Here's the video from last spring's production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! at Kennesaw State University. It's one of the best I've seen and I'm going to recommend it to folks who want to familiarize themselves with the piece, along with older videos from Brevard and Texas State. This production has the orchestra onstage on the far stage left side. The preparation, ensemble, staging, and general spirit of this production is wonderful! Bravo to Eileen Moremen and the whole group there.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Perhaps thanks to the success of SPEED DATING TONIGHT!, BUOSO'S GHOST, my SCHICCHI sequel is making a nice comeback. Here's the post for the first of three productions, this one in November 2017 at Crane Opera Theater at SUNY Potsdam. I'll be conducting the double bill at OperaDelaware in the spring.
With General Director Brendan Cooke at a little show and tell for OperaDelaware
at their headquarters, November 2017
Photo by Ryan MacPherson
It's especially nice to go back to OperaDelaware as they were part of a consortium that commissioned my opera, OUT OF THE RAIN (Libretto by Hugh Moffatt) back in the late '90s.
BUOSO will also play at University of Central Florida in the Spring.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
My newest one act opera, ANNA HUNTER had its premiere November 2-4 at Savannah Voice Festival. We moved through the Davenport House, starting in the back courtyard, then moving to the gift shop and finally ending in the parlor, where the bulk of the opera was played. Thank goodness, we had perfect weather, and good crowds, despite lots of competition from a marathon and a film festival.
The ghost of Anna Hunter (Maria Zouves) visits the Davenport House Gift Shop. Louise (Emily Righter), a young tour guide, doesn't know what to make of her.
Photo by Bunny Ware for Savannah Morning News.
Although it can be played separately, ANNA HUNTER is also meant to be paired with ALICE RILEY, which premiered in 2015.
Friday, September 29, 2017
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
On a day off from LA TRAVIATA in Amarillo, I went to see the season's first production of Speed Dating Tonight! It was at Alamo City Opera in San Antonio. Kristen Roach put together a terrific production, well worth the drive.
It was nice to see it get reviewed by David Hendricks, who wrote "'Speed Dating Tonight!'" proves opera can be a genre that addresses contemporary society with immediacy and depth, through humor, sadness and awkwardness. Here's a link to the whole review.
On the way to San Antonio, I stopped for a donut and a kolache in a little town, Sweetwater. The sour cream donut was perfectly done and the kolache was not what I expected. Instead of a fruit filling, theirs were filled with a sausage. I liked both treats so much I stopped on the way back the next day.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
BUOSO'S GHOST is now available through E. C. Schirmer. Here's the official announcement. My apologies--we left out McGill University's recent performance and Texas State's.
I'm happy that they are also publishing Tom Cipullo's AFTER LIFE, which recently won the National Opera Association's opera competition.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Kennesaw State University did a great production of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! this spring. They performed some of the new dates written this year, including this one, NOSEY PARENT.
It was wonderfully performed by no less than the Dean of the College of the Arts at Kennesaw State, Dr. Patty Poulter.
This piece can be performed by a male or female singer and their child can be a "my girl" or "my son." It is for an older singer--a voice faculty member, for example. They can drop in the show for their song and not even be in anything else, so their rehearsal commitment can be minimal.
Thanks to Kennesaw State's Eileen Moremen for doing such a great job with the opera, orchestra, and video!
Thursday, April 27, 2017
I'm down in Coffeyville Kansas this week performing in their Humanities series. It's my second time here--I did this back in 2014. I have a wonderful time here facing the audience. This year, I am doing some of my own songs along with iconic pieces by Jimmy Webb and Elton John. I didn't notice this the last time, but the students at the Coffeyville Community College have a fun sculpture garden.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
I love the signs all over Amarillo, put up with the sponsorship of Stanley Marsh. Every time I go there, I run across new ones. I have been known to drive through random parts of the city looking for them. There are clearly many more around, based on this photo set, for example. These are from 2014.
A few here from my 2017 visit.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Monday, February 20, 2017
This weekend, SPEED DATING TONIGHT! plays at West Texas A&M University in a production directed by Suzanne Ramo. The production features two faculty members, Lyndi Williams Krause and Christopher Meerdink in guest appearances.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Thanks to my old friend and colleague Allison Charney for commissioning my ARRANGEMENTS AND DERANGEMENTS OF SCHUBERT for her group, the Ark Trio of soprano, cello, and piano. The premiere is tomorrow in New York.
The Schubert songs in the set are Nacht und traüme, Sei mir gegrüsst! Die manner sind mechant, Die forelle, and Rastlose liebe.
Here's my composer note from the score:
Franz Schubert's songs are so perfect that they are hard to adapt without feeling like you might be defacing them. So there are two impulses at work: 1) a very careful, respectful, almost reverential arrangement and 2) an aggressive reinterpretation or commentary which I've called "derangement" which is a jumble of de-arrange, deranged, and French déranger (disrupt, disturb).
The arrangements of three of the songs are clear. Create a cello line that meshes with the intent of the song and enhances it. Create a cello line that is fun to play and has melodic integrity.
The derangement of "Sei mir gegrüsst" reflects a 21st century view of the text. What may have seemed Romantic in Schubert's time, seems to me obsessive and even deluded. The cello plays Schubert's melody and the voice reinterprets Rückert's text. It is almost as if the singer is conjuring the words from hearing the song played by the cello.
As for "Die forelle," even Schubert in his own Trout Quintet, sticks to the jolly trout swimming in the brook. The English speaking audience glosses over the information that the trout is caught and dies. The structure of the original song reinforces that--it goes back to the swimmy, brooky music at the end. In this derangement, I've loosely translated the text and forced us to deal with the fish's demise. Like it or not, humankind can admire a creature's beauty and then turn around and catch it, shoot it, kill it, photograph it, and now post it on social media.
Allison Charney had patiently waited for me to do something with Schubert's songs for the ARK Trio (voice, cello, and piano). Finally, she did the best thing, scheduled a concert which imposed a deadline. I'm grateful to her for waiting me out and grateful for the opportunity to interact with these great songs. The delay was only because I wanted to have my arrangement-cake and then eat it too--derangement!
Hopefully Schubert is laughing, nodding, or humming along. And even if he's not, why should the regietheater directors have all the fun?
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
It was a pleasure to go to Syracuse University to help them get going on their production on January 27 and 28 with works by Tom Cipullo and Steven Serpa. Soon after that will be productions at Emerald City Opera in Colorado and Gulfshore Opera in Florida.