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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

MIDSUMMER review from CVNC

CVNC is not a drug store chain. It is a group of critics that has been reviewing classical music in North Carolina since around 2001. I remember one their number, John Lambert, very fondly as he covered performances I did at Triangle Opera Theater and even before that at Duke. The review is very thorough, clearly not dealing with the limitations of print word count.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New Project in Savannah

A few days ago, the Savannah Voice Festival officially announced that I'm writing a new opera for them. It's going to be about early Savannah history--namely Alice Riley and the first murder in the new colony. Alice's ghost has been seen around Wright square, where she was hung in the 1730s. With its beautiful location and delicious food, it's going to be a hardship assignment. 

Strangely enough, when we first looked at Wright Square, a fellow approached us with his version of the Alice Riley story. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Speed Dating Tonight! in San Marcos, TX

This is a lovely looking set from a recent production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! at Texas State University produced and directed by Sam Mungo.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Speed Dating Tonight! goes to Seattle

SDT! goes to Seattle. 
Directed and produced by tenor Robert McPherson. 
It plays in Seattle September 17-21. 
The details are here. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Speed Dating Tonight! plays Philly

Best wishes to Poor Richard's Opera on their production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! which plays tonight and next week at two different bars in Philadelphia part of the Philly fringe. Lots of detail here. It is the first production to play in actual bars. Another production on the west coast to announce shortly.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MIDSUMMER recording is out!

I will post reviews and blogs about it--good, bad, and indifferent. The first two have been great, from Frank Oteri at NewMusicBox and Iowa Public Radio's Barney Sherman. I made a little tour of the first of the two CD set over at SoundCloud.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, opera a cappella about to be released on Albany Records

The official release date is August 12th. Here's a sampler of excerpts on Soundcloud. It has selections performed by Kent Fleshman, Kristin Vienneau, Jeremiah Johnson, Emily Bodkin, Heather Jenkins, John Dooley, Charles Ponder, and Jennifer Goode Cooper.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Speed Dating Tonight! in Pittsburgh

It was a pleasure to run down to Pittsburgh to see Microscopic Opera's clever and fun production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! They produced the show in the garden of a private home and all the audience members were given dating numbers and rotating table numbers as they came in. Cast members mingled with the crowd prior to the show so it was hard to tell who was performing and who was coming to watch. The new orchestration (clarinet/flute, vibraphone/percussion, piano, bass) worked well. 

Up til now, productions have been in traditional theaters or recital halls. But this fall, Poor Richard's Opera will put the show on in a couple of bars in Philadelphia. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

TOSCA in Buffalo

TOSCA is coming up in Buffalo at Nickel City Opera. It is such a pleasure to revisit Puccini's robust and complex score.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

And beyond: 17 solo shows in 5 days

Spent last week in Southeastern Kansas participating in a humanities program based at Coffeyville Community College. Opera is great fun, but its collaborative nature is both a blessing and a curse. Performing songs--some of which you wrote--by yourself with your own gear, although a bit of a pain, is very much a chance to succeed or fail on your own merits. Miss a note? Lose the audience's attention? Nobody to blame but yourself. Get'em singing along or wishing you'd come back--take all the credit and enjoy it.

Some of the highlights of the seventeen performances for a high school, the community college, and a bunch of retirement homes:

* lady in a special care unit who shouted "That's me--I don't get around much anymore," after I played that Ellington tune.
* Staffer who said "That's my husband" when I did one of my own about guys obsessed with power tools.
* 99 year old man who said he played the Hawaiian Steel Guitar.
* Teens who responded to a writing exercise based on by Guthrie's "Ain't gonna be treated this way" and wrote "School lunch is too healthy and too small," or "I'm tired of dealing with haterz everyday."
* Folks who couldn't talk anymore, but you could still tell were enjoying it by the look in their eyes.
* Man at my last gig who came up with tears in his eyes, game me a hug, and insisted on giving me a tip.

And now back to TOSCA and THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Visit to Tennessee, but not Memphis or Nashville

This week, I'm going to Crossville, Tennessee. A friend and soprano colleague, Brenda Frye, has gotten me involved in a celebration at Uplands Village, a unique retirement community there. They have commissioned a choral setting of a poem by James Clark. It will be part of a big concert.  The poem, "The Call" has a section that goes:

Come up higher, Come up higher.
From the lowlands and the mire,
From the mists of earth's desire,
From the vain pursuit of pelf,
From the attitude of self,
Come up higher, Come up higher.

Pelf? I didn't know what that meant... Money. Dishonorable gains. Anyway, the setting gives the many residents and audience a chance to sing in the piece, with a line separate from the onstage choir. A big sing-a-long! Crossville is also home to the amazing Cumberland County Playhouse.

Oh, and if you're in North Carolina, go see GIANNI SCHICCHI and my BUOSO'S GHOST on the 28th and 29th at UNC-Chapel Hill.