2019 SERIAL OPERA PROJECT
The 2019 Serial Opera Project is a six month long serialized opera produced by ENAensemble, with each episode made by a different composer/librettist team.
The first episode has a libretto by Aleksandar Hut Kono and music by myself. It is scored for soprano, flute, violin, and percussion. A recording of our premiere performance/workshop will be posted soon.
Premiere: 5 March 2019 at the Philadelphia Free Library’s Music Department. Info here!
Premiered on 8 July, 2015 at the Milton Court Studio Theatre in London by the Guildhall Opera Program as part of the first year of the new MA in Opera Making & Writing course offered by the Guildhall School.
Greenland is an opera in one act with a libretto written by award-winning Croatian poet and writer Alexandar Hut Kono. The opera is about a camera crew making a propoganda film for the Nazi regime circa 1940 in Greenland being stranded on the ice sheet and trying to survive. Their journey (both psychological and physical) to survival is altered dramatically and profoundly by the appearance of an Aurora Borealis. Some argue the role of the Film Director (soprano) may be based on the film director Leni Riefenstahl; however, each of the characters are fictional and made to capture - in stark relief - the various types of people who participate in fascist regimes.
In January of 2016, a revival of Greenland was given at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in Budapest as part of the Liszt Academy International Opera Festival.
Below is a recording of a complete performance of Greenland, given at the Milton Court Studio Theatre.
Premiered on 30 May, 2015 at the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden by the ROH Youth Opera Company.
I was commissioned to write a 10-minute youth opera with librettists Ruth Mariner and Aleksandar Hut Kono. The opera is about the goings-on in an ant-colony, with a choir of scientists observing four choirs of 'ants'. The ants sing in a language we invented called Antish that uses a grammatical structure identical in logic to the way pheromones work to communicate within hives. The Scientists observe this colony of ants collecting food (State 0), tending to the queen and helping her lay eggs (State 1), attacking an invading mantis and consuming it (State 3), forming a raft of their bodies to survive a flood in he nest (State 5), and making landfall and returning to work as normal (State 5).
A DVD recording of Colony, along with the other works performed by the ROH Youth Opera Company is set to be released soon! In the meantime, here is a recording from the pit of the premiere!
Premiered on 18 September, 2014 at the Duke's Hall at the Royal Academy of Music in London with singers from the RAM vocal department and opera program, instrumentalists from both the postgrad and undergrad courses at the Academy, and conducted by the composer.
Memoirs of Transformation was my concert project for the Royal Academy of Music's MMus course. Essentially my thesis, MoT, is an amalgamation of the myriad of different compositional, philosophical, practical, and aesthetic issues I was introduced to and forced to reckon with while at the Academy. MoT has a libretto written in four languages, with each scene being made out of libretto taken verbatim from famous 18th- and 19th-century operas including Marriage of Figaro, Madame Butterfly, William Tell, Eugene Onegin, Simon Boccanegra, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung. Additionally, in order to experiment with the perception of the drama, the opera was performed twice; first behind a screen so the audience could only hear the music, and after the interval, without a screen in a semi-theatricallized production.
Below is the video of the premiere of Memoirs of Transformation.
Premiered on 6 March, 2017 at Rock Hall at Temple University in Philadelphia by the Temple University New Music Ensemble.
Reflection – a work for soprano and small ensemble – is the culmination of a collaboration between Jannette Cheong, the author of the poem (Reflection, 2014), and myself. Jannette and I began discussing this work in May of 2015 in lobby of the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre where we were observing the rehearsals for my opera Colony. What attracted me to her work was the space it creates for music to participate in the poetic discourse. For every line she sets to paper, each poetically complete in its own right, there is an immense space between for the imagination to inhabit. Reflection’s score is meant to carry the listener through those spaces, augmenting the text with a musical discourse that illuminates an interpretation of Jannette’s expression.
From her notes, she begins that:
“On a late Autumnal day I walked across London. Three images crossed my consciousness and I noted these down:
• ‘The shadows of these buildings are empty, yet deep’
• ‘Who would be a road sweeper in autumn?’
• ‘I do not know what a blind person sees’”
And concludes that: “Reflection is good for the soul….”