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Opera Las Vegas's poster for "A Capacity for Evil". Two detectives mull over some papers and a small gargoyle statue, a femme fatale of a woman sits behind them crying and smoking a cigarette.

A Capacity for Evil

West Coast Premiere

Music by Evan L. Snyder, libretto by Snyder and John Riesen
Tickets on sale soon!

Location

The Space, front view

The Space

3460 Cavaretta Court ∙ Las Vegas ∙ 89103

Run Time

1 hour 50 minutes

Intermission

One 20-minute intermission

Language

Sung in English with English surtitles.

Premiered

Opera MODO, September 28, 2018

Refreshments

Refreshment service available

Dress Code

Casual, Come As You Are

A murderously clever whodunnit inspired by the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, this operatic detective tale is based on an original story conceived by the composer Evan L. Snyder and John Riesen, a tenor who will reprise the starring role of Daniel that he created in the work’s premiere.

Daniel is a famed 1930’s private eye who, with help from his partner Doyle and fiancée Angelica, works to unravel a series of grisly murders occurring on New Year’s Eve. As tensions rise and the clock runs out, the bonds of friendship are tested against the dark ordeals of an imperceptible murderer. Tuneful plot complications and soaring voices are underscored by harmonically evil intent. Can these singing detectives figure things out before the unknown murderer is able to realize the full scope of his perverse aims? Someone may not be who they seem to be, but will you suss it out before the plot reveals all?

Creators

  • Evan L. Snyder, standing casually in a dark green cashmere sweater and jeans. He has long dark hair, glasses, and facial hair.

    Evan L. Snyder

    Composer & Librettist

  • Evan L. Snyder, standing casually in a dark green cashmere sweater and jeans. He has long dark hair, glasses, and facial hair.

    Evan L. Snyder

    Composer & Librettist


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    Winner of the 2017 Frontiers Competition for A Capacity for Evil, Evan L. Snyder is unified in his dedication to storytelling. Best known for his works for the operatic stage, Evan has been praised for his “genuine understanding of the human voice” and his “unapologetically beautiful music,” but for him, bringing stories to life through music is the center of his work. A winner of the 2017 Fort Worth Opera Frontiers Competition, his first opera, A Capacity for Evil, broke with conventional opera genres, telling a Holmesian detective tale on the operatic stage. The opera premiered in fall 2018, with Detroit’s Opera MODO and was enthusiastically received by the run’s sold out audiences. Evan’s current operatic project, The Clef of the Universe, is a new science fiction opera, following a group of archeologist crash-landed on an alien world. An aria excerpted from the new work, “On the beach at night alone…” was previewed at Constellation Chicago as a part of the 2019 Fresh Inc Festival.

    Evan’s interest in novel storytelling carries over to his work outside of opera as well. His musical portrait of a friend, Theme Song for Dan Carty, was originally written for the 2018 Fresh Inc Festival, and since went on to win the 2018 Detroit REVIVAL Project, as well as receiving a performance by the esteemed Fifth House Ensemble at the 2019 Red Note Festival. He has also received chamber music commissions from both Fifth House and the Lansing-based ConTempus Initiative. The latter commission resulted in his Disappearing Landscapes, a children’s work for mixed quartet and narrator, exploring the impact of humanity on nature, which premiered as a part of the 2018-2019 Lansing Symphony’s Family Series.

    Storytelling on a more well-trodden road, Evan has also composed numerous songs, as well as two full-length song cycles. His first cycle, Ulysses, a setting of Tennyson’s famous dramatic monologue of the same name, was premiered by Richard Fracker at Michigan State University in March 2018. His second, Dynamic Roads, is an original work dealing with themes of moving and aging, was created in collaboration with poet Peter Faziani. The work was commissioned by bass-baritone Joe Baunoch, who premiered the cycle at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, May 2019. Upcoming in his work with song, Evan is very excited to be collaborating with internationally-renowned soprano Tamara Wilson on a commission for a new song cycle, which premieres May 2022.

    Evan is a proud graduate of Michigan State University, holding degrees in composition, music theory, and voice.

