Celebrated composer Michael Torke was himself the inspiration to pair his and librettist A.R. Gurney’s tuneful one act opera Strawberry Fields in performance with Leonard Bernstein’s short opera, Trouble in Tahiti.
Opera Las Vegas is pleased to continue its free online offering, Opera Oasis, with Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice.
Embodying the definition of "oasis" as "something that provides refuge, relief, or pleasant contrast," OLV intends each feature to offer a bite-sized melodious respite from whatever distractions the day holds. Each edition will focus on a different opera and will pair an instrumental soloist with a vocalist. To enrich the experience, OLV Music Director and Principal Conductor Joshua Horsch will provide context and commentary on each selection.
This episode explores Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. OLV favorite mezzo-soprano Mary Beth Nelson sings the famous aria "Che faro senza Euridice" (What will I do without Euridice?), star flutist Dr. Colleen White performs the Dance of the Blessed Spirits, and OLV Music Director Joshua Horsch joins on the piano. Opera Oasis logo designed by Lena Gomez.
Quarter-Million-Dollar Gift from Chris and Anita Murray!
Opera Las Vegas (OLV) is thrilled by a quarter-million-dollar leadership gift commitment from long-time Sustaining Trustees, patrons, opera lovers, and friends Chris and Anita Murray to secure the future of the company through increased staffing, expanded programming and strategic planning initiatives.
“The scale of this philanthropy is formidable for its magnitude alone and is all the more noteworthy coming from two people who have become close personal friends over their many years of support”, remarked General Director Jim Sohre. “This gift will greatly help sustain OLV’s unique position as Nevada’s professional company member in OPERA America. We are deeply grateful.”
Chris and Anita bring to Opera Las Vegas a keen sense of fiduciary responsibility. Drawing on their successful business practices and considerable experience at other non-profit organizations, the Murray's have worked closely with the board of directors assisting with the company’s planning and management of its financial affairs.
“We are difrerent. We are one.” So sang two unlikely friends and colleagues, Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That’s right, they “sang,” at least in OLV’s roundly cheered production of Derrick Wang’s chamber opera, Scalia/Ginsburg, which performed 8-11 July 2021 in an actual courtroom, namely the Thomas and Mack Moot Court of UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.
Audience members assembled at tiered desks to enjoy Wang’s opera, which is by turns funny and touching. VIP guests not only got the front row of seats, mere feet from the action, but also enjoyed a pre-show talk by conductor Tim Warren, and a post-show reception where they met and greeted the stars.
When General Director Jim Sohre greeted the audience for the premiere of Donizetti's comic opera, Don Pasquale on 11 and 12 June, and welcomed them to "our first live performances in sixteen months," it was met with unbridled enthusiasm and applause.
Opera-hungry fans were ready to be entertained and a starry quartet of solo singers, an animated five-person "chorus," and orchestra of ten of the Valley's finest instrumentalists decidedly delivered the goods. For OLV's first production in The Historic Fifth Street School auditorium, director Audrey Chait filled the compact stage with a story that she cleverly re-set in modern-day Sin City.
Opera Las Vegas will kick-off its 22nd Anniversary Season on October 1st- 3rd with The Ghosts of Gatsby, a chamber opera inspired by the Jazz Age and infused with operatic madness by composer Evan Mack and librettist Joshua McGuire.
Based on true events, The Ghosts of Gatsby is a compelling psychological journey into the marriage of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, a relationship being mightily tested as Scott is struggling to finish The Great Gatsby in 1924 in a steamy hotel room on the French Riviera. Competing narratives of Zelda and Scott's past and a large dollop of dark humor all collide in a Black Mirror-like plot twist.
The Ghosts of Gatsby is a tuneful operatic tribute to the demands of insanity, art, and love. With a script based on Scott and Zelda’s actual words, music based on jazz sensibilities, and highly charged emotions being powerfully delivered by polished singers, the production promises to not only have resonance for literary and period music fans but will also engage seasoned and novice operagoers alike.
Opera Las Vegas Receives $50,000 Surprise Gift In Response to its Recent Production of Scalia/Ginsberg
Opera Las Vegas recently closed out its successful run of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg with a surprise ending: A fifty thousand dollar gift.
Scalia/Ginsburg is a serio-comic chamber opera about the unlikely friendship between two philosophically opposed Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia and the “notorious” Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who were drawn together by their mutual love of opera. It was performed in the site-specific location of the Thomas and Mack Moot Court in UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.
As the SRO audience was exiting the facility after the final matinee, General Director Jim Sohre was at the door, thanking people for having attended, when he was approached by a diminutive lady with a question: “Are you in charge?” Sohre identified himself and said, “Yes, I am.”
Whereupon the woman opened her purse, extracted a checkbook, tore out a check she had already written, and handed it to him. He glanced at it, saw “50” and started to say thank you, when he looked again, and saw it was for fifty “thousand” dollars. As he tried to adequately stammer an awestruck “thank you,” and “I am speechless,” the benevolent patron smiled coyly and kept walking into the afternoon sun and was gone.
Opera Las Vegas to Receive $16,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
Opera Las Vegas has been approved for a $16,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support its acclaimed Living Composers and Librettists Initiative.
In the 2021-2022 season, this project will present the West Coast premieres of three chamber operas: Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s The House Without a Christmas Tree; D.J. Sparr, Mark Campbell, and Davis Miller’s Approaching Ali; and Michael Torke and A.R. Gurney’s Strawberry Fields, paired with Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. The project also encompasses the workshop premiere of the LGBT-themed Letters to Lily, by UNLV Composition student Emily Clements.
Opera Las Vegas’ project is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding. “As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as Opera Las Vegas reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”
OLV General Director Jim Sohre noted: “It is very humbling and gratifying to receive this funding, which will greatly assist us in presenting new productions of these worthy recent works. We hope to help cement their stature and presence in the contemporary operatic performing canon.”
Immediately upcoming in the current OLV season’s Living Composers and Librettists Initiative are the West Coast premiere of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg, a love letter to the two iconic Justices, 8-11 July in UNLV’s Moot Court; and the professional company premiere of Evan Mack and Joseph McGuire’s The Ghosts of Gatsby, a compelling look at the relationship of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1-3 October at The Space. These two contemporary works are complemented by an operatic classic, Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera Don Pasquale, 11 and 12 June at the Historic fifth Street School.