Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Silent Night @ Michigan Opera Theatre: Post II

Dear Readers,

In just 2 hours Michigan Opera Theatre will present its 2nd performance of Kevin Puts Silent Night.

The reviews were very positive of our opening night; the cast was really on point. I am sure this mid-week performance will be just as effective. Unfortunately, you only have 3 more opportunities to see this production here at MOT. If you missed the live broadcast, and are not planning to be in Michigan this weekend then I will mourn with you. It's exciting to be a part of this revival, directed by the production's original director, with so many of the original cast members.

We were very fortunate to have master classes this week with Dean Anthony and Maestro David Abell. On Friday we will work with the imitable Martin Katz.

On a personal note, I have made an appointment to have a procedure known as frenulectomy (I've also seen frenuloplasty) to correct ankyoglossia (colloquially known as tongue tie). More on this soon.

Thanks for reading,
warm thoughts to you all

PS: In other news, it has officially been 2 years since I passed my final defense and was award my Doctorate in Vocal Performance from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, Franklin School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Georgia! I found out that my DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) capstone document on selected vocal compositions of Giovanni Paolo Bottesini is now a cited source in the bibliography on Wikipedia. What a great way to celebrate my 2 year anniversary.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Silent Night @ Michigan Opera Theatre

Dear Readers,

I feel particularly unqualified to address the current unrest, and contentious Zeitgeist present in our lives as Americans (and felt globally). Others are far mor eloquent, sensitive, and galvanized by this milieu than I. I will say: in the aftermath of a tumultuous week, at the culmination of a tenuous 18th month period - one filled with pride for some and heartbreak for other - I am honored to share with you an update and invitation...

Michigan Opera Theatre opens its second production of the 2016-2017 DiChiera legacy season tonight, Saturday, November 12th with composer Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize winning opera Silent Night. Please accept this "invitation" to hear the opera live streamed, tonight only, from Detroit's own classical/jazz radio station WRCJ. For those of you not in the Detroit Metro area please tune in at the WRCJ website: at 7:30 P.M. EST

If you've been keeping up with my posts, you will know that I am singing the some-what manipulated and mischaracterized, sinister role of Kronprinz Wilhelm, the last Crown Prince of Prussia, whose full name was Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Augustus Ernst, eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II. According to some sources he was referred to jokingly as "Little Willy." Enough with the multi-claused history lesson! He is characterized in the opera as a herald of the archetypical German-Nazi, a character trope which I believe is well now quite common - however anachronistic.

I will share the stage with a team of fantastic singers, who are equally effective actors. Though I've identified them in my previous post I would like to explicitly restate this cast of tremendous colleagues:
Erin Wall (Anna Sorensen);
Chad Johnson (Nikolaus Sprink);
Phillip Addis (Lt. Audebert);
Kristopher Irmiter (Lt. Horstmayer);
Gabriel Preisser (Lt. Gordon);
John Robert Lindsey (Johnathan Dale);
Yours Truly JOSEPH MICHAEL BRENT as the Kronprinz;
Jeff Byrnes (William Dale);
Daniel Belcher (Father Palmer);
Alexandre Sylvester (Ponchel);
Ricardo Lugo (French General);
Brent Michael Smith (British Major);
Briana Hunter (Madeleine Audebert);
The unduplicatable David Charles Abell conducting
Mr. Eric Simonson directs

I am proud to be a part of this revival of Eric Simonson's original production from 2012. It's a pleasure to work with Eric and Maestro David Abell to recreate this brilliant work. This opera, like Weinberg's The Passenger, which we performed last year at Michigan Opera Theatre, is gaining quite a bit of currency.

Pictures to come.

Thank you for reading,
With a warm embrace in mind

Friday, November 4, 2016

On Wenlock Edge - Music From The Trenches

Dear Readers,

An exciting few days are among us. I am not referring to the World Series, nor to the election, but contrarily to WWI "inspired" musical programs!

Just around four hours ago I performed Ralph Vaughn-William's "On Wenlock Edge" with the piano quartet from The Scarab Club's Chamber Music at the Scarab Club concert series. I was so honored to have Dr. David Dichiera and Mr. Wayne Brown, as well as several Michigan Opera Theatre Studio resident artists, and of course all of the faithful opera lovers in attendance.

The show went very well, it's such an honor to be selected to preview or introduce the music of Kevin Puts and his opera Silent Night.

Tomorrow morning at 10:30 we have a run through of Silent Night. Then again at 3... Sunday we'll have the Sitzprobe at 2 then concert the second "Music From The Trenches" at 7!! Maybe I'll sleep when I die.

Exciting few days...

More soon