by Abby Nordan, age 16
In a rapidly evolving world, opera remains a powerfully timeless form of expression. PermaDeath took themes of classic opera as its vehicle to capture modern ideas that captivate today’s youth; one such theme that comes to mind is mortality. Young people like myself who have grown up in the digital age have had vivid, unfiltered access to the horrors of sickness, death, and violence at the click of a button. We no longer flinch at such tragedies – we even reclaim them through video games, an art form that has flourished during my lifetime. This mentality was captured perfectly by PermaDeath’s protagonist, Sonny, who has been diagnosed with ALS, and now has to use a wheelchair. She coped with the prospect of an early death by immersing herself in a world where death is both inevitable and indefinite: the world of virtual reality. Because of this, I was very moved when I discovered how involved young people were in the making of PermaDeath – it is vital that the creativity of young people is valued and put to use, and White Snake Projects utilized the brain power of college students to bring the production to the next level. It worked brilliantly. Redefining opera to appeal to a wider range of audiences and ages is incredibly inspiring to witness and experience. Opera, for young people, holds an extremely transformative influence that allows us to get in touch with music, its history, and ourselves.