The Armel Opera Competition and Festival 2011 at the Szeged National Theater, taking place 6-15 of October, presents the European premiere of Michael Dellaira's new opera The Secret Agent on October 14th, with competition winners Nicolas Rigas and Adrienn Miksch in the lead roles of Winnie and Verloc.
The libretto was written by J. D. MCCLATCHY based on the novel The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad.
Michael Dellaira is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Center for Contemporary Opera. Holding advanced degrees in both Philosophy and Music Composition, his music exploits the qualities of both speech and song, and encompasses genres from folk music to voice synthesis on computers. About Dellaira, who is widely praised for his “haunting harmonies”, “eloquence and sensitivity” and “flair for vocal writing” the noted American critic and composer Eric Salzman has said: “He has created a personal musical language that combines the harmonic vocabulary and rhythmic interest of rock music with the technical rigor of the best modern classical music. It is the combination and synthesis of these seemingly contradictory elements which gives surface tension and excitement, and deeper value to Dellaira’s music.” Born in Schenectady, New York in 1949, Dellaira was educated in the U.S. at Georgetown and Princeton Universities, in Germany at the Universität zu Köln, and in Italy at L’Accademia di Santa Cecilia and L’Accademia Chigiana. His primary teachers were Milton Babbitt, Goffredo Petrassi and Franco Donatoni. In addition, he had two residencies at The Composers Conference, where he studied with Roger Sessions and Mario Davidovsky. His numerous awards include First Prize for his monodrama Maud from the Society of Composers, an ASCAP Morton Gould Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, grants from the Ford and Mellon Foundations, the New Jersey Arts Council, Cary Trust, the American Composers Forum and American Music Center. His last opera Chéri (after the novel by Colette) was a finalist for the 2006 Richard Rodgers Award in Musical Theater.