While I studied at UNT College of Music I had the opportunity to work on and perform 20th century opera: "The Postman Always ring Twice" by Stephen Paulus, "Turn of the Screw" by Benjamin Britten, "The Telephone" by Gian Carlo Menotti, and "Cold Sassy Tree" by Carlisle Floyd. At the time I wasn't a huge lover of 20th century music, but it began a journey of discovery of 20th and 21th century opera. Not including the university performances, I have sung, directed, and produced 27 performances of 20th & 21th century music in the last seven years. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing photos, recordings, reviews, and info about these operas! I hope you'll enjoy my reminiscing over this passion of mine to perform and share new opera.
I'm going to be talking about these operas in the order that they were composed in. Beginning with
Blue Monday by Gershwin. Blue Monday was composed in 1920, and I produced this opera at Marble City Opera in 2015. When I began Marble City Opera in 2013 I began researching American Chamber Opera, and this was one of the operas I came across and really wanted to produce. I thought it would be cool to produce the opera with a local jazz group that called themselves the Marble City 5.
So, in 2015 I was able to make that happen. The Marble City 5 and Marble City Opera performing jazz tunes and Blue Monday. Because one of the characters is a jazz club singer, and the opera takes place in a jazz club, we produced the opera at the The Square Room on Market Street in Knoxville, where the Marble City 5 regularly performed, and had Michael Angelo Rodgers who was singing the role of jazz club performer, Tom, perform jazz standards before and after the opera with the band!
This was one of the coolest nights of music I can remember. Both performances sold out and we had to add extra chairs to the room at our closing performance. The cast was terrific, featuring mostly local singers, Brandon Gibson, Michael Rodgers, Dominick White, Vincent Davis, and Tracy Koch, it was directed by Corinne Hayes and accompanied by Brandon Coffer and the Marble City 5.
Follow my blog to find out about more about performances of 20th and 21st century opera that I have been a part of!
Next Up: Menotti's The Telephone
Photo taken by Marble City Opera
Left to Right: Tracy Koch, Vincent Davis, & Dominick White