Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year


Please enjoy this video as an update and best New Years Wishes!

video

Cheer to Every One!


More posts to come!

Friday, November 7, 2014

On an average day...

Dear Readers,

I had a great first rehearsal with Michael Spierman and his group of singers at the Albert Herring rehearsal for the Bronx Opera. Also, had a great rehearsal last night with the Astoria Choir, I am playing bass tomorrow night with the Astoria Choir.

Best news to share with you:
I submitted my dissertation to my doctoral committee!!
I'll be in Georgia next week giving my lecture recital and defending my dissertation.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!!

I enjoyed singing for the St. Patrick's college of Maynooth awards ceremony.
I will be singing for the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia for the John Bary Awards later in the month.

More soon readers,

Thanks for tuning in
Best
Joe 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Michael O'Neal Singers

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your patience between updates!

What a fantastic evening! Last night I sang a concert with a tremendous quintet of soloists supported by Dr. Michael O'Neal and his group of 100+ singers.

It was the Michael O'Neal Singers' Fantasy of the Opera fall concert. Maetro O'Neal programmed a delightful and dramatic evening, of solos, duets, trios, and chorus. I sang Arturo's "Per poco fra le tenebre." The brilliant lyric baritone Brent Davis and I sang the ACT IV duet from Boheme "In un cupe... O, Mimi tu piu non torni." I shared Verdi's Brindisi from La Traviata with the shimmering soprano of Megan Mashburn. The final piece featured the smooth but intense bass voice of John Laforge and I singing the duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers.

It was a such a joy to work with these singers, Maestro O'Neal and his chorus.
Next up learn Albert Herring, audition and finish this DMA.

My topic has been approved and I am waiting for my committee to sign the cover to my prospectus. Keep your fingers crossed. I am currently in the heat of battle, writing and working on the lecture recital.
From left to right: John LaForge (bass); Magdalena Wor (Mezzo); Brent Davis (Baritone); Megan Mashburn (Soprano); Joseph Michael Brent (Tenor)

Thank you for reading,
Joe

Friday, September 26, 2014

Late September News

Dear Readers,

It has been a busy few weeks. After the Capitol City opera production of The Merry Widow ended I spent a few days in Athens to tie up some loose ends with my dissertation. I had such a fantastic time working with Capitol City opera. They really do fine work, and it such a pleasure to work with all of the member of the cast and company. It was also a real treat to sing Camille with a chamber ensemble - I honestly did not miss the full orchestra at all. Bravo to all involved!

Since then I've taken a lesson with Richard Leech (more to come) and gone on some very successful auditions (more on that when things are finalized!). I've also accepted contracts with the Michael O'neal singers for their October 17th concert in Roswell, Georgia; I've accepted an offer to sing Beethoven symphony no. 9 and Brahms liebes lieder waltzes in South Carolina.

This past week, I reunited with the brilliant Elaine Rinaldi to perform a short concert for the St. Patrick's of Maynooth, Irish Education Development Foundation, annual dinner in New York and Philadelphia. I have to thank Dr. Thomas Ledwith and all of the polite clergymen that made for such a rich experience.

Elaine and I met while I was singing Hoffmann with the Martina Arroyo Foundation Prelude to Performance program. We had a blast, Elaine was the rehearsal pianist for the show. She had worked closely with Michael Kaye, who has a authored an edition of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann. 

It's always so rewarding to try new repertoire and meet new people. I sang my first Amhrán na bhFiann, the Irish national anthem, at these events. I also sang excerpts from Brigadoon and Most Happy Fella - which were both on the baritonal side of my range - but great fun to sing. 

That's all for now - the bottesini paper is coming along. Please keep your fingers crossed!!
There is a light at the end of this D.M.A. tunnel.


Thanks for reading,
Joe 

Friday, September 5, 2014

CAPITOL CITY OPERA THE MERRY WIDOW OPENING NIGHT

Dear Readers,

WELCOME BACK!

As is often the case, please accept my apologies for the delay in updating the blog and sharing with you all of the fantastic things going on!

It has been a busy three weeks here in Georgia!
The Capitol City Opera production of Lehar's THE MERRY WIDOW, opens tonight! I know it is going to be a fantastic show. In addition to the month long rehearsal period, we've been working for two weeks strait, with one day off last week Wednesday. It's grueling, but between you and me... this has been such a fantastic experience and I wouldn't have changed a thing! This is, technically, my first professional lead role, after all!

I'll be singing Camille de Rosillon (2014 seems to be the Merry Widow year... last year was Hoffmann year an the year before that Boheme.. go figure?). I am joined by a talented group of Atlanta residents: Megan Mashburn as Valencienne; Elizabeth Claxton Castillo as Anna, the Widow; Wade Thomas as Count Danilovitch; Jonathan Spuhler as Niegus; Stephen McCool as the Baron Zeta.

The leading cast members are supported by a tenacious and talented ensemble of local singers.

Michael Nutter directs a fantastic and hilarious Merry Widow. The show is conducted by energetic and singer friendly Michael Giel, while the piano quintet accompanying the performance has Capitol City Opera music director Catherine Giel at the keys. The hilarity and antics are bolstered by the choreography of Emily Griffin.

