For my second opera at Savannah Voice Festival, Maria Zouves asked if I might try to incorporate a fugue into the finale. This is a video from the premiere at the historic Davenport House Museum. The subject is "Sometimes you need a little knock on the head to move forward." There are playful references to Beethoven and to my previous opera for SVF, ALICE RYLEY. The two operas will eventually be done together, so it makes sense to bring the first opera back around.
This is a demo for a new project, a one act opera about Grant Wood for the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Wood's study of Northern Renaissance art changed his style to the one we recognize today. spoken: Munich, 1928. While working on my stained glass window for the Veterans Memorial in Cedar Rapids, I continue my study of Northern Renaissance art. One of the paintings I find most striking is Van Eyck’s “The Arnolfini Wedding.” sung: Endlessly fascinating Brilliantly detailed I can look for hours and still miss things The oranges, the chandelier. The bed, the mirror, the dog, the shoes, The state of the woman. Spoken Is she pregnant? Sung: The hand of her husband imitating the gesture, spoken What’s it mean? Sung: It’s a riddle hidden in plain sight. What do they symbolize, what do they mean? And how brazen to sign your name right there In the center of the painting Spoken: “Jan van Eyck was here, 1434.” Sung: Cryptic, inscrutable Manifold glories Like revelations, Stories within stories Like revelations, Stories within stories. Stories within stories…. Stories within stories… Stories within stories… Ah! Stories within stories within stories... Then it is almost as if the painting pushes him away. And rather than being hurt by that, he understands. It draws you in all the more It draws you in all the more. All that time in Paris But I never found you there. Very briefly, American Gothic is superimposed on it. Blackout
Here's the video from last spring's production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! at Kennesaw State University. It's one of the best I've seen and I'm going to recommend it to folks who want to familiarize themselves with the piece, along with older videos from Brevard and Texas State. This production has the orchestra onstage on the far stage left side. The preparation, ensemble, staging, and general spirit of this production is wonderful! Bravo to Eileen Moremen and the whole group there.
Perhaps thanks to the success of SPEED DATING TONIGHT!, BUOSO'S GHOST, my SCHICCHI sequel is making a nice comeback. Here's the post for the first of three productions, this one in November 2017 at Crane Opera Theater at SUNY Potsdam. I'll be conducting the double bill at OperaDelaware in the spring.
With General Director Brendan Cooke at a little show and tell for OperaDelaware
at their headquarters, November 2017
Photo by Ryan MacPherson
It's especially nice to go back to OperaDelaware as they were part of a consortium that commissioned my opera, OUT OF THE RAIN (Libretto by Hugh Moffatt) back in the late '90s.
BUOSO will also play at University of Central Florida in the Spring.
My newest one act opera, ANNA HUNTER had its premiere November 2-4 at Savannah Voice Festival. We moved through the Davenport House, starting in the back courtyard, then moving to the gift shop and finally ending in the parlor, where the bulk of the opera was played. Thank goodness, we had perfect weather, and good crowds, despite lots of competition from a marathon and a film festival.
The ghost of Anna Hunter (Maria Zouves) visits the Davenport House Gift Shop. Louise (Emily Righter), a young tour guide, doesn't know what to make of her.
Photo by Bunny Ware for Savannah Morning News.
Although it can be played separately, ANNA HUNTER is also meant to be paired with ALICE RILEY, which premiered in 2015.
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.