AOP attends Seance premiere; Reviews are in!

October 7, 2009
Lauren Flanigan as Myra conjures the dead in the premiere of Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Photo: David Bazemore for The Santa Barbara Independent

Lauren Flanigan as Myra conjures the dead in the premiere of Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Photo: David Bazemore for The Santa Barbara Independent

AOP Board President Robert E. Lee III and Company Manager Matt Gray were on hand for the gala premiere of Stephen Schwartz‘s first opera Seance on a Wet Afternoon at Opera Santa Barbara. AOP artistic partner and star soprano Lauren Flanigan battled through a head cold and delivered a seemingly effortless bravura performance in the role of Myra, a psychic medium who convinces her husband to participate in a kidnapping scheme that will bring them fame and fortune.

The premiere also featured frequent AOP singers Caroline Worra and Michael Marcotte. Charity Wicks was the assistant conductor to Maestro Valery Ryvkin. A commission by Opera Santa Barbara and produced by Michael Jackowitz, AOP had developed the project since its first workshop in 2008 that was held at South Oxford Space in Brooklyn and the Rose Studio in Lincoln Center with additional public workshops at the Angel Orensanz Theater in the Lower East Side.

And the reviews have started pouring in!

“…terrifically involving and entertaining, sure to excite the interest of opera impresarios (and maybe even legit ones) seeking new audiences for a rigorous art form.”
– Variety
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“Stephen Schwartz and Opera Santa Barbara have pulled off the season’s first major coup with this world premiere of what is likely to be among the most talked-about new operas of the decade. Boldly beautiful in its conception and staging, Séance on a Wet Afternoon takes audiences on a wild, suspenseful, and at times even hilarious ride to the limits of tragedy.”
– The Santa Barbara Independent
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““Séance” is an opera for people who don’t like opera.”
– LA Times
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“…the cast and the production values were exemplary.”
– Santa Barbara Noozhawk
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“Stephen Schwartz may have written the world’s most accessible opera.”
– TalkinBroadway.com
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Tribute to Stephen Schwartz previews “Seance,” features AOP vets

September 6, 2009

Composer Stephen Schwartz was honored with a concert of his works in Los Angeles that featured many AOP veterans including Lauren Flanigan, Michael Marcotte, and Nathan Lee Graham led in song by frequent AOP music director Charity Wicks. Scattered among hits from Mr. Schwartz’s musicals Pippin, Wicked, and Godspell (to name only a few), audiences got to hear a preview of the AOP-developed opera “Seance on a Wet Afternoon” that will have its premiere at Opera Santa Barbara on Sep. 26.

From Broadway World:

On Sunday, Aug 23rd 2009, Upright Cabaret’s incredibly popular “Wicked Summer Nights” series at the Ford Amphitheatre drew to a close with a spectacular concert entitled ‘Stephen Schwartz: Making Good’ which set out to celebrate the works of the man who inspired the series, Mr. Stephen Schwartz.

With Mr. Schwartz in attendance and narrating the first half of the concert, Director Billy Porter along with Music Directors Chris Bratten and Charity Wicks, guided the audience through the composers famed hit songs which included ‘Magic to Do,’ ‘Defying Gravity,’ and ‘I Guess I’ll Miss the Man,’ and then provided the audience with a sneak peek into Mr. Schwartz’ new work “Séance on a Wet Afternoon” set to debut in Sept 2009 in Santa Barbara, CA.

Read more and view photos…

Steve Pence, Lauren Flanigan, Michael Marcotte at Stephen Schwartz: Making Good

Steve Pence, Lauren Flanigan, Michael Marcotte at Stephen Schwartz: Making Good



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