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Librettist

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Librettist


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    Award-winning American tenor John Riesen’s growing career boasts a variety of roles in which he consistently excels and includes significant work in opera, musical theatre, studio recording and concert. In the COVID-affected 2020-2021 season John performed concerts, live streams, and productions with several companies including Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Shades of Pink Charity Foundation, The FAR Conservatory in Detroit, and Opera Las Vegas. He returned to the stage in 2021 as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore with Pensacola Opera, Martin in The Tender Land with The Hart School, Alfredo in La Traviata with the Pacific Symphony, and Younger Thompson in Glory Denied with Berkshire Opera Festival. The 2021-2022 season includes Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Utah Opera, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with On Site Opera, Chris in the world-premiere of Favorite Son by Grammy award winning songwriter Marcus Hummons, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut as tenor soloist in the Messiah with Musica Sacra under the baton of Kent Tritle (postponed due to COVID-19).

Cast

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Tenor

    Detective Daniel Pilgrim, famed private eye

  • John Riesen in a casual brown t-shirt.

    John Riesen

    Tenor


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    Award-winning American tenor John Riesen’s growing career boasts a variety of roles in which he consistently excels and includes significant work in opera, musical theatre, studio recording and concert. In the COVID-affected 2020-2021 season John performed concerts, live streams, and productions with several companies including Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Shades of Pink Charity Foundation, The FAR Conservatory in Detroit, and Opera Las Vegas. He returned to the stage in 2021 as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore with Pensacola Opera, Martin in The Tender Land with The Hart School, Alfredo in La Traviata with the Pacific Symphony, and Younger Thompson in Glory Denied with Berkshire Opera Festival. The 2021-2022 season includes Frederic in Pirates of Penzance with Utah Opera, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with On Site Opera, Chris in the world-premiere of Favorite Son by Grammy award winning songwriter Marcus Hummons, as well as his Carnegie Hall debut as tenor soloist in the Messiah with Musica Sacra under the baton of Kent Tritle (postponed due to COVID-19).

  • Erin Gonzalez, Headshot

    Erin Gonzalez

    Mezzo-Soprano

    Angelica, Daniel's fiancée

  • Erin Gonzalez, Headshot

    Erin Gonzalez

    Mezzo-Soprano


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    Erin Gonzalez has performed with UNLV Opera Theater, Pacific Symphony, Sin City Opera, Florentine Opera, Martina Arroyo Foundation, Opera Las Vegas, Nevada Opera Theatre, Eastman Opera Theatre, and Opera Chapman. Role highlights include Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice), Secretary (The Consul), Angelina (La Cenerentola), and Dorabella (Così fan tutte).

    Winner of the 2015 and 2016 Nevada District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Friends of Eastman Opera Voice Competition and Bramledge Opera Award and Robert Kuntz Scholarship, Erin received a Bachelor in Music from Chapman University Conservatory of Music and Master in Music from Eastman School of Music.

    In July and August of 2017, Erin was a member of the Opera Studio at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. While in attendance, she won first place in the elite Meistersinger Competition.

    In April 2019, Ms. Gonzalez was named the Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year for the College of Fine Arts.

    She graduated with her Doctorate in Musical Arts; Voice from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in May 2019.

  • André Chiang, baritone, smiling with hands clasped against a dark background, he is wearing a vibrant blue shirt.

    André Chiang

    Baritone

    Capt. Smith, a captain in the NYPD

  • André Chiang, baritone, smiling with hands clasped against a dark background, he is wearing a vibrant blue shirt.

    André Chiang

    Baritone


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    Baritone André Chiang has been described as “vocally commanding” (Oregonian), “handsome of voice” (Opera News), and lauded with “let’s hear more from this singer” (Washington Post). Chiang’s recent engagements include Silvio in Pagliacci with Painted Sky Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with Mobile Opera, Dandini in La cenerentola and Masetto in Don Giovanni with Dayton Opera, the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance with Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre, and Schaunard in La bohème with Mississippi Opera and the Natchez Festival of Music. Highlights include Falke in Die Fledermaus, Ford in Falstaff, Young Galileo/Salviati in Galileo Galilei, where he was commercially recorded, and Argante in Rinaldo with Portland Opera; Masetto in Don Giovanni, El Gallo in The Fantasticks with Shreveport Opera; Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Opera Birmingham; Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd with Virginia Opera; Charlie in Three Decembers, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Older Thompson in Glory Denied with Painted Sky Opera; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with The Washington Idaho Symphony; Count Gil in Il segreto di Susanna and Schaunard in La bohème with Mobile Opera. Chiang is also a graduate of several apprenticeships, having spent summers as a Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and with the Glimmerglass Festival, covering Nathan Gunn as Lancelot in Camelot as well as performing the role in their Young Artist Matinee. Upcoming engagements include Gianni Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Mississippi, Marcello in La bohème with Opera Western Reserve, Baritone Soloist in The Seasons with the Louisiana Philharmonic, Yamadori/Commissioner in Madama Butterfly with New Orleans Opera, Captain Smith in the West Coast Premiere of A Capacity for Evil with Opera Las Vegas, and Father in Fearless (workshop) with Opera Delaware.

