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

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Notes on Viardot piano vocal score


Notes on Viardot, or in this image, Viardot on notes

My opera, NOTES ON VIARDOT, has just had premiere in April 2024 at the University of South Dakota, which commissioned it. A perusal version is now available of the piano-vocal score for download. Thanks to Florida Grand Opera, Taos Opera Institute, and Missouri State University, for the workshop/readings. I'm happy to report that Arizona State University and Baylor University have already signed up to do it.

The first act is about a half hour and the second/third acts combined are about 45-50 minutes. The orchestration is 1/1(1)/1/1 0/1/0/0 percussion, keyboard and strings orchestration. The first act will be available on its own. I'm proud to have written a full length opera that takes place on a unit set--projections desirable in one spot!

A homage to Pauline Viardot, NOTES makes lively and frequent use of pastiche, quoting over twenty works by the likes of Chopin, Gluck, Saint-Saens, Clara Schumann, Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti, and several pieces by Pauline Viardot herself. Think of it as a "jukebox" opera. I envision the work allowing lots of cross curricular programming, both within music, but also literature, art, and European history.

It is 1905 and Pauline has granted an interview to a reporter. She talks about her famous singing family, her debut and rise, her many famous collaborations, her salons, and finally--and reluctantly--about her personal life. Act I is about her childhood, her debut, and rise to stardom. Act II covers her many collaborations, including Berlioz and Saint-Saens. Clara Schumann and Charles Dickens make appearances. In Act III, she finally opens up about her personal life and relationships with her husband Louis and Ivan Turgenev. 

The perusal piano vocal score is a bit complicated--it has the options for the older Pauline to be a soprano or a mezzo and a few other range options.

If you have time, here's a link to a performance at U South Dakota-Vermillion in April 2024

If you have only ten minutes, here are three short excerpts:

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 “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

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. 

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