Workshop Presentation of A Thousand Splendid Suns Saturday Nov. 18, 2017
by on October 6, 2017 in featured

Come and see a Workshop Presentation of Act Two of A Thousand Splendid Suns Saturday Nov. 18, 2017. Presented by Hudson Area Library in collaboration with American Opera Projects.

Workshop presentation at the Hudson Area Library, Saturday Nov. 18, 2017 at 1:00pm and 4:00pm. Seating is limited. Reserve Seats for Hudson presentation.

Admission is free but seating is limited, to reserve your seat now CLICK HERE.

A film of Act I, from the Key West workshop, will be screened at the Hudson Area Library on Nov. 9, 2018 at 6:00pm. For more info, click here.

Workshop presentation at the National Opera Center in New York City.
Sunday Nov. 19, 2017 at 4pm. Rehearsal Hall. Seating is limited. To reserve your seat contact: sheila@sheilasilver.com or mgray@operaprojects.org

Cast and Creators

KATY PRACHT (MARIAM)

In 2016-17, Mezzo-soprano Katherine Pracht made her Kennedy Center debut as soloist in Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 5 with the Washington Chorus. She also sang the US premiere of Richard Wernick’s “…and a Time for Peace” with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and created several roles in workshops of new operas: Florence Williams in Susan Kander’s The News From Poems, Hester Prynne in Eric Sawyer’s The Scarlet Professor, and Eve in Julian Wachner and Cerise Jacobs’ Rev 23 for the Prototype Festival. Additionally, Ms. Pracht performed Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles accompanied by Bright Sheng and Michael Barrett for The Intimacy of Creativity 2017 Festival in Hong Kong. She reprised Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 5 for Trinity Wall Street in May 2017, and sings Sergey Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the York Symphony, the title role in Elizabeth Cree with Chicago Opera Theater, as well as Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles with The Orchestra NOW at Bard under the baton of Leon Botstein. In September she debuts as Lady Wang in Bright Sheng’s epic opera, Dream of the Red Chamber in a 4-city tour of China.  In 2014-15, Pracht made role debuts as Sharon Falconer in Elmer Gantry with Florentine Opera; Ariel in the World Premiere of Joseph Summer’s The Tempest for The Shakespeare Concerts in Boston; and Flora Bervoix in Opera Philadelphia’s La Traviata. She covered the role of Baroness “Nica” in Daniel Schnyder’s Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD commissioned for Opera Philadelphia; and was the Alto Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem in Florence, South Carolina; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the York Symphony; and Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Grand Rapids Symphony. Highlights from previous seasons include Ms. Pracht’s Carnegie Hall debut as Alto Soloist in Verdi’s Requiem; Der Trommler in Der Kaiser von Atlantis for Central City Opera with the Colorado Symphony; two concerts with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus singing John Corigliano’s Fern Hill and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky; her international/Radio France debut singing Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Lyrique-en-mer Festival in Belle-ile; and her Avery Fisher Hall debut in Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust with the American Symphony Orchestra.

LUCY FITZGIBBON (LAILA)

Lucy Fitz Gibbon is a dynamic musician whose repertoire spans the Renaissance to the present. The Berkshire Review for the Arts praised Lucy’s “agile and beautifully focused soprano of exceedingly wide range, uniform timbre, and great flexibility… a remarkable performer who stood out among many other remarkable musicians.”

She believes that creating new works and recreating those lost in centuries past is integral to the continuation of classical music today. As such, Lucy has performed the U.S. premieres of works by Francesco Sacrati La Finta Pazza, Deidamia, Barbara Strozzi Presso un ruscello algente, and Agostino Agazzari’s Eumelio. With composer and animator Anna Lindemann, Lucy has helped to create three diverse multimedia performances: Bird Brain (chamber work with film); Theory of Flight (stage work with digital animation and electronic music); and a new project knitting together long-form art songs by Schubert and Prokofiev, as well as a new work by Lindemann, with live-manipulated, interactive digital animation. She has also worked closely with numerous other composers, including John Harbison, Sheila Silver, Christopher Stark, David Hertzberg, and Pauline Oliveros, on projects ranging from song to opera.

A graduate of Yale University, Lucy is the recipient of numerous awards for her musical and academic achievements. Lucy also holds an artist diploma from The Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory and a master’s degree from Bard College Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Program. She currently holds the position of Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University. For more information, see www.lucyfitzgibbon.com.

