NYU/tisch OPERA LAB SPRING 2019
Saturday, May 18 | 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM
Shubert Theatre at NYU
721 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Sunday, May 19 | 7:00 PM and Monday, May 20 | 8:00 PM
The Stonewall Inn
53 Christopher Street, Upstairs, New York, NY 10014
Errin Duane Brooks, Brandon Coleman, Sara Couden, Amy Justman, Kathryn Krasovec, Jordan Rutter, Hans Tashjian, Clayton Williams
Kelly Horsted and Jillian Zack
Marisa Kaugars, Lina Younes, Mamoon Tebbo, Aoshuang Zhang
Stine Bauger Dahlman, Heather Freedman, Rebecca S. Kanach
Chris D'Angelo, Tyler Dubuc, Hamilton Guillén
W. Wilson Jones
Advanced Opera Lab led by
Randall Eng, Associate Arts Professor of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program
Sam Helfrich, Associate Arts Professor of NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Design for Stage & Film
Designed by students from NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Design for Stage & Film
Directed by students from The New School's College of Performing Arts
the NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and the school of design for stage and film, The New School's College of Performing Arts, american opera projects, and the stonewall inn present
The Stonewall Operas
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, four world premiere 30-minute operas written and composed by alums of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, examine the impact of this historic turning point in LGBTQ equality. Some of the works are set on the night of the Stonewall uprising; others focus on Stonewall’s impact on societies as disparate as contemporary Ukraine and a post-apocalyptic 2418.
Music by Bryan Blaskie; Libretto by Seth Christenfeld
Directed by Francisco Rodriguez
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, in another bar somewhere else in the Village, a young man struggles with a pair of intertwined decisions: how to live as his authentic self and whether or not to go outside and join a revolution that has been drawing ever closer.
The Pomada Inn
Music by Brian Cavanagh-Strong; Libretto by Ben Bonnema
Directed by Sam Helfrich
2019. In Kiev, Igor wants to go to the bathhouse but Alek fears a police raid; in New York, Holly and Tara don't have to worry about such things. The Pomada Inn throws these couples together across time and space to explore the global legacy of Stonewall and the work that still needs to be done.
Music by TJ Rubin; Libretto by Deepali Gupta
Directed by Nina Fry
On June 28, 1969, a jazz quartet finish a gig at the Village Vanguard and embark on an odyssey around the corner to arrive at Stonewall Inn. In a sonic landscape awash with Lynchian blue notes and surreal motives, four musicians strive for self-acceptance among the dissonance.
Music by Kevin Cummines; Libretto by Shoshana Greenberg
Directed by I-Chen Wang
It's 400 years in the future, and humanity has rebuilt itself after an apocalyptic event that sent the survivors into another dark age. The only artifact they have from the previous civilization is a book on the history of the Stonewall Uprising. A madcap dystopian comedy that asks, what happens when a society is built on the story of Stonewall and what happens when someone wants to deviate from the norms?
A collaborative project of NYU Tisch School of the Arts' Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, Department of Design for Stage and Film, and Department of Dance; The New School's College of Performing Arts; American Opera Projects and the Stonewall Inn; co-sponsored by the NYU Grey Art Gallery.
AOP's training programs are supported in part through a multi-year grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and OPERA America’s Innovation Grant funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
Randall Eng founded and leads the NYU/Tisch Opera Lab with Sam Helfrich. Under their guidance, students from the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program have created more than 30 short operas. As a composer, Randall's music lies at the intersection of opera, music-theatre, and jazz. His operas Florida, Before the Night Sky, and Henry's Wife have been performed at UrbanArias, Lyric Opera Cleveland, New York City Opera's VOX Festival, American Opera Projects, Town Hall, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Center for Contemporary Opera, and Manhattan School of Music. His choral work Remain (a setting of an immigration rights pamphlet) premiered in 2018 by the MasterVoices Chorus. Other dramatic works include The Dangers of Electric Lighting (Luna Stage), Usher, Falling (Opera Vindaloo Festival), and the video opera The Woman in the Green Coat (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); non-theatrical works include commissions for Albany Symphony Orchestra's Dogs of Desire, Mirror Visions Ensemble, and Composer's Voice. Randall is a graduate of Harvard University, Cambridge University, and NYU/Tisch's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where he is now an Associate Arts Professor.
