The Saxophone and Thor- Discover Frederic Hymen Cowen’s opera, Thorgrim

The English have a long tradition of the saxophone in opera, longer than you might imagine. Before finding Thorgrim, the first English opera I have in my database is Joseph Holbrooke’s The Children of Don, written in 1912. But it turns out the saxophone was heard in the opera house long before 1912. The EnglishContinue reading “The Saxophone and Thor- Discover Frederic Hymen Cowen’s opera, Thorgrim”

Opera Streams of the Week, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs on 5/6/2022 and more…

The Atlanta Opera is livestreaming The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates this Friday, May 6th at 8 pm ET. Originally commissioned by the Sante Fe opera, this production The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs is a coproduction with the Austin Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Calgary Opera, and the Utah Opera. Tickets toContinue reading “Opera Streams of the Week, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs on 5/6/2022 and more…”

Publisher Bill Holab Music is now in the database, discover works by Michael Daugherty, Michael Torke, and Jake Heggie

Bill Holab Music’s catalog is now listed in the database. Bill Holab publishes works by American composers like Michael Torke and Michael Daugherty. Daugherty was already listed in the database with his opera, Jackie O, published by Boosey & Hawkes. Here are some featured works from Bill Holab’s catalog. Date: 2012 Ballet: Labyrinth of LoveContinue reading “Publisher Bill Holab Music is now in the database, discover works by Michael Daugherty, Michael Torke, and Jake Heggie”

The Operatic Saxophone turns one year old—celebrate it by watching opera

Two years ago when everything shut down due to Covid, I started watching the daily streams of the Metropolitan Opera. My interest in opera started before then, but with all the free time and the Met’s high production value, this was the perfect opportunity to dive into the world of opera. Outside of the knowledgeContinue reading “The Operatic Saxophone turns one year old—celebrate it by watching opera”

Listen to the Saxophone in Ambroise Thomas’s 1889 ballet, La Tempête

In 1889 Paris hosted the Exposition Universelle, a centennial celebration of the French Revolution. This was a showcase of the latest engineering marvels—the Eiffel Tower, technological advances—the telephone, and a showcase of the best of French culture. The Paris Opéra was slated to premiere Saint-Saëns’s newest opera, Ascanio, but the opera was not ready forContinue reading “Listen to the Saxophone in Ambroise Thomas’s 1889 ballet, La Tempête”

Orlando by Olga Neuwirth wins the Grawemeyer Award

Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth won the 2022 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Neuwirth received the award for her opera, Orlando, which premiered at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2019. Orlando was the first opera written by a woman to be staged at the Wiener Staatsoper it’s 150 year history. Olga Neuwirth has threeContinue reading “Orlando by Olga Neuwirth wins the Grawemeyer Award”

Watch the premiere of Time of Our Singing, featuring Saxophonist Mark Turner

Belgian composer and jazz pianist Kris Defoort premiered a new opera last month, The Time of Our Singing. This opera is based on Richard Powers’ 2003 novel of the same name which tells the story of a mixed raced family growing up during racial segregation in America. This production is staged by the Belgian operaContinue reading “Watch the premiere of Time of Our Singing, featuring Saxophonist Mark Turner”

Opera’s influence on early “turcophone” literature

One of the first saxophone soloists is quite a unique character. Charles-Jean-Baptiste Soualle, aka Ali Ben Sou Alle, was a clarinet student at the Paris Conservatory who graduated in 1844. He took a job playing in orchestras in Paris before going to England with his ‘corno musa,’ aka the turcophone, which was really just anContinue reading “Opera’s influence on early “turcophone” literature”

Another Romantic ballet featuring the saxophone: Discover Ambroise Thomas’s La tempête

Recently I went through the Metropolitan Opera’s archives to see if they have any works for saxophone in their performance history that I have yet to find. During this search, I discovered Ambroise Thomas‘s Hamlet was performed for their inaugural season in 1883-84. Did they use the saxophone in the finale of the 2nd actContinue reading “Another Romantic ballet featuring the saxophone: Discover Ambroise Thomas’s La tempête”

The Voxman Project: Kenneth Tse features theatrical works by Weill and Milhaud

During the darkest days of the pandemic, good art was hard to find. Opera houses, once bustling with activity were empty. Gone were the spectacles of Verdi, Puccini, and Wagner. Fortunately, this pause in the usual fare allowed new voices and new musicians to fill the silence. At the University of Iowa, alto saxophonist KennethContinue reading “The Voxman Project: Kenneth Tse features theatrical works by Weill and Milhaud”