Take a deeper look,
one conversation at a time.

Our popular interview series returns for the
2021-2022 Season!

For both UNKNOWN and Why I Live at the P.O., UrbanArias Executive Director Anne-Carolyn Bird will interview the artists and creators behind the productions, including composers, librettists, singers, directors, filmmakers, designers, and – of course – UrbanArias Founder, Artistic Director, and Conductor Robert Wood.

The final episode of each series will feature the creative teams in a panel discussion with guests from outside the opera industry to provide an in-depth look at the process of creating two brand new works – from the germ of an idea to the artistic and community impact of the finished product.

UrbanArias/sampled – Why I Live at the P.O.

  • Episode 2: UrbanArias Founder and Artistic Director Robert Wood and stage director Dennis Whitehead Darling what makes something funny and why we need comedy right now, avoiding Southern stereotypes, and having two actors playing the same character.


  • Episode 1:  – Anne-Carolyn interviews composer Stephen Eddins and librettist Michael O’Brien about completing Why I Live at the P.O.  after 15 years, what makes something funny, and how families are – or are not! – different today than they were in 1945.


UrbanArias/sampled – Unknown

  • Episode 4: An American Experience – Our UrbanArias/sampled series for UNKNOWN wraps up with a panel discussion on Facebook LIVE with participants of previous episodes to discuss the significance of the Tomb, the power of opera on film, and making connections through art.
    Featuring composer Shawn E. Okpebholo, baritone Schyler Vargas, director Kristine McIntyre, Director of the Southern Museum of Flight Brian Barsanti, and VP of ADA Artist Management Shawn Jeffery, in conversation with UrbanArias’ Executive Director Anne-Carolyn Bird.

  • Episode 3: An American Connection – In this episode, we discuss the unexpected connection between the arts and the military with Unknown director Kristine McIntyre, our co-commissioning partners at Opera Birmingham and their community partners at the Southern Museum of Flight, and Shawn Jeffery, Vice President of ADA Artist Management, who first had the idea for this powerful tribute to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

  • Episode 2: An American Cast – Anne-Carolyn interviews the cast of Unknown: mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, baritone Michael Mayes and baritone Schyler Vargas as well as UrbanArias’ Artistic Director Robert Wood about connecting to the subject of the piece, the differences between live performance and film, and what it means to them as Americans to perform this story.

  • Episode 1: An American Song – Anne-Carolyn interviews composer Shawn Okpebholo and poet Marcus Amaker about what inspires them, working together to create Unknown, and telling an American story.


UrbanArias/sampled – dwb (driving while black)

  • Episode 4: Making an Impact – a panel discussion featuring artists from the previous three episodes joined by members of Arlington for Justice and Black Parents of Arlington in a discussion of the connection between social movements and the arts.

  • Episode 3: Making the Film – an interview with the creative team behind dwb (driving while black), Art Director Camry A’Keen and Director/Choreographer Du’Bois A’Keen of A’KEEN Brand

  • Episode 2: Making the Music – an interview with Robert Wood and Soprano Karen Slack, star of UrbanArias’ dwb (driving while black).

  • Episode 1: Making the Opera
    UrbanArias Executive Director Anne-Carolyn Bird interviews Susan Kander & Roberta Gumbel, the composer and librettist of dwb (driving while black): how they met, how their opera came to be, and their inspiration as artists and mothers.