Opera Singing Dandies Set On The Loose in NYC
American Opera Projects and Sing for Hope team up next week to present a scene from the new opera Paul's Case in three locations around the city to the surprise of bystanders and passersby. Utilizing the pianos placed around the city for the "Play Me, I'm Yours" program, the scene from Paul's Case, by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Kathryn Walat, will feature tenors Thomas Wazelle and Dorian Balis as two turn-of-the-twentieth dandies on the loose in New York City for the first time in their lives. Pat Diamond directs with music direction by Silas Huff.The free performances will take place on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Bryant Park, and in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, locations similar to the ones in the Willa Cather short story that the opera is based on, creating the feel of a 1907 drama come to operatic life among twenty-first century New Yorkers. Though these locations will not be announced to the general public in advance, interested press outlets will be given the opportunity to cover the event.
Paul's Case chronicles the dissolution of a high school dandy living in sooty turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh. Paul, fleeing a mundane life, escapes to New York City to experience a week of cosmopolitan luxury. Unable to maintain his credibility, he devises a final act of shocking audacity that has confounded critics and readers alike. The music of Paul's Case weds a florid vocal style inspired by baroque opera with a post-minimal structural sensibility. American Opera Projects has developed the opera since 2008 with a recent workshop production in Philadelphia earning the work a spot on the Philadelphia Inquirer's "Best in Classical Music 2009" list. Scenes from the opera were presented by the Los Angeles Opera and their Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program at the annual OPERA America conference in Los Angeles.
Gregory Spears writes opera and chamber music that combines elements of Early Music and Minimalism within a Romantic sound world. His newest work, A Breton Requiem, was commissioned by choreographer Christopher Williams and will be premiered in New York in June. Full bio at www.gregoryspears.com.
Play Me, I'm Yours is a project presented by Sing for Hope (www.singforhope.org), a public service organization for artists that is installing 60 pianos in the parks and public spaces of New York City's five boroughs to be available to all who pass by from June 21 to July 5. These "street pianos" are part of a worldwide public art project created by British artist Luke Jerram.
"Many people never touch a piano, so we are bringing pianos to the people," says Sing for Hope Co-Founding Director Camille Zamora. "Sing for Hope is an artists' peace corps," adds Zamora's fellow Co-Founding Director, Monica Yunus. "Our volunteers - professional artists from New York's leading stages - donate their time and talent in our programs that benefit schools, hospitals, and communities. Play Me, I'm Yours speaks to our mission of making the arts available to everyone."
In the words of Grammy Award Winner Alicia Keys, "I believe in the creative potential of New York City, and I applaud everything Sing for Hope does to develop that potential. This summer, Sing for Hope will create a beautiful moment for our city by bringing Play Me, I'm Yours to our parks and public spaces. It's things like this that make me extra proud to be a New Yorker."
The public is invited to post photos and videos of their local Play Me, I'm Yours street pianos on a dedicated website, www.nycstreetpianos.com. More information may be found at www.singforhope.org.
About American Opera Projects
For over 20 years, American Opera Projects (AOP) has beencreating, developing and presenting exclusively new American opera and music Theatre Projects that have appeared at the Royal Opera House (London), the Lincoln Center Festival,Skirball Center at NYU, the Guggenheim Museum, Symphony Space, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Israel Vocal Arts Institute (Tel Aviv), Freie Universität Berlin, and many other national and international venues. AOP, based in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, has produced over 15 world premiere operas including Lee Hoiby's This Is the Rill Speaking (2008), Stefan Weisman's Darkling (2006), and Paula Kimper's Patience & Sarah (1998). Upcoming productions of AOP-developed projects include Séance on a Wet Afternoon, the first opera by Stephen Schwartz, at New York City Opera in April 2011 and the world premieres of Jorge Martín's Before Night Falls at Fort Worth Opera in 2010 and Tarik O'Regan's Heart of Darkness at The Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio in 2011.
About Sing for Hope
"What Sing for Hope does is wonderfully simple. It maintains a roster of compassionate, world-class artists who donate time and talent to the humanitarian causes that inspire them."
- Dr. Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Sing for Hope Board Member
Founded by opera singers with a desire to lift their voices for social change, Sing for Hope mobilizes more than 600 world-class artists - from classical musicians to photographers to Broadway performers - who donate time and talent in our volunteer service programs that benefit schools, hospitals and communities. Sing for Hope provides three programs: Art U! (dynamic arts and leadership education for under-resourced youth), Healing Arts (in-hospital performances and workshops that complement the healing process), and Community Arts (events that raise awareness and funds for humanitarian causes, and projects that dismantle barriers to arts accessibility). Each Sing for Hope project is defined by the volunteerism of professional artists and our belief in the transformative power of the arts. Sing for Hope is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. To learn more, visit www.singforhope.org.