Hartford Opera Theater Presents: New In November 9
Hartford Opera Theater will offer New in November 9, a collection of short operas and opera excerpts. This opera festival will play Sunday, November 18 (7pm) at The Cathedral House at Christ Church Cathedral, 45 Church Street, Hartford, CT. Tickets are available now at https:// www.hartfordoperatheater.com as well as at the door; $10 students and seniors and $20 general admission.
New in November 9 will feature these operas:
A Bridge for Three by Nathan Fletcher (Libretto: Megan Cohen) Inspired by the real life story of an 1897 daredevil who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge with homemade wings and survived, A Bridge for Three looks at three New Yorkers from three different historical eras who encounter each other in the midst of a shared plunge off the bridge..The three characters are Jimmy James (1897), professional daredevil, Roland Archister (1929), business tycoon and father, and Molly, a teenage girl from the present day.
Excerpt from The Loathly Lady by Paul Richards (Libretto: Wendy Steiner) This opera is based on the Wife of Bath's Tale by Chaucer, and features a Knight who visits different literary characters throughout history to answer the eternal question: What do women want? In the two scenes presented, the Knight visits with Titania and Oberon from A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Sheherazade.
Excerpt from Coal Creek by Dawn Sonntag Coal Creek was a gold mining community in remote east-central Alaska during the 1920s. The opera is based on the actual historical facts and characters as described in Douglas Beckstead's A World Turned Upside Down: The History of Coal Creek. Both scenes take place in Frank Slaven's roadhouse; Slaven was one of the first miners to come to Coal Creek.
Triangle by Tony Solitro (Based on a play by Jane Martin) Arthur and Joyce are in a relationship, but uptight, type A Joyce is jealous of Arthur's admiration for another woman, Aphrodite. Joyce invites Aphrodite to her and Arthur's shared apartment, in an effort to try and ascertain if anything improper has actually happened between Arthur and Aphrodite. Aphrodite enters, and she is everything that Joyce is not, impulsive and sensual. Who will Arthur choose?
Title: New in November 9
Location: The Cathedral House at Christ Church Cathedral, 45 Church Street, Hartford CT
Date: Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 7:00PM - Tickets: $10 students and seniors; $20 general admission; Tickets are now available at https://www.hartfordoperatheater.com or at the door.
Megan Cohen, Librettist Megan Cohen is a playwright, opera librettist, performance artist, game writer, and multi-tasker based in San Francisco with 100+ scripts onstage worldwide already under her name. http://plays.megancohen.com
Nathan Fletcher, Composer Nathan Fletcher (b. 1992) is a New York-based composer, arranger, tenor and pianist. In January 2018, his 20-minute chamber opera, A Bridge for Three, written with librettist Megan Cohen and commissioned by the Washington National Opera for its American Opera Initiative Festival, premiered at the Kennedy Center; its score has been described as "melodious [and] neo-Romantic" (Anne Midgette, The Washington Post) and "gorgeous" (Alan Savada, Opera-L). Nathan's short film collaboration with writer/ director Adam Taylor, Someone Like Me (L'opera di Facebook), has been described as a "must-see" (Jenna Simeonov, Schmopera), and "...amazing... Charming, dirty, irreverent, and a ton of fun" (Peter Szep, co-founder, New York Opera Alliance). Selected for numerous festival screenings, Someone Like Me took home the Audience Favorite and Judges' Award prizes at the July 2018 Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival in Brooklyn.
Nathan's compositions have been performed around the country at venues and events such as Opera America's National Opera Center in New York, the New York Festival of Song's 2016 NYFOS Next Festival, The Bushnell in Hartford, the American Choral Directors Association's (ACDA) National Symposium on American Choral Music in Washington, D.C., and the 2015 ACDA National Conference in Salt Lake City. His incidental score for The Picture of Dorian Gray, presented in May 2017 at the University of Oxford's Michael Pilch Studio Theatre in the United Kingdom, was praised by Katie Stanton of The Oxford Student as "haunting... [and] genuinely moving throughout."
Nathan's eclectic musical interests inform his arrangements for many types of ensembles. His version of Michel Legrand's classic tune, "Watch What Happens," was premiered by the UConn Jazz Lab Band under the direction of John Mastroianni in April 2015. In March 2017, his choral arrangement of the traditional African-American spiritual, "Deep River," was premiered by the Choir of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York under the direction of Ryan Jackson, and went on to receive its U.K. premiere at the 2017 Festival of Liturgical Music at St Mary's Priory in Abergavenny, Wales, performed by Icosa under the direction of Luke Mather.
