The Boston Phoenix review: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead comes to life in Boston

May 27, 2010
Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall

On April 10-11 2010, American Opera Projects and the Boston Classical Orchestra presented a concert staging of Herschel Garfein‘s new comic opera Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall.  Based on Tom Stoppard’s existential play of the same title, Garfein wrote both the score and the libretto for this lively adaption.

Seven semi-staged scenes were performed; some featured the lead soloists, and others included a chorus of students from the New England Conservatory. The title roles were performed by Krista River (mezzo-soprano), Chad Sloan (baritone), David Kravitz (baritone) and Jeffrey Tucker (bass). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, played by David Kravitz and Chad Sloan respectively, were the obvious audience favorites. The Boston Globe described the two baritones’ performances favorably, saying, “David Kravitz and Chad Sloan sang with skill, power, and exemplary diction, and acted their parts as well as they could from their music stands.”  Krista River was also lauded for her “beautifully sung” rendition of “The Unicorn Song.”

The opera scenes were paired with Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 to cap BCO’s 30th season.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is currently in development at AOP.

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Yehuda Nir’s “Lost Childhood” commemorated on his 80th Birthday

May 6, 2010

Lost Childhood book cover

Yehuda Nir as a boy on the cover of his memoir "The Lost Childhood"

Dr. Yehuda Nir, Holocaust survivor and author of the memoir “The Lost Childhood”, celebrated his 80th birthday last week amongst a crowd of friends and family.  Nir’s tragic childhood remembrance inspired librettist Mary Azrael and composer Janice Hamer to create the operatic version of “Lost Childhood”– a riveting full-length performance based on Yehuda Nir’s plight, and conversations with Gottfried Wagner (great-grandson of Richard Wagner).  American Opera Projects commissioned the opera in 2001, and has nurtured its development throughout the following years.  AOP presented a staged workshop of the opera for the first time  on July 29,2007, to rave reviews.

Selections of “The Lost Childhood” were performed in honor of Yehuda’s 80th birthday at The Box on Chrystie Street.  Nearly one hundred of Yehuda Nir’s admirers and close friends were said to be in attendance.  AOP for its own part, delighted at participating in the celebrations and sharing of a great operatic work.

Read the full Huffington Post article here.


Gold Streak for “Judgment of Midas”

May 4, 2010

Midas and Apollo

King Midas listens to the music of the god Apollo

American Opera Projects’ opera-in-progress, Judgment of Midas, has just added Berkeley Opera as another development partner!  In addition to this new promising partnership, AOP has also been invited to Ankara, Turkey for the orchestra concert of  Judgment of Midas!  The invitation was extended to AOP by the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, who will be performing the opera’s orchestration  in January of 2011.  Judgment of Midas is the result of a successful collaboration between composer Kamran Ince and librettist Miriam Seidel.  The opera depicts the musical competition of rivals Apollo (the maker of the god’s music) and Pan (maker of “street” music) on Mount Tmolus in Sardis, Turkey.  The opera’s dramatic appeal and Mediterranean setting made it the perfect work to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Sardis/Lydia excavations, scheduled for production in 2010.  If that isn’t enough excitement for one show, Judgment of Midas has also attracted the interest of NAXOS, who would like to commission a recording of the work within the next few seasons!  J. David Jackson (conductor of Simon Boccanegra at the Met this year) and Jonathan Khuner (fresh from a run as prompter for “Lulu” at the Met) will make a great addition to the Midas team as music directors.

Judgment of Midas made its NYC debut at OPERA America’s Trustee Board dinner on February 20. To read more about this star-studded event, read our past news page here.


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