Peabody Opera Workshop presents
Facets of Freedom
Six New Opera Etudes
Roger Brunyate, artistic director
JoAnn Kulesza, music director
Jennifer Blades, stage director
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at 7:30 PM
Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall
For information call 410/659-8100 x2, or eMail the Peabody Box Office
On April 11, 2006, at 7:30 pm in the Friedberg Concert Hall, the Peabody Opera Department will present a program of six new short operas under the general title Facets of Freedom. This presentation is the tenth in a series of programs that we call Opera Etudes. First started in 1985, and continuing roughly biennially thereafter, the program brings student composers together with the singers who will eventually perform their work. The operas are not merely written for the singers, however, but written with them; the process always begins with a series of improvisations in which the singers explore dramatic situations proposed by the composers and create much of the text which will be the basis of the ensuing libretto. The exchange of ideas between composer and singer continues through the entire period of composition and rehearsal.
At the start of the year, the six composers chose Freedom as the connecting theme for their works. For the most part, their impulse was political, dealing with the ethical questions raised by American policies abroad or intolerance at home. In the end, however, virtually all the composers decided to address these issues obliquely, if at all. The resultant group of operas is wide-ranging both in subject-matter and style, but each represents a topic close to its writer’s heart.
An aberrant family member also features in Uncle David by Lane Harder, one of two stories in which the issues of freedom are personal rather than societal. The death of the title character, who is never seen, triggers long-buried resentments between a young woman and her mother, who had abruptly cut off visits to her favorite uncle when the girl was in her early teens. Although the mother is devastated by the need to protect her daughter against her own brother, she cannot tell her child the reason for this. In Work in Progress, composer Faye Chiao takes the situation of people imprisoned by their own fears: a married couple, both actors, who have broken apart due to their own insecurities, and the husband’s sister, a writer-director who attempts to bring them together once more in the production of a play, but who turns out to have needs of her own.
The six operas are staged by Jennifer Blades (Beck, Reed, and Viator) and by Roger Brunyate (Chiao, Fulton, and Harder). JoAnn Kulesza is the music director. The Beck opera is accompanied by string quartet; the other five works are written for piano accompaniment, with an obbligato clarinet in the Harder and percussion in the Reed.
OPERAS AND SINGERS
Music and Text by Jenny Beck
|Mother Superior||Heather Kniotek|
|Work in Progress
Music and Text by Faye Chiao
|These are the Times|
|Music by Ruby Fulton|
Text by Cory Hibbs
|Rational Voice||Jennifer Donnell|
|Irrational Voice||Heather Davis|
Music and Text by Lane Harder
Music and Text by Jason Reed
Music and Text by Matthew J. Viator
|Mrs. Kallistos||Julia Steinbok|
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