A recipient of numerous prizes for excellence in composition, Nathan received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, having been a finalist in 2015 and 2016. Nathan was also a finalist in the American Choral Directors Association's 2014 Brock Student Composition Competition.
Paul Richards, Composer Born in New York City in 1969 to a musical family, composer Paul Richards has been engaged with music since childhood, including forays into various popular styles, the Western canon, and Jewish sacred and secular music through his father, a cantor. All of these experiences inform his creative activities, which have included numerous orchestral, vocal, chamber, and theatrical works. Hailed in the press as a composer with "a strong, pure melodic gift, an ear for color, and an appreciation for contrast and variety," and praised for his "fresh approach to movement and beautiful orchestral coloration," his works have been heard in performance throughout the country and internationally on six continents.
He has been recognized in numerous competitions, including the 2017 Flute New Music Consortium Competition Competition, the 2014 Columbia Summer Winds Outdoor Composition Competition, the 2009 St. Mary's University/Kaplan Foundation Composition Competition, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's Fresh Ink 2002 Florida Composers' Competition, the International Section of the 2000 New Music for Sligo/IMRO Composition Award, and the 2001 and 2004 Truman State University/ M.A.C.R.O. Composition Competitions. Other honors and awards include Special Distinction in the ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize, Finalist in the 2006 American Composers Orchestra Whitaker Reading Sessions, Finalist in the Atlanta Chamber Players 2009 Rapido! Composition Competition, Second Prize in the International Horn Society Composition Competition in 2001, First Place in the 1999 Voices of Change Composers Competition, two First Place prizes in the Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composers Award (1994-95, 1995-96) and many others.
Commissions have come from organizations including the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Brass, the 6ixwire project, Florida State Music Teachers' Association, St. Mary's University/Kaplan Foundation, Buffet-Crampon International Summer Clarinet Academy, Open Heart String Quartet, Duo 46, Sonoran Consort, Meet the Composer-Arizona, Arizona Repertory Singers, Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Catalina Chamber Orchestra. In addition, many university wind programs have commissioned Richards' work, including those of Baylor, DelMar, Florida, Illinois - Champaign/Urbana, Michigan, Nevada - Las Vegas, North Carolina - Greensboro, Northern Iowa, Syracuse and Truman State.
Richards' second opera, with libretto by Wendy Steiner, "Biennale", was premiered in October, 2013, at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Richards and Steiner's first opera, "The Loathly Lady", received its premiere April 1, 2009 at Irvine Auditorium on The University of Pennsylvania campus. With a strong interest in dramatic works and collaborations with other artists, he composed the score to James Babanikos' film "Somewhere Beyond", and has recently completed "Forty-Four Ambitions for Soprano and Piano", an extended song cycle on the poetry of Lola Haskins. Witch Doctor, a CD of Richards' wind ensemble music, was released in 2013 on the Mark Custom label. Fables, Forms, and Fears, a CD of Richards' chamber music, was released by Meyer Media in 2007. Music by Paul Richards is also recorded on the Centaur, MMC, Capstone, Spitfire, Summit, Raven, and Pavane labels. His works are published by Carl Fischer Music, the International Horn Society Press, TrevCo Music, Jeanné, Inc., and Margalit Music.
Currently Research Foundation Professor of Music and head of composition and theory at the University of Florida, where he has been on the faculty since 1999, he served as Visiting Professor at Florida State University in 2016, and previously taught at Baylor University. Richards earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition at the University of Texas at Austin, and Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Theory and Composition at the University of Arizona.
Tony Solitro, Composer Tony Solitro composes concert and stage music that is "fraught with tension" and "amusingly intricate." Politics, history, literature, drama, and visual art inspire his compositions. Examples from recent projects include: No More in Darkness, a meditation on Alexandra David-Neel's pioneering journey to Tibet; More Beautiful Than Night, a cycle of gay love songs interweaving romance, sensuality, and humor; living- despite | living-against, incorporating the syncopated rhythms of protest chants; and Les Bouteilles de la Table Ronde, a surrealist drinking song for women, integrated within a mixed-media installation.
"Delightfully executed with sidesplitting hilarity," Tony's mythology-infused comedy Triangle will be presented during the National Opera Association's 2019 Conference in Salt Lake City as one of three finalists for the Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. Commissioned by Boston Opera Collaborative and premiered in partnership with Boston New Music Initiative, it was hailed "a standout favorite" and praised for its "spiky, smashing, blasting" orchestrations (the Intelligencer). In his 2016 vignette She's Fabulous-a "wonderfully humorous" satire featuring two bitter opera divas-Solitro conjured "spastically dramatic and emotionally volatile music... juxtaposing lush arias with brisk recitatives" (the Intelligencer).