Sam Helfrich is an Associate Arts Professor and head of Dramaturgy in the department of Design for Stage and Film at NYU. In addition to his participation in the NYU/Tisch Opera Lab at Tisch School of the Arts, Sam Helfrich has directed opera productions at New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Spoleto Festival/USA, Virginia Opera, Opera Boston, Pittsburgh Opera, and Wolf Trap, among others. Recent opera highlights include the world premiere of Permadeath, a video game opera, with White Snake Productions at the Majestic Theater in Boston, the world premiere of Jeffrey Smith's Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me at Urban Arias in Washington DC, Mozart's The Magic Flute with the Indianapolis Symphony, a staging of Haydn's Creation with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the New York premiere of Angels in America at New York City Opera, the world premiere of Dan Sonenberg's The Summer King at Pittsburgh Opera, Bach's St. John Passion with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and more. Recent theater credits include Arthur Miller's After The Fall at NYU/Tisch Grad Acting, off-Broadway productions of Owned, a world premiere play by Julian Sheppard, and Tape, by Stephen Belber, both of which played to wide audience- and critical acclaim, and a double bill of plays by Shaw and De Musset at the Franklin Stage Company. Helfrich holds a BA (Russian Literature) and a MFA (Theatre Arts), Columbia University.
Kelly Horsted is an enthusiast of new music, and has enjoyed a long relationship with American Opera Projects including his sixth season as a co-music director for the Composers and the Voice series concluding in Fall 2018. Other notable collaborations with AOP include Hershel Garfein's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tarik O'Regan's Heart of Darkness, Paula Kimper's The Bridge of San Luis Rey as well as Patience and Sarah for the chamber opera's premiere at the Lincoln Center Festival. Kelly was part of the artistic team performing Glory Denied by Tom Cipullo, for Urban Arias and Chelsea Opera. Kelly has been a frequent collaborator at NYU's Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Program, and Ann Baltz's Operaworks in LA. Mr. Horsted has appeared at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and Symphony Space in NYC. He has taught at Hunter College, Mannes College of Music, the International Workshops in Graz, Austria, the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, the Hartt School of Music and Five Towns College. He earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Eastman School of Music, where he was a fellowship recipient and 1st place winner in the Kneisel Lieder Competition.
Jillian Zack most recently music directed Annie at Cape Fear Regional Theater, Les Miserables at PACE University, and returned as an MD to the Mac-Haydn Theater for their 50th Season. Season highlights: Cabaret, Mamma Mia and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Assistant Faculty at the Juilliard School. Recital partner throughout the US, UK and New Zealand, and maintains a full vocal coaching studio in NYC. Past shows include: The Sound of Music (Theater Workshop of Nantucket), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Anything Goes, Sweeney Todd, Spamalot (MHT), Baby (Theatre Row), Annie Get Your Gun, The Full Monty, Into the Woods (TWN). Concert venues include Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, London's Wigmore Hall. Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School graduate.
Tenor Errin Duane Brooks most recently sang Canio in I Pagliacci with Boheme Opera New Jersey and covered Dick Johnson in City Opera's Fanciulla del West. He has performed with many companies throughout the world including South Shore Opera, Toledo Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Chicago, Teatro Petruzelli, and The Torino Opera. Mr. Brooks has had success in competitions, most notably the George London-Kirsten Flagstad Grand Prize Award for promising Wagnerian Singer in the 2017 George London Foundation Competition, Grand Prize winner in the Bel Canto Competition in 2016 and National Semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2015. Upcoming performances include an opera workshop titled Stonewall with The American Opera Project and Robbins in Porgy and Bess with The Torino Opera in Italy. Brooks received his Bachelor of Music degree from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan and Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University.