    Along with his stage work, he is equally comfortable in recital and concert. Highlights include being the Baritone soloist in Beethoven\'s Ninth Symphony with the Richmond Symphony, Featured soloist in Portland Opera’s “Big Night”, Featured soloist in Virginia Opera’s “Opera in the Park”, Featured Soloist in Mobile Opera’s “Winter Gala Concert”, Baritone soloist in Carmina Burana with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, who performed in the French Quarter Festival, the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and the Canterbury Voices, Bass soloist in Haydn’s Mass in D minor with the Eastern Shore Choral Society and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Paul in Mendelssohn’s Saint Paul and the Narrator in Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, and Baritone soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem and Rutter’s Mass of the Children with Canterbury Voice. At Carnegie Hall, Chiang has appeared as the Young Priest in Dinos Constantinides’ opera Rosanna with DCINY Concerts in Weill Hall and the Baritone soloist in Martin Palmeri’s World Premiere of Gran Misa at Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall.

Creative Team

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor

  • Joshua Horsch, posting with arms crossed in a dark suit and his conducting wand in one hand.

    Joshua Horsch

    Conductor


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    Praised for conducting with “steady acumen and considerable aplomb” and “awesome control” (Opera Today), Joshua Horsch is an extremely versatile operatic and symphonic conductor.  A two-time winner of the American Prize in Opera Conducting Joshua serves as Music Director and Principal Conductor of Opera Las Vegas. Joshua’s recent and upcoming conducting engagements include appearances with Atlanta Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Orlando, Mobile Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Opera Las Vegas, Tri-Cities Opera, and Chicago Summer Opera.

    With a diverse repertoire of over fifty operas and a broad spectrum of orchestral and choral works, Joshua has recently held positions as a conductor/coach/chorus master on the music staff of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florida Grand Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Saratoga, Pensacola Opera, Fort Worth Opera, the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Colorado Music Festival.  Joshua’s guest and workshop conducting includes work with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Filharmonia de Chihuahua, the Lyatoshinsky Chamber Orchestra, the Newport Music Festival, the Colorado New Music Ensemble, the PENDULUM New Music Ensemble, the Boston Opera Collaborative, and the Boulder Bach Festival.

    As a dedicated interpreter of new works, Joshua has enjoyed a number of collaborations with many of today’s leading composers including Tom CipulloJennifer Higdon, and Libby Larsen.  For two seasons, Joshua served as Music Director/Conductor of the CU New Opera Workshop where he collaborated with composers Libby Larsen and Alberto Caruso as well as author Colm Tóibín and stage director Ron Daniels.  At Seagle Music Colony’s American Center for New Works Development, Joshua has conducted and played workshops for new works by Libby Larsen and Scott Eyerly.  For four seasons, Joshua served as conductor/co-founder of the Colorado New Music Ensemble where he programmed and conducted works ranging from John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 2 to Susan Botti’s chamber opera Telaio: Desdemona.  While a Festival Artist/Conductor at the Newport Music Festival, Joshua conducted members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence Singers in a series of contemporary choral/orchestral masterworks.

  • Linda Lister, close-up headshot, smiling.

    Linda Lister

    Director

  • Linda Lister, close-up headshot, smiling.

    Linda Lister

    Director


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    Linda Lister (Director) is Professor of Music and Director of Opera at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Winner of the 2014 American Prize for Directing, she is a graduate of Vassar College, the Eastman School of Music, and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She has led UNLV Opera to two first place wins in the 2015 National Opera Association Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and a second place win in NOA’s 2016 Opera Production Competition. She is author of So You Want to Sing Light Opera and Yoga for Singers: Freeing Your Voice and Spirit through Yoga, and co-author of So You Want to Sing Music by Women and Voice Secrets: 100 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Singer. Also a composer, she has written three one-act operas: Body of Art, State of Grace, and How Clear She Shines! She sings her own compositions on the Albany Records release Pleas to Famous Fairies.

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