RON LLOYD (RASHEED)

Recognized by The New York Times as a “robust baritone” and “agile comedian” and by The Sondheim Review for his “opulent baritone and nuanced phrasing,” baritone Lloyd has been praised for thoughtful portrayals and versatility on operatic, concert, and musical theatre stages across the United States. Ron made his professional operatic debut as HORACE TABOR in The Ballad of Baby Doe with Amarillo Opera upon graduating from West Texas A&M University. After moving to New York City, he spent two seasons touring with Opera Iowa as BELCORE in L’Elisir d’Amore and as FIGARO in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in the US and China before apprenticing with Chautauqua Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Lake George Opera performing mainstage roles and cover assignments that included GERMONT and BARON DOUPHOL in La Traviata, FALSTAFF in Falstaff, MORALES in Carmen, PETER in Hansel and Gretel, and MILLER in Verdi’s Luisa Miller.

Notable recent performances include his Carnegie Hall debut as KUNZ GILGENSTOCK in Richard Strauss’ Feuersnot with the American Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leon Botstein, a house debut with Winter Opera St. Louis as FORD in Verdi’s Falstaff, a return to Mobile Opera as TONIO in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, his seventh role with Albuquerque’s Opera Southwest as LEPORELLO in Don Giovanni, bass soloist for Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gerald Steichen, and encore performances of Sondheim’s demon barber in LOOK Musical Theatre’s remounted production of Sweeney Todd, which garnered the distinction of Tulsa’s “Best Night of Theatre” in 2007 and once again in 2014 from The Tulsa World. Often recruited for first readings of new American works with organizations such as Music-Theatre Group (The Wing Wherewith) and Ardea Arts (BOUNCE), 2016 began with a feature on Opera America’s 2016 New Opera Showcase in A Thousand Splendid Suns, by American composer Sheila Silver  2016.

IAN MCEUEN (TARIQ, WAKIL, TALIBAN GUARD)

Ian McEuen has been praised for his versatility as a performer, impressing audiences with his “sweet lyric tone” and “gravitas on stage.” He began the 2016-2017 season with his role and company debuts as Oliver Sacks in the UrbanArias production of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and then reprised the role in a new production with Quantum Theater. After that he played Tobias in Sweeney Todd for New Orleans Opera, Pang in Virginia Opera’s Turandot, and Goro in the Kennedy Center Opera House’s production of Madama Butterfly with Washington National Opera.

He made his debut in Fort Worth Opera’s production of Adam’s Lysistrata in 2012 and then joined the company for two seasons singing in Ariadne aux Naxos, With Blood, With Ink and Figaro and the Zombie Apocalypse. In the 2014-2015 season he joined the roster of the Metropolitan opera covering roles in The Merry Widow and Die Zauberflote and later returned to Washington National opera in Weill’s Lost in the Stars and with the Knoxville Opera in Tosca. As a Marc & Eva Stern Fellow at SongFest Los Angeles, he worked with Graham Johnson, William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen and John Musto.

McEuen received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Voice from the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music and his Masters in Voice from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Voice. He continued his operatic training in 2011 at the Seagle Music Colony.

MICHAEL SCARCELLE (HAKIM, ABDUL SHARIF, TALIBAN SOLDIER)

Garnering praise for his combination of vocal beauty, musicality and charisma, bass-baritone Scarcelle has proven his versatility in concert, recital, opera and theatre. Recent performances include Herrmann Augustus CANDIDE with Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra, Poo-Bah MIKADO with Mobile Opera, HYDROGEN JUKEBOX with Skylight Music Theatre, Poo-Bah MIKADO with Shreveport Opera. Other performance highlights include Demetrius A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM with Opera Naples, King Melchior AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS, Beaupertuis in Nino Rota’s THE ITALIAN STRAW HAT and Don Pedro LA PÉRICHOLE with Amarillo Opera, The Pirate King THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE with Anchorage Opera, Alidoro LA CENERENTOLA and Ceprano RIGOLETTO with Salt Marsh Opera, and the role of Death in Holst’s SAVITRI with Little Opera Theater of New York, for which The New York Times praised his “forbidding, resonant bass-baritone.” In 2015 he made his Carnegie Hall debut as Masolino in American Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Schillings’ MONA LISA.

Mr. Scarcelle, a Philadelphia native, has appeared in concert internationally including several recitals at the historic Academy of Music in his hometown. Among his theatre credits are roles in NAUGHTY MARIETTA, HELLO DOLLY, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, THE DESERT SONG and THE KING AND I. He holds a Master of Music degree from Yale University and a Bachelor of Music degree from Hunter College. He additionally studied at The Catholic University of America and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy focusing on dancing and acting.

