A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, opera a cappella now available at Albany Records

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Charlottesville 2002. And 2024

In 2002, Hugh Moffatt and I were working on a large opera, CORPS OF DISCOVERY. It was commissioned and premiered in 2003 by the University of Missouri-Columbia. On the way to the premiere, we had a couple of workshops, including one at what was then called the Ashlawn-Highland Opera Festival at the Monroe estate outside of Charlottesville. 

The opera is now called Charlottesville Opera and I'll be going back there this summer. More about that later. 


Friday, May 3, 2024

From the Opera America website

It's nice to see that I'm the 10th most produced living North American composer. Several folks have wondered about why ALW is on this list...

Saturday, April 27, 2024


Pauline looks back on her St. Petersburg debut where 
she first meets Ivan Turgenev.

NOTES ON VIARDOT premieres tonight at the University of South Dakota-Vermillion. It has been a long and gratifying journey! Their producer/director Tracelyn Gesteland has made it a smooth and beautiful ride. The music department and college of fine arts has been supportive of this chance for the opera program to stretch. I owe Dr. Gesteland BIG for suggesting the idea of an opera about Pauline and this is paying off in the amount of interest that the show has gotten, both in the workshops at Florida Grand Opera, Taos Opera Institute, and Missouri State University, and in the interest in future productions, including those already confirmed at Arizona State University and Baylor University. 

My hope is that this will create a wave of productions for Viardot's already popular CENDRILLON and other pieces, such as THE LAST SORCERER

To learn more details about NOTES ON VIARDOT, go here.


Monday, April 8, 2024

The Bond Between premiere, April 2024

Darci, James Blond, and me

After much delay, "The Bond Between" Six songs about women and horses had its premiere April 7th at Northern State University. Commissioned by Darci Bultema, I wrote the music and most of the lyrics. The list of songs is:

1. Three Amigos
2. In Perfect Equipoise
3. Chores
4. The Bond Between (text by Darci Bultema and Michael Ching)
5. Don't Make Me Choose (Between a Husband and a Horse)
6. All is well (text by Josephine Robertson)

Here's a soundcloud playlist of the songs. If you are interested in singing these, just get in touch. I'll get them up on my e-commerce site soon.

The NSU Krikac Auditorium is quite beautiful, with stained glass windows down one side.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Promo for Speed Dating Tonight! at Baylor


Here's a very nice promo for the upcoming production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! at Baylor Opera Theater on April 19th and 20th. Wherever I go I try to record some of the really good renditions of songs and add them to the master you tube and sound cloud playlists. Here's the Duet #34-#35, "Is it just me?" sung by Blayne Stonecipher and Monica Malas, who you see briefly in the promo video. This duet is one of my favorites cause it doesn't sound like it's gonna work as a duet until they sing together.

The music school's video guy is Carlos Monzon, who happens also to be a singer. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024


NOTES ON VIARDOT will have its premiere next month in April 2024. Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland suggested Madame Viardot as the topic for the opera after we spent nearly a year looking at subjects and discarding them. What a life--dad premiered Almaviva in BARBER OF SEVILLE, her sister was a famous diva, her brother a famous voice teacher. Liszt was her piano teacher and Saint-SaĆ«ns her accompanist. She collaborated with Berlioz and Chopin; Georges Sand was her mentor. Clara Schumann was a lifelong friend. Ivan Turgenev was the love of her life. Her salon was one of the most important in Paris. Gounod, Massenet, Faure, Debussy, Dickens, James... it goes on and on. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to write an opera about her.  

You can download the perusal score on this blog, with the link on the column on the right.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Speed Dating Tonight! at Baylor Opera Theatre

SpDT! cast doing the Baylor "bearclaw"

Last week I had a lovely three days at the Baylor Opera Theatre. Thanks to Jeffrey Peterson, Jen Stephenson Baker, Kathleen Kelly, and Morgan Montfacier for making it happen. 

Every time I go to visit a school, I try to record some notable performances for the SpDT! reference audios and videos. This time one of the ones I got was #34-#35 "Is it just me" here recorded by Monica Malas and Blayne Stonecipher. 

