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NOA Conference Daily Schedule

Sat., Jan. 5, 2019

9:00-9:50 AM

Breakout Session / Engaging Culture

Wyoming Room

Female Conductors and Directors and Their Paths to Careers in Opera (Beth Everett (Moderator), Laurie Rogers, Elizabeth Kirkland, Ariana Wyatt)

While the gender gap in different areas of musical and stage directing leadership seems to be closing, the number of women on the opera conducting podium is still quite lacking. Women stage directors have arguably fared better, especially in academia, but there is still room for more. Questions to be addressed include: Is there a difference in rehearsal style based on gender? Have the challenges of balancing work/family life been more prevalent for women conductors and directors up to this point? What can be done in the future to encourage more women to pursue opera conducting and directing? Where can proper training and experience be found if you enter the field later? Each member of the panel will discuss her own journey in opera, either to the podium or to the directors chair, as well as unique challenges and obstacles.

9:00-9:50 AM

Breakout Session / Educating for the Future

Idaho Room

Musical Synthesis of Chekhov Technique: Integrated Training for the Singer—Actor (James Haffner, Amy Johnson)

Training opera singers to be singer-actors requires an acting technique that addresses the needs unique to the demands placed on the performance of operatic theatre. Whereas psychological realism does not always effectively serve the genre, the Michael Chekhov technique unlocks a singer’s acting potential, creating independent individual creative artists. The tenets of the Chekhov technique can be expressed fully in musical terms, which facilitate a more integrated and full-bodied performance approach. This presentation outlines the relationship between the Michael Chekhov technique and its application to operatic expression, specifically the ‘aria’.

The technique frees the singer-actor: music has its own dimensions in space and can serve as a vehicle for character creation. For example, melody and harmony can be both expressed physically in the Chekhov principles of Sensations (Three Sisters), Expansion/Contraction, Qualities of Movement, the Four Brothers (feelings of ease, form, beauty and entirety) and Staccato/Legato. Staccato/Legato can be applied instantly by either mimicking the motion of the music or engaging in physical counterpoint (polarity). This session would apply the basic tenets of the technique to aria work, focusing on how the individual singer can begin character work—in the studio—before making the transition to the rehearsal hall.

9:00-9:50 AM

Breakout Session / Embracing the New

Arizona Room

Emerging from the Shadow of Puccini (Luvada Harrison with performances by Garrett Torbert)

Franco Alfano, (1875-1954) was a pianist, composer and educator who today is mostly known for completing the ending of Puccini’s last opera Turandot. How does a talented and admired composer in his own right, emerge from the shadow of one of the most prolific composers of Italian Verismo Opera? Puccini and Alfano were friends. They would consult with each other about their respective compositions. Alfano began his musical studies in Naples with Alessandro Longo. Leipzig was the next stop on his educational journey, where he studied composition and orchestration with Solomon Jadassohn. Miranda, his first opera had its debut in Berlin but was never published. Alfano would compose nine operas during his lifetime. The most successful being his third opera Risurrezione premiered in Turin (1904) nine months after the premiere of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in Milan. The opera enjoyed its 1000th performance in Italy in 1951. Risurrezione was championed by Mary Garden and had its US premiere with Garden performing the lead soprano role with the Chicago Opera in 1925 on New Year’s Eve. The most recent performance was at the Wexford Festival in 2017. This lecture session will share additional information about Alfano that will hopefully convince the audience of his important contributions to opera.

10:10 AM-12:10 PM

Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition

Grand Ballroom BC

The Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition encourages the composition and performance of short operas especially useful in opera workshops and other training venues. The competition runs in two-year cycles. In the first year, composers submit scores for preliminary judging. Three finalists are chosen and excerpts from those operas are presented at the annual convention (odd years) for competition. The winning opera, chosen from among the three finalists, is produced in its entirety at the NOA convention the following year (even years)

Panel of Judges: Dan Shore, Ben Brecher, Marisa Michelson

12:10-1:30 PM

Lunch on Your Own

 

12:30-5:00 PM

Vocal Competition

Grand Ballroom BC

The Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition is conducted annually in two divisions: The Artist Division and the Scholarship Division. Preliminary screening and Semi-final rounds are heard by recording. Eight to ten finalists are selected in each division to compete in a live final audition.

