News

La Lupa News: Ft. Worth audio available and

new recording scheduled

The audio tape of  of La Lupa from Ft. Worth Opera’s Frontiers showcase is now available. Click on My Store to listen. The performance features Anna Laurenzo as Pina, Trevor Martin as Nanni, Christina Castro as Mara, and Matthew Shepherd, pianist. There are now two audio versions of La Lupa on this site: this showcase performance and the demo recorded a couple years ago. Both performances are excellent. The showcase performance is somewhat abbreviated as compared with the demo recording because it needed to fit into Ft. Worth Opera’s 25-minute time slot.

On October 30, 2017, Anna Laurenzo and Trevor Martin will record another excerpt—this time from the second act of the opera—at Opera America. It will be posted on this site as soon as it becomes available.

Article on Opera’s History Published

The Times of Sicily, an English-language Sicilian magazine published on March 13, 2017, my article Journey to a Sicilian Opera, about the history and development of my opera La Lupa. Publisher Giovanni Moreale asked me to write a piece that discusses how my Sicilian background served as inspiration for composing of the opera.

To read the article click here: http://www.timesofsicily.com/journey-sicilian-opera/

La Lupa to be Showcased by Ft. Worth Opera

My opera, La Lupa, has been selected as one of the operas to be showcased at the Ft. Worth Opera’s fifth annual, critically acclaimed new works series, Frontiers, funded in part by the H. W. Mellon Foundation. Held during the final week of the 2017 FWOpera Festival, the La Lupa will be presented Thursday, May 4, 2017, from 8:00-10:00 pm, in the state-of-the-art McDavid Studio at Bass Performance Hall. The excerpts from each work will be presented in concert format, with piano accompaniment, under the baton of Maestro Stephen Dubberly and Maestro Stephen Carey.

For information visit: http://www.fwopera.org/operas/frontiers/

Now entering its fifth season, Frontiers has established itself as a pioneering leader in seeking out the best and brightest new voices in the opera industry, with a specific eye toward identifying exceptional works for future production in FWOpera’s alternative venue series Opera Unbound. The program includes a distinguished panel of collaborative partners (including Paul Cremo of the Metropolitan Opera and Peggy Monastra of G. Schirmer Publishing) who will play a critical role in the long-term development of the Frontiers works beyond the Festival showcase, and all selected composer and librettist teams will take part in closed feedback sessions with the panelists during the workshop to help them strengthen and develop their pieces. Over the past four successful seasons, Frontiers has established a national presence as one of the premiere showcases for vibrant new work, from some of the most talented composers and librettists in 21st century opera.

Adapted from the Giovanni Verga novella and originally to have been composed by Puccini, La Lupa (the she wolf) follows a sensual and beautiful 35-year old Sicilian widow who loves and seduces a handsome young wheat-harvester near Mt. Etna. Much to her horror, he wishes to marry her young daughter. Their affair recklessly continues even after he marries her daughter, leading to shocking violence.

Drone, My Newest Work

I recently completed my first straight play, Drone, a 90-minute, intermission-less drama. America’s  Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program in the war on terror may be one of the great moral dilemmas of our time. Although much of the public supports the program because it eliminates “boots on the ground,” that support is based on misinformation. The government’s own reports clearly demonstrate that drones are actually increasing terrorism in the world. So the ultimate question is, why do we continue a counterproductive program?

The play addresses the issue on a purely personal basis—in its effects on both the pilot’s family and the victim’s family. What drew me to the subject is the fact that the pilots become intimately involved with the subjects they are tracking in a most voyeuristic way as they spy on them for weeks at a time. This sets up an almost personal relationship, which is terminated when the pilot must kill the person being tracked.

La Lupa Demo Recording

A demo recording of my new opera, La Lupa, can now be heard on this website. Click on My Store. It can also be found a Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-240336285/sets/excerpts-from-the-opera-la

There is a 30-minute excerpt from the end of Act I, plus two soprano arias from Act. 2.

