In late 2003, Opera News contacted me to write a story on the Met's new production of Salome and an intense new interest was born. What little opera I had seen up to that point had left me with the impression: great music, bad theater. Sometimes that prejudice was reinforced; other times, it was completely dispelled. Anyway, this is all to say that I'm doing my part to create new operas with gripping stories, strong character-driven texts and rich theatrical possibilities.
First news: Tonight at 8pm American Opera Projects and Opera on Tap present the second installment of An Opera Grows in Brooklyn at DUMBO's bar/art space Galapagos. The night's final piece is my one-act opera with composer Stefan Weisman, Fade. I've directed this concert "staging" and we have a terrific three-person cast, not to mention fleet-fingered Jody Schum on piano and conductor Stephen Black driving the beat. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets here.
In other, long-term news: I'm working on a full-length American opera verismo with composer Robert Paterson. Based on R.C. Hutchinson's 1964 novel, A Child Possessed, and titled the same, it is a story about a broken family and a distant child. In May, Robert and I recorded a 24-minute demo and had it pressed into CDs with an attractive jacket containing all the synopsis and artist information. This little beauty is what we are sending into the world to see if any producers or major opera companies find the material as exciting as we do. You can read about the opera and listen to music selections here. Robert was recently up at Yaddo orchestrating the two scenes we have written. When I go MacDowell in August/September, my Child Possessed files and notes will come with me.
I don't know how far this journey will take me but the pleasure of hearing one's words set to glorious music--making sense, striking both head and heart--is rare indeed.