New Opera Workshop
Join us this year, on Friday, July 21, at 4 pm in the Taylor Hall Studio Theater, for our third workshop, in which we will present Act I of Lottie Silks, by Jay Perrotta, with libretto by Enid Holden (MA '17).
The workshop grows out of a course on the writing of libretti designed and taught by poet, librettist, critic, editor, rare book dealer and Poetry Concentration Director Ernest Hilbert, who will introduce the workshop and lead the conversation about the opera afterwards. Third-year MFA candidates in poetry at Western take Professor Hilbert's course as their summer intensive, and not only study the history of opera, but also draft an original libretto.
Over the last several years, Western Poetry MFA alumni who have taken Hilbert's class have successfully begun to seek out composers to score their work, and as a result we conceived the idea to bring these new operas to the public in a workshop format. A vital creative culture requires not just intense and sustained study and practice, but also ways to help bring new art to fruition. In the case of opera, that means opening the doors to full production of new work, a long process. Given the strong resources for opera in Colorado, we thought we could find a way to begin to do this, and we were correct.
Our inaugural 2015 opera workshop was The Audubon Dream, by Karen E. Peace, with libretto by Western Poetry MFA alumna Laura Stuckey '13. We presented the first act of this two-act opera in piano reduction, oratorio-style.
Our hope is that the excellence all the artists bring to this workshop will give the composers and librettists the opportunity to continue developing their material and move towards fully produced performances with regional and national companies. Please join us for this exciting premiere.
The embedded videos below present our first two seasons: "The Audubon Dream" from 2015, and "The Price of Pomegranates" from 2016.
2015: "The Audubon Dream"
2016: "The Price of Pomegranates"
Synopsis of Lottie Silks
Director Doug Fitch...
Music Director and Pianist
Ben is a graduate of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program of the Washington National Opera where he was hand selected by Director Plácido Domingo. He made his main stage debut with that company conducting Hansel and Gretel at the historic Lincoln Theater. Other appearances with the WNO included a sold out run of performances of Così fan Tutte at the Washington National Opera Studio, and concerts at the Opera House of John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Music Center at Strathmore. Since relocating to Memphis, he has been a regular guest conductor with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and has also appeared with Ballet Memphis, and the New Ballet Ensemble and School. He is the conductor on the recently released recording of Mark Abel’s opera Home is a Harbor, on Delos Records.
Ben completed studies at Chapman University and the University of California, Los Angeles and pursued advanced studies at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. In 2014 he was identified by Opera America as a future leader in the field of Opera in the United States.
Enid was nominated for a WAMMY (Washington Area Music Association) award as a recording artist, making her debut with Siya Jika in 2009. Since then she has recorded a solo album and has written the book and lyrics for “Getting It Wright,” a musical comedy about the Wright Brothers. Recently Justus Parotta set her libretto “Lottie Silks,” and it was work shopped in the 2014 Catholic University of America New Voices vocal festival in Washington, DC. She founded the Gunnison Opera Study Group, a community initiative, and sings with the Crested Butte Music Festival chorus annually. She has a local event space, The Fashion Café, where she has hosted Word Horde and other readings. She also writes a column on local culture for The Gunnison Times.