La Lupa, for which I have written both the libretto and music, is based on the Giovanni Verga short story of the same name. Verga, a highly respected  Sicilian writer (1840-1922), is also known for having written Cavalleria Rusticana, set as an opera by Pietro Mascagni. Many of Verga’s stories were translated into English by D.H. Lawrence.  Verga also wrote a two-act-play-version of  La Lupa, which Puccini was to set as an opera. Somehow Puccini never got around to the project. However, the Royal Shakespeare Company did a production of the play, translated by David Lan, in 1995. The story was also the basis for two Italian films: a 1953 version, directed by Alberto Lattuada; and a particularly fine 1996 version, directed by Gabriele Lavia, in which Gian-Carlo Giannini was featured. Verga’s work was particularly influential  on the post-World War II generation of Italian authors and especially the Italian Neolrealist film directors of the 1950s. Luchino Visconti’s Terra Trema, which was based on Verga’s most famous novel, Il Malavoglia, was a prime example.

 

Tenor to Perform Whitman Cycle

Tenor Chuck Chandler, a faculty member at Florida State University, will perform Songs of the Poet, my Walt Whitman song cycle, at four universities as part of a program featuring living American composers. Following the tour, Chandler hopes to be able to record the program commercially. The schedule, as known thus far, is:

  • November 9, 2015, at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
  • November 23, 2015, at Eastern Michigan University, at Ypsilanti.
  • January 24-25, 2016, at Auburn University at  Auburn, Alabama.
  • January 31, 2016, at University of New Mexico. in Albuquerque.

 

Live Performance of Rossetti Songs Now Available on My Store

The live performance of Rossetti Songs, settings of five Christina Rossetti poems in the version for piano and mezzo-soprano, is now available for listening.  (The original version was composed for mezzo-soprano, piano, flute and cello, was recorded by Navona Records, NV 5827, and can be purchased through Naxos Records, Amazon.com., and iTunes.) Mezzo-soprano Sara Fanucchi  and pianist Jessica Schroeder performed the work in the Antonello Recital Hall at  the MacPhail Music Center in Minneapolis, August 6, 2015, as part of the second annual Source Song Festival. The seven composers selected for the festival were chosen by famed composer Libby Larsen. To listen to the 15-minute work click on My Store, then click Store.

 

Choral Work Selected for Prestigious Catalog

The choral piece Sonnet No. 116, set to Shakespeare, has been honored  by PROJECT:ENCORE with acceptance into its highly selective catalog of contemporary choral music. A pool of prominent international conductors, after careful review of the submitted composition, made the announcement on July 8, 2015. Only seven works were selected in this period. The score for the piece can now carry the PROJECT:ENCORE logo and its imprimatur. The catalog, which contains a study score of the work, a sound file, a composer bio, and other pertinent information about the work helps choral directors to locate new pieces for performance. In order to qualify for selection, works must have had at least one professional performance.

 

Sound track for Sonnet No. 116 Now Available on My Store

The performance of Sonnet No. 116, set to Shakespeare, by The First Readings Project, which took place in St. Paul, Minnesota, on March 12, 2015, is now available. This is the third sonnet in a cycle of three, entitled Love’s Not Time’s Fool and is set for mixed chorus, piano, oboe, and flute. To listen click on My Store, then click Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheet Music

Sheet Music for Songs of the Poet, Velvet, Shoes, and Fancy are available through Graphite Publishing Website.

Sheet music is available from the composer for You Might as Well Live, Lost Empires, Somebody Write Me a Song, and
Rossetti Songs. All music is available as  professionally produced Finale scores. Price per song is $3.00,
plus $1,00 for shipping for up to five songs. The entire of cycle of Rossetti Songs is available both in its
chamber music accompaniment or piano accompaniment for $10.00, plus $1.00 shipping. Transpositions
of songs for piano accompaniment only are available for $5.00 extra.

Send check or money order to:
Norman Mathews
Ebury Press
667 W. 161st Street
Apartment 3H
New York, NY 10032