Panel of Judges: Stephen Lord, Harolyn Blackwell, Laurie Rogers

1:00-2:30 PM

Tour of Utah Opera

Meet in Hotel Lobby

2:40-3:30 PM

Breakout Session / Engaging Culture

Wyoming Room

Trading Faces (Alexis Davis-Hazell)

Cultural appropriation as referenced in popular music is today’s euphemism for the culture of acceptable theft. Portrayal of non-eurocentric cultures in art music composition and on the singing stage is a common conceit for social commentary within Eurocentric culture. Nevertheless, debate on the validity of the cultural appropriation argument is largely done outside of historical context. Re-establishing an historical continuum as the overarching context for analysis facilitates the revelation of an impersonator vs interpreter dichotomy in performance practice. Impersonation and interpretation are often conflated in American culture, particularly regarding the intersection of African-American culture and the vocal arts. This conflation is made possible by cultural compartmentalization, invalidation and revisionist history. Erasure of iconographic and linguistic evidence is due in part to trauma and embarrassment. Blackface became the most popular and widespread practice of racial impersonation on the singing stage in America by the dominant Anglo-American culture, which has been pervasive into the present day.

Participants will learn the history of Blackface Minstrelsy and the structure and functions of the minstrel show. Participants will be provided examples of impersonation and authentic interpretation in performance practice.

2:40-3:30 PM

Breakout Session / Educating for the Future

Idaho Room

Inspiration and Expression: Using Breath as Primary Acting Tool for Connection to the Moment (Samuel Mungo)

Opera as a genre is founded on the voice- beautiful, pear-shaped, it is the voice that carries the musical and textual ideal The pear shaped tone must at least be the predominant gesture. Today’s opera world has changed this ratio. Opera today requires skills in performance in addition to the voice- for example acting. There is a fear as we delve into this, not altogether without merit. Opera deals with heightened emotion, dealing with the most pressing of ideals- not anger but hate, not love but true love, not sadness but abject sorrow. The fear is that by allowing too much emotion to reveal itself (I.E., crying) how can a singer keep the beauty of tone, and avoid swelling, that precludes vocal prowess. In this session, I will explore the breath as the transportation of the emotion. Specifically, my work has suggested that by focusing not only on the exhalation, the expression, the manifestation of the thought, but on the inhale, the inspiration, the nascence of the feeling, it is possible to create real emotions based in breath- not coincidentally, one of the most important aspects of the singing gesture. Once properly inspired, the consequent realization that the expression- the singing- is the external, outward-going movement of the already inspired though, the actor is reminded they do not have to wallow in the emotion so much as send it out to the audience, for them to wallow. In this way, real emotions are fair game, and audiences get honest feeling sent by a beautiful voice.

2:40-3:30 PM

Breakout Session / Embracing the New

Arizona Room

Opera in the Gig Economy (Patrice Boyd, Lisa Dawson, Tammie Huntington Philip Seward)

In the era of early opera, the form and objective was musical story in an intimate setting. While opera houses today are large edifices able to launch productions on a grand scale, new possibilities in opera are unfolding which hearken more directly back to the roots of the form. When changing economic times impact the job possibilities in the current business model, composers and performers may find that a departure from the grand scale of opera opens up new possibilities in storytelling and employability. In keeping with the coming gig economy, operas written to take advantage of unique performance spaces and instrumentation point the way forward to a revitalization of the form. Beyond chamber opera, more intimacy in opera offers the opportunity to present interesting characters in a musical setting with little more than a piano, table and two chairs. This session will explore operas by Robert Denham, Philip Seward and others, from composition through performance, to examine how opera in a variety of spaces and contexts may become part of the instrumentalists and singers’ repertoire and income portfolio.

4:00-5:30 PM

Plenary Session / Embracing the New

Grand Ballroom A

Breaking Boundaries in Opera: New Approaches to the Stage by Female Composers (Jennifer Bellor, Cynthia Wong, Linda Lister)

This session will feature dramatic works by female composers Jennifer Bellor, Linda Lister, and Cynthia Wong. On the faculty at UNLV, each composer demonstrates various ways of contributing to the innovations of operatic and dramatic works for the concert hall and stage. Bellor blends classical, jazz and popular styles into her works, evident in her chamber opera Christabel (2013) that was premiered semi-staged at the Eastman School of Music, and her chamber opera Duffy’s Cut (2013) that was premiered at the Kennedy Center as a part of Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. She will share excerpts from these works along with excerpts from her work-in-progress, a dramatic concept album that will also be a theatrical work for the stage.

Wong will present excerpts from No Guarantees (work-in-progress), an android comedy with librettist Richard Aellen), which received a 2017 Discovery Grant from Opera America. Set in a future America, No Guarantees explores a world in which human interaction is increasingly mediated by technology. No Guarantees will be presented by Linda Lister’s Opera Workshop at UNLV on November 16 and 17, 2018. Musically, it mixes musical theatre, popular, and classical styles as well as electronics, projection screen, and video.

Lister brings yoga philosophy, Sanskrit chanting, and health awareness to State of Grace (2018), a one act opera meant to reach out to the yoga community as well as serve as tool of cancer survivorship and fundraising.

6:30-7:30 PM

Pre-Banquet Gathering

 

7:30-9:30 PM

Awards Ceremony and Closing Banquet

Grand Ballroom BC

 

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