Wednesday, October 28, 2015

food for thought

Dear Readers,

It has been about six weeks since I started working as the tenor studio artist for Michigan Opera Theatre. I am finally settling in to my new, albeit temporary, life in the Motor City. My new friend Bill Sullivan explained that I shouldn't refer to Detroit in that way any longer. Detroit is in fact building a new name for itself. I am excited to be a part of this cultural and economic renaissance.

Yesterday marked the first day of rehearsals for Michigan Opera Theatre's production of The Passenger. There are not enough words to describe the importance and significance of this work.

I sit, ruminating on mixed emotions. I will be singing the role of a sadistic Schutzstaffel (SS) Officer, along side my other male MOT studio artist. Performing a role like this, which is not only historically true and real, but a recent historical reality, necessarily challenges the emotional and intellectual sensibilities of the actor (singer). It brings the question of an actor's method and connection with a role into the foreground. Can I accurately and successfully "pretend" to be this character who is completely antithetical, from its very core, to me? Is it my job to blend the lines between "pretend" and "be"? Can I disassociate myself from my work and still give a successful performance?  What type of research should I do and how do I, should I, can I remove my opinion of the character from my exploration and preparation?

A view of Boll Hall on the first day of rehearsals for the revival of The Passanger
I also wonder what type of updates I should be making during this period as a resident artist. Do you want to hear about the exciting new experiences in detroit? Only opera relates news? Quick posts about the day-to-day life of a studio artist? Do you want to hear my inner monologue?

Your input is welcome. I'll try to find a good balance of it all.

Thank you for reading

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Michigan Opera Theatre Studio - Official Announcment

Dear Readers,
I just arrived in Detroit, back from my week of concerts in New York.
I am happy to provide for you a link to the official announcement of the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio!
Michigan Opera Theatre official announcement and link
Public announement on encore
Cheers to Richard Leech and my fellow participants:

Soprano Angela Theis,
Mezzo Soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis,
Baritone Jeff Byrnes,
Bass Brent Michael Smith,
Coach/Accompanist Gordon Schermer

Friday, October 9, 2015

Empire Opera's composer concert

Dear Readers,

My busy week of rehearsals and concerts ended tonight. I preformed 4 of Michaèl Fiacc's compositions for tenor and piano. I collaborated with Michael and Joan Krueger on the 4 world: "You Cannot Dream Things Lovelier," "Juan 's Song: When Beauty Breaks And Falls Asunder," "Toilet Seats," and "When You Are Old And Grey."

This was the first time that I have had the good fortune to perform with Joan. It was a true pleasure. It was a busy night for Joan and Michael, one which they made look and sound effortless. They traded off about 12 songs of Michael's 150 song ouvre.

The night also included music and performances by Nika Leoni, Lisa Ralia Heffter, and Waundell Saavedra. The ensembles ranged from piano vocal to string quartet to chamber poets to violin and piano to bass with bass.  The music was preformed with grace and dedication. I couldn't have asked for a better and more dedicated group.

A big bravo and bravi a tutti to the performers and composers of tonight's enlightening evening.

Cheers to Empire Opera,
thanks for reading

Michigan Opera Theatre studio photos

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maynooth dinner part 2/wrapping up in NY

Dear Readers,

After so many weeks of silence I am inundating, if not overwhelming, you with updates.  Maybe this is preferable to the hiatus? You're welcome to tell me in the comment section.

Tonight was another successful performance for the Irish Catholic Educational Fund of St. Patrick's of Maynooth. As I mentioned in my previous post,  tonight's performance and award ceremony was held in King of Prussia, PA (not too far from my brother William 's home in Dover).

The program was a hit list of party arias and "legit" Broadway tunes. Elaine Rinaldi and I preformed Questa o Quella, Bring Him Home, Maria, You'll Never Walk Alone, The Sidewalks of New York, and of course the Irish national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann.

It's exciting to bring a diversity of repertoire to a group of pious music lovers. I haven't sung this repertoire since fall of 2014 for Kitty Wilson's house party/my final recital in Athens,  Georgia. I had such a great time bringing my hard work and years of training to a beautiful, generous,  welcoming and amiable group of people. Singing this music reminds me of the years of music making with Greg Haskins and Frederick Burchinal.

With the final performance for Maynooth I am setting my sights now on Friday's performance of eminent composer Michael Fiacc's songs with Empire Opera in New York.  PLEASE SEE for details.

More soon

Ps I have also stated a Twitter page to promote Michigan Opera Theatre and its studio artist program. Feel welcomed to follow me on Twitter @JoeBrentTenor

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Irish Catholic Educational Fund - St. Patrick's of Maynooth

Dear Readers,

Now that the cat is out of the bag regarding my participation with the Michigan Opera Theatre studio there is going to be a slurry of posts about the wonderful things here in Detroit.

Or,  should I say "there in Detroit." Last night, I had a great time reuniting with conductor,  coach, collaborative pianist,  and artistic director of Orchestra Miami Elaine Rinaldi. We preformed at the annual Irish Catholic Educational Fund - St. Patrick's of Maynooth award dinner.

This is my second year singing for Dr. Thomas Ledwith and the dignitaries of the Irish Catholic seminary. There are two events associated with these awards. The first was last night held at the Union League Club on Park Ave and 36th street in Manhattan. The second evening is held in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania - outside of Philadelphia. Several hundred people attend both events and a good Irish Catholic time is had by all.

In other news,  I will be singing several of composer Michael Fiacc's songs in recital with Empire Opera on Friday the 9th of October. More details on that performance later.

#MOTstudioartists #MOTxmenontheloose

Thank you for reading

Monday, October 5, 2015

Michigan Opera Theatre Studio

Dear Readers,

I am proud and excited to announce, after weeks of secrecy, I have accepted an offer from Michigan Opera Theatre to join its inaugural season of the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio as its tenor resident artist.

I will spend the next 9 months as a resident of the motor city, Detroit. I join 5 other resident artists: soprano Angela Theis, mezzo - soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, baritone Jeff Byrnes, bass Brent Michael Smith, and collaborative pianist/coach Gordon Schermer. Our responsibilities include: singing comprimario and principal roles with Michigan Opera Theatre in its 2015-2016 season: La Bohème,  The Passenger,  The Tender Land,  Magic Flute,  and Macbeth.

At the helm of our Michigan Opera Studio X-men is celebrated American tenor Richard Leech!

Please enjoy the photos from my first weeks here in Detroit.

More to come!
- Joe

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Great News to Share

Dear readers,

I know that there hasn't been much updating.  I've been under super to secret, need to know only prohibition.

Tonight is the unveiling of a special piece of news.

Waiting with baited breath.