OPERA AMERICA SALON SERIES: EXPLORING AMERICAN VOICES
SEASON CLOSES WITH EXCERPTS FROM CHING'S
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM — AN A CAPPELLA OPERA
New York, NY — OPERA America
, the national service organization for opera, presented the fourth and final installment of the inaugural Salon Series: Exploring American Voices
season to a full house on Wednesday, July 15.
Held in OPERA America's New York City headquarters from December 2008 through July 2009, the Salon Series
featured recitals of American operas and songs in an intimate performance space. The Salon Serie
s, presented in collaboration with the organization's publisher, company and artist members, showcased the diverse and unique voices of today's most distinguished North American composers. Attendees had the opportunity to meet the composers, librettists and performers at a reception after each performance.
The July Salon Series
event featured excerpts from Michael Ching's
work, A Midsummer Night's Dream — an A Cappella Opera
, with a libretto adapted by Ching from William Shakespeare's play. Opera New Jersey provided the performers for the evening. Following the concert, OPERA America's president and CEO Marc A. Scorca led a discussion between Mr. Ching and the audience about his career and A Midsummer Night's Dream
Among the audience members at the Salon Series
evening were industry professionals, fellow performing artists, patrons and special guests.
"We are delighted to provide our community with the rare opportunity to hear contemporary music of this caliber in such an intimate setting," stated Marc A. Scorca. "Through these Salon Series
events, OPERA America demonstrates its continued commitment to fostering the work of contemporary North American composers."
is a composer, songwriter, conductor and arts administrator based in Memphis, TN. Since 1992, he has been associated with Opera Memphis where he is currently artistic and general director. Ching's operas include Corps of Discovery
, commissioned and premiered by the University of Missouri in commemoration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, King of the Clouds
(Dayton Opera), Out of the Rain
(Lyric Opera of Kansas City, OperaDelaware, Opera Memphis) and Buoso's Ghost
(Pittsburgh Opera Center at Duquesne). Mr. Ching studied composition at Duke University with Robert Ward and at the Houston Opera Studio with Carlisle Floyd. He has also served on the staff of the Florida Grand Opera, Chautauqua Opera and Virginia Opera and has been guest conductor at Hawaii Opera Theatre, Nashville Opera and Opera New Jersey where he is currently conducting a production of Lucia di Lammermoor
The Salon Series
presentation of A Midsummer Night's Dream
was underwritten in part by Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans.
Photo: Composer Michael Ching performing choral vocals in excerpts from his opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream
at OPERA America on July 15. Opera New Jersey provided the principal vocalists. Photo by Kate Ehle/OPERA America.
2008-2009 SALON SERIES: EXPLORING AMERICAN VOICES
MAY 27, 2009
The spring Salon Series
performance included excerpts from The Tempest
, composed by Lee Hoiby
, with a libretto by Mark Shulgasser
, adapted from the play by William Shakespeare. The evening's performers included Jonathan Boyd, Elizabeth Mulhall and artists from Purchase College. The composer and librettist were both in attendance and spoke to the audience about their careers and the creative process behind the The Tempest
. The evening was presented in collaboration with G. Schirmer/AMP and celebrated the release of The Tempest
on CD by Albany Records.
Lee Hoiby gave up his intentions to be a concert pianist when he received an invitation to study composition with Gian Carlo Menotti at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Menotti led Hoiby to opera, presenting Hoiby's one-act The Scarf
at the first Spoleto (Italy) Festival in 1957. New York City Opera presented his A Month in the Country
in 1964 and Summer and Smoke
(based on the Tennessee Williams play) in 1972. Hoiby has just completed work on an operatic setting of Romeo and Juliet, with a libretto adapted from Shakespeare by Mark Shulgasser. Mr. Shulgasser has been Lee Hoiby's literary collaborator on numerous projects and has produced and directed Hoiby's works at venues throughout the United States.
Photo: Lee Hoiby discussing his work at OPERA America's Salon Series
evening on May 27, 2009. Photo by Kate Ehle/OPERA America.
MARCH 18, 2009
This Salon Series
evening showcased baritone Robert Orth
performing excerpts from composer Daron Hagen
and librettist Paul Muldoon's
opera, Shining Brow
, about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Between excerpts, Mr. Hagen, who also accompanied Mr. Orth on the piano, spoke to the audience about his initial concept for composing the work. The evening was presented in collaboration with the E.C. Schirmer Music Company and coincided with the release of the Naxos recording of Shining Brow
Robert Orth is a leading baritone with major opera companies and symphonies throughout the United States and has been named "Artist of the Year" by both New York City Opera and Seattle Opera. A steady stream of commissions from major orchestras, ensembles and soloists over the past quarter century have cemented Daron Hagen's reputation as one of America's most respected and sought-after composers. Active as a conductor and pianist, he also made his debut as a stage director with the Buffalo Philharmonic in 2006 and has since staged three of his operas in major venues.
Photo: Baritone Robert Orth performing excerpts from Shining Brow
by Daron Hagen at OPERA America's Salon Series
evening on March 18, 2009. Photo by Kate Ehle/OPERA America.
DECEMBER 3, 2008
The inaugural Salon Series
event featured soprano Lauren Flanigan
performing Thomas Pasatieri's Lady Macbeth
(text from Shakespeare, selected by the composer) and Before Breakfast
, with a libretto by Frank Corsaro
. Ms. Flanigan has won awards from ASCAP and the Center for Contemporary Opera for her commitment to performing the works of living composers and has performed at many of the world's leading opera houses, including La Scala, Bayerische Staatsoper, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Pasatieri, prolific composer of 20 operas and hundreds of songs, was in attendance at the Salon Series evening and provided a brief background of each work.
This evening was sponsored in part by the Theodore Presser Company.
Photo: Soprano Lauren Flanigan performing work by Thomas Pasatieri at OPERA America's Salon Series
evening on December 3, 2008. Photo by Kate Ehle/OPERA America.
Information about the 2009-2010 Salon Series season will be announced in August 2009.