Sunday, 30 June 2019

Today : world première of 'Ellen West' by Ricky Ian Gordon in Saratoga

Today, the Opera Saratoga presents the world première of Ellen West, a chamber opera composed by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Frank Bidart based on his own poem.

It is the composer's sixth opera after The Grapes of Wrath (Minneapolis, February 10, 2007), A Coffin in Egypt (Houston, March 14, 2014), 27 (St. Louis, June 14, 2014), Morning Star (Cincinnati, June 30, 2015) and The House Without a Christmas Tree (Houston, November 30, 2017).
The opera delves into the story of a girl named Ellen West, and the attempts by people around her to save Ellen from herself. Through the evocative poetry of Pulitzer Prize winner Frank Bidart and the beautiful music of Ricky Ian Gordon, Ellen West reveals both the emotional roller-coaster of a woman fighting her own body and mind, battling starvation and obsessive control.  Eventually she returns to the home she shared with her husband, where he and her doctors intervene in an exploration of the emotional, psychological and physical challenges of a woman struggling with her perceptions of her body, her relationship with food, and the world closing in around her. (reproduced from the Beth Morrison Projects website)
The cast includes soprano Jennifer Zetlan (Ellen West) and baritone Keith Phares (Dr. Binswanger). Lidya Yankovskaya conducts. Emma Griffin directs.

The venue is the Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Springs.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Today : world première of 'Last Call to Elpisonia' by Michael Pelzel in Zürich

Today, the Opernhaus Zürich presents the world première of Last Call to Elpisonia, a chamber opera composed by Michael Pelzel, with a libretto by Dominik Riedo.

 (c) Vinzenz Niedermann

It is the composer's first opera.
It is the year 2118: the communication media are out of control. They have gone off on a massive tangent, threatening to become a risk to human survival. The earth is so polluted by communication that a (pathetic caricature) of a world government decides to evacuate the planet. The exodus is destined for the planet of Elpisonia leaving the earth to its own devices until it has regenerated itself. The spaceship takes off. Everyone leaves the earth. One man and one woman are accidentally left behind. They are the last people on earth. Realizing their situation, they react in panic and almost automatically spin into overdrive but then do become closer. A new (old, lost) ability to speak has to be relearnt: non-verbal communication, touching and silence. Conversations. Really getting to know one another. (reproduced from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation website)
The cast includes mezzo Christina Daletska (Johnny / Tarantino Muff), bass baritone Ruben Drole (Urguru), mezzo Annette Schönmüller (Sulamit), tenor Thomas Erlank (Harald Gottwitz) and baritone Jungrae Noah Kim (Dr. Karitzoklex). Jonathan Stockhammer conducts the Ensemble Opera Nova (11 instruments). Chris Kondek directs.

The venue is the Studiobühne.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Today : world première of 'The Central Park Five' by Anthony Davis in San Pedro (CA)

Today, the Long Beach Opera presents the world première of The Central Park Five, an opera composed by Anthony Davis, with a libretto by Richard Wesley.

It is the composer 8th opera after, among others, X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X (New York City Opera, September 28, 1986), Amistad (Chicago, November 29, 1997) and Lear on the 2nd Floor (San Diego, March 6, 2013).
In 1980's New York, five African American and Latino teenagers were convicted of a Central Park rape, but exonerated through DNA evidence thirteen years later. (reproduced from the Long Beach Opera website)
The cast includes bass baritone Derrell Acon (Antron McCray), baritone Babatunde Akinboboye (Matias Reyes), bass baritone Cedric Berry (Yusef Salaam), tenor Orson Van Gay (Raymond Santana), mezzo Jessica Mamey (District Attorney) and tenor Thomas Segen (Donald Trump). Leslie Dunner conducts and Andreas Mitisek directs.

The venue is the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA. The performance should last about 90 minutes (no intermission).

Today : world première of 'Fire Shut up in my Bones' by Terence Blanchard in Saint Louis

Today, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis presents the world première of Fire Shut up in my Bones, an opera composed by Terence Blanchard with a libretto by Kasi Lemmons, based on the memoir by Charles Blow.

It is Blanchard's second opera after Champion (Saint Louis, June 15, 2013).
One moment can change everything. When Charles discovers that his cousin has returned to his Louisiana hometown, he races home from college to confront his past. Memories and shadows surround Charles as he strives to move beyond a cycle of violence and forge a brave new path. (reproduced from the OTSL website)
The cast includes soprano Julia Bullock (Destiny / Loneliness / Greta), soprano Karen Slack (Billie), bass baritone Davone Tines (Charles Blow) and tenor Chaz'men Williams-Ali. William Long conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. James Robinson directs.

The performance should last about 2 hours and 25 minutes, with one intermission.