Japan, the Underworld, and… a Birdcage?

Extremely chipper greetings to all!

As the title hints, my trajectory – or at least the major stops along it – is plotted from now through October.

Before I even get to that, I’m making a quick stop at Olympus, or near it, for a libretto reading of The Peace. This is an opera commissioned by one of my favorite New York companies, Vertical Player Repertory, from composer Nizan Leibovich and librettist Isidore Elias, after Aristophanes’ satire Peace. The only rehearsal is right before the reading this Saturday (June 1st), and I’m very eager to see how the whole thing goes!

My next stop is a Japan, of sorts, for Peep-Bo in The Mikado. It’s being performed in concert for the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Society, conducted by my dear friend Ray Calderon. Ray very kindly offered me the cover of Yum-Yum as well – a role I’m glad I won’t have to sing on this occasion, but that I’m very happy for a reason to look at.

It seems only fitting to balance my short stint near Olympus with a trip to the Underworld, as represented in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. This is a project I’ve been hinting about for months, and this summer I’m going to produce the opera as a joint project with another great friend of mine, Susan Bywaters. I’m taking the role of the narcissistic but good-natured god Amore, Susan will play the almost-doomed Euridice, and the hero Orfeo will be played by… Someone or other. (We’ll know soon.) We’re still finalizing details about the concept, but the production will feature a quartet chorus and probably run across two weekends, possibly in two different venues.

Finally, the birdcage. Next fall I’m going to make my mainstage, full-orchestra role debut with Amore Opera as Papagena in The Magic Flute.
Here’s a bit of background on how much this means to me: Die Zauberflöte was was the first opera I ever heard, and when I heard it as a child I absolutely fell in love with it. The man who wrote it is, to this day, my favorite composer. Now, for the first time in a year or more, I’m going to listen to the entire opera. The overture’s almost over – and I think I’ll be able to do nothing but completely collapse when I hear this music live from the stage next fall, as the beginning of something I’m about to be a part of.
Good thing I’m not on until the second act.
Papagena was also my second-favorite character in the opera when I first discovered it, since she’s responsible for saving (and considerably enriching) the life of my favorite character, Papageno. I still think there’s nothing quite like a happy ending, and the role is going to be a joy for me to perform. Joy wrapped in feathers, dialogue, a quick-change, more feathers, and one of the sweetest little comic duets in the opera repertoire.

I hope to see you around this summer and fall. I can’t wait to get started!
Cheers and thanks,