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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Carlisle Floyd

Florida State University celebrated Carlisle Floyd's 85th year with a concert of his works performed by faculty, students, and guest artists. George Darden, a former student of Mo. Floyd's tore up the piano in a wide range of excerpts, including pieces from most of Floyd's operas. I went down to see the concert with Craig Bohmler, an amazing composer and pianist who is a fellow student of Floyd. Craig studied both piano and composition with Carlisle.

I spent '80-'81 working with Floyd while at the Houston Opera Studio. At the time, I found it very trying. What he demanded was that one should find the most interesting part of a story, and not be afraid to manipulate it so that it is continually compelling. Otherwise, it should be abandoned. We spent most of the year creating synopses and adaptations of stories, abandoning one after another, so I wrote very little music that year. Although it took awhile to come to grips with this cycle of create/abandon/move on, in the end it turned me into a theatre composer.

Carlisle has a new project up his sleeve, which is great to see. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A little excerpt beautifully sung by Center City Opera artist in residence Paul Corujo and pianist David Hsu from the first music workshop of our new opera, SLAYING THE DRAGON. From near the end of the show, when Rabbi Nathan Goodman tries to convince a skeptical crowd that Jerry, the Klan man, has truly renounced his path and deserves a fair hearing from the crowd. The setting is a Martin Luther King Day celebration at his synagogue. The musical references to the Berg Violin Concerto are intentional.

Ellen Frankel's paraphrase of the MLK words are: 
Darkness cannot banish darkness,
Hatred cannot banish hate,
Vengeance cannot cancel vengeance,
Only love avails.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Workshop progress

It's been an extremely productive few days in Philly. Because the singers at Crnter City Opera are so used to workshops and readings, they aren't afraid to make helpful suggestions.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Slaying the Dragon workshop in Philadelphia

Today, Center City Opera began rehearsing for its reading of SLAYING THE DRAGON. Over half the music has been drafted. They will present one reading in Philadelphia, and another down in nearby Wilmington. A fully staged workshop takes place in February and the premiere in June. In this show, it seems that the "good guys" have been written first. This coalition of characters--the Rabbi and his wife, the Episcopal Priest, the Asian leader, the African American Reverend, the holocaust survivor--have had to be made into a believable group who are far from monolithic in their attitudes. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Excerpt from Psyche and Eros

This is an excerpt from PSYCHE AND EROS written by Margaret Wolfson and myself and performed by us with the Marisa Polesky on violin. The piece is rather like a sort of PETER AND THE WOLF on steroids and not strictly a piece for kids. The original version was premiered by Barbara Day Turner at San Jose Chamber Orchestra, BB--before blogs.