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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Connecticut Opera will not finish its season

Last night I heard that Connecticut Opera will not finish out its season. They join Opera Pacific and Baltimore Opera, two other companies that have closed their doors this year. It is painful as I know and respect the management team at Connecticut Opera. Hard times come again no more!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Scott Joplin and Treemonisha Review

We received a good review for our efforts on SCOTT JOPLIN AND TREEMONISHA. Folks came from New York, Chicago, Indianpolis, Oregon, and Paris.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Treemonisha Performance

Dress Rehearsal and first performance of SCOTT JOPLIN AND TREEMONISHA took flight. Although it was a good audience, I could have wished for more--a sign of the times, I'm afraid. It was an energetic performance, with only a few iffy spots.

I was grateful to have colleagues from a couple of opera companies come down to Memphis to have a look at it.

The performance was followed by an after-show concert by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. They sounded great and looked perfect on the set.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Evil producer circa 1917

The second day in the theatre has everyone testing out their costumes. Charles Ponder plays an evil producer who rejects Joplin's opera.

Treemonisha loads into the Orpheum

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Joplin Piano Competition

Last night we had a presentation for a Joplin Piano Competition hosted by Opera Memphis in conjunction with the TREEMONISHA production. These are the six winners. Entrants ranged in age from six to sixty seven.

Treemonisha Corn Progress

Treemonisha conjurer-in-chief

Todd Payne plays the conjurer in chief Simon. Here he is at his costume fitting. Todd is a former Memphian and voice professor at Missouri State University

Monday, January 12, 2009

Corn in Treemonisha

Our Treemonisha set isn't cheap. In order to save some money, our Director of Production, Allison, has come up with some ingenious fakes--including creating a row of corn. The ears start out with a dowel wrapped in plain ol' bubble wrap and then painted yellow. Proof positive that it takes all sorts of talents to bring an opera to life onstage.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Preview of Treemonisha

Last night we had a preview of TREMONISHA. It was also an opening for a little art exhibition by two artists in residence at the National Ornamental Metal Museum, Mary Catherine Floyd and Jeannie Tomlinson Saltmarsh. We had some bandwidth concerns, but it all worked out... I will post some excerpts from this preview soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Treemonisha Cast

TREEMONISHA is not small. The cast list has seventeen roles and our new version, SCOTT JOPLIN AND TREEMONISHA, adds seven more. There are over twenty in the chorus and over ten dancers. Lots of the roles have been doubled up.

This is balanced by the orchestra of "Eleven and Piano" which is rather small when compared to a regular opera orchestra.

Joplin and Lottie

In the overture to our new version of TREEMONISHA, Scott Joplin is a character in the show. The overture is now a scene set in 1917 and summarizes the last part of Joplin's life--failed pitch meetings with producers, depression and illness. Here Stage Director Ellen Schlaefer is staging Joplin (Jonathan Tuzo) being comforted by his girlfriend/wife Lottie (Anita Johnson).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Strange Spam

Someone has sent me an e-mail advertising an old contrabassoon for sale... The case looks pretty cool too.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Treemonisha Staging

Treemonisha staging rehearsals began with a big chorus/dance number--"Goin' Around." The members of the community have a dance before getting to work shucking corn.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Treemonisha costumes in progress

Costumer David Jilg is doing his magic on Treemonisha. Slippers from AIDA are being recycled. The distressed look of the clothes are actually inside out. An outfit for Treemonisha awaits the opinion of the director. Bear masks are ready to be worked on.