Lianne Coble, Catherine MiEun Choi-Steckmeyer, & Ross Benoliel Star in the Preview of the New Opera ‘Blued Trees’

By Afton Wooten

On August 26, 2023, the first preview of Julia Schwartz and Catherine Filloux’s new opera “Blued Trees” takes place at Brooklyn’s Soapbox Gallery.

The “Blued Trees” opera is an extension of Ecoartist Aviva Rahmani’sBlued Tree Symphony,” which premiered in 2015. Rahmani’s multi-disciplinary art installation is in placed in many North American forests with the goal of blocking fracked gas pipeline construction. The trees on which she painted blue sine waves acted as the notes on a staff from an aerial view, spelling out the melody of the “Blued Trees Symphony.” Her piece “created an artistic barrier, legally protecting her installation from unauthorized modification” under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), and ultimately “delayed the unlawful construction of the pipelines.”

Schwartz and Filloux’s opera highlights the generational conflicts about environmental issues through the lens of a family at odds due to the gravity of climate change. “Blued Trees” explores “practical and philosophical questions about climate change and environmental law, and how the visual arts can be a powerful, tangible shield against corporate greed.”

Metropolitan Opera Chorus members soprano Lianne Coble, mezzo-soprano Catherine MiEun Choi-Steckmeyer, and baritone Ross Benoliel, perform the with Joseph Vaz at the piano. Other performers include projectionists Lauren Petty and Shaun Irons. This preview will include five select arias and a duet from the opera.