Plans announced for C&V 2008-09 season

July 16, 2008
Steven Osgood guides composers in a previous season of Composers & the Voice.

Steven Osgood guides composers in a previous season of Composers & the Voice.

Created in 2002 by former AOP Artistic Director Steven Osgood, Composers & the Voice – AOP’s nationally recognized annual composer workshop series – has not just been a training ground for emerging composers, but also an incubator for dozens of new operatic works over the years. AOP has announced that the 2008-09 season of Composers & the Voice will focus exclusively on the development and presentation of the works of C&V alumni.

AOP Executive Director Charles Jarden states, “The new season will allow audiences and financial sponsors more access to the music from the workshop program that has traditionally been closed to the public.” Funders that joined the growing supporters of this unique fellowship offered to composers include The BMI Foundation and The Virgil Thomson Foundation.

This summer has already seen partnering organizations such as The Walt Whitman Project, Opera on Tap, and Make Music NY create programs around C&V songs, delighting audiences from Theater Ten Ten in Manhattan to the feisty back room bar at Freddy’s in Ft. Greene Brooklyn. In October, C&V Six Scenes 08, the final presentations of the 2007-08 composer class, will be held in Brooklyn. In the 2008-09 Season, C&V will not be accepting new proposals or applications. Composers and librettists are requested to keep checking the website for updates.

“The future of American opera is in good hands…”

July 10, 2008

Opera News reviews This Is the Rill Speaking

One of the highlights of the New York area’s opera season was the presentation of two of Lee Hoiby’s operas — specifically, the first professional production of his 1992 one-act This Is the Rill Speaking and the New York premiere of the latest revision of his 1986 grand opera, The Tempest. Both works were presented at SUNY Purchase in late April, under the aegis of the University and American Opera Projects. Subsequently, This Is the Rill Speaking was performed in New York City’s Symphony Space. On April 26, both operas were performed, with a panel discussion occurring between performances.

Based on the play by Lanford Wilson, This Is the Rill Speaking is an opera without a traditional dramatic framework. It offers a series of vignettes of American small-town life as it was in the postwar era of the late 1940s and early ’50s. Literary and dramatic touchstones would include Winesburg Ohio, Spoon River Anthology, Our Town and Under Milkwood. The music is precious and nostalgic without being cloying, lyrical and emotional without overstatement. Hoiby’s light, exquisite scoring adds tremendously to the music’s impact. The six cast members — Abigail Fischer, Andrew Garland, Malinda Haslett, Nicole Mitchell, William Ferguson and Justin Petersen — each performed in multiple short roles. To their credit, and that of director Ned Canty, the listener managed to retain a sense of which of their characters they were enacting. Each of these young singers deserves a paragraph of praise. Suffice it to say that we can expect further great performances from them, and that the future of American opera is in good hands. The performance space at Purchase was rather small. Fortunately, scene designer Glenn Reed and lighting designer Peter West were up to the challenge, making creative use of the entire stage. Benton Hess and the AOP Orchestra provided sensitive, assured accompaniment.

Read entire review

Heart of Darkness composer receives praise for new CD

July 10, 2008
"Scattered Rhymes" by Tarik O'Regan

"Scattered Rhymes" by Tarik O'Regan

British composer Tarik O’Regan (Heart of Darkness) is receiving enthusiastic reviews for his new CD Scattered Rhymes. Consisting of a variety of thematic pieces, Scattered Rhymes “is truly virtuosic in its combination of three Italian poems by Petrarch (sung by the Orlando Consort) and choral settings of an anonymous medieval Latin poem from England” (American Record Guide). The Washington Post praises the work as “exquisite and delicate.”

Read the full Washington Post review here.

A workshop of O’Regan’s opera Heart of Darkness will be presented by AOP and Opera Genesis in August at the Linbury Studio of the Royal Opera House in London.

AOP joins Facebook

July 10, 2008

AOP is doing a bit of social networking these days by joining Facebook.

If you have a Facebook profile, join the AOP group to be invited to events, view pictures and videos, join in discussions, read articles, and meet new people.

Click here to be a part of AOP’s Facebook group!

A weekend of opera concerts in NYC parks

July 10, 2008
J. David Jackson (left, with AOP Board Mamber John Buscarello) at the Metropolitan Opera's summer concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

J. David Jackson (left, with AOP Board Member John Buscarello) at the Metropolitan Opera's summer concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

AOP conductor covers Met Opera’s concert in Prospect Park

AOP conductor J. David Jackson (Darkling, Marina: A Captive Spirit) was the cover conductor for the Metropolitan Opera’s concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn that drew a crowd of 50,000 on the evening of June 20. The concert featured the soprano Angela Gheorghiu and the tenor Roberto Alagna performing famous opera arias and duets.

AOP presents its own park concert in Brooklyn

On Saturday, June 21, AOP held its own summer concert in a Brooklyn Park one day after the Metropolitan Opera’s presentation. A crowd of less than 50,000 was on hand in Fort Greene Park to watch AOP and friends performing all new opera arias and duets as part of the free festival Make Music NY.

Donna Smith performs C&V songs based on the potry of Walt Whitman

Donna Smith performs C&V songs based on the potry of Walt Whitman

AOP performed songs from this year’s C&V composers based on the writings of Brooklyn’s own Walt Whitman in between presentations from Opera on Tap, Collective Opera Company, and Rhymes With Opera. Greg Trupiano, Artistic Director of the Walt Whitman Project, introduced each of the songs with information about their source poems, including one poem that was written only a block away from where the performance was held.

The show was also held earlier in the day at Lincoln Square in Manhattan.

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