Those who can be in attendance for the performances tonight, tomorrow, and/or Sunday afternoon are in store for all the beautiful things opera has to offer: comedy, tragedy, romance, betrayal, confusion, fabulous costumes, charming sets and GREAT SINGING.

More soon on all the crazy things going on, in this journey as a professional opera singer.

Thanks for reading,
Joe

PS What has kept me so busy is the dissertation! The private recital I gave at the home of Kitty Wilson and booking some more engagements! All that and more in the next installment ;-)





Sunday, August 17, 2014

Merry Widow with Capitol City Opera

Dear Readers,

Thank you again for following my adventures as a young tenor.

I made a successful, though tenuous, journey down south from New York to Georgi this week. My car has been periodically refusing to start... More importantly, if you've been following my blog, you'll remember that I have been contracted to sing Camille de Rosillon with Capitol City Opera, here in Georgia.

Rehearsals have begun and I am eagerly looking forward to the production. Coming from Opera Theater Pittsburgh with a Jeremy Sams libretto to Capitol City Opera with a Chritopher Hassall translation is going to be quite an endeavor. Please, if you are in the metro-Atlanta area on the 5th, 6th, or 7th of September, stop by and see the show. 

The show is directed by Michael Nutter, musical preparation and piano Catherine Giel, and conducted by Michael Giel.

More on this production and the rich experience to come.

Meanwhile, I am happy to announce that I will be singing as the tenor soloist with Michael O'neal Singers on their Fantasy of The Opera concert in Atlanta on Oct 17th.

I am about to start rehearsal, gotta' go!

Thanks for reading,
Joe

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

One week later

Dear Readers,

This is a "life after" OTP post (I was tempted to write a post-OTP post, but even that is too corny for me).

The summer rounded out very well in Pittsburgh. Sunday July 27th was the last Merry Widow performance. We performed in the afternoon for a matinee performance. Merry Widow was the first and last opera to be presented for the audience. They said it was the best of the three nights.


Merry Widow Act II - Camille (Me) and Hannah (Anna Singer)
Merry Widow Act II - Valencienne Camille Hannah

Merry Widow Act II -Valencienne (Gail Novak) Camille Hannah
Merry Widow Act II - Camille and Hannah out from Pavillion


Merry Widow Act II -Camille Aria

Merry Widow Act II - Camille and Danilo (Dimitrie Lazich)

Merry Widow Act I - Camille and Valencienne

Merry Widow Act II - Camille Valencienne Duet



Something curious about Opera Theater Pittsburgh: after each opera they offered a concert, (formerly known as Nightcaps) called Cabaret. The audience would be in attendance for the opera (The Merry Widow, Ariadne, The Fantasticks) then invited for drinks and an hour of random broadway and jazz selections. I brought my bass to accompany those singers doing standards (yes, maybe a little out of my education but we had fun).

I heard some of the audience at the Cabarets would come just for the cabaret and skip the opera!

We had a cast party, said our goodbyes and I drove back to New York with rising mezzo-soprano Erika Hennings.

In summary: OTP was a great experience. I enjoyed performing, the city of Pittsburgh, and meeting great colleagues. I learned that I have a lot of great qualities and I am headed in the right direction. I also loved Timothy Lefebvre's master class, working with Robert Chaffin, the Lazich family, Marianne Cornetti, of course Ray Blackwell.

 Thanks for reading,
Joe


Thursday, July 24, 2014

The post you've all been waiting for (OPT PICTURES)

Readers,

I know it's been a long summer of spotty updates: some more informative and interesting than others. From the deepest depths of my sincerity I want to thank you for reading. Please do not ever hesitate to e-mail me or leave a comment if you want more information or specific information.

I realized yesterday that photos of my participation with OTP have been available for weeks.
Here is, probably one of several, an OTP photo post. If you do not have facebook or we are not "friends" on facebook, below are some moments captured and forever frozen in time:

This is my best attempt at a proper chronology of events:

Pittsburgh Social Exchange June 2014
Singing at the Children's Hospital June 2014



















This is what we do during a piano interlude (Children's Hospital)
We were singing in a 4 story atrium



















MERRY WIDOW PUBLICITY SHOT


Those are some photos from the early part of my time here in Pittsburgh.
More to come, I don't want to overwhelm you with photos just yet... all good things in moderation.

Tonight is a Strauss Celebration!!!

Thanks for reading,
Joe

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Final Week

Dear Readers,

Things are winding down here at OTP.
We've got 5 more days here in Pittsburgh!

We had our, well deserved and much needed, company day off this past Monday. I took the opportunity to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water and pass some time with the company at the home of Anna Singer.

Last night was the workshop performance of Gilda Lyons's New Kind of Fall Out. This is, according to Johnathan Eaton, the first "Eco-opera." I sang the role of the Scientists in this Rachel Carson inspired opera. As of last night, only the Prologue, Scenes 1 and 2, and a "Jingle" have been prepared for performance. The premiere of the opera is to take place next year with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh.

For detailed information about the work, composer and librettist click on the link above.

