Short opera for soprano and baritone
The Latest Update
IT RAINED ON SHAKOPEE
Video of performance.
IT RAINED ON SHAKOPEE
In the spring of 2017 NYC composer Wang Jie and librettist Zhu Yi visited Minnesota’s only prison for women in Shakopee. They gathered the women’s stories as basis for this 18 minute chamber opera – presented by the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra on July 20, 2017 directed by Warren Friesen. In the two roles of inmate and jailer were Vicki Fingalson, soprano and Jeffrey Madison, baritone. Also participating were two choruses: a “speaking chorus” of nine children from Duluth and a taped chorus of 11 women, recorded at the Shakopee prison.
It Rained On Shakopee
The opera project took a huge turn when the composer, Wang Jie, won a major grant from the McKnight Foundation. The grant proposal required a significant collaboration with a community in the state of Minnesota. Already interested in music within the prison system, Wang Jie, decided to partner with the Shakopee Correctional Facility – the state’s only prison for women. The prison authorities agreed to the proposal. The plan was to do several workshops with inmate volunteers, to write a libretto drawn from their stories. Writer Zhu Yi was enlisted in the project as librettist.
In the summer of 2016, in celebration of its 30th season, the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra will premiere four works commissioned American composers. One of the works will be a short opera by New York composer Wang Jie. Though of limited duration – 10 to 15 minutes – the opera will have a complete narrative arch: introduction, conflict, denouement. The composer’s initial suggestions: “I imagine a satiric comedy about a couple who can’t get along. They argue about toilet seats, snoring, the kind of stuff every married couple knows about. But at some point, prompted by the couple’s love, the argument shifts into loving flirtation and passionate kisses by the end.”
Vocalists for the premiere will be soprano Vicki Fingalson and baritone Jeffrey Madison. The fact that the singers have already committed to this project enables Wang Jie to create a musical score uniquely adapted to their voices and characters. And the couple may take a more active role in the creative process than is often the case – perhaps even suggesting scenes from their own marriage.
American Composers Orchestra led by George Manahan
Emily Hindrichs, Coloratura | Krysty Swann, Mezzo-soprano | Wang Jie, Keyboard
Wang Jie writes “FROM THE OTHER SKY is a multi-media concert opera/song cycle based on the my short story. When ACO asked that the new work reflect “Mystics and Magic”, I felt necessary to intensify this theme with an original narrative of the mystical and magical power of music.”
FLOWN is a chamber opera in four acts which the composer describes as “an evening of playing and singing which meditates on two lovers who must part.” It is written for the same voice types (soprano and baritone) which will be employed in the chamber opera commissioned by the LSCO
Libretto by Steve Ross Smith. Produced and recorded live at Music-theatre Group, Feb. 12th 2009
Soprano: Mary Elizabeth Mackenzie
Baritone: Paul LaRosa
Violin: Jennifer Choi
Cello: Mary Wooten
Percussion: Matt Gold
Piano: Wang Jie
This excerpt from an operatic mono-drama for soprano and chamber ensemble. Composed in 2014 it demonstrates the composers exquisite idiomatic writing for the female voice, her boundless sense of humor, her ability to create a variety of acoustic textures from slender instrumental forces.
Libretto by Paul Simms. Recorded live at Greenwich Music House, Nov. 18th 2013
Mary Mackenzie, soprano | Wang Jie, piano
Start and End Dates
06/23/2016 — 07/28/2016