The OOVE: A Brand New Instrument

Do you know what an OOVE is? We didn’t either. That is until we met with composer Nathaniel Stookey who told us about this brand new instrument that inspired his new piece called YTTE (Yield To Total Elation). The OOVE was made by a friend of his, Oliver DiCicco who has a workshop in San Francisco. Oliver specializes in kinetic sound sculptures that create a mixture of unique tones and vibrations. Lucky for us, we got to visit his local studio and see his other creations like these “Sirens” that create such an eerie sound but are so mesmerizing to watch.

(Click to PLAY the video and see for yourself!)


 Shortly after Nathaniel saw Oliver’s instruments, the San Francisco Symphony commissioned him to write a new piece for their SoundBox series (which I HIGHLY recommend). He immediately knew this was going to be something extraordinary.

The OOVE makes a low vibration sound which he used as the foundation of YTTE. The piece opens with a low hummmm and slowly an evolution of sound is created as the strings and the winds join in. Your mind is taken on a beautiful journey filled with emotion and movement throughout the entire piece. It’s calming and mysterious and then you suddenly feel like you’ve arrived into a grand galaxy that’s driven by brass, the bass drum, and pulses from the winds. Nathaniel said, “…for me, yielding to total elation during a piece of music is the ideal. It’s why I do what I do.”

To play the OOVE, the instrument is not bowed or plucked. In fact, it’s hardly ever touched! You approach it with an electromagnet. As the electromagnet gets closer to the field created by the nodes, it reacts by vibrating the strings. The vibrations get larger and larger the closer the node gets to the magnet while also creating additional layers of frequencies.

After hearing Nathaniel’s YTTE at the San Francisco Symphony’s groundbreaking Soundbox, Donato Cabrera and the Las Vegas Philharmonic commissioned a full orchestra version, which premiered earlier this year. If you didn’t get to see either of these amazing performances, you’re in luck! On September 24th YTTE for full orchestra is making its West Coast debut at California Symphony’s Season Opener.


Check out our exclusive interview with both Donato and Nathaniel about the OOVE, their road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas and more about their story behind their West Coast Premiere… with a surprise at the end!! 

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You can purchase tickets to see this modern-day masterpiece by clicking HERE!
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Julie Adams sings Mimí in San Francisco Opera’s La Bohéme

La Bohéme has always been on of my favorite operas because I’m in LOVE with the Broadway production Rent! Did you know that Rent was based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera?? Yes, there are a few differences (okay, maybe a lot) but Jonathan Larson created Rent because he wanted to update the setting and story of a classic opera to modern day times, which I can definitely get behind. Both stories focus on the difficulties of living in poverty and the dangers of a life lived away from conventional standards. Another major similarity is the famous scene when Mimí knocks on the door of her neighbor and asks him to light her candle. Such a great moment!

Earlier this year I went backstage to get a hair and makeup tutorial on how to look like Mimí. And recently I got to sit down with Julie Adams who is performing Mimí in San Francisco Opera’s production of La Boheme this summer! Julie has such a beautiful spirit and her voice is plush with expression and rich with passion. It’s like she was made for this role! Check some clips of of our interview here:

5 Fun Facts about Soprano, Julie Adams

1. When did you start singing opera?

I started when I was 18 years old but I grew up singing pop and musical theater because I originally wanted to be a Broadway singer. It wasn’t until later in high school that I discovered classical music was the perfect fit for my voice. After that, I never looked back!

2. What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t singing opera?

I love trying new restaurants around San Francisco with my friends. There are so many great hidden gems here and the food is fantastic!

3. Have you ever messed up on stage and how did you recover?

Yes! There was a pretty hard scene in The Makropulos Case (the music is in Czech!) where I need the prompter to help me with some cues but when I looked down for him, he was gone! The music went by and I had forgotten my line. Luckily my counterpart kept going. My adrenaline kicked in and I was able to catch back up! It’s in these moments where you really just have to lock eyes with the conductor and they will help you get back on the right track.

4. What piece of advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Trust in yourself. When you trust in yourself and be true to who you are, you can do anything you put your mind to.

5. What are you working on after your performances as Mimí?

This fall I’m going to perform in the Marriage of Figaro as the Countess with the Michigan Opera Theatre! I’m very excited because it’s my first time to sing this role.

To see Julie Adams perform as Mimí in the San Francisco Opera’s production of La Boheme on June 20 & 25, 2017, click here.

To find out more about Julie Adams, click here.

To see more behind the scenes stories from Red Curtain Addict, click here!