Indie Opera

1 November 2017

Peter Szep is the wizard behind this tasty podcast, and he invited Jonathan Blalock and I on the show to discuss topics operatic. These included, but were not limited to: witches, ethnopolitics of; Die Fledermaus, kiss/marry/kill?; brats, typecasting of; sculptures, butter; and, oh yes, the DVD release of Becoming Santa Claus. Listen here.


29 October 2017

How does one interpret it, when, after years of vacillation, you join Facebook: but Facebook quits you? I’m joking, sort of: but it’s peculiar that, having joined FB to participate in a BeLive interview organized by Jonathan Blalock (aka: The Prince,) Facebook suspected that I might be impersonating…myself?… and locked me out. That was months ago; it was resolved; I chalked it up to logging in from the country, rather than the city, for the first time; sheep resumed their safe grazing. But yesterday, as–again, with Jonathan’s help, who’s doing lots of this sort of thing now–we were making something of my music page, Facebook locked me out again, for the highly unusual and suspect activity of….using the account? Don’t ask me: I’m still wistful about the disappearance of calling cards on trays. Anyway, the music page is up, I hear, and here: maybe one of these days I’ll get to see it again…

UPDATE: Mr. Zuckerberg has relented.

National Sawdust, December 2

29 October 2017

Paola Prestini had generously offered to screen the entire DVD of Becoming Santa Claus at that Bayreuth of Brooklyn, National Sawdust:  but the union gods frowned. Now what we have planned is even better: the Momenta String Quartet and four extraordinary singers–Kara Dugan, Daniel Curran, Jarrett Ott, and Matthew Boehler–will be performing excerpts not only from that score, but also from Little Women, Lysistrata, and The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, and Steve Smith and I will be talking about how the music became what it’s become. More details here.

Becoming Santa Claus, DVD! (and Blu-Ray)

29 October 2017

It took a comically long time to work all of this out (remember the 2016 release for his piece? Me neither) but, at last, after heroic negotiations by the company (thank you, thank you, Keith,) The Dallas Opera’s truly beautiful production of Becoming Santa Claus is out on DVD and Blu-Ray. Obviously I’m partial to the piece itself, but I can say, as empirically or objectively as one can say these things, that no music of mine has ever been performed or recorded at a higher level: the singers and orchestra, led by the sovereign Emmanuel Villaume, do brilliant, soulful, and hilarious work, Paul Curran‘s direction and choreography, on sets and with costumes by Gary McCann, is gorgeous and apt, and the sound, by Blanton Anspaugh and Soundmirror, is crystalline. (The piece was originally recorded for release on CD, until, magically, the DVD funding materialized, which means the audio quality is as high as the visual–‘t’is not always thus.) I couldn’t be happier. More details here.

Little Women, Annapolis: 20th Anniversary

29 October 2017

Tempus fugit, &c: The 2017/2018 season marks the twentieth anniversary of the season in which my opera Little Women first took the stage. (The premiére was March 13–a Friday!–1998.) Annapolis Opera’s new production bows November 3; I’ll be there to cheer on the artists (interviewed here,) and also to talk a bit about the piece and its genesis that afternoon.

It’s an honor just to be nominated, &c, &c…

29 October 2017

Because CDBaby distributes nationally, it turns out that the DVD of Becoming Santa Claus is eligible for the Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Contemporary Composition, Best Opera Recording, and Best Engineering: not the first time a record of mine has been eligible, but the first time I’ve seen my name on that preliminary list. But here’s the dilemma: all one’s friends are on that same list—and you can only vote for five! If these are our problems, we have no problems: and, hey, the awards themselves are in New York this year!

Christmas, Present (continued)

30 November 2015

Lovely things continue to befall us here: The Dallas Opera has confirmed a live simulcast of the second performance of Becoming Santa Claus to Lincoln Center.  I’ve also finished my program note about the piece: see below…


Christmas, Present

16 November 2015

And, two years later, here we are. Becoming Santa Claus opens here at Dallas Opera December 4th; details here.


3 December 2013

I was just invited to do two evenings to present my work and talk about it.  One was for my good friends at Opera America, for their Creators in Concert series: the musicians (noted below) were every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped and, in fact, you can stream the whole thing here.  (It turned out to feature two quasi-premières: the arrangements for string quartet of Mary Magdalene’s first aria and the first scene of the scene of Act Two of Lysistrata were heard here for the first time.) The other evening was for my new friends at Dallas Opera, at their beautiful Nasher Sculpture Garden; and at the end of which, as you can read here and here, we announced my next project, which I have tentatively entitled Becoming Santa Claus; Dallas opera’s new and lauded music director, Emmanuel Villaume, will be conducting the first performances, which we are affirming for December of 2015.

On the Horizon

24 October 2013

Opera America hosts a series called Creators in Concert: on November 12, I’ll be the latest composer/librettist invited to present and discuss some of his work.  I’ll be joined by three terrific singers—Leah Wool, William Ferguson, and Philip Cutlip—and a vivid young string quartet from the Juilliard School: we’ll be sharing a sequence from Lysistrata, a performance of Aristotle (a piece I wrote this year for Thomas Hampson and the Jupiter Quartet) and, of course, music from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene in its first New York performance.   Come hear! More details here.

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