Volume VI. OPERA
Key to preferred voice types: C: coloratura or high soprano; S: soprano; M: mezzo-soprano; A: alto; Ct: counter tenor; T: tenor; b: baritone; Bb: bass-baritone;
B: bass. Fachs and genders may be switched as desired.
Note: There is a possibility of presenting Three One Act Operas: A possible production of 1 hour and 47 minutes and requiring 4-6 singers, consisting of: The Swallow and The Prince (Book I, Number 7) (intermission) Aesop's Fables (Book II, Number 1) & Birthday on The Moon (Book I, Number 3).
Book I: Operas with Orchestra:
1. Ample Make This Bed: Three Sections: Love, Nature, and Immortality; with poems by Emily Dickinson (in public domain). Set in the 1980s, a gay man (bass-baritone) has a wild sex life; and his lover (reader) contracts AIDS and dies. The couple deals with AIDS, betrayal, redemption and resurrection. The story is NOT at all auto-biographical, but the fears are real for most people who was alive at that time. for 3 or more dancers (at least 2 are male), male reader, Bb, TbB chorus and trio and the instruments below, See also Ballet and Choral Music, This work is best defined as a Ballet. Unperformed.
1a. Ample Make This Bed: 2 2+ 2+ 2+; 1/1/1/1 ; percussion, timpani; harp; and strings, 80 minutes (45 movements):
1b. Ample Make This Bed: piano version of 1a.
1c. Ample Make This Bed: English horn, clarinet doubling on bass clarinet, bassoon doubling on contra bassoon; piano, string trio and double bass; 60 minutes (55 shorter movements):
1d. Ample Make This Bed: piano version of 1c.
2. The Balcony: Libretto by the composer after the play by Jean Genet, as translated by Bernard Frechman. At the center of a war between the royalists and the rebels is Madame Irma's "House of Illusion." One hour and 40 minutes: two acts: 11 scenes in two acts: 4 to 12 singers: SMTB or 4S M 3T 4B, includes spoken dialogue, micro-tones, sprechstimmer. The inclusion of more mimes greatly helps the production.
3a. The Balcony: with orchestra: 2+/2+/2+/2+; 2/2/2/1; percussion, timpani, banjo, guitar, piano, celesta, harp and strings.
3b. The Balcony: with piano. The Bishop's fantasy (Act I, scene v: 19 minutes) was cablecast in 1990 on BNN TV with Emma Rahn-Lopez, S, as Dove; Meg Raines, M, as Madame Irma; the composer, Bb, as The Bishop. The pianist was Shinobu Takagi. Directed by Richard Mott. Text permission granted by the publisher. The Bishop's opening monologue performed, several times in various venues, by the composer with Sam Walter, pianist.
3. Birthday on The Moon: finding the right birthday present is the problem for this couple living on the moon. Libretto and story by the composer. 35 minutes. SATB. A with held chamber version was the second place winner in the 2011 Long Leaf Opera Competition,
4a. Birthday on The Moon: orchestra 2+/2+/2+/2+ 2/2/2/1 4 percussion, timpani and strings.
4b. Birthday on The Moon: with piano.
4. Edward II: The whole work (chamber version listed below) is now available on this site under: "Listen to Edward II." This recording has been serialized multiple times on dozens of Facebook groups. Libretto by the composer after the play by Christopher Marlowe. Two hours of music (40 numbers); Six 20 minute Tableaux, each are 20 minutes without the narrations; so the work may be divided into two acts (just over 60 minutes each) or three acts (40 minutes each). The narrations will add to this timing. C T T b bB (B), narrator (B), A gay king and his lover are tormented by his ex-wife and her lover
6a. Edward II: with medium sized orchestra: 2+2+2+2+; 2/2/2/1; 2 percussion; celesta, harp, piano and strings.
6b. Edward II: with chamber ensemble (see recording credits below) or Professionally recorded by The Acting Singers Project in 2009-2010 at Futura Studios in Roslindale, MA; by Mike Burke, chief recording engineer. Carol Millard C as Queen Isabella; Michael Belle T as Gaveston; Christopher Aaron Smith T as Mortimer; Brett Johnson b as Edward III; Thomas Dawkins Bb as The Executioner; Andrew Swan Bb as Lightborn; David Edgar Walther Bb as Edward II; Carol Millard, flute/piccolo; Thomas Dawkins, English horn/bassoon/contra bassoon; Christian Contreras, clarinet/tenor saxophone; Russell Southcott, guitar (alternate version, with harp); Leah Kosch, piano; and Priscilla Chew and Sam Ou, violoncelli (the recording used an ensemble player (PC) and a solo 'cellist (SO).
6c. Edward II: with piano. Selections preformed on January 27, 2012 with Boston Metro Opera with Carol Millard, C; Christopher Aaron Smith, T; David Edgar Walther, Bb; and pianist, Yelena Birayeva. Nine selections were recorded earlier by Olive Woodward S as Isabella; Andrew Cohen Ct as Edward III; David Swerdlove B as Lightborn; Ken Orton b as The Executioner and Bill Hays (T) and the composer playing various roles. The pianist was Bob Winkler.
