Slow summer? Ummm…
Since returning from Oberlin I’ve spent the month coaching the dedicated few singers, who are, along with me, daring to face the recession as just another artistic challenge.
NYC pollution being the current enemy, I find any excuse I can to get out of town. So on a balmy July weekend, I put some air in the tires of my 1993 Honda and took off to Princeton, NJ to see two of the three Opera New Jersey productions, The Mikado and Lucia di Lammermoor. Congratulations to the company for growing so quickly and steadily. Patrons seemed genuinely excited about their investment; singers as well…genuine dedication and talent abounded. The other excuse for the Princeton trip was to hear more from Opera Memphis’ Michael Ching (in NJ to conduct said Lucia) about the opera his currently writing, an a cappella setting of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. How to organize a NY première…?
Then a few days later for my birthday, during torrential rainstorms (my buddy Martha Sullivan dubbed it a “rain blizzard”), I lucked out on a dress rehearsal pass to Bard SummerScape‘s production of Meyerbeer’s epic Les Huguenots. High production values, some smart casting, and how interesting, in a season dedicated to Wagner, to present this piece as an ingenious ‘politically correct’ alternative, while bigger companies are blowing their budgets Ringing.
And back to the topic of future operas, composer Clint Borzoni has been obscenely productive on his full-length opera, Antinous and Hadrian. Librettist Rochelle Bright is furiously crafting the libretto, and each new development brings passion and clarity to the telling of this beautiful story. Clint has composed some of the key moments and is figuring out how his key thematic material will tie the piece together as a whole. Dramaturg Chuck Hudson is a key player in the process as well. Stay tuned for future updates and excerpts!
A great project which is filling my spare hours has been in creating orchestra parts for Handel operas. Call me crazy (many have…) but these parts will be clean and usable so people can do these operas anywhere, anytime, as they should.
Concurrently, I am creating clean and very playable piano reductions of Handel opera arias. Singers have been requesting these for years. And pianists (even though I thought we all learned alto and tenor clef in music school) don’t seem to be comfortable reading from open score (invariably just a violin line & bass line suffice) in unrehearsed audition situations. So there is a real and practical need for this. Again, stay tuned. Once I make these accessible, I will update here.
Please leave a comment if you would like to request a specific aria.