The Florentine Opera is Turning Up the Synths for its Next Concert

The electronic duo Immortal Girlfriend is taking on a new challenge this season: opera.   


In August, Will and Kevin Bush received an unexpected call. The Florentine Opera wanted the two brothers, who form the alternative synth duo Immortal Girlfriend, to compose a series of opera covers. While the group, whose music is more loudspeaker than libretto, seemed like an odd fit for the gig, they came with a persuasive endorsement.  

Maggey Oplinger, the Florentine’s general director and CEO, was inspired by the idea of cover bands, and wondered if the concept could apply to opera. In 2021, she turned to SistaStrings, two string performers originally from Milwaukee who’ve performed around the country, and they agreed to reimagine operatic classics for a show. But in August, a conflict forced them to cancel the concert. When Oplinger spoke with them about possible replacement acts, the sisters were ecstatic about Oplinger’s idea to ask Will and Kevin, who they’ve been friends with, and artistic admirers of, for years.  

 “Opera, just the whole genre, we were unfamiliar with,” Will says. “We were intrigued, but at the same time wondering how we would even be able to get it done.” 



What’s Brew City’s best? We’ve picked 16 of our favorite Milwaukee craft beers for a March Madness-style tournament, but it’s up to you to pick the winner! Will it be bright and hoppy? Dark and malty? A zippy lager? Every one is worthy of the title; who will claim the sudsy crown?

The Florentine provided the brothers with a selection of pieces to consider, and Will was quickly surprised at how familiar he was with many of them, often through movie soundtracks. From there, the brothers began building their setlist. They chose pieces with catchy, recognizable melodies, something akin to a pop “hook” that they can riff on, such as “Habanera” from Carmen and “La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto.  

 “[Immortal Girlfriend’s] music is like a cinematic landscape almost,” Oplinger says. “I’ve been one of their big fans. I love going to see them live. They’re just mesmerizing.” 

 The brothers turned the orchestral cues and sweeping symphonics of their chosen pieces into synth-heavy electronic music, which they will perform with the Florentine’s company of opera singers and a pianist. “We’re trying to find that perfect balance,” Will says. “If there’s a fan of opera, they can come and still get enjoyment out of it. And if someone has no clue what opera is – kind of like we did at first – they could come to the show and still feel and understand it.” 

Now Oplinger is considering making this concept a recurring feature at the Florentine, with different performers, encompassing multiple genres, taking on the challenge. “I’ve worked on a lot of different shows, and there are some that are just a little more live-wire exciting,” she says. “This is one of those.”

See “Covers” at The Cooperage Feb. 9-10. 

Immortal Girlfriend’s Spring Arts Event Pick

The Dead Bolts & Fellow Kinsman


The Bush brothers are fans of Fellow Kinsman, an indie/alternative band with a psychedelic sound. “Fellow Kinsman is dope – that band has been selling out shows locally,” Will says. “I’d say check them out.”



This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s February issue.

Find it on newsstands or buy a copy at

Be the first to get every new issue. Subscribe.



Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.