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

Monday, January 20, 2020

Verity Arden as Talkative Girl (#9)

I got to go to Converse College last week for a three day residency. The production is in the able hands of Susan Lyle and Keith Jones. One of the best in the cast--and there were several--was Verity Arden. A senior, She's a singer and a composer and did such a terrific job with her selection, I asked her permission to record it and include it in my demos. Talkative Girl is one of the harder pieces in SpDT! and I was impressed. The Converse production is January 24-26, 2020.



I got to stay at a lovely place, the Inn on Main, a B&B I heartily recommend. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

New Dates for Speed Dating Tonight!

With 2020 coming on, it's time to update the perusal score for Speed Dating Tonight! You can download it by clicking on the link in the right column of this blog. New dates include:

#63 Sometimes I feel like I'll never love again. Starts out sad, but ends up being a happy duet.

#64 Disparity, an introduction. An unusual piece, it's really a pre-date conversation. One of the daters is very attractive and the other suspects they might be a shill. Written for Eastern Michigan University.

#65 The Love of My Life. A transgender, non-binary ballad. Written for SUNY-Potsdam

#66-#67 Social Media Celebrity. A weird and lively duet. The social media celebrity takes pictures of themselves with their pet hamster. The other date recognizes them. This date's part is very rap like.

#68 Shedding. The dater shows up with some things to give away to other daters. Decluttering comes to Speed Dating.

#69-#70 Soul Mates. A duet written for Austin College. The dater is reminded of their parents, who are a perfect couple and have advice for what to look for in a partner. This piece is for two older singers and their offspring, who is the dater.

#71-#72 Roger, I have news. For Fargo-Moorhead Opera. The dater, who is adopted, tells a funny story about finding their birth parents. Mentions Fargo, but certainly changeable for other locations.

#73 I'd like to meet a girl/guy from Fargo. A laid back, folkie number that is very location specific. For Fargo-Moorhead Opera which is doing Speed Dating Tonight! for the third time in March 2020.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Birthday Clown, a new mini for Savannah Voice Festival

 On August 21, 23 and 25, Savannah Voice Festival gave the premiere of BIRTHDAY CLOWN, a little "Pixar short" opera they commissioned to go before I PAGLIACCI. Marco is a performer who is stuck in a rut playing kids birthday parties. Marie, a teen violinist, is a guest at the party, but a "pity invite" and out of place. They end up performing for each other when all the party guests go off to fly a drone that the birthday boy got from his uninvited dad. Marie has two alter egos "D-Do" and "D-Don't" who advise her.

If you are professionally curious, you can download the piano vocal score via the link on the right column of the blog.

You can see a little rehearsal video of the scene pictured above here. Pictured Jessica Fishenfeld, Emily Yocum Black, and Joanna Pope.

This picture includes the Birthday Clown, Marco Nisticò. The opera was conducted by Jorge Parodi and directed by Grant Preisser. I'm looking forward to writing another, longer opera for SVF next season!





Sunday, August 18, 2019

Birthday Clown at Savannah Voice Festival

One of the summer's projects has been a mini opera, BIRTHDAY CLOWN, for Savannah Voice Festival. It's a curtain raiser before our production of I PAGLIACCI. The birthday clown isn't happy doing birthday parties and he ends up at one where there's been a miscommunication--"teens" not "ten" year olds.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Utah Opera's Golden Spike 150 operas



In May, Utah Opera premiered four minioperas, part of the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. I was fortunate to have been selected to write one of them, COMPLETING THE PICTURE, with my very old friend, Victoria Panella Bourns. Everything went smoothly at the first performance in Brigham City, but the next night in Ogden, the power went off midway through the show. My opera had already been done, but they completed the program outside as the sun went down. 

COMPLETING THE PICTURE is a short S/A/T/B piano opera about the contribution made by Chinese workers who built the railroad from the west over the Sierra Nevada mountains. 



Thursday, April 11, 2019

Spring Speed Dating Tonight! productions


This spring has seen a nice new group of Speed Dating Tonight! productions, including productions at Columbus State, Eastern Michigan, and Opera Roanoke. A production up at SUNY-Potsdam (pictured) had over thirty five singers. Several of these productions included premieres of new dates.

One of those pieces "The Love of My Life" is a gender non-binary song that begins: 

The love of my life will be the love of my life
I don't care what it has been its legs.

You can hear a rehearsal of it with the original singer, Kaylee Tasber. 







Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Appraisal...

Grant Wood's painting from 1931 can be seen at the Dubuque Museum of Art.  In my upcoming opera, EIGHT WOODS AND A VAN, the painting is brought to life and sung by Jessica Pray (Farmer's Wife) and Jessica Grigg (Banker's Wife) The photo is by Taylor Fiser. Although the women in the picture have a cool, appraising air, in their song, I imagine them as having more in common in their struggles during the Great Depression. Costumes are perfectly done by Kathryn Bowery Huang.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Interview on IPR

Thanks to Jacqueline Halbloom at IPR for doing a great job making me seem lucid for this radio interview I did about my upcoming opera, EIGHT WOODS AND A VAN, for the Cedar Rapids Opera. Here's a link to the interview.

EIGHT WOODS AND A VAN is about the artist Grant Wood. I've used eight of his works of art as a point of departure along with one by Jan van Eyck.

If I had the chance to make the opera longer, I would have liked to include Grant Wood's WOMAN WITH PLANTS.





Saturday, December 15, 2018

House with Gothic windows


A pretty bad drive-by picture of a house with Gothic windows in Central Iowa. Here's a wikipedia article about the style. The house that inspired Grant Wood is in Eldon, IA. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Tour de Chislic


(Mutton Chislic at Red Rocks Bar and Grill in SE South Dakota)

Just got back from a fun residency at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Thanks so much to the voice faculty there--Darci, Michael, and Marla--for setting it up. A lot of Speed Dating Tonight!, a little rep coaching, and helping them pick two soloists for an aria and concerto competition. They commissioned a new song for their January production of Speed Dating Tonight! and it is about chislic. You can hear a recording from a coaching
   
The beginning of the lyric goes...

Chislic... Meat on a stick
Sometimes on a skewer, sometimes on a toothpick
Grilled, broiled, or even fried
No matter how they make it, you should take it.

South Dakota has amazing sunsets--