O Columbia
Composer: Gregory Spears
Composer Bio: Gregory Spears writes music for modern and period instruments that blends aspects of romanticism, minimalism, and early music. His work has been called “astonishingly beautiful” (New York Times), “coolly entrancing” (The New Yorker), and “some of the most beautifully unsettling music to appear in recent memory.” (The Boston Globe) Spears' first opera, Paul’s Case, recently described as a “masterpiece” and a “gem” (New York Observer) with “ravishing music” (New York Times), was developed by American Opera Projects Composers and the Voice Program. It was premiered in 2013 by Urban Arias in Arlington, VA, restaged at the Prototype Festival in New York in 2014, and presented in a new production by Pittsburgh Opera in 2014. Excerpts from Paul’s Case were also performed by the young artists of the LA Opera at the 2010 OPERA America National Conference. OPERA America subsequently commissioned his song Where I Lived, and What I Lived for, which was included in the OPERA America Songbook in 2012. His songs Savior Machine and the Aztec-themed Feast of Flowers were both commissioned by poet Tracy K. Smith and premiered at the New York Public Library LIVE series. Spears’ new evening-length chamber opera Fellow Travelers, written in collaboration with librettist Greg Pierce and director Kevin Newbury, was recently developed in a 2013 Opera Fusion workshop by Cincinnati Opera/Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Spears has won prizes from BMI and ASCAP as well as awards and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fulbright Foundation (Fellowship to Denmark 1999-2000), and the Vagn Holmboe Competition. He holds degrees in composition from the Eastman School of Music (BM), Yale School of Music (MM), and Princeton University (PhD), and he has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, the Aaron Copland House, and the MacDowell Colony. Spears was also one of the resident composers for American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice 2007-2008 season. He lives in Brooklyn.
Librettist: Royce Vavrek
Librettist Bio: Royce Vavrek is a Canadian filmmaker, librettist, playwright and musical theatre writer. His work has been presented at or performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, The Kitchen, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, Opera America, Peak Performances at Montclair, American Lyric Theater and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, among others. His current commissions include an opera for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and a musical for Signature Theater. Vavrek's filmmaking credits include "From Sky and Soil", which was created as part of the Corus Young Filmmakers Initiative for broadcast on the W Network through a prize administered by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association
Other Artistic Personnel: Conductor                    Timothy Myers 
Stage Director              Kevin Newbury 
Music Advisor               David Hanlon
Original Cast:
Becca                            Pureum Jo
Raleigh/Astronaut         Ben Edquist
Lady Columbia             Megan Samarin
Premiere Date: September 23, 2015
Description:  Inspired by interviews with Houston-based NASA astronauts, scientists, and engineers, O Columbia traces a history of dreamers and explorers-from Sir Walter Raleigh journeying to the New World, to a Houston teenager experiencing communion, and later, heartbreak, with a Columbia space shuttle astronaut, to future astronauts venturing to the far reaches of the solar system-in an ode to America's pioneering spirit.
Character List (Major): Becca (Soprano)
Raleigh/Astronaut (Baritone)
Lady Columbia (Mezzo soprano)
Length: 01:00
Total Acts: 1
Orchestration: Chamber Opera for soloists, choir and chamber orchestra.
Contact: Schott Music
Address: SCHOTT MUSIC GmbH & Co KG
Weihergarten 5
55116 Mainz
Germany
Phone: +49 6131 246-0
Fax: +49 6131 246-211
Composer Web Site: http://www.gregoryspears.com/
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