This summer, while preparing for the 2014 ATC among other things, I have been spending my summer in Central City Colorado. I have been fortunate to be part of the summer festival at Central City Opera and this year, I have sung the role of the Stage Manager in Ned Rorem's 2006 opera, 'Our Town'. It has been as daunting a challenge as it has been a rewarding experience. With a splendid director, cast, orchestra and technical team, it has been one of the most powerful, smooth and honest productions in which I've taken part in quite a while.
One of the best things about this piece though, is that it's an American opera, written in the past 10 years, based upon one of the greatest American plays of all time. The subject matter and the music are both quintessentially American and it's such a blessing to be part of modern American music.
At the festival, we have the final show (of 3) opening soon - 'Show Boat' - which will play for 7 performances in Denver. To have two out of three productions in a season representing American theater is a treat. Not that there is anything wrong with opera's celebration of its European past. It's just that to see these works being done at the same time reminds me of the depth, scope and wonder of what has been created in the 20th and 21st centuries in this country.
The festival here in Central City has many other events during the summer. Some have been recitals given by the Young Artists. We attended two of these, both representing American vocal music by Libby Larsen and Jake Heggie, respectively (whose 'Dead Man Walking' will be produced here next summer).
Away from the festival, my wife Nicole and I attended a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater of Brandi Carlile, a Seattle based singer/songwriter who fits the folk/rock genre and later in the summer, we'll be attending a concert at the Allentown Fair, in Allentown, PA of Zac Brown Band. Zac Brown best fits the Country Genre, though can't be entirely defined by that distinction - just as Brandi Carlile can't be entirely defined by one genre either.
It's been the perfect summer representing what I love about the ATC - American Music. This year for our competition, we have tried to redefine and make clear, the rules about genres and the style of performance that should correspond to each genre. We hope that this year, we'll find the 28 most talented and versatile singers that we've had to date. Our application is entirely online at www.auditionsplus.com, for which we're very excited, and our new venues, The Skidaway Island United Methodist Church and the historic Savannah Theatre, will give us the reach that our contestants deserve.
Until February 24th, 2014 when our Quarterfinals begin, we wish you a wonderful year of music, theater, art and culture.
ATC Artistic Consultant 2014