Opera Scenes (2016 - 2019)
Some of my favorite work as a director has been leading opera scenes, particularly because of how my journey as a director started. My very first experience directing was during the final semester of my first Master's Degree when I staged the Prunier/Lisette scene from La rondine. I initially agreed to direct the scene out of pure curiosity, but eventually it became clear that this was something I would be interested in full-time. During that same semester, I interviewed for the directing program at Florida State and was offered an assistantship to stay and learn a completely new trade.
As I continued to direct scenes in programs at Florida State, Indianapolis Opera, and Opera NEO, I received more opportunities to refine my storytelling and stagecraft skills as a director. Florida State and Opera NEO presented worthy challenges for directing scenes without a lead-up and creating immediate material that an audience could understand without needing to read the supertitles or visit the Wikipedia entry on the opera’s synopsis. In Indianapolis, I presented all of our opera scenes programs without supertitles, and compensated for this decision by prefacing every scene with a short intro since that particular series was built upon a foundation of audience engagement and education. The primary challenge for Indianapolis was transforming our building’s spaces into performance areas, which is something that I gradually improved on after programming four shows so far. The first consideration was to move from the difficult-to-light and hard-to-hear sanctuary to our more tame rehearsal hall. Following that move, I made concerted efforts to improve the lighting in the room, which required a fair amount of experimentation and adjustments between events. Nevertheless, every scenes program has always come with a clear message of things to adjust, improve, maintain, or throw away, and I’ve been diligent to try and listen to those messages when they come.
Opera scene programs always seem to have a reward for someone. If I’ve selected the right repertoire, it might help a singer look in the direction of a role or genre they should consider learning or auditioning for in the future. With the right theme or presentation, it might make an audience member more curious to dive into deeper opera or song literature. At the very least, an audience member will hopefully be moved by the excerpted drama and have that moment contrasted by a variety of material with other moods and messages to share. I know that I have been rewarded by watching my musical colleagues succeed on the stage and the audience engage with the material; that is usually more than enough.
Directed Scenes (2016 - Present)
September 2019: Sundays at the Basile - Spanish Songs and German Roses (Indianapolis Opera Resident Artists - IORA) - self-programmed
L’elisir d’amore (Ardir! Ha forse il cielo”//”Voglio dire lo stupendo”), Carmen (Seguidilla & Duet), Der Rosenkavalier (Presentation of the Rose scene), Martha (Act II, excluding final trio)
July 2019: Cabaret (Opera NEO)
L’elisir d’amore (Act I Duet/Trio “Lallarallarà”//”In guerra ed in amor”), Die Zauberflöte (Act I Quintet), Der Wildschütz (“Was meint ihr lieber Freund”), Les miserables (“One day more”)
April 2019: Sundays at the Basile - Scenes of Summer and Seduction (IORA) - self-programmed
Dead Man Walking (Act I, Sc. 2); Susannah (Act I, Sc. 5); Così fan tutte (“Che bella giornata” -> “Tradito schernito”)
February 2019: Sundays at the Basile - Songs of Love and Celebration (IORA) - self-programmed
Street Scene (“I don’t know Sam”), Don Giovanni (“Ah! Del padre in periglio”), L’elisir d’amore (“La donna è un animale”), Cendrillon by Massenet (“Toi qui mes apparue”), Annie Get Your Gun (“Anything You Can Do”) + African American art songs
October 2018: Sundays at the Basile (IORA) - self-programmed
Hansel & Gretel (Act I, Sc. 1), The Abduction from the Seraglio (Act I, Sc. 2), Candide (“We Are Women”), Star-Cross’d Lovers (Act II, Sc. 1)
April 2018: Opera Workshop Scenes Showcase (Florida State Opera Workshop - FSOW)
Werther ("Werther! Werther!"), The Mikado ("Three little maids," "I am so proud," "Brightly dawns our wedding day," "The flowers that bloom in the spring," "There is beauty in the bellow of the blast!"
December 2017: Opera Workshop Scenes Showcase (FSOW)
Roméo et Juliette ("Va! Je t'ai pardonné"), Die schöne Galathée (Ach mich zieht's zu dir), La favorita ("Ah! Leonora, il guardo sì mesto a che piegar")
April 2017: Opera Workshop Scenes Showcase (FSOW)
Alcina ("Le lusinghe gl'inganni"/"Non è amor, né gelosia"), Axur, re d'Ormus ("Du hast mir dein Eid gesprochen"), Candide (Finale), La clemenza di Tito ("Quello di Tito è il volto!"), Falstaff (Act I, Sc. 2), The Most Happy Fella ("Abbondanza")
December 2016: Opera Workshop Scenes Showcase (FSOW)
Le nozze di Figaro ("Tutto ancor non ho perso"/"Via resti servita"), A Streetcar Named Desire ("Blanche!" "Stella, Oh Stella!"), Street Scene ("I don't know Sam"), Susannah ("Little Bat, what you doin' here?")
April 2016: Opera Workshop Scenes Showcase (FSOW)
La rondine ("T'amo! Menti!")