American Opera Projects
American Opera Projects (AOP) and The Walt Whitman Project

- indicates songs based on poetry and prose from children.
Perfect for the whole family!


“Femmes Fortes” by Matt Frey
Performed by Jenny Greene, Jocelyne O'Toole, and Katie Kat.

Brooklyn composer Matt Frey presents a program of dramatic songs and arias written for women in crises (or, at the very least, serious dilemmas). Spanning a time period of 2,500 years (Ancient Greece to present day Washington State), the characters of these excerpted operatic scenes explore what it means to remain strong in the face of adversity. Jenny Greene, Jocelyne O'Toole, and Katie Kat bring to life several of Frey's dramatic heroines as they perform their own favorite arias and scenes of these historic femmes fortes.

3:30 PM
4:00 PM
Matt Frey

"Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom" by Nkeiru Okoye
Performance by Jasmine Muhammad
Conductor: Eli Spindel
violin: Jennifer Axelson / violin II: Molly Fletcher
viola: Brian Thompson / cello: Alice Hamlet
contrabass: Morton Cahn / piano: Mila Henry
Directed by Beth Greenberg

Composer Nkeiru Okoye presents excerpts from her two-act folk opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to FreedomHarriet Tubman tells the story of the legendary Underground Railroad engineer (soprano Jasmine Muhummad) as she grows from a girl born in slavery into the woman who would lead more than 70 people to freedom. Based on recent Tubman biographies, the story encompasses the universal themes of sisterhood, courage, sacrifice and family bonds. Harriet Tubman showcases Okoye’s penchant for infusing popular and non-Western influences in a ‘classical’ framework.

Mellissa Hughes

Music of the South Oxford Six
Performed by soprano Eleanor Taylor and pianist Michael Rose

Members of the South Oxford Six composers collective (Edward Ficklin, Kala Pierson, Michael Rose, Daniel Sonenberg and Aleksandra Vrebalov) met during the first year of AOP's "Composers & the Voice" workshops, and in succeeding seasons worked together to present concerts in the U.S. and Serbia (where they established the annual composition workshop "Summer in Sombor.")

Over the past year, SO6 and the new music voice/piano duo Two Sides Sounding have developed an evolving performance project of works exploring crossing cultural divides and finding sources of artistic renewal. Soprano Eleanor Taylor and pianist/composer Michael Rose offer selections from this project, including songs by Edward Ficklin, Kala Pierson and Michael Rose; music from Aleksandra Vrebalov's new opera Mileva; and songs from Daniel Sonenberg's cycle Detuned Radio, a "large-scale inquiry into the emotional terrain that is mapped by music" - specifically, the hotly divided opinions on pop vs. "art" song.

"Pour les enfants, par les enfants" by Rebecca Pellett and Caitlin Smith
Performed by Mellissa Hughes, soprano; Caroline Shaw, viola; Jesse Marino, cello;
Matt Van Brink accordion.

Six French-language elementary school students were asked to write poems based on the theme "les plaisirs de la vie", and came up with several different concepts of what the true pleasures in life might be. Their poems rhapsodize about everything from reading a good book, to drinking hot chocolate for breakfast, to watching the sun rise in the morning. Toronto-based composers Smith and Pellett set these poems in a style that honours the simple verses while providing engaging listening for grown-ups too.

*Followed by performances of opera favorites sung by soprano Heather Michele Meyer and baritone Matthew Yohn!

4:30 PM
South Oxford 6
Eleanor Taylor

"Jack's Vocabulary " by Rachel Peters
Performed by Matt Castle, Frank Galgano, Lauren Marcus, Anthony Gomez, Karla Faggard, and Alex de Suze

"My eleven-year-old cousin Jack’s English teacher gives him a weekly list of words that he must use in sentences and stories," explains composer Rachel Peters. "His exercises from second and third grade showed him to be incredibly precocious and articulate, but his imagination led to some strange and often hilarious contexts for these words. His homework was full of non sequiturs, bizarre assertions, and improbable worlds colliding. I could not resist the urge to set them to music."

In the spirit of Bernstein’s I Hate Music!, Barab’s Songs of Perfect Propriety, and various cabaret songs by Bolcom and Hoiby, Jack’s Vocabulary is a cycle of six very short settings of these texts for six singers.

*Followed by performances of opera favorites sung by soprano Heather Michele Meyer and baritone Matthew Yohn!

5:00 PM
Rachel Peters

Songs from “Animal Estates" by Matt Van Brink
Additional Dialogue by Jennifer S. Greene.
Performances by Joelle Lurie and Matt Van Brink

Excerpts from a new musical for young audiences by composer Matt Van Brink. A purple martin returns to New York after his yearly migration, and enlists the help of a rabbit realtor at Animal Estates Realty to find the perfect home. But the rabbit shows him the habitats of other animals ... and ones that are already occupied! It's fine to meet the neighbors, but this bird's got to make a nest! Based on Fritz Haeg's Animal Estates. CLICK HERE for a musical sample!

*Followed by performances of opera favorites sung by soprano Heather Michele Meyer and baritone Matthew Yohn!

Matt Van Brink
5:30 PM

"Brooklyn Cinderella" by Nkeiru Okoye
Text by Najaya Royale, Tristan Regist, and Aliah Gilkes
Performance by Adrienne Danrich. Mila Henry, piano.

WORLD PREMIERE! "Brooklyn Cinderella" is the latest set of songs to be born out of the I Hear America Singing program that commissions composers to create operatic songs based on the poetry and prose of Americans of all ages and all walks of life. For the third year in a row, these new songs are based on poems written by Brooklyn children in classes headed by local poet Angeli Rasbury. Commissioned by AOP and the Walt Whitman Project.

"Songs From the F Train" by Gilda Lyons
Text by Najaya Royale, Alexis Cummings, and Samori Covington
Performance by Nicole Mitchell. Kelly Horsted, piano.

"Songs From the F Train" is the first trio of songs to be born out of the I Hear America Singing program. The songs first premiered at MMNY in Fort Greene Park in 2009 and are based on poems written by Brooklyn children in classes headed by local poet Angeli Rasbury. The songs were performed at Carnegie Hall in 2010. Commissioned by AOP, Fort Greene Park Conservancy and The Walt Whitman Project

"Ephemera" by Paula Kimper.
Text by Wade Savitt.
Performance by Grant Clarke. Mila Henry, piano.
Commissioned by The Walt Whitman Project

"For Love of Country" by Ricky Ian Gordon. Lyrics by Mark Campbell.
From the opera "Rappahonnick County"
Performance by Grant Clarke. Mila Henry, piano.

*With performances of opera favorites sung by soprano Adrienne Danrich, mezzo-soprano Nicole Mitchell, and baritone Grant Clarke! Kelly Horsted, piano.

6:00 PM
Gilda Lyons, Nicole Mitchell, & the F Train poets
Nkeiru Okoye
7:00 PM
Grant Clarke
Contemporary Opera and Song
in the heart of Fort Greene Park
With Opera Favorites and Open Mic throughout the evening!!

Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn
at the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument

Part of Make Music NY 2011!
See full MMNY schedule

Presented in association with Make Music NY, Sing for Hope,
the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, and the City of NY Parks & Recreation
With support from the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs
Presented by

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