembles in the Chicago area. The CCO makes a special endeavor to give voice to composers living and creating in Chicago as well as to bring music to Chicago that has not yet been performed there.
  • Our Theater:  The Athenaeum Theatre was built in 1911 and is the oldest operating theater outside of the Chicago loop. Built by immigrants, the theater stretches 66,000 square feet with a main stage theater of 984 seats (and we have to fill them all!).
  • Arlen Parsa (Yeah, that's me). In a nutshell, I'm a documentary filmmaker and website programmer who knows nothing about opera. Or at least, I knew nothing about opera until I found my great grandfather's musical manuscript and started this project two years ago. To me, this project is about completing a legacy, and solving my family's greatest mystery: what does this music sound like? I'm tremendously grateful for the outpouring of support I've received so far on this journey, and I'm never going to forget it.

Risks and challenges

"How is Arlen qualified to put on an opera?"

To be honest, he totally isn't. That's why he's assembled a great team of music and theater professionals to make this thing actually happen.

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"Wait, so you've never heard what this music sounds like? And you're going to all this trouble to bring it to life? What if it's terrible?"

Yep. We honestly don't know what this will be like. What we have heard of the music so far makes us pretty excited though. But truthfully, we're taking a giant leap of faith with this project. And we hope you'll join us on this adventure.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    THE SOUND OF MUSIC: You'll get a digital download of our opera's soundtrack, and a thanks in the credits of our behind the scenes documentary film.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE STRINGS SECTION: You'll get the above, plus a digital download of the full length edited concert video, in case you can't make it to the show, or you want to re-watch it over and over again. Weirdo.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    A NIGHT AT THE OPERA: You'll get everything above, plus 2 premium tickets to the event in Chicago on Friday, Sept 18th 2015 to see the show in person! And you'll also get a digital download of our behind the scenes documentary film.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    BARITONE: You'll get everything above, plus a DVD of our behind the scenes documentary film and a button & bumper sticker pack reading "I Helped Save an Opera!"

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    9 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    TENOR: Everything above, plus we'll send you a YouTube video of an opera singer singing your praises. Literally. It will be amazing and you will show it to all your friends. Or a "sung" voicemail message. People will call you just to hear it.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    THE SOPRANOS: You'll get everything above, plus 2 more tickets to the event (that's 4 tickets total), and a special thanks in the printed program for the event. We'll mail you a copy of the program if you can't make it.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    TOO HOT TO HANDEL: You'll get everything above, plus a large half page acknowledgment of our gratitude to you (or your business) in the printed program for the opera.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    PHANTOM OF OUR OPERA: You'll get everything above, plus a Producer credit in the behind the scenes documentary film about this adventure.

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Funding period

- (33 days)