5. Hamlet: Updated and politically correct libretto by the composer. The text is ALL by William Shakespeare, but there are some new twists and re-directions. Hamlet tries to show that his father was killed by his uncle Claudius. The Ghost and Claudius may be played by one singer. 90 minutes: 52 numbers in Two Acts (11 scenes); for 8 singers: C S M A CT T b b B, 3 mimes and attendants.
5a. Hamlet: 2+/2+/2+/2+; 2/2/2/1; percussion, timpani, harp, piano, celesta and strings.
5b. Hamlet: Commissioned by Boston Metro Opera. Act I, scene i and "Laertes' Lament" (II/iv) premiered on May 12, 2012 by Boston Metro Opera with Carol Millard C as Gertrude, Susan Craft Larson M as Laertes, Christopher Aaron Smith T as Hamlet, and the composer Bb as Claudius, accompanied by pianist, Osnat Netzer. BMO also performed about a third of the work: I/i, I/v (partial); II/ii and II/iv with Carol Millard C (Gertrude); Sophie Michaux M (Leartes); Christopher Aaron Smith T (Hamlet); David Edgar Walther Bb (Claudius) and pianist, Artem Belogurov on December 15, 2012 with a lecture by Daniel John Carol. May be performed with King Lear, below.
6. King Lear: Based on the play by William Shakespeare; King Lear favors his two flattering daughters over his honest, faithful one. Gloucester, likewise favors her untrustworthy son over her devoted one. Cordelia and Edgar may be played by one singer (M, Ct or b), as may Lear and Gloucester (A or B). Faithful to the original, except for extremely large cuts in both the text and cast. One hour; 40 numbers in Two Parts: Seven Tableaux) for 7 singers: C S M A T b B May be performed with Hamlet, above.
6a. King Lear: 2+/2+/2+/2+; 2/2/1/1; 3 percussion, timpani, harp, and strings.
6b. King Lear: with piano.
Note: These two operas may be performed together as "Two Operas based on Shakespeare: totalling 2 and a half hours: and requiring 7 or 8 singers. The format may be: King Lear (intermission); Hamlet Act I (intermission); Hamlet Act II; or Hamlet (intermission); King Lear.
7. The Swallow and The Prince: A statue of a prince overlooks the city he once governed, and enlists a swallow to enrich the poor with his gems. Can be seen and heard in it's entirety on this website. (2 versions: video from 2001 and audio from 2015). Libretto by the composer after the Oscar Wilde story: "The Happy Prince" with poems by the same author. 45 minutes. For 4-6 singers: 2-3 each of high and low voices.
9a. The Swallow and The Prince: with orchestra: 2+/2+/2+/2+; 2/2/1/1 percussion, celesta, piano, harp and strings.
9b. The Swallow and The Prince: with flute, clarinet, violoncello, and piano.
9c. The Swallow and The Prince: with flute and piano: Premiered in 2001 by The Acting Singers Project with Carol Millard C, The Swallow; Sarah Griffiths S,The Caring Lover & The Dramatist; David Thorne Scott T, The Sick Lover & The Fisherman; the composer, Bb, The Prince; and Karla Kelley, pianist. Also performed on June 6, 2015 at The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Dedham, MA: Carol Millard, C & Flute, The Swallow; Adriana Repetto S, Patient & Fish Catcher; Susan Craft Larson M, Nurse & Dramatist; the composer Bb, The Prince; Leah Kosch, pianist; Dahne Naher, the narrator. Recorded by Mike Burke. This performance was sponsored, in part, by a grant from the City of Dedham Arts Council.
9d. The Swallow and The Prince: with piano. Scene I was also performed with the sopranos: Linda Cecil (?), Mary Saunders, Shinobu Takagi, and Janet Wheeler, as The Swallow, and with baritones: Brett Johnson and Drew Poling as The Prince and with Pianists: Merton Brown, Tanya Shrego, Christopher Walter, and Samuel Walter.
Book II: Opera Cycles:
1. Aesop's Fables: SATB; 32 and a half minute cycle, with libretti by the composer.
1a. Aesop's Fables: 2/2+/2+/2+ 2/2/1/1 percussion, timpani, harp & strings.
1b Aesop's Fables: with piano:
1. The Race of The Tortoise and The Hare: 3 minutes. STB and 'cellos and double basses. Unperformed.
2. The Ant and The Grasshopper: Libretto by the composer based on Aesop's Fable (This work may performed separately); 7 minutes; SATB, flute, bassoon, hard brass, gong and harp. Two sections premiered in 2010 by Boston Metro Opera with Roselin Osser, mezzo-soprano; David Edgar Walther, bass; and Aaron Likeness, piano.
3. The Fox and The Raven: 4 and a half minutes. ST with violin or viola solo and 'cello solo. Premiered in 2010 by Boston Metro Opera with Christopher Aaron Smith, tenor; Ceceilia Allwein, soprano; and Aaron Likness, piano.
