American Opera Overview in conjunction with Music for the American Stage

Warren Ertle: “The Development of American Opera in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries”

Bio: Warren Ertle is a composer, arranger, jazz pianist, and bandleader. He collects and archives original jazz orchestra scores from the 1920s-30s, and strives to perform them in the historically informed style with his orchestras: GreenLight Jazz Orchestra, which he founded in Boston, and Warren Ertle’s Angry Diamond Orchestra which has ensembles based in Jackson, Mississippi and Tuscaloosa/Birmingham, Alabama. He also arranges and composes new works that are influenced by the early jazz style. Ertle has composed works for symphony orchestra, voice, solo instruments, and various chamber ensembles. Past commissions include The Forty-First Army Band, Delta State University Wind Ensemble, Hinds Community College Wind Ensemble, South African tenor, Thulani Mnisi, and the Mississippi Percussive Arts Society. Ertle is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in Composition at The University of Alabama and holds degrees in composition from The Boston Conservatory (M.M.) and Mississippi College (B.M.). He also serves as the pianist and staff arranger for the Forty-First Army Band in Jackson, Mississippi.

Summary/Blurb: Warren gives an overview of the history of American opera, focusing particularly on Samuel Barber and Mark Adamo

Tyler Jones: “Following the Gameplay: A Listening Guide to Barber’s A Hand of Bridge

Bio: A versatile musician with interests ranging from classical repertoire to world musics, jazz, popular genres, and the avant-garde, Tyler Jones (b. 1993) is a composer and conductor currently working in the American Southeast. Exploring intriguing rhythmic-metric structures and earthy, evocative colors, Tyler’s work is concerned with community, perspective, and sound behavior within a given space. His music has been reviewed as “intense” and “richly detailed.” Recent work includes a collaboration with the violinist Davis Brooks for the album Early Musings: New Music for Violin (Navona Records); numerous screen-dance film scores; and a wind ensemble premiere at Carnegie Hall.

​Tyler holds a master’s degree in composition and a bachelor’s degree in music theory, both from The University of Alabama. His teachers at Alabama included Amir Zaheri, composition; Blake Richardson, conducting; Tim Feeney, percussion; and Thomas Robinson, music theory research and methods. Tyler is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and the Millennium Composers Initiative.

Summary/Blurb: Walk through the musical features of A Hand of Bridge, guided by composer Tyler Jones.

Jenny Jianing Ling: “From A Hand of Bridge to Understanding Modern Music”

Bio: Jenny Jianing Ling is a first year DMA student at The University of Alabama where she is studying the piano. She is originally from China and completed her MM degree at The University of Hartford in Connecticut. Jenny loves musicals and participated in many choral concerts and musicals as an accompanist. She is thrilled to participate in and write for UAOT program.

Summary/Blurb: Jenny describes Barber’s different compositional periods and reflects on the broader characteristics of modern music as a background for A Hand of Bridge.

Taylor Mann: “Micro Opera’s Influence on Modern Opera”

Bio: Taylor Mann is a senior at the University of Alabama and studies flute under Dr. Diane Boyd Schultz.

Summary/Blurb: Taylor connects the stylistic traits in A Hand of Bridge and Avow with more recent popular stage works, ranging from Legally Blonde: The Musical to Hamilton and Waitress.

Zoe Rose Proeber: “Interviews with UAOT Performers: Matthew Tyree, Evan Fleming, Elijah Brown”

Bio: Zoe Rose Proeber is a first-year master’s student and opera GTA. Under the tutelage of Dr. Houghtaling, she has sung scenes from La Bohème as Mimì, performed as Pamina in UA Opera Theatre’s production of Die Zauberflöte, received an honorable mention in the Huxford Symphony Concerto Competition, and was awarded the first-place performance prize at the Living Music Institute.

Summary/Blurb: Zoe Rose introduces A Hand of Bridge and Avow, and shares the responses of three UAOT performers to a series of questions about the works, the characters they play, and the rehearsal process

Julie Sommer: “A Hand of Bridge and Avow: A Discontented Past and Hopeful Future”

Bio: Julie Sommer is a junior from Dothan, AL, majoring in music and Italian.  Her focus area is piano, which she enjoys playing and teaching through the Community Music School.

Summary/Blurb: Julie provides an engagingly written plot summary of the two operas, their differences, and their shared focus on hope.

Caleb Ferguson: “Interview with Dr. Paul Houghtaling”

Bio: Caleb Ferguson is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Alabama, where he is a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Voice and a student of Dr. Paul Houghtaling. He has received his M.M. in Vocal Performance from West Virginia University and a Bachelor’s degree in General Music at Truett McConnell University. 

Summary/Blurb: Caleb interviews Dr. Paul Houghtaling, head of the University of Alabama Opera Theatre and producer for these performances

Vincent Morreale, “Music and It’s Job in Opera: Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge

Bio: Vincent Morreale is a DMA candidate in Horn Performance at the University of Alabama. He received his B.M. in Music Education from the University of Tennessee and his M.M. in Instrumental Performance from the Frost School of Music in Miami, Florida. Vincent has performed with orchestras up and down the east coast, and has had the opportunity to perform with artists such as Gloria Estefan, Joshua Bell, and Terence Blanchard, among others.

Summary/Blurb: Vincent explains key musical moments in A Hand of Bridge, walking through how the music brings the drama to life

Will Martin: “A Hand of Bridge: Its Context and Background”

Bio: Will Martin is the Owner of Martin Method Violin LLC, and a Doctoral violin student at the University of Alabama. Will has performed with numerous orchestras throughout Florida, primarily Opera Tampa, St. Petersburg Opera, Brevard Symphony, and Venice Symphony. Will currently holds the positions of Capstone Graduate String Quartet Violinist and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Alabama.

Summary/Blurb: Will explores how Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti came together to create A Hand of Bridge, what sets it apart from more traditional operas, and how the characters are portrayed.

Jessalyn Miller: “Listening to Avow

Bio: An avid lover of musical theatre, Jessalyn is a senior at the University of Alabama, where she is studying audio engineering, for which she intends to pursue a masters’ degree after graduation.

Summary/Blurb: Jessalyn introduces audiences to Adamo’s Avow and to its relationship to Barber’s A Hand of Bridge

Mika Camp: “Opera: The Long and Short of It”

Bio: Mika Camp, soprano, is currently pursuing the Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Alabama, studying under Dr. Susan Williams. Her most recent roles include Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Musetta in a scene from La Bohème, and Flora in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

Summary/Blurb: Mika explores the genre of opera, from its lengthiest works to its tiny gems, preparing audiences to experience Barber’s A Hand of Bridge and Adamo’s Avow.

Hannah Park: “The Life of a Modern Opera, Seen through Mark Adamo’s Avow

Bio: Hannah Park is a junior Vocal Performance major, studying under Dr. David Tayloe. A mezzo-soprano from Gig Harbor, Washington, she was most recently seen performing as the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte. Other roles with UAOT include premiering the role of #7 (Student) in Michael Ching’s RSBE.

Summary/Blurb: In this video, Hannah leads audiences through the process of creating an opera from start to finish, featuring interviews with composer Mark Adamo and UAOT artist Laura Pritchard.