Awarded the Grand Prize in the David Walter Composition Competition (International Society of Bassists), Tony's string quintet Shadow Confrontations was composed for bassist Joseph Conyers (Assistant Principal, Philadelphia Orchestra) and recorded with the Daedalus Quartet. He was awarded fellowships and artist residencies at Yaddo, Brush Creek, Kimmel Harding Nelson, VCCA, and the Brevard Music Center. He earned his Ph.D. as a recipient of the George Crumb Music Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.M. from the Longy School of Music on a Nadia and Lili Boulanger Scholarship. To hear recordings, see videos, and explore his composition catalogue, visit www.tonysolitro.com.
Dawn Sonntag, Composer
Dawn Sonntag is a composer, vocalist, pianist, and conductor whose works include opera, vocal, choral, chamber, and orchestral music. Influenced by her extensive background as both a vocalist and pianist, Sonntag has been called a "versatile musician of great ability" whose works are "hauntingly lyrical" (Schaumburg-Lippe Landes-Zeituing, June, 2009). Her opera, Verlorene Heimat (Lost Homeland), based on the true story of East Prussian Nazi resistors and the Jewish-Ukrainian girl they sheltered, was a featured work in the Cleveland Opera Theaters 2018 New Opera Works Festival. Her 10-minute opera for solo soprano, Evangline, based on Longfellow's poem of the same name, was premiered at the Vocalypse Opera from Scratch festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2017 and will be a featured work on the Hartford Women's Composers Festival in April, 2018.
Her choral works have been performed by the Valparaiso Concert Choir, Augsburg College Choir, University of Minnesota Women's Choir, the Ohio State Chamber Singers and Women's Glee Club, the Princeton Singers, the North Florida Women's Chorale, the Leif Eriksson International Choir, Mississippi State University, and more. Her chamber music has been performed by The Orchid Ensemble, Fairbanks - based Corvus, the Almeda Trio, Amphion Strings, by professional soloists across the U.S. and has been performed on numerous Cleveland Composer Guild concerts and broadcast on public radio and television. She contributed music for the documentary films Action Arts and Voice to Vision IV, which were broadcast on Twin Cities PBS. Her first opera, "Verlorene Heimat," which chronicles the experiences of ethnic German East Prussian refugees in Eastern Europe during WWII, was premiered in 2014 at Hiram College, and scenes have been performed by the Halifax Opera Theater, Cleveland Opera Theater, and ContempOpera Theater. Her setting of Whitman's "Come up from the Fields, Father" will be featured at the 2017 Source Song Festival in Minneapolis, and her10minute solo opera based on Longfellow's Evangeline will be premiered at the Vocalypse Opera from Scratch festival in August, 2017.
Sonntag has been a composer-in-residence at the Visby International Centre for Composition in Visby, Sweden, and was named the Music Teachers National Association-Ohio's 2010 Distinguished Composer of the Year. She was a finalist in the 2007 American Composers Forum Faith Partners commissioning competition. www.dawnsonntag.com
Wendy Steiner, Librettist
Trained at McGill (B.A.) and Yale (Ph.D.), Dr. Steiner teaches 20-21st-century literature and critical theory, and specializes in interrelations between visual and verbal art. Among her many books are The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism (among the "NY Times 100 Best Books of 1996"), Venus in Exile: The Rejection of Beauty in 20th-Century Art (2001), and The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art (2010). Dr. Steiner has received awards from the Guggenheim and Mellon Foundations among others, and her cultural reviews have appeared widely in U. S. and British periodicals, including the New York Times and the London Review of Books. At Penn, she has served as Chair of the English Department, Founding Director of the Penn Humanities Forum, Master of Modern Languages College House, and director of the King's College Program in London. She also writes opera librettos, one of which, The Loathly Lady, had its premiere at Irvine Auditorium in 2009.
Hartford Opera Theater, Inc. is dedicated to enriching the lives of all members of the Greater Hartford community by offering quality, innovative, and affordable opera. Our organization commits itself to keeping the genre of opera relevant for patrons and artists through the presentation of productions that are both culturally topical and true to opera as an art form. We foster a safe environment in which emerging and established artists can feel free to collaborate and create. In addition, HOT promotes arts education and appreciation by providing free outreach programs to members of our community. At HOT, we believe that all people deserve to experience the beauty and total art that is opera. Hartford Opera Theater - Opera for Everyone.