Tom Cipullo, Nico Muhly, and a collection of Composers & the Voice alums will be the next to join the rosters of composers to participate in the Opera Grows in Brooklyn series. The show will be held on Friday, April 16 at 8pm at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students/seniors) at www.galapagosartspace.com and they tend to sell out, so buy early!
Opera Grows in Brooklyn is an ongoing collaboration between American Opera Projects and Opera on Tap that presents three 30-minute selections of songs and scenes from contemporary composers in a hip, cabaret-style atmosphere. Audiences have a chance to meet the artists and composers after the performance.
American Opera Projects begins the evening with Absynth, a futuristic monodrama made up of newly-commissioned electronic songs from composers Nico Muhly, Kevin McFarland, Florent Ghys, Caleb Burhans and C&V composers Andrew Staniland and Stephen Andrew Taylor. Conceived and performed by frequent AOP collaborator mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer (Composers & the Voice, Semmelweis, Judgment of Midas), Absynth explores questions about the influence and relationship between (wo)Man and Machine.
Dreams of Pure Spirit: Songs of Tom Cipullo will showcase some of Tom Cipullo’s more accessible and lyrical works. The performers for the evening are three of the most exciting young singers in New York, soprano Tory Browers, mezzo Rebecca Jo Loeb, and baritone Michael Anthony McGee. Mr. McGee, the winner of numerous competitions, will be making his Kennedy Center debut on April 10 in Tom Cipullo’s mini-opera LUCY. He is one of only forty young artists that have been recently selected to attend Operalia, Placido Domingo’s international opera competition in Milan. Ms. Loeb has performed with the New York Festival of Song in their Rising Stars series. Tory Browers has performed Mr. Cipullo’s music at Merkin Hall under the auspices of Joy in Singing, and at SongFest in Malibu. As Anne Midgette noted in The New York Times, “Call it aria, call it Broadway, Mr. Cipullo’s strengths are in song.”
Finally, Opera on Tap will present the one-act opera Margot Alone in the Light, an adaptation of Ray Bradbury‘s short story All Summer in a Day by C&V composer Clint Borzoni and librettist Emily Conbere and produced by Jennifer Peterson‘s operamission. Ray Bradbury’s story is set in a classroom of schoolchildren on the planet Venus, where it rains constantly with the exception of one hour every seven years. None of the schoolchildren remember the sun, except for ‘Margot,’ who moved to Venus four years ago from Ohio. The role of ‘Margot’ will be portrayed by soprano Martha Guth and the role of ‘Mrs. Clott,’ the schoolteacher, will be sung by mezzo-soprano Alteouise de Vaughn. It will be staged by Scott C. Embler (founding member and former producing director of Vital Theatre Company). Jennifer Peterson, founder and director of operamission, will conduct the opera.
The inaugural performance of Opera Grows in Brooklyn at Galapagos in April 2009 was called “an exciting new level of work for these young companies. Brooklyn and the rest of the city will benefit from future collaborations like these.” (The Curator). Past Opera Grows in Brooklyn performances have featured music by David T. Little, Stefan Weisman, Christopher Berg, Gilda Lyons, Matthew Schickele and Jack Perla and performances by David Adam Moore, Lauren Worsham, Jonathan Hays, and Daisy Press.
“Director Robert Elmes is adding opera to a space known best for its Obie Award winning, progressive programming,” says AOP General Director Charles Jarden. “We think it’s not just cool for opera to be in a spectacular space like Galapagos, it’s essential for creating new music that connects to audiences. Opera away from opera houses is the best way for the genre to thrive and grow. It is economically smart and creatively daring and the voices sound great to both new listeners and fans. If one audience member walks out with an interest in discovering music by living composers, we’ll know we are on the right track.”