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

Monday, May 1, 2023

A short description of all my operas

A list of my operas, and a little bit about them. I'm working on making this list more interactive. Perusal scores are available for some of these on the right hand side of this blog. 

Speed Dating Tonight! (2013) is my most popular work with over 130 productions on the books from 2013-2024. It's an imaginary speed dating night at a bar. It is flexible--I call it a "New Numbers Opera," with each performer getting a little solo to talk about their character. Most of the dates are not gendered and available in a variety of ranges. SpDT! can be as short as 30 minutes or a full length evening depending on how many dates you want to include. Commissioned by Janiec Opera.

Buoso's Ghost (1996) is a sequel to Gianni Schicchi. It has the same cast and set, so it makes for a very practical, fun evening. Buoso is easier than Schicchi too, being in English. The orchestration matches the reduced version of Schicchi (2/1/2/1/2/2/1/0) Premiered at Opera Memphis and Pittsburgh Opera Center. Recently done at Florida Grand Opera. Buoso is published by EC Schirmer.

Notes on Viardot (2024) is a bio opera about the life of Pauline Viardot. It was commissioned and premiered in April 2024 at the University of South Dakota-Vermillion. The opera makes extensive use of quotation from what she sang as well as her own compositions. About 70-75 minutes long, in three acts, with one intermission. The first act will work separately as an introduction to her life. As I've been saying, this opera is so curricular, you could give a test about it. 

RSBE is a structured like Speed Dating Tonight! but is deeper and has a bit more ensemble singing. It was premiered and commissioned by University of Alabama. Like Speed Dating the casting is very flexible and usually not gendered. Don't get thrown off by the great video from the premiere. This opera can be done very simply such as in this version at Amarillo Opera.

Hazel Miner is a new project, a thirty minute work for Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. The libretto is by Marla Fogderud and is about a terrible snowstorm in 1920. The opera will premiere in April 2025. The demo playlist is here and the perusal score is in the folder. It is much darker than the usual Michael Ching opera. 15-year-old Hazel saves her two younger siblings in a late winter snowstorm in North Dakota.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (2011) was premiered as a completely a cappella opera, but thanks to Towson University, it's available with a small orchestration which keeps everybody in tune. There's still "voicestra" in the pit. All the text is Shakespeare's and, frankly, it's easier to understand than the classic Britten. A great recording is available of the original version. Here's an article about Towson's preparation.

Thrivers is an opera for high school performers about teen depression. Written for the Palm Springs Opera Guild, the subject was suggested by the students themselves.

Dinner 4 3 is a wicked little three-some opera written for Fargo Moorhead Opera. Adult content, although nothing over the top. The original version on idagio is spectacular! Written with Deborah Brevoort.

Leo is a 10 minute opera about a man who is angry with is cat. It was commissioned by the old Texas Opera Theater in the '80s and toured by them, but is still very viable. 

Three Pigs Remix was written for the Opera Memphis touring/outreach quartet. S/A/T/B with piano. Irreverent and amusing. For elementary grades. Toured for two seasons by Fort Worth Opera cause they loved it so much. 

Alice and Anna is actually two one act operas, Alice Ryley and Anna Hunter. They are each about famous women in Savannah. Alice is dark and sad; Anna, light and witty. Commissioned by Savannah Voice Festival and premiered together in 2022.

Slaying the Dragon sounds like a joke set up--a rabbi and his wife make friends with the grand dragon of the KKK. A serious opera, written with Ellen Frankel, that I'd love to see up again. Here's a brief clip.

Birthday Clown is a short opera about a clown who is tired of performing for birthday parties. The guest of honor cheers him up considerably and a drone makes a flying appearance. Written for Savannah Voice Festival.

Corps of Discovery commemorates the Lewis and Clark expedition. There is a grand opera, a smaller version, and a mini version. Written with Hugh Moffatt. Commissioned by the University of Missouri. Here's a sample

Eight Woods and a Van is a bio-opera about the American painter Grant Wood and uses a series of his pictures as the inspiration. Commissioned by Cedar Rapids Opera Theater. Here's a sample.

Faith is a one act "science fiction romance" based on a story by James Patrick Kelly. It was actually performed at Worldcon. (You'll be impressed if you know what that is.)

Completing the Picture is a short S/A/T/B opera that celebrates the Chinese who helped complete the Transcontinental Railroad. Written for Utah Opera.

King of the Clouds is an S/A/T/B Piano opera about social issues for teen audiences. Commissioned in the 90s by Dayton Opera. Still very viable! Written with Hugh Moffatt.

Out of the Rain uses some of the same characters as King of the Clouds and was written a few years later. It is about the AIDS epidemic. Clouds and Rain can be done together. Commissioned by OperaDelaware. Also written with Hugh Moffatt. Audio link.

A Royal Feast, is a work in progress. It's a one act sequel to Rossini's La Cenerentola. Written with a team of middle school advisors from Savannah, the opera puts the magic and creatures back in to Cinderella.
By length and type (some of these operas are listed in more than one category depending on how they are used)

Full length operas:
Corps of Discovery, Alice and Anna (see one acts), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Notes on Viardot, Speed Dating Tonight! Slaying the Dragon, King of the Clouds and Out of the Rain (see one acts), RSBE

One Act Operas
Faith, Eight Woods and a Van, Thrivers, King of the Clouds, Out of the Rain, Three Pigs Remix, Buoso's Ghost, Alice Ryley, Anna Hunter, Speed Dating Tonight!, A Royal Feast, RSBE, Hazel Miner

Flexibly structured operas "New numbers opera"
Speed Dating Tonight!, RSBE

In between
Birthday Clown

Leo, Dinner 4 3, Completing the Picture

School shows--all shows except A Royal Feast are S/A/T/B piano. Feast is larger. Thrivers is for teen performers
Three Pigs Remix, King of the Clouds, Out of the Rain, Completing the Picture, A Royal Feast, Thrivers

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