+ a set of jazz standards performed after the show
Music by Bill (William O.) Smith Libretto by Peter Monaghan
Directed by Beth Greenberg
The Pocket Opera Players present Space in the Heart, a jazzopera composed by Bill(William O.) Smith to an original libretto by Peter Monaghan
Starring Rachelle Fleming, Nicole Pasternak, and Dominic Inferrera, with Bill Smith, clarinet; John Eaton, piano; Michael Bisio, bass; Alan Bergman, drums. Directed by Beth Greenberg
*Join the cast and musicians for a live concert of original songs and standards after intermission.
Rachelle Fleming, a versatile vocalist and actress has collaborated with acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch for "Classical Action," recently recorded an orchestrated version of "Alfonsina y el mar," arranged by award-winning writer and producer Raul Murciano, Jr., and has recorded and performed as a background vocalist on her sister Renée Fleming's pop CD, Dark Hope (Decca/Mercury Records).
Nicole Pasternak has carved an ever-growing niche with jazz enthusiasts around the country with her honest, straight-ahead style. Her repertoire embraces the powerful traditions of Swing, Brazilian, ballads and Big Band. Her latest CD, "In A Word," on the Garagista Music label, features Don Friedman on piano, the late, great Dennis Irwin on bass and her husband, tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama.
Baritone Dominic Inferrera is gaining a great deal of attention for giving voice to many different styles of music including opera, oratorio, musical theater, pop, jazz, and contemporary music. Mr. Inferrera has enjoyed a great deal of success in many regional opera companies across the country. He won critical acclaim in the role of The Son in Hugo Weisgall's Six Characters in Search of an Author with Opera Festival of New Jersey, where The New York Times proclaimed him a "standout".
Friday and Saturday, November 5th & 6th, at 7:30pm
Symphony Space Thalia, New York City
Get Tickets in Advance, or at the door Call (212) 864-5400, or CLICK HERE $35/ with discounts available for Symphony Space members, students, and seniors;
About the composer
Bill Smith is a composer and virtuoso clarinetist with several decades of experience in new music (as William O. Smith) and jazz (as Bill Smith). He has for 60 years collaborated with Dave Brubeck, and has composed numerous works for jazz and new classical performance. He has long combined classical music with elements of jazz in works commissioned by the likes of the Modern Jazz Quartet and Shelley Manne.
About the story
Librettist Peter Monaghan writes about jazz, the arts, and academic research for Earshot Jazz, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Australian.
Monaghan worked with the composer to create a modern American tale: A model astronaut falls for a colleague and desperately pursues him, then stalks and attacks a rival with a plan of action deranged and ineffectual. Such events express themes of power, desire, and desperation. They also crystallize around archetypal and mythic elements. - despite any real, actual events
"My hope has been to achieve a new kind of opera that is simple and clear with maximum freedom for the performers, especially the instrumentalists who largely improvise."
Bill Smith (L) and John Eaton (R) at piano, 1960s
Bill Smith, clarinet Born in Sacramento in 1926, Bill went to the Juilliard School of Music in New York while stalking the jazz clubs by night, then studied composition at Mills College with Darius Milhaud and at UC Berkeley with Roger Sessions. His association with Dave Brubeck began at Mills, where he was one of the founders of the Dave Brubeck Octet, and was responsible for many of its arrangements. His Schizophrenic Scherzo, which he wrote for the Octet in 1947, was one of the first successful integrations of modern jazz and classical approaches in what became known as "third stream."
John Eaton, piano Composer John Eaton (b. 1935) has received international recognition for his works in the operatic genre, and as a composer and performer of electronic and microtonal music as well. Eaton's work has been performed extensively throughout the world.
Michael Bisio, bass "Poet of the Contrabass...a marvelously inventive bassist that seemingly has burst forth over the years as a musical trunk rather than a branch. His technique is formidable, both pizzicato and arco, and he taps into a virtually inexhaustible wellspring of musical ideas when he plays."
Alan Bergman, drums
Alan Bergman has been able to combine his love for jazz and other music with a rewarding career as an attorney in the music business. Among his many Jazz clients are Billy Taylor, Ron Carter, Keith Jarrett, Ahmad Jamal and the Thelonious Monk Estate. Throughout his legal career he has always found time to continue to play drums and percussion. At Princeton he played with John Eaton and participated in that groups recordings for Columbia Records. He is now part of the Princeton Jazz Quartet and also plays timpani with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble.
Jazz concert after intermission
Bill Smith and Friends, with cast singers from Space in the Heart, will perform jazz standards and compositions by Bill Smith, following the one-act opera.