The Baylor performances are April 19 and 20, 2024 at the wonderfully named Roxy Grove Hall.


Saturday, January 20, 2024

The vocal recital transformed

Jamie Barton and Kathleen Kelly with
TOI's Mark Craig after the concert in Taos 

Last week in Taos, I heard what I think was my favorite recital/concert ever. Taos Opera Institute (TOI) presented mezzo Jamie Barton with pianist Kathleen Kelly at the Taos Center for the Arts. The program was wide ranging yet never incoherent. It included German, French, and Italian sections, with the duo providing friendly, inviting commentary rather than formal program notes. This gave the event a welcoming, cabaret feel, which drew in the audience in a way that I've never seen in a program that had the likes of Purcell, Schubert, and Mahler. The closing English group of Libby Larsen and Jake Heggie songs had us enraptured in a way which said "and now let's add the extra layer of instantaneous, immediate comprehension to go along with the musical and vocal beauty and perfect ensemble supplied by their earlier foreign language selections. Songs in English should always provide that... like adding a wondrous fourth dimension.  I arrived at the concert something of a jaded skeptic and left with a sense that Barton and Kelly have shown us how to transform the old "art song recital," into something vibrant, vital, and fun.

Bravo to TOI for bringing this program up the mountain. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

String Quartet (1987) now at IMSLP


I've uploaded another piece to IMSLP. It's a String Quartet. It's Creative Commons, so free to download and perform. As I mentioned in the post about the Fanfare for Orchestral Brass already up at IMSLP, I'm an opera composer and songwriter now and will not be going back to write pure instrumental music. There was still good stuff along the road, so why not share it? 

I urge composers to make long term plans for their work and not trust it alone to fate, family, or publishers. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Notes on Viardot piano vocal score


Notes on Viardot, or in this image, Viardot on notes

My opera, NOTES ON VIARDOT, has just had premiere in April 2024 at the University of South Dakota, which commissioned it. A perusal version is now available of the piano-vocal score for download. Thanks to Florida Grand Opera, Taos Opera Institute, and Missouri State University, for the workshop/readings. I'm happy to report that Arizona State University and Baylor University have already signed up to do it.

The first act is about a half hour and the second/third acts combined are about 45-50 minutes. The orchestration is 1/1(1)/1/1 0/1/0/0 percussion, keyboard and strings orchestration. The first act will be available on its own. I'm proud to have written a full length opera that takes place on a unit set--projections desirable in one spot!

A homage to Pauline Viardot, NOTES makes lively and frequent use of pastiche, quoting over twenty works by the likes of Chopin, Gluck, Saint-Saens, Clara Schumann, Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti, and several pieces by Pauline Viardot herself. Think of it as a "jukebox" opera. I envision the work allowing lots of cross curricular programming, both within music, but also literature, art, and European history.

It is 1905 and Pauline has granted an interview to a reporter. She talks about her famous singing family, her debut and rise, her many famous collaborations, her salons, and finally--and reluctantly--about her personal life. Act I is about her childhood, her debut, and rise to stardom. Act II covers her many collaborations, including Berlioz and Saint-Saens. Clara Schumann and Charles Dickens make appearances. In Act III, she finally opens up about her personal life and relationships with her husband Louis and Ivan Turgenev. 

The perusal piano vocal score is a bit complicated--it has the options for the older Pauline to be a soprano or a mezzo and a few other range options.

If you have time, here's a link to a performance at U South Dakota-Vermillion in April 2024

If you have only ten minutes, here are three short excerpts:

Act I “Characters” Sung by the Young Artists at Florida Grand Opera (PV 6-11) 2:13.

This will give you an idea of the extensive use of pastiche in the opera

Act II “Chere madame Viardot” Turgenev writes to Pauline from Russia. Audio Sung by Peter Lake  (PV 87-93) 3:11 Aria has been adapted for solo voice

Act III “Hermann and Dorothea” duet for Younger Pauline and Younger Turgenev (PV 153-160)

(ends at 3:35) Performed by Sophia Vidali and Colin Clark Bracewell at Taos Opera Institute.