AOP joins Great NonProfits

February 26, 2010

Have you just been dying to tell people how much you love AOP? Well now you can in the most beneficial of ways.  AOP is now a part of where you can post a review of AOP and the work we do. We hope your kind words will get the notice of donors and grantmakers and help us raise money to continue our mission of making new music.’s mission is to create an online review system that allows users to rate and discuss Nonprofit organizations.  Much as Zagat or Amazon offer an impartial venue for costumer reviews, allows people to share their experiences with various organizations.   This is the perfect opportunity to share how AOP (or any other nonprofit) has improved your life for the better!

AOP Celebrates RFK at Brooklyn Memorial Party

February 26, 2010
Nicole Mitchell and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

AOP mezzo-soprano Nicole Mitchell and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

On December 12, 2009, AOP was invited to present “Songs from the F Train”  during The RFK Memorial Holiday Party at the Youth Arts Academy in Brooklyn.  Distinguished guest  Robert Kennedy Jr., son of the late Senator and Attorney General, had the opportunity to listen to mezzo-soprano Nicole Mitchell sing through the trio of songs. Pianist Christopher Berg accompanied the  performance held at the Restoration Plaza.

Residents of Bedford Stuyvesant joined parents and children to form an audience of over 250.  AOP’s performance of “Songs from the F Train” furthered Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s mission to promote the growth of arts and culture in central Brooklyn.

The first commissioned work of AOP’s  I Hear America Singing, “Songs from the F Train” is a setting of poems by three Brooklyn students ages 9-12. The poems were written in a poetry workshop led by Brooklyn writer Angeli Rasbury in Fort Greene Park, and set to music by composer Gilda Lyons.

AOP Brings the Music to OPERA America Dinner

February 26, 2010

J. David Jackson (far left) conducts (l. to r.) Richard Bernstein, Nicole Mitchell, Matt Morgan, Sarah Moulton, Heather Meyers, and Sarah Nelson Craft in scenes from Kamrain Ince's JUDGMENT OF MIDAS

On February 20, AOP had the exclusive honor of providing a selection of its works as the musical entertainment for OPERA America‘s annual National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards Dinner. The notables from the opera world were regaled by a performance of Songs from the F Train and excerpts from Kamran Ince’s opera-in-progress Judgment of Midas. The event was held at the University Club in Midtown Manhattan.

Mezzo-soprano Nicole Mitchell sang Gilda Lyons‘ trio of “Songs From the F Train” at the top of the evening with Thomas Bagwell accompanying on piano. A co-commission from AOP, Fort Greene Park Conservancy and The Walt Whitman Project, “Songs from the F Train” is a setting of poems by three Brooklyn students between the ages of 9 and 12. Since its premiere last summer at the Make Music NY festival, it has been programmed on numerous occasions throughout the city.

Kamran Ince

To finish the evening, Turkish-American composer Kamran Ince was on hand to debut new music from his developing opera Judgment of Midas with authentic Turkish instruments providing the gateway into the setting of this ancient Greek myth set in the composer’s ancestral homeland.  Met Opera Maestro J. David Jackson, accompanied by fellow music director Jonathan Khuner, conducted Met baritone Richard Bernstein as Apollo in his musical duel with NYCO tenor Matt Morgan‘s forest god Pan.  Nicole Mitchell, Sarah Nelson Craft, Sarah Moulton, and Heather Meyer also sang the evening to a close.

Martín blogs the birth of Before Night Falls

February 12, 2010

Jorge Martín

Jorge Martín

Jorge Martín, composer of the AOP-developed opera Before Night Falls, has started a blog to document the growth of this new work as it prepares for its world premiere this Spring at Fort Worth Opera. Says Martín:

To count down the time leading up to the world premiere of my opera Before Night Falls at the Fort Worth Opera Festival on May 29, I will be writing about how the book became an opera (it wasn’t overnight!), and other assorted subjects relating to the preparation for the production. It’s my first Big Baby, and what a delivery!

Jorge Martín is a Cuban composer whose family moved to the U.S. in 1965. He acquired the rights to Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas’ memoir Before Night Falls and wrote the libretto himself with the help of Dolores M. Koch, who translated the book and knew Arenas personally.

R&G Are Dead is a Boston Globe Critic’s Pick

February 12, 2010
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead Nov 2009 workshop

AOP's Nov 2009 workshop of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead directed by Mark Morris.

The upcoming April concert of Herschel Garfein‘s opera-in-development Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is already creating a buzz in Beantown.  The performance of orchestrated scenes by Boston Classical Orchestra (in association with AOP) was picked by the critics at The Boston Globe as one of the season’s must-see events.

The orchestral premiere of scenes from the new comic opera based on the play by Tom Stoppard will be performed with BCO’s first performance of Schumann’s Second Symphony (marking the 200th anniversary of Schumann’s birth), all in celebration of the BCO’s 30th anniversary. R&G will feature performances by Krista River, Chad Sloan, David Kravitz, and Jeffrey Tucker.

And while you’re at it, check out the recent Sunday Times magazine article about the great jazz composer/pianist Fred Hersch (with extraordinary photos by Lee Friedlander).  It highlights the piece he and Herschel Garfein are working on together, dealing with his two-month long coma of a few years back.

Fred Hersch

Fred Hersch

“I was still alive for all that time I was unconscious, but the only life I had was in my dreams and nightmares, and they were incredibly strange and sometimes horrifying and sometimes beautiful,” Hersch said. “I was in a lot of physical pain and discomfort. I found out later that I had been restrained — I was strapped to the bed, and the dreams I had were unbelievably weird and mysterious. I’ve been trying to come to terms with what I went through, and the best way I know is to try to express it in music.” – Fred Hersch

Herschel says to look for the premiere in May 2011.

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