Cincinnati Opera to Release Premiere Recording of Gregory Spears' FELLOW TRAVELERS
Cincinnati Opera releases the live audio recording of the world premiere production of Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce's ravishing new opera, Fellow Travelers, directed by Kevin Newbury and featuring the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Gibson (out September 15 (digital) and September 29 (physical) on Fanfare Cincinnati).
Fellow Travelers is set in Washington, DC during the height of the McCarthy-era "lavender scare," in which gay men and lesbians were persecuted as presumed risks to national security.
Based on the 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon, it tells the story of Timothy "Skippy" Laughlin, an aspiring young journalist, and Hawkins "Hawk" Fuller, a handsome, profligate State Department official. A chance encounter with Hawk leads to Tim's first job in DC, and his first love affair. As his involvement deepens, Tim struggles to reconcile his political convictions, his religious beliefs, and his love for Fuller-an entanglement that ends in a stunning act of betrayal.
Fellow Travelers premiered at Cincinnati Opera in June-July 2016 (at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater in Cincinnati's Aronoff Center for the Arts) and will be presented this season by PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now in New York City (January 2018) and Lyric Opera of Chicago (March 2018), with a new production to follow by Minnesota Opera (June 2018).
CAST & CREDITS:
Hawkins Fuller: Joseph Lattanzi
Mary Johnson: Devon Guthrie
Miss Lightfoot: Alexandra Schoeny
Estonian Frank/Interrogator/Senator Joseph McCarthy: Marcus DeLoach
Lucy: Talya Lieberman
Tommy McIntyre: Paul Scholten
Potter's Assistant/Bookseller/Party Guest/Technician/French Priest: Christian Pursell
Developed and co-commissioned by G. Sterling Zinsmeyer. Produced and co-commissioned by Cincinnati Opera. Lead support provided by The Gale Family Foundation. Fellow Travelers received a workshop through Opera Fusion: New Works, a joint venture between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM:
Gregory Spears' work has been called "astonishingly beautiful" (The New York Times), "coolly entrancing" (The New Yorker), and "some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory" (The Boston Globe). In recent seasons, he has been commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, The Crossing, and the JACK Quartet, among others. Spears' most recent evening length opera,?Fellow Travelers, was written with playwright Greg Pierce and premiered in 2016 at Cincinnati Opera in a ten-performance run. It was hailed as "one of the most accomplished new operas...in recent years" (Chicago Tribune) and an opera that "seems assured of lasting appeal" (The New York Times). The premiere of?Fellow Travelers?was also included in?The New York Times' Best in Classical Music for 2016. Spears' children's opera,?Jason and the Argonauts,?written with Kathryn Walat, also premiered in the summer of 2016 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was subsequently performed on tour the following fall. His opera about space exploration,?O Columbia, was written in collaboration with Royce Vavrek and premiered in 2015 at Houston Grand Opera. Spears and Walat's first opera,?Paul's Case,?was described as a "masterpiece" (New York Observer) and was developed by American Opera Projects. It was premiered by Urban Arias in 2013, restaged at the PROTOTYPE Festival in 2014, and presented in a new production by Pittsburgh Opera. Spears has won prizes from BMI and ASCAP as well as awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Vagn Holmboe Competition. His music is published by Schott Music and Schott PSNY.
Greg Pierce grew up in Shelburne, Vermont. His play Slowgirl was the inaugural play of Lincoln Center's Claire Tow Theater (LCT3). It was subsequently produced by Steppenwolf Theatre and the Geffen Playhouse among others. His play Her Requiem, a Lincoln Center Theater commission, was also produced by LCT3. His play Cardinal (forthcoming) was commissioned by Second Stage Theater where it will receive its premiere. The Landing, a musical written with composer John Kander, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre in NYC. His second musical with Kander, Kid Victory, was co-produced by Signature Theatre in Virginia and the Vineyard Theatre. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, co-written with director Stephen Earnhart, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival, and went on to play the Singapore Arts Festival. The Quarry, with music by his brother Randal Pierce was commissioned and produced by Vermont Stage Company. Greg has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, Yaddo, The Djerassi Institute, The New York Public Library, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. He currently holds a commission from Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan Foundation. His work has been developed with Naked Angels, The New Group, Atlantic Theatre Company, Asia Society, the Rattlestick Theater, and The Public Theater's Under the Radar festival. He has a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.
Kevin Newbury is a theatre, opera, film, and event director based in New York City. He has directed over sixty original productions and his work has been presented by many opera companies, festivals and symphonies including the Park Avenue Armory, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, Barcelona Liceu, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera,?The San Francisco Symphony, L'Opera de Montreal, Prototype Festival, Urban Arias (DC), Bard Summerscape, Portland Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Cincinnati Opera, The Virginia Arts Festival and The Wexford Festival in Ireland, among many others. Committed to developing new work, he has directed over two dozen world premiere operas and plays. Recent highlights include Spears/Pierce's?Fellow Travelers, Bates/Campbell's?The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, Todd Almond's Kansas City Choir Boy (starring Almond and Courtney Love), Spears/Vavrek's O Columbia,?and Lopez/Cruz's?Bel Canto?(Lyric Opera of Chicago, broadcast on PBS' Great Performances and recently nominated for the 2016 International Opera Awards: Best World Premiere).?Upcoming projects include the world premieres of Rodewald/Di Novelli's The Good Swimmer (BAM Next Wave Festival)?and Fairouz/Hanif's?Bhutto?(Pittsburgh Opera and Beth Morrison Projects), and a new Broadway musical based on the work of Tears for Fears.
ABOUT CINCINNATI OPERA:
Founded in 1920 and the second oldest opera company in the nation, Cincinnati Opera presents a thrilling season of grand opera every June and July. The company's repertoire includes beloved classics and contemporary masterworks brought to life by some of the world's most dynamic performers and creative teams. Cincinnati Opera's 2018 Summer Festival runs June 14 through July 31, featuring Giuseppe Verdi's Festival LaTraviata, Claudio Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Laura Kaminsky's As One, and the United States premiere of Roger Waters's Another Brick in the Wall, based on the Pink Floyd album The Wall. Cincinnati Opera's 2018 season is made possible with support from ArtsWave, Ohio Arts Council, Macy's, The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, and many generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Visit cincinnatiopera.org.