Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Thursday, December 1, 2022
I don't have a lot of working photos. My friend (and longtime Amarillo Opera host) Bill Byrd is a talented photographer and I'm fortunate in being able to convince him to come to dress rehearsals to take photos. He took this at last fall's BARBER OF SEVILLE dress rehearsal and then toned down the keyboard I was using for recitatives which was all covered in brightly colored post-it notes. Thanks Bill!
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
This post is strictly for folks in the business, so if you are looking to see what's up in my life, pass on by!
For the upcoming 2023 production of LA BOHEME at Fargo Moorhead Opera, I have made rehearsal mp3s for the chorus. They are available for anyone to use at my soundcloud site. They don't include 100% of the chorus bits, but all of the major ones. Once you get to the soundcloud site, you'll want to hit the playlist tabs. There are usually six mp3s in each set--children, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and tutti.
Of particular interest will be decisions I made at the beginning of the act and the end of it. The original has all sorts of sub groups of singers, with a large chorus creating the hustle and bustle of Paris at Christmastime. Most regional opera companies will do this same act with, maybe 30 choristers, and dividing the half dozen baritones and basses, for example, really will just thin them out too much. So the idea has always been to have folks sing as much as possible, call and response, antiphony be damned.
One of the other challenges is the children's chorus. Traditionally, some of the female singers are assigned to double them. This has been worked into what's been done here so it can be learned in advance and with assurance.
So if you are interested and in need, feel free to use these files at the soundcloud site AND download the pdf files for the opening and closing of the act.
Closing of Act II pdf
If you end up using these, I'd appreciate an email.
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Sunday, October 9, 2022
An additional bonus is that I got some nice action photos from my longtime host, Bill Byrd.
Friday, August 5, 2022
Monday, August 1, 2022
I recently recorded a zoom interview with mezzo soprano Audrey Johnson for her "Of thee I sing" series. I met Audrey when she sang Berta in a production of BARBER OF SEVILLE I was conducting at Shreveport Opera. The format of the interview concludes with singing a song. The song we selected is a new one, "Pondering Twilight." The song is published in Northstar Music's Modern Music for New Singers series. This lyric might be a little dark for a song meant to be sung by a young singer, but young people ponder their fate and future all the time. Thank you, Audrey!
When I see the coming twilight of my days
I hope I still can change my ways
And still learn something new
Let go of enmity
Forge new friendships
Thank those who helped me before they are gone
Apologize to those I have wronged
I hope that I will still bring something valuable to the table when asked
Not just stuff about the good 'ol days, or how it used to be
And when it's time for me to go,
I'll know it and slip gracefully away,
Ready to embrace what's in store
Even if its... nothing.
Thursday, July 28, 2022
The main purpose of this post is to provide a link to further information about my 2018 opera, EIGHT WOODS AND A VAN. This 33 minute opera was commissioned and premiered by Cedar Rapids Opera and is about the life of the painter Grant Wood. You can download the information here. It's a direct download pdf. It hasn't been done since the 2018 premiere and is definitely good enough and easy enough to be done again!
Friday, June 17, 2022
Several years ago I did some arrangements of the old Italian songs. They were premiered by the artists in residence at Opera Memphis. One of them was Per la gloria d'adorarvi. A few years later, I borrowed the arrangement and put it into Speed Dating Tonight! #29-#30. The idea is that the daters are talking while the song is playing in the background. Because of balance, it's tricky and the singer singing the song can cover the daters.
We are giving it another try right now at Taos Opera Institute, where we will be doing Speed Dating Tonight! for the second time in late June 2022. Here's a lovely phone recording of one of the participants Gabriel Chona Rueda, who is a student at University of British Columbia.
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Earlier this week I did an Instagram Live interview with Savannah Voice Festival Artistic Director Jorge Parodi about ALICE AND ANNA. You can view it here. Jorge was interested in the process of figuring out the story, writing the libretto, and composing the music. I was my usual opinionated self, talking about the need for repetition, melody, many more female characters, and a contemporary point of view--why will a modern audience member be interested in these stories, set in the 1730s and 1940s-50s.
ALICE AND ANNA plays in Savannah (hey that rhymes!) August 12 and 13, 2022. The first one act, ALICE RYLEY premiered in 2015 and ANNA HUNTER played for the first time a few years later. COVID-19 delayed their culmination as a full evening.
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
COVID provided much drama, but the double cast group of 57 managed to have only one drop out due to the pandemic.
This is, IMO, my best work and I have Jay Mednikow and DeltaCappella to thank for it bringing it to life and making the cast recording, along with Opera Memphis and Playhouse on the Square for the 2011 production. I now have Courtney to thank for seeing the potential in MIDSUMMER as a perfect work for midsized university opera programs.
You can get the piano vocal perusal score here (an autodownload) and there will be video samples available soon.
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Earlier this month, I went to Joplin, MO to participate in RSBE #6 at Heartland Opera Theatre/Missouri Southern State University. It was a joyous experience to be back live. There was one issue and it wasn't COVID... It was snow! Joplin got hit with 4+ inches of snow and the temperature went down after. It stuck around for three days, causing the 1st dress and final dress to be cancelled as well as the opening night. We managed to open for two performances which played to quite nice houses.
Special thanks to the team, including Director Erick Wolf, Music Director Diana Allen, and pianist Kathy Nenadal.
RSBE is built to be expanded, like it's predecessor SPEED DATING TONIGHT! We premiered one new piece in Joplin, "What I had to do."
I always ask casts to let me know if they have any ideas for new songs and one brave cast member, Faith Escobar, told me how she likes to hide in her room with old sitcoms and movies. She says they help portray a happier and less troubled world and help her get back out into the thick of it. It was an inspiring idea, and one I'd never have gotten on my own. "Hide with the TV" will be #19. Here's the demo.
While in Joplin, I went down to see George Washington Carver's boyhood home. It was an inspiring place, made special by the coat of snow.
Thursday, January 27, 2022
Saturday, January 1, 2022