We have just had our first 2016 NYFOS Next concert at Opera America. The next two are Feb. 11 and Feb. 18. On Feb. 4, David T. Little curated a wonderful program that, along with excerpts from his brand new opera JFK (premiering Ft. Worth Opera this April), featured works by Kate Soper, Ted Hearne, Jeffrey Myers and Colin Read. The composers were so good, I’ve decided to give them each a little more attention by featuring each of them on Song of the Day. Each has their own voice, and Kate and Ted are both singers as well. But let’s start with our curator, David T. Little.
David has received a large amount of well-deserved attention recently for his opera Dog Days. It was just given three performances at the Prototype Festival in NYC this January, and has been performed almost 2 dozen times so far. It is a remarkable work. In fact, it is the best serious musical theater work I’ve seen many, many years. I won’t give a synopsis of the show (libretto by Royce Vavrek), but wanted to share with you an excerpt sung by the amazing Lauren Worsham. Lauren’s role of the young daughter/sister of a family in a not-too-futuristic (and believable) negative version of America, creates the the heart of Dog Days. By the end of the show, she represents the one remaining shred of humanity. Here she befriends, in her way, a strange man, who has assumed the identity of a dog and hangs around near her home. In the theater, you buy into this conceit, because things are not normal. Food is very scarce, there is an evening curfew, and no one has any work. David T.’s setting of the text captures all his characters in their vernacular. Lauren’s words are those of a 12 or 13 year old girl. Her brothers, sing like the stoner adolescents they are, while their Father is pompous, self important, and delusional about his ability to maintain and provide for a family. In the background is Marnie Breckenridge who also did a fabulous job as Lauren’s Mother.