I've posted several of these collections of signs around Amarillo before. I missed these, even though they were under my nose around Amarillo College.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
On a day off from LA TRAVIATA in Amarillo, I went to see the season's first production of Speed Dating Tonight! It was at Alamo City Opera in San Antonio. Kristen Roach put together a terrific production, well worth the drive.
It was nice to see it get reviewed by David Hendricks, who wrote "'Speed Dating Tonight!'" proves opera can be a genre that addresses contemporary society with immediacy and depth, through humor, sadness and awkwardness. Here's a link to the whole review.
On the way to San Antonio, I stopped for a donut and a kolache in a little town, Sweetwater. The sour cream donut was perfectly done and the kolache was not what I expected. Instead of a fruit filling, theirs were filled with a sausage. I liked both treats so much I stopped on the way back the next day.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
BUOSO'S GHOST is now available through E. C. Schirmer. Here's the official announcement. My apologies--we left out McGill University's recent performance and Texas State's.
I'm happy that they are also publishing Tom Cipullo's AFTER LIFE, which recently won the National Opera Association's opera competition.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Kennesaw State University did a great production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! this spring. They performed some of the new dates written this year, including this one, NOSEY PARENT.
It was wonderfully performed by no less than the Dean of the College of the Arts at Kennesaw State, Dr. Patty Poulter.
This piece can be performed by a male or female singer and their child can be a "my girl" or "my son." It is for an older singer--a voice faculty member, for example. They can drop in the show for their song and not even be in anything else, so their rehearsal commitment can be minimal.
Thanks to Kennesaw State's Eileen Moremen for doing such a great job with the opera, orchestra, and video!
Thursday, April 27, 2017
I'm down in Coffeyville Kansas this week performing in their Humanities series. It's my second time here--I did this back in 2014. I have a wonderful time here facing the audience. This year, I am doing some of my own songs along with iconic pieces by Jimmy Webb and Elton John. I didn't notice this the last time, but the students at the Coffeyville Community College have a fun sculpture garden.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
I love the signs all over Amarillo, put up with the sponsorship of Stanley Marsh. Every time I go there, I run across new ones. I have been known to drive through random parts of the city looking for them. There are clearly many more around, based on this photo set, for example. These are from 2014.
A few here from my 2017 visit.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Monday, February 20, 2017
This weekend, SPEED DATING TONIGHT! plays at West Texas A&M University in a production directed by Suzanne Ramo. The production features two faculty members, Lyndi Williams Krause and Christopher Meerdink in guest appearances.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Thanks to my old friend and colleague Allison Charney for commissioning my ARRANGEMENTS AND DERANGEMENTS OF SCHUBERT for her group, the Ark Trio of soprano, cello, and piano. The premiere is tomorrow in New York.
The Schubert songs in the set are Nacht und traüme, Sei mir gegrüsst! Die manner sind mechant, Die forelle, and Rastlose liebe.
Here's my composer note from the score:
Franz Schubert's songs are so perfect that they are hard to adapt without feeling like you might be defacing them. So there are two impulses at work: 1) a very careful, respectful, almost reverential arrangement and 2) an aggressive reinterpretation or commentary which I've called "derangement" which is a jumble of de-arrange, deranged, and French déranger (disrupt, disturb).
The arrangements of three of the songs are clear. Create a cello line that meshes with the intent of the song and enhances it. Create a cello line that is fun to play and has melodic integrity.
The derangement of "Sei mir gegrüsst" reflects a 21st century view of the text. What may have seemed Romantic in Schubert's time, seems to me obsessive and even deluded. The cello plays Schubert's melody and the voice reinterprets Rückert's text. It is almost as if the singer is conjuring the words from hearing the song played by the cello.
As for "Die forelle," even Schubert in his own Trout Quintet, sticks to the jolly trout swimming in the brook. The English speaking audience glosses over the information that the trout is caught and dies. The structure of the original song reinforces that--it goes back to the swimmy, brooky music at the end. In this derangement, I've loosely translated the text and forced us to deal with the fish's demise. Like it or not, humankind can admire a creature's beauty and then turn around and catch it, shoot it, kill it, photograph it, and now post it on social media.
Allison Charney had patiently waited for me to do something with Schubert's songs for the ARK Trio (voice, cello, and piano). Finally, she did the best thing, scheduled a concert which imposed a deadline. I'm grateful to her for waiting me out and grateful for the opportunity to interact with these great songs. The delay was only because I wanted to have my arrangement-cake and then eat it too--derangement!
Hopefully Schubert is laughing, nodding, or humming along. And even if he's not, why should the regietheater directors have all the fun?