SHEILA SILVER (COMPOSER)

Sheila Silver is an important and vital voice in American music today. She has written in a wide range of mediums: from solo instrumental works to large orchestral works; from opera to feature film scores. Her musical language is a unique synthesis of the tonal and atonal worlds, coupled with a rhythmic complexity which is both masterful and compelling. Again and again, audiences and critics praise her music as powerful and emotionally charged, accessible, and masterfully conceived. Recipient of a 2013-14 Guggenheim Fellowship, Sheila Silver returned from six months in India where she studied Hindustani music, the heart of Afghan music, which is incorporated into the opera, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Throughout her career, Silver has had works commissioned and performed by numerous orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists internationally. Her recent work, Beauty Intolerable (2013), a songbook based on the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, premiered in New York and the Hudson Valley last June. Developed with American Opera Projects and The Millay Society, the show included singers Risa Harman, Lauren Flanigan and Deanne Meek, with actresses Tyne Daly and Tandy Cronyn reciting Millay’s poetry. Winner of the 2007 Sackler Prize in Music Composition for Opera, she composed the chamber opera, The Wooden Sword, with librettist Stephen Kitsakos. In 2009 they collaborated on another opera, The White Rooster, for women’s vocal quartet, Tibetan bowls and percussion. Commissioned by the Smithsonian, it premiered in 2010 at the Sackler-Freer Galleries to celebrate the Tibetan exhibit, In the Realm of the Buddha. Silver’s first opera, The Thief of Love, hailed as “music of great beauty” by Howard Smith of Music and Vision, is available on DVD. She is Professor of Music at Stony Brook University. www.sheilasilver.com

STEPHEN KITSAKOS (LIBRETTO)

Stephen Kitsakos is a theatre writer and director as well as the author of three opera librettos in collaboration with Sheila Silver including The Wooden Sword for the Sackler Prize at U Conn, The White Rooster: A Tale of Compassion for the Smithsonian Institution and the adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. In addition he wrote the monodrama An Incident in Sutton Square, with music by composer Martin Hennessy. A writer member of the Dramatists Guild, ASCAP and a permanent member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, he is a graduate of New York University. Between 2000 and 2013 he was a member of the Faculty of the School of Fine & Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz where he also served as Asst. Chair of the Theatre Arts Dept. from 2011-2013. Mr. Kitsakos’s work has often explored the use of sacred texts to inspire contemporary storytelling as evidenced in his writing commissions for The Woodstock Cycle for the Episcopal Diocese of New York as well as his novel, The Accidental Pilgrim published by ASD Publishing in 2015. He resides in Key West, Florida where he directs, teaches and serves on the Board of of The Studios of Key West, a diverse multi-arts institution in the Florida keys. http://stephenkitsakos.com

LESLIE SWACKHAMER (DIRECTOR)

An award-winning stage director of opera and theatre, noted for creating bravura acting ensembles and stunning visuals, Swackhamer is a passionate advocate of new work and work by women. She is the Executive Director of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the oldest and largest international prize specifically recognizing women playwrights. She is also a founder of the Women Playwright’s Festival in Seattle at A Contemporary Theatre and Hedgebrook. She has workshopped, directed, dramaturged or produced over 100 new works at theatre and opera companies across America. Currently based in Houston, she directs regularly for Stages Repertory Theatre, where she has directed ten hit productions. One of which included the extended and sold-out run of David Adjmi’s MARIE ANTOINETTE (2015 Houston Press Award for Best Director). Other theatres where she has directed include Southcoast Rep, Madison Rep, Seattle Rep, The Empty Space, Florida Studio Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare, Stages Repertory Theatre, The Cherry Lane, ACT Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, American Stage, Cleveland Public, Intiman Theatre, Brave New Works (Atlanta), Musiqa, and The Playwrights Center.

Opera companies where she has directed include the San Francisco Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opera Carolina, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Madison Opera, Dayton Opera, and Opera in the Heights and The Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. http://leslieswackhamer.com

SARA JOBIN (CONDUCTOR)

Named a Leonard Bernstein Music Scholar by Harvard College, Jobin tends to defy traditional categories. A Grammy-nominated conductor Jobin has a passion for opera, new and American repertoire, and sacred music. In 2004 she had the honor of making history as the first woman to conduct mainstage subscription performances at San Francisco Opera and has returned to their podium for 16 performances of five different productions since then. She is currently Chief Conductor of the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York, Resident Conductor of the Toledo Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Toledo Opera, and has guest conducted the opera companies in Arizona, Baltimore (where she was again the first woman), Pittsburgh, Santa Barbara, Anchorage, Tacoma, and Idaho. She has also conducted the Dayton Philharmonic, Symphony Silicon Valley, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Bochumer Philharmoniker. Internationally, she has also led American operas in Szeged and Avignon and brought one in workshop form to Shanghai. Her first full-length recording, the comedy Volpone by John Musto, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Her discography also includes a Brubeck premiere with beloved mezzo Frederica von Stade.

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