--Based on the Verse Play by Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet James Merrill, Along with
Saylor’s First Opera, My Kinsman, Major Molineux, in its New York Debut--
FLUSHING, NY, April 20, 2012 – The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College will present a double bill of two Bruce Saylor operas: My Kinsman, Major Molineux (in its New York premiere), and The Image Maker based on the verse play by James Merrill in its world premiere. Performances are on May 4 through 6 at the Goldstein Theatre at Queens College.
Merrill’s work, The Image Maker, is a Santeria-based fable set in the Caribbean about a puppet maker whose creations come to life. Saylor captures the theme of magic and folk religion with music that ranges from serene to bright and sun-splashed, to dark, atonal and dissonant. The new work will be presented along with Saylor’s one-act opera, My Kinsman Major Molineux, which has a libretto by Cary Plotkin, and is based on the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Major Molineux premiered in Pittsburgh in 1976 and is the first opera Saylor ever composed. It has undergone orchestral revisions since its premiere, which will be reflected in its New York debut.
Both operas will be conducted by Maurice Peress. The stage director is Lorca Peress. Sets and lighting are designed by Harry Feiner. Costumes are designed by Sam Fleming. Projection design is by Jan Hartley. Choreography is by Carolyn Webb.
Bruce Saylor has received fellowships, grants and awards from the Guggenheim, Mellon, and Ingram Merrill Foundations, the National Prize for Composition from the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Music Award and Charles E. Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, numerous scholarships and prizes from Juilliard, and from the Fulbright Commission for study in Rome. He has composed four operas, among them “Orpheus Descending,” based on the Williams play, for Lyric Opera of Chicago where he was composer-in-residence. He has been commissioned to write nine large-scale pieces for chorus and orchestra, symphonic works, concertos and much vocal and chamber music. Four of his song cycles have been recorded by mezzo-soprano Constance Beavon. He has collaborated with American soprano Jessye Norman on two best-selling holiday CDs, on music for several important national occasions, and on concert versions of Duke Ellington’s sacred music. Saylor has also contributed articles to The New Grove, The Musical Quarterly, and American Music, and has written an annotated bibliography on Henry Cowell for the I.S.A.M. Monograph series and numerous reviews for Musical America and Notes.
The operas are a joint presentation of the Aaron Copland School of Music, the school’s Opera Program, and the Department of Drama, Theater and Dance. Since 2002 the music school, in partnership with the Drama Department, has presented 12 opera productions, two of which have won National Opera Association Awards; a New York premiere; three Mozart Operas, and 20th Century works by Bernstein and Argento. The current production features performances by talented students from the Opera Program complemented by professional contributions both onstage and behind the scenes. In 2006, ACSM presented the New York premiere of Mr. Saylor’s “Orpheus Descending.”
The Aaron Copland School of Music offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepares its graduates for a variety of careers in music including performance, teaching or composition. The school also maintains a vital presence in the cultural life of Queens and the greater metropolitan area, offering over 200 annual public concerts and recitals in the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Concert Hall as well as specialized programs and courses for senior citizens. In addition, ACSM sponsors many collaborations with the public schools; its Lawrence Eisman Center for Preparatory Studies in Music, a pre-college program, serves up to 400 elementary and secondary students each year. For more information on the Aaron Copland School of Music, please visit: http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/music/
Performances: Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 7:30 (preview performance), Friday, Saturday, May 4, 5, 2012 at 7:30, and Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 2:30.
Tickets: $22/$20 (QCID, Seniors)
Preview: $20/$18 (QCID, Seniors)
To purchase tickets in advance, call the Kupferberg Center Box Office at 718-793-8080.
Tickets are also available at the door one hour prior to the start of all performances.
The Goldstein Theater is located on the Queens College campus in Flushing at the corner of Kissena Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway (exit 24).
Map and Directions: http://www.qc.cuny.edu/about/directions/Pages/default.aspx
Presented by Queens College Department of Drama, Theatre & Dance, Charles Repole, Chair and the Aaron Copland School of Music, Edward Smaldone, Director.