Hey kids: Are you a singer with a background in opera? Or do you know someone who is? Composer Robert Paterson and I are looking for singers to read through two scenes of our opera-in-progress, A Child Possessed. Details below.
Composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote are looking for up to nine vocalists (2 women and 5-7 men) with a background in opera to take part in a demo recording of the piano reduction of two scenes for the new, two-act opera, A Child Possessed. We are offering a small honorarium, some great food at the rehearsals, and a studio-quality demo recording, which we plan on using to spread the word far and wide. The pianist for the recording will be Blair McMillen.
The character breakdowns of vocal parts needed and voice types are detailed below.
At our discretion, a few singers may be asked to double up between the
two scenes. The rehearsals and recording are scheduled for April 29-May
Please forward three sample vocal recordings (at least one 20th or 21st century work preferred), a resume and a headshot, via either a website link or emailed to
Robert Paterson . If emailed, the audio files must be MP3 format only.
Although we prefer to receive materials via the above methods, they may also be mailed to the following address:
American Modern Ensemble
Attn: Robert Paterson
484 West 43rd St, Suite 37C
New York, NY 10036
Receipt Deadline: April 6, 2009.
(For These Two Scenes)
HÉLÈNE LOPUCHINE (née Milescu) – Soprano
French, mid 30s. Beautiful, glamorous, world-renowned soprano based in Paris. Estranged wife of Stepan. For the last five years, her fame has grown tremendously. She performs in the world’s best opera houses, with a repertoire of bel canto, the Romantics, and the occasional Baroque. (She’s more Mozart and Rossini than Wagner.) Stylish, lovely, but imperious and chilly, she wants to control her own past, which is full of secrets. Hélène has emotional difficulty with the idea of family and motherhood—which leads to guilt. She didn’t come from wealth; she had to work her way up from poor origins. She has a dry, sharp sense of humor. Stoic loneliness has become a way of life, what with all the traveling and limited engagements.
STEPAN LOPUCHINE – Baritone: Robert Gardner
Russian, late 30s. Stepan is a truck driver based in Marseilles. When not on the road driving long hours throughout the French countryside, he dwells in a small, shabby room in Madame Pascoli’s boarding house by the docks—which also serves as a bar for sailors and locals. Stepan’s life is part proletarian, part bohemian. He’s jolly but moody, apt to talk about axles and carburetors as well as moral philosophy. Born into the Russian aristocracy, he was forced to leave the Soviet Union when he was a young man. Married Hélène, had Génie, became estranged from Hélène when Génie was about three years old. He’s got a dark sense of humor and can act the fool, but can be dangerous when angered.
EUGÉNIE LOPUCHINE (Génie) – Child Soprano (not sung in reading)
Age 8. Daughter of Hélène and Stepan. Génie is developmentally disabled, to the point where she cannot communicate or take care of herself. At first, she cannot speak—beyond random vocalizations—and her responses to outside stimuli are impulsive, strange, and occasionally violent. She is a basically sweet girl but living in a Swiss mental hospital since the age of three has left her dissociated and alienated. No one tried to teach her anything or reach her emotionally. So it is unclear whether she is severely mentally disabled or if it is a combination of moderate disability plus autism, or emotional damage brought about by years of institutional life.
DR. CHITRY – Tenor
Age: late 30/early 40s. Doctor in Swiss mental institution. Suave, poised, the public face of the hospital. He deals with distraught parents of patients all the time.
DR. KRETSCHMANN – Bass-Baritone
Age: 40s/50s. Starchy, pompous but passionate doctor. Innovator of a controversial new neurological operation for the developmentally disabled. Authoritative but not subtle.
RENE – Tenor
Age: late teens. Mentally disabled youth who has undergone a radical operation. Docile but distracted. Charming and ingratiating with his supervisors. Flirts with women.
GEORGE – Tenor (or Baritone)
Age: 20s. Mentally disabled youth who has undergone a radical operation. A bit fidgety but he tries to control it.
HANS – Tenor
Age: 20s. Mentally disabled youth who has undergone a radical operation. Most distant of all, with impaired motor functions. Withdrawn.
IGRANES – Tenor
Age: 30s. Helene’s manager. An elegant, urbane, fussy fellow. He loves the opera and adores his client. Conservative in his tastes and dismissive of anything too modern.
HOTEL MANAGER – Baritone
Age: 20s. Worker at a fancy seaside hotel in Cannes. Not as snooty as Igranes, but he tries to be smooth. When we see him, he’s rather flustered.