Oh Sleep, Why Dost Thou Lie to Me?

January 26, 2011

In AOP composer Tarik O’Regan’s (Heart of Darkness, The Wanton Sublime) latest piece “The Night’s Untruth,” for choir, brass, and organ, the answer is simple: sleep is “a parallel, possibly dystopian, existence to the one in our waking hours.”

Whoa.  No wonder my dreams are crazy.  But that’s for another blog post…

The piece, which was shortlisted for this year’s British Composer Awards and voted by Time Out: London as one of the Best of the Year 2010: Classical Concerts in London, “explores the theme of sleep as a metaphor, with death, love, fear, ecstasy, isolation, dreaming and rest all providing textual ‘variations on the theme’, drawing on poems across the centuries by Keats, Shakespeare, Samuel Daniel and Hart Crane.”  Attendees of the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) trust’s 10th anniversary concert last March got to experience this dream-like piece in person when they heard it via the BBC Singers (directed by Nicholas Cleobury), Onyx Brass and organist Stephen Disley.  Clearly music critic Jonathan Lennie was entranced as well, since it was this concert that made his Top 5 listing for the Time Out: London review.

“The Night’s Untruth” has also been jointly commissioned by JAM and the American choir Vocal Essense to give its US premiere under director Philip Brunelle during the 2010-11 season.

Sleep well, fair readers.  Tarik O’Regan certainly is.

“Our Basic Nature” at Nautilus Music Theater

November 18, 2010

Audiences in St. Paul, Minnesota were given a walk on the wild side this past Monday and Tuesday evening, November 15th and 16th, when AOP’s First Chance Opera-In-Development “Our Basic Nature” was presented by Nautilus Music Theater as part of their “Rough Cuts” series.  With music by John Glover and libretto by Kelley Rourke, the performance featured baritone Andrew Wilkowske and pianist/music director Jocelyn Dueck.

The one-act monodrama, which is to be presented at The Greene Space in NYC on December 10th, is based on the memoirs of Maurice Temerlin, who in 1964 adopted a chimpanzee named Lucy and attempted to raise her as his own daughter.  In 2010, Lucy’s story also served as a one-hour Radiolab (WNYC) episode, “Radiolab Show 702- Lucy,” which the opera is based on.

No stranger to the radio waves, the story of Lucy was heard again by Minnesota Public Radio arts reporter Chris Roberts, who produced an audio assemblage about the production for a 4:51pm November 15th airing of All Thing Considered.  Listen here.

The Music of Tobias Picker Showcased at Dicapo Opera Theatre

February 5, 2008
The Music of Tobias Picker Showcased at Dicapo Opera Theatre
On Saturday, February 2 at 8:00 PM New York’s Dicapo Opera Theatre presents The Music of Tobias Picker: a full evening of selected scenes and arias from the composer’s acclaimed operas Emmeline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Therese Raquin and An American Tragedy. Following a successful run of Therese Raquin in its chamber version last February, Picker was appointed to the position of Artistic Advisor to Dicapo. The Music of Tobias Picker is Dicapo’s first presentation of Picker’s music since his appointment. The scenes and arias will be performed by the young singers in Dicapo’s Resident Artists program. In addition to his counsel on repertoire and artistic planning, Mr. Picker has been actively working with the Resident Artists in developing their craft. For the February 2 program, Mr. Picker selected each of the singers and has personally coached them for this performance. Accompanying the singers on February 2 will be British pianist and composer Simon Mulligan.In other Picker happenings, his lush orchestral tone poem Old and Lost Rivers will be performed by the Redwood Symphony of Belmont, California, under conductor Eric Kujawsky on Wednesday, February 9 and his Suite, for cello and piano, can be heard at Temple University’s Rock Hall in Philadelphia with cellist Jeffrey Solow and pianist Charles Abramovic on Tuesday, February 5.

Tobias Picker is a Composer Chair for AOP’s annual series Composers & the Voice.

Lee Hoiby’s Summer Suite Given World Premiere

February 5, 2008
Lee Hoiby’s Summer Suite Given World Premiere by Austin Peay State University Wind Ensemble
On February 25 the Austin Peay State University Wind Ensemble under conductor Greg Wolynec performs the world premiere of Lee Hoiby’s Summer Suite, the composer’s first work scored for wind ensemble. The band work was commissioned by Austin Peay State University expressly for the university wind ensemble. The composer elaborates on the history of the piece:

Summer Suite is a transcription for concert band of one of my first orchestral works. The last movement is a rousing parade, and when the opportunity presented itself last year I decided to recast it for concert band. Greg Wolynec and his players at Austin Peay State University enjoyed it sufficiently to encourage me to work on the first two movements for them. Rethinking the first movement (which was originally titled Scherzo) was a challenge and education, particularly in dealing with the lack of high strings, and tempo considerations. The second movement was a piece of cake, and I’m especially pleased with the way the long theme fits the french horn. I feel like my twenty-six year old self has made a gift to my present self.

Lee Hoiby is the composer of several works produced by AOP including “The Darkling Thrush”, Geographies & Selves, and the World Professional Premiere of This is the Rill Speaking in April 2008.

Jennifer Fitzgerald (1975-2007)

December 28, 2007

Jennifer FitzgeraldAmerican Opera Projects is deeply saddened to report that  composer Jennifer Fitzgerald passed away on December 23rd, following an extended battle with cancer.

Jennifer was a 2006-07 member of AOP’s composer training program Composers & the Voice. As a member of C&V she presented the songs “It must be in this garden…,” “Fingers I,” and “The Lesson of the Moth” as well as a scene from her opera, “Mr. Hawthorne’s Engagement.”

Born July 8, 1975, in New York City, Jennifer received her B.A. in music from Tufts University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in music composition from Duke University.  Jennifer was an instructor of music at Lawrence and a former Lawrence postdoctoral fellow. In addition to performing at Lawrence, Jennifer appeared at Adelphi University, Duke University, Tufts University, Greensboro College, and at music festivals and events throughout the east coast. Jennifer was named as an alternate Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin (2007-2008) and received the 2006 Meet the Composer Creative Connections Award, and was recognized as a “gifted young composer” by Alex Ross (music critic for The New Yorker.)

She is survived by her father and step-mother, Stephen and Leslie Fitzgerald of Savannah, Ga., her mother, step-father and sister, Candee, Mark and Rebecca Shepard of New York City; and her partner, Charles Jester of Appleton, WI.

The memorial service for Jennifer is Friday, Dec. 28, at the Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors Hodgson Chapel, in Savannah, Ga. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Lawrence University, Duke University, or Tufts University.

Jennifer’s music can be heard at her website: www.jenniferfitzgerald.com

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