Baritone Brandon Coleman has been praised for his "exotic vocal coloring" by Opera News and "wonderful resonance" by Classical Singer. He commands the stage with his confidence and lures the audience with his voice. He has performed with Hawaii Opera, Kentucky Opera, Utah Opera Festival, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Connecticut Opera, Connecticut Concert Opera, Opera New Jersey, Sarasota Opera, Tuscia Opera Festival, Dicapo Opera Theatre, Opera North, Toledo Opera, Central City Opera, Opera on the James, Tri-Cities Opera, Middlebury Opera, and Syracuse Opera. Mr. Coleman has been most recognized for role appearances as Crown in Porgy and Bess, Mephistopheles in Faust, Ibn Hakia in Iolanta, and Joe in Showboat. www.brandonjcoleman.com
Praised by Opera News for her "unusually rich and resonant" voice, contralto Sara Couden has already established herself as a premiere interpreter of operatic, chamber, and song repertoire. Highlights of her 2019-20 season include the role of Irene (THEODORA) at the Staunton Music Festival, Testo in Stradella's LA SUSANNA with Heartbeat Opera and Opera Lafayette, Israelitish Man (JUDAS MACCABAEUS) with Philharmonia Baroque, Shostakovich's FROM JEWISH FOLK POETRY with the Chamber Music Series at Lincoln Center, Bach's ST. MATTHEW PASSION with True Concord Voices, Soloist in Kristín Haraldsdóttir's BLOÐHÓFNIR with the MATA Festival, and songs from DAS KNABEN WÜNDERHORN at Marlboro Music Festival. Sara is a graduate of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Visit her website at http://saracouden.simpl.com/
Soprano Amy Justman's career as a crossover soprano has spanned musical theater, classical music, jazz, pop and beyond. In 2018, she performed in the Broadway revival of Carousel, understudying and going on for both Renee Fleming as Nettie Fowler and Jessie Mueller as Julie Jordan. She recently played Polly in Threepenny Opera at Syracuse Opera, and will be returning to the Ravinia Festival this summer to sing Bernstein's Mass, which she previously performed at Carnegie Hall and recorded for Naxos. Other solo engagements include A Midsummer's Night Dream and Liebeslieder Walzer with New York City Ballet, The Mikado with Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall, and Disney on Classic with Tokyo Philharmonic. Amy was also a first prize winner of the Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Competition. Amy's Broadway credits include the revival of Company (recorded for PBS Great Performances), In Transit, Phantom of the Opera, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, and White Christmas. She can also be seen on the FX series Fosse/Verdon. www.amyjustman.com
Mezzo Soprano Kathryn Krasovec has performed on such prominent stages as The Metropolitan Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Carnegie Hall, National Theater of Prague and Theater Bremen in Germany. Recent highlights include a performance of The Echo Drift, a thrilling one-woman opera by Mikael Karlsson as Walker Loats at the 2018 Prototype Festival. She returned to The Princeton Festival as Mrs. Sedley in Peter Grimes and was the Mezzo Soloist in the Emmy winning world premiere of Peacemakers by James Aikman with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Krasovec made her Carnegie Hall debut in Mohammed Fairouz's Audenesque as soloist with the Mimesis Ensemble. After five years performing various roles in Germany and the Czech Republic, Ms. Krasovec debuted at Spoleto USA in the US premiere of Philip Glass's Kepler. Future engagements include debuts of three new operas with the Virginia Arts Festival and the John Duffy Institute for New Opera. www.kathrynkrasovec.com
Countertenor Jordan Rutter, lauded by critics as a "revelation," has excelled in opera, concert, and contemporary repertoire. Most recently he was seen with Chicago Opera Theater, where he performed the character of Doodle in Weisman and Coté's critically acclaimed The Scarlet Ibis. Upcoming engagements include rejoining American Opera Projects and NYU for their Opera Writing Workshop, where he will be performing the roles of Rubes in The Community (Cummines / Greenberg) and Kenny in Outside (Blaskie / Christenfeld). Mr. Rutter has further maintained a long association with the composition Three Way (Paterson / Coté), performing the world premiere with Nashville Opera, the New York premiere with the American Modern Ensemble at BAM, and lending his voice to the premiere recording with the American Modern Ensemble. Past credits include standards of the operatic canon, and both oratorio and concert engagements. Mr. Rutter holds a Masters from the Manhattan School of Music. www.jordanrutter.com
Bass Hans Tashjian, a young vocalist of "firm resonance and gravid stage presence," continues to impress as he hones his craft at the Yale School of Music. Most recently seen as Gremin, in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, he's shown the ability to consistently tackle principal repertoire with elegance and aplomb. Additional role credits include Baron Ochs in Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust, Daland in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer, King René in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, Seneca in L'incoronazione di Poppea, and many other stalwart bass characters. Company credits include Chautauqua Opera, Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera, OperaDelaware, Baltimore Concert Opera, Opera Southwest, Caramoor Music Festival, and other engagements yet to be announced. His concert credits include venues such as Carnegie Hall, and spans Baroque to Contemporary repertoire. In the summer of 2019 he will perform the Podestà in Rossini's La gazza ladra with Teatro Nuovo. Additionally, Mr. Tashjian has been conferred with several competition awards and is an alumnus of Manhattan School of Music and Carnegie Mellon University. www.hanstashjian.com
Baritone Clayton Graves Williams, a native of Detroit, Michigan, began participating in various fine arts activities at an early age and gained much exposure to the Arts and Entertainment world. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music (Voice) from Winston-Salem State University and a Master of Music, also in Voice, from the Manhattan School of Music. In March 2015, Williams made his New York debut as Escamilio in Bizet's Carmen. His other notable roles include Bartolo and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro in Siena, Italy, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti. Clayton can also be found on the big screen with featured appearances in primetime television shows such as Law & Order SVU, The Blacklist, Pose on FX, Blindspot, Bull, The Path, and Forever. Mr. Williams, who currently resides in New York City, is an Emerging Talent Award Winner of the coveted Lotte Lenya Competition. www.claytongwilliams.com