Tonight is the tribute to Mildred Miller, I'll be singing Jose in excerpts from Carmen and Duke in excerpts from Rigoletto. Then tomorrow I will be singing two Strauss lieder in a Strauss celebration! Friday is a brush up of Merry Widow, plus a cabaret. Saturday is Ariadne and the Merry Widow on Sunday. Monday I am home!

It's a busy week, but I love this work and this music!

Cheers and thanks for reading,
Joe

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Die Lustige Witwe round 2

Dear Readers,

Tonight: Saturday the 19th, at 7:30 pm I will be singing Camille for the second performance of The Merry Widow with Opera Theater Pittsburgh.

We've had week off since our last show, and tonight will feel both like a reunion and a new opening.

This week in review: Master Classes, coachings and lessons with Robert Chafin, Milutin Lazich, Marianne Cornetti, Ray Blackwell and Dr. Robert Coran. I sang in a Cabaret. There were many hours spent on Ariadne. NEWS FLASH: I will be singing the role of the Scientist in workshop performance of Gilda Lyons' new opera, to premiere in 2015. It is an opera based on Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring.

What I've observed here in the Steel City, is that there is a Pittsburgh "sound." Practically all of the teachers and faculty members studied at or even taught at CCM at some point. There is quite a bit of overlap between the Pittsburgh singers/musicians and CCM. It is, therefore, obvious that a general consensus on vocal timbre and production exists. With only some variation I think I've heard and observed a reliable sample of the vocal theory in the city.

As a general principal, I try to keep this blog as P.C. and non-confrontational as possible, so I will not go too far down the long and dangerous path of opinions on singing, opinions on teachers and opinions on technique. This blog is meant for professional updates, not criticisms. I conclude this section: I have enjoyed nearly every aspect of my time here, and it has been a pleasure to hear, see and learn from the singers at O.T.P. The faculty and staff have been nothing but friendly and encouraging.

If you're in or plan to be in Pittsburgh before July 28th, come and see us!

Come July 28th, you're next chance to see me will be in Atlanta in September with Capitol City Opera singing Camille (different, English translation) and then again in Atlanta in October (details to be announce shorty).

Thank you for reading
Joe

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ariadne Performance - Nummer Eins

Dear Readers,

Tonight is the first performance of Ariadne on Naxos.

Sticking with the mission of Opera Theater Pittsburgh, Strauss' 1916 opera will be formed in English at the Twentieth Century Club.

Thanks to the modern technology, I am writing to you from back stage. I am covering the role of Scaramuccio and supplying the brilliant pantomime (non-speaking) role of the Count. The entire opera is set in the Count's palace, and it is -in fact- the Count's idea to merge the commedia crew with the opera seria.

OTP has put together a tremendous cast:
The Prima Donna/Ariadne - Elizabeth Baldwin
The Tenor/bacchus - Robert Frankenberry
Zerbinetta - Elizabeth Fischborn
The Composer - Erika Hennings
Harlequin - Benjamin Taylor

There is also a group of brilliant supporting artist:
Nymphs:
Bethany Worrell
Leigh Tomlinson
Amelia Jordan

Commedia:
Errin Brooks
Kary Wilson
Eric Lindsey

It has a been an honest pleasure to watch this cast grow and become a family. I have every confidence that they are going to have a great show. They've been working hard under Brent McMunn, and Johnathan Eaton.

Toi, toi, toi! To them!
In culo nella balena!

AND TOMORROW NIGHT Merry Widow No. 2


Monday, July 14, 2014

Between Show 1 and Show 2

Dear Readers,

What a fantastic weekend.

The Merry Widow opened to a resounding success! BRAVI e COMPLIMENTI to all of the Merry Widow Cast. Bravi tutti to Anna Singer, Dimitrie Lazich, Gail Novak Mosites, maestro Bernard McDonald and the entire ensemble.

A special congratulations to Mo Zhou for a great opening night. Mo is the Merry Widow director and has left Pittsburgh for her next gig with Opera North. She put together a fantastic show, look out for her! She's got a great career ahead of her.

My parents drove all of the way from New York to Pittsburgh to see the show! They are quite possible the sweetest people, I am so fortunate to have them both in my life. I am, frankly, fortunate to have two supportive parents. This can be a very challenging, emotionally and financially dangerous business: both of my parents have always believed in me.

This weekend I had some rehearsals for Ariadne on Naxos, and sang in a Cabaret. I also played bass in that Cabaret ;-). It has been a real treat to bring all of my talents here to Pittsburgh, not to mention that I've been able to prepare my Bottesini recital in my off time. I took the incline and had several frozen cosmopolitans (which has become my drink of choice). Mr. Vince Lackner brought me to Bar Marco in the Strip District, it was delicious!

I had a lesson today with the tenor Robert Chafin. It was a wonderful and informative session. We worked on the Flower Song form Carmen, Una Furtiva Lagrima and Che Gelida Manina. We talked about auditioning, singing, and repertoire. Tomorrow I will sing for the mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti.

Am in an Aridane rehearsal as I type - I HAVE TO RUN!

thanks for reading,
Joe