Monday, November 27, 2023
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Act I “Characters” Sung by the Young Artists at Florida Grand Opera (PV 6-11) 2:13.
This will give you an idea of the extensive use of pastiche in the opera
Act II “Calling Cards” sung by Emily Owings at Missouri State University. Emily sang Pauline at the reading at Missouri State University. Solo version of a duet, giving you the breadth of Pauline's influence in her day.
Act III “Hermann and Dorothea” duet for Younger Pauline and Younger Turgenev (PV 153-160)
(ends at 3:35) Performed by Sophia Vidali and Colin Clark Bracewell at Taos Opera Institute.
Act II “Chere madame Viardot” Turgenev writes to Pauline from Russia. Audio Sung by Peter Lake (PV 87-93) 3:11 Aria has been adapted for solo voice
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Friday, September 15, 2023
Most of you never met my father, James Christopher Ching, who died right after I graduated from college. He was a professor of what now would be called communications, but was called speech back then. Although he had some early successes, his career stalled and he wrote a couple of books that didn't get published. He did write a play, AWEOWEO, that was produced by the theater company at Hamline University where he worked.
These manuscripts have worked their way into my storage room and I have been loathe to throw them out. But last week I digitized them and uploaded them, so the typescripts will make their way to the waste management system here where they will be burned to help produce power.
AWEOWEO is about the overthrow of King David Kalakaua, the last monarch of Hawaii. And the other manuscript, THE MERRY MONARCH, is a biography of Kalakaua. If anyone happens to come upon this blog post and wants to download them and have a look, please feel free. My father was born and raised in Hawaii and passionate about the fate of the islands and their people.
Another unpublished manuscript is called CONFRONTATION:A RHETORIC OF CRISIS. My father taught public speaking and coauthored a textbook about it. The book is about the rhetoric used in the social protest movements from the mid fifties through the early seventies.
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Now officially their composer-in-residence, I was fortunate that they did a staged workshop of some of NOTES ON VIARDOT.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Monday, May 1, 2023
Monday, April 24, 2023
EC Schirmer has just released my ARRANGEMENTS AND DERANGEMENTS, a song cycle for soprano, cello, and piano based on five Schubert songs, including Nacht und Träume, Sei mir gegrüßt, Die Männer sind méchant, DIE Forelle! and Rastlose Liebe.
The cycle was originally commissioned by Allison Charney and the ARK trio. Their recording of four
of the songs is available from Navona.
You can see the two "derangements." Sei mir gegrüßt...
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
ALICE RYLEY (2015) and ANNA HUNTER (2017) are my two operas set in Savannah. Both were written while I was composer-in-residence at Savannah Voice Festival. Both of these pieces were workshopped and premiered separately and then performed together in 2022. They are now available separately or together. ALICE is over fifty minutes; ANNA is around 40.
Alice is a dark ghost story lifted from a few paragraphs from the annals of Georgia. An indentured Irish servant in the early days of the colony, she is accused of murdering her master. When they discover she is pregnant, they allow her to have her baby and then hang her a few weeks later. A guilty conscience is one of the reasons that we imagine ghosts, and that is the case for Savannah here. The legend is that if you encounter a young woman asking "Have you seen my baby?" that's Alice.
Anna Hunter is the story of how a group of women in Savannah kept the city from modernizing itself to the point of losing its historic character in the mid 20th century. After the demolition of the city market, Anna energizes a group to save the historic Davenport house. Anna is a comedy, as light as Alice is dark.
ALICE RYLEY (about 50 minutes)
Orchestration: Flute, Drums, String Quintet, Piano. (There is also a Vln/Vc/Piano version)
ANNA HUNTER (about 40 minutes)
Anna (M or S), Louise (M), Mrs. Davenport (S), Mr. Davenport (T), Mr. Progress (B), Quortina (M or S, should be African American, separate keys available), Lucy (M), Jane (S or M), Kass (M or S), Ensemble.
Orchestration: Flute, Drums, String Quintet, Piano.
I'm very grateful for to Maria and Sherrill and SVF for commissioning these two operas!
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Last month, my short opera DINNER 4 3 got its first live performance in the US. Written with Deborah Brevoort, the show is part of the Tales from a Safe Distance project of the Decameron Opera Coalition. You can stream the opera on idagio, but it's behind a paywall. The original audio (and it is a really nice recording! of the version with two tenors) is available on soundcloud.
The cast for this under fifteen minute opera is: Wife (M or S), Husband (T or B), and Lover (T). The Husband Versions have some different vocal lines. It is available with piano accompaniment, or with the original orchestration--violin, bassoon, piano, with optional sax and drums at the end. The plot, which is loosely based on a story from the Decameron, is simple--wife and husband have made arrangements to have a fling, with the same man.
Here's the direct download link for the perusal score (baritone version).
Here is the archival video of the Fargo Moorhead opera production in February 2023.
Friday, March 10, 2023
David Hamilton, my colleague, tenor, teacher, and Artistic and General Director of Fargo-Moorhead Opera, is retiring. I am so grateful to him for our many collaborations! He sang in productions in my Opera Memphis days and brought me to Fargo several times to conduct. Even more important for me, he worked with me consistently as a composer. Back in 2007, he put together a group to tour CORPS OF DISCOVERY, my opera with librettist Hugh Moffatt about the Lewis and Clark expedition. I distinctly remember a traffic jam in the Theodore Roosevelt national park caused by buffalo and a host on the Missouri river who suggested I sleep under the stars that night by the river. (I took his suggestion.)
More recently, FM Opera has done a couple of productions of SPEED DATING TONIGHT! and commissioned some new dates, including this one which is lifted from David's life.
Monday, February 13, 2023
Monday, January 30, 2023
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Here's a link to an Instagram interview for Savannah Voice Festival about composing for voice. It was conducted by Jorge Parodi, SVF's artistic director, with me and fellow composer and Iowan, Jodi Goble. It's part of the Voices of the Festival interview series.