Later the Same Evening: an opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper
Leon Major, director
Leon Major has directed opera and theatre throughout the Americas and Europe for companies that include New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, San Diego Opera, Vancouver Opera, Teatro Municipale (Rio de Janeiro), The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Florentine Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and The Opera Festival of New Jersey. Productions include Macbeth, Falstaff, Intermezzo, Don Pasquale, Eugene Onegin, The Aspern Papers, Così fan tutte, Il Barbiere di Seviglia, L'Italiana in Algeri, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Salome, The Marriage of Figaro, and Pagliacci.
Professor of opera at the University of Maryland School of Music, Mr. Major is the artistic director of the School's Maryland Opera Studio, where he has directed many productions, including operas by Handel, Monteverdi and Mozart. From 1998 to 2003 Mr. Major was artistic director of Boston Lyric Opera, where he directed Don Carlos, Resurrection, Aida, Don Giovanni, Roméo et Juliette, La traviata, L'elisir d'amore, and Carmen (on the Boston Commons).
Aside from his work as an independent director, Mr. Major has given master classes in Mexico City (Sociedad Internacional de Valores de Arte Mexican), The Shanghai Conservatory, Tel Aviv (Israeli Vocal Arts institute), and Toronto's Royal Conservatory of Music. Mr. Major's credits also include ten years as the artistic and general director of the Saint Lawrence Centre, the Municipal Theatre of Toronto. He was also the founding and first artistic director of Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
John Musto, composer
Composer and pianist John Musto is regarded as one of the most versatile musicians before the public today. Mr. Musto was a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for his orchestral song cycle Dove Sta Amore. In 2000 he was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship at Bellagio, Italy, and he has recently been chosen for a 2006 Lakond Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has also garnered two Mid-Atlantic Emmys and two CINE Awards for his scores written for public television. Mr. Musto has been featured on the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center in 1995 and the Composer Portrait series at Columbia's Miller Theater in 2001.
Mr. Musto's comic opera Volpone, written with librettist Mark Campbell, has its second production by the Wolf Trap Opera company in June 2007. Hailed as a masterpiece by the Washington Post, Volpone premiered there in March 2004. His second opera with Mr. Campbell, Later the Same Evening: an opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper premieres at the University of Maryland and the National Gallery of Art in December. In 2006 Mr. Musto appeared as soloist in his Piano Concerto No. 2 in 2006 at the Miller Theater with conductor George Steel and the Gotham City Sinfonietta. During that time he also served as composer-in-residence at the Caramoor Festival and premiered his Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Orchestra of Saint Luke's under the direction of maestro Michael Barrett. A new chamber music recording by Michael Boriskin and Music from Copland House has been released on the Koch label.
John Musto earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in performance at the Manhattan School of Music, pursuing piano studies with Seymour Lipkin and Paul Jacobs. As a pianist, Mr. Musto has recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Nonesuch, The Milken Archive, Harbinger, CRI, and EMI, and his compositions have been recorded for Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi, MusicMasters, Koch, Innova, Channel Classics, Albany Records, and New World Records. He is published by Peermusic.
Mark Campbell, librettist
Mark Campbell wrote the libretto for John Musto's Volpone,which premiered at Wolf Trap in 2004 — also directed by Leon Major — and was recently revived there. He is currently working on the libretti for three works: Bastianello and Lucrezia, two comic operas commissioned by New York Festival of Song for its 20th Anniversary (music by William Bolcom and John Musto, premiering March 2008); and a new full-length comic opera co-commissioned by Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Wolf Trap (music by John Musto, premiering 2010). Past productions include Songs from an Unmade Bed (New York Theatre Workshop, directed by David Schweizer and performed by Michael Winther, original cast recording on Sh-k-boom records, www.sh-k-boom.com, The Audience (The Transport Group, directed by Jack Cummings), Splendora (Bay Street Theatre Festival and American Place Theatre, directed by Jack Hofsiss), Chang & Eng (SOBT), and Light Shall Lift Them (BAM).
Awards include first recipient of the Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two Richard Rodgers Awards, a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, three Drama Desk Award Nominations, a Rockefeller Foundation Award, and a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award. Other projects include a screenplay (with co-writer Ivy Meeropol) for The Happy Island, based on the novel by Dawn Powell, and a children's book, Oleg the Octopus, with illustrator Lloyd Miller.
Claire Kuttler, soprano
Soprano Claire Kuttler recently completed her first year of graduate study at the University of Maryland School of Music, where she is a student of the Maryland Opera Studio. At UM, Ms. Kuttler covered the role of Anne Sexton in the April 2007 production of Conrad Susa's Transformations, and she will appear as Elaine O'Neill in the November 2007 world premiere of Later the Same Evening: an opera inspired by five paintings of Edward Hopper. In April 2008, Ms. Kuttler will be seen as Fiordiligi in the UM School of Music's production of Così fan tutte, and she will perform her first Mimi in La Bohème with Bel Cantanti Opera. Other operatic credits include 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera Company and 2nd Cercatrice in The Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca's production of Suor Angelica. She is currently a student of UM faculty artist Gran Wilson.
Ms. Kuttler's concert experience includes the treble solo in Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb with the Concordia Choir, the soprano solo in Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem for the René Clausen Choral School with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, and the soprano solo in Vaughan William's Dona Nobis Pacem with the Handel Oratorio Society of Rock Island, Illinois.
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