4. The Lion and The Mouse: 13 minutes and 45 seconds. TB and medium orchestra. Premiered in 2010 by Boston Metro Opera with Christopher Aaron Smith, tenor; David Edgar Walther, bass; and Aaron Likeness, piano.
5. The Re-match of The Tortoise and The Hare: as before. Unperformed.
2. Three Character Studies: Antigon may be performed as the first half (without intermission) followed by Daniel and Moratorium. The total will be about one hour and 40 minutes without intermission. Any of the three may be performed alone.
1. Antigon: Libretto by the composer after Sophocles. One or Two Acts: One hour and fifteen minutes: or it may be done without intermission. SATB with optional chorus.
2a. Antigon: with chamber or medium sized orchestra: 2+/2+/2+2+ 2/2/1/1 percussion, timpani, piano, harp & strings
2b. Antigon for Brass Octet: 5 movements in 10 minutes. 2 French horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, euphonium and tuba. Based on material from the opera.
2c. Antigon: with piano. Winner of the Boston Metro Opera Mainstage Award. Recording serialized and presented on dozens of Facebook groups in 2018. Premiered in November 2010 with Sara Mayo S Angeliki Theoharis, M, Christopher Aaron Smith, T; Jeremy Collier, Bb; and Stewart Kramer, piano. Selections performed on January 27, 2012 with Boston Metro Opera by Christopher Aaron Smith T; and pianist, Yelena Birayeva. See "Antigon for Brass Octet" in Volume I: Chamber Music.
2. Daniel: 24 minutes with STB with chorus, Daniel tells the meaning the king of prophetic words written on the wall. The text is by 13th century students of Beauvais Cathedral, as translated by Jean Misrahi, is under copyright (1959). There is also an out of copyright version based on the original Latin text. Both versions are unperformed.
5a . Daniel: with orchestra 2/2+/2+/2+ 3/2/1/1 2 timpani, harp and strings.
5b. Daniel: the same, with two French horns.
5c. Daniel: with piano.
3. Moratorium: 12 minutes; soprano or mezzo-soprano, optional bass, and mixed chorus; poem by Robert Hillyar (uc); Jepthah promises to sacrifice the first living being he meets if he wins the battle. He is met by his daughter. Unperformed.
3a. Moratorium: medium orchestra (2/2+/2+/2+ 2/2/1/1 2/1 and strings).
3b Moratorium: with piano.
3. Three Surrealist Operas: Libretto & story by the composer; about 40 minutes.
1. Kali: Starts before the birth of all things, ends after the end of all things. The middle movements explore the ordinary life of things (window, closet, chair, table, pen, paper, flame, candle). 14 minutes. 5 movements; double woodwinds: 2+/2+/2+/2+, 2 percussion, timpani, harp, an actress sawing open strings on a violin and 3-4 singers (CMB or CMAB). Premiered (unstaged) in 2001 by The Acting Singers Project with Carol Millard, high soprano; Danute Mileko, mezzo-soprano; the composer, Bb; and synthesized tape.
2. The Sin-eater: The Sin-eater eats truly inconsequential "sins." Can be viewed on this website. 17 minutes. actor, 2 high voices, 2 medium voices, 2 low voices, and violoncello. Premiered in 2000 by The Acting Singers Project and cablecast on BNN TV with Vanessa Schukis, actress; Carol Millard, C; Anita Constanzo, A; Drew Polling, b, and Shu'Ann Chou, pianist.
3. Eye of Carrot: A man becomes pregnant and is blamed for infidelity by his wife. Unperformed. 10 minutes. S B and piano or string orchestra.
3a. Eye of Carrot: with string orchestra;
3b. Eye of Carrot: with string quartet with piano;
3c. Eye of Carrot: with piano.
Book III. Chamber Operas:
1. The Other Wise Man: Libretto by the composer after the story by Henry van Dyke; a forth wise man is prevented from his pilgrimage by various acts of charity; 30 minutes (the original production was one hour). SSAABB, flute, bassoon, harp, hand-bells, chorus, actors and narrator; commissioned and performed by The Hancock Church, Lexington, MA, under Donald Maher. William Cavness, narrator. Performers included: Meg Weston S; Harriet Chamela, S; Marilyn Briggs, A; the composer Bb; and Isabel Plaster, bassoon. Cablecast in Lexington. Also performed at The United Parish in Brookline, MA under Peter Kaisarsky. Meg Raines, M and the comoposer Bb, were among the performers. Updated version: "The Other Wise Woman."
2. Ritual: Libretto by Andrew Swan; Hero (S) learns lessons, faces a demon (T) and receives many gifts (from MAB). 30 minutes; SAATB with chorus and flute; French horn; and violoncello."Blessings on This House" won first place in the Boston Metro Opera International Composition Competition in the choral music category, and premiered, with two additional performances, by BOM. The rest is unperformed.