WARHOLA with Kronos Quartet and Anthony Roth Costanzo

Andy Warhol in 1981, photo by Chris Cassatt

From Jack Perla and librettist Jeff Goodby comes a groundbreaking new collaboration inspired by the life (and death) of the legendary pop artist Andy Warhol, starring internationally renowned countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as Andy, and featuring the Grammy Award winning Kronos Quartet.

The story follows the many complex relationships around Warhol, but three in particular — his life with Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The piece also explores the flimsiness of fame, the ephemerality of taste, and the fine line between collaboration and exploitation. Along the way, we encounter Andy’s infatuation with Truman Capote, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, JFK, Andy’s mother Julia, and the world of Big Art. In the end, Andy’s Faustian bargain with art and fame leaves him alone, resented, eventually shot by a disgruntled associate. We follow him into death and even after death, where we find him openly offering thanks and seeking redemption.

Anthony Roth Costanzo, photo courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago

This genre bending work features several screens showing archival video, subtitles, words, and documents. Part rock and part opera, this ensemble features a rock band and string quartet, with supporting vocalists and actors in minimalist attire, highlighted by a multimedia-driven score that speaks to Andy Warhol’s life and work.

More information about this upcoming project here.

“Between Worlds of Sound” with Del Sol Quartet

Sarodist Alam Khan, son of the legendary Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, and sitarist Arjun Verma are collaborating with composer Jack Perla, Del Sol Quartet, and Tablaist Nilan Chaudhuri to compose and perform Between Worlds of Sound. Alam Khan is the grandson of Allauddin Khan, the preeminent musical legend who trained both Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar, the 20th century ambassadors of Indian classical music to the world. The performance will combine instruments from East and West with ambient sounds, spoken samples, and visuals, recorded in the USA and India.

Photo courtesy of Del Sol Quartet

Between Worlds will take audiences on a journey through various musical chapters representing distinct stages in the composers’ search for cultural and personal identity, such as “Youth,” “Home,” “Journey,” “Desolation,” “Struggle,” “Letting Go,” “Wholeness,” and “Flight.” In the end, no matter our ethnic and cultural backgrounds, we are all connected by the range of human emotions we experience. This is the thread that ties us together, and the thread we aim to express through Between Worlds of Sound

Alam Khan, Sarode & Composer

Between Worlds will be performed at several venues around the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, six interactive lecture/demonstrations will be presented at various Bay Area educational and community institutions in the months leading up to the performance premiere, with dates to be announced shortly.

More information at Del Sol Quartet’s website.

San Francisco Symphony’s CURRENTS with AÏMA the DRMR

Hear Jack’s arrangements for the San Francisco Symphony’s stunning new virtual series CURRENTS, a podcast featuring cross-genre collaborations with iconic Oakland hip hop musicians. This program, conceived by Michael Morgan, Kev Choice, AÏMA the DRMR, DJ Lady Fingaz, Jenay Anolin from Mix’d Ingredients and San Francisco Symphony musicians Kelly Leon-Pearce, Nick Platoff, and Aaron Schuman share how Hip Hop culture embraces a prism of influences and perspectives.

Enjoy the full episode here.

Upcoming performances of “An American Dream” at Opera Idaho, Kentucky Opera, and NEC

Jack Perla’s opera with Jessica Murphy Moo, “An American Dream” will be produced in April and May at Kentucky Opera, the New England Conservatory of Music and Opera Idaho. Follow the links below for detailed information:

Kentucky Opera
Friday, April 8, 2022 at 8 pm
Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 2 pm 
Brown Theatre, Louisville, Kentucky

The New England Conservatory of Music
Thu, April 21, 2022 | 6:00 pm
Fri, April 22, 2022 | 6:00 pm
Sat, April 23, 2022 | 2:00 pm
Sun, April 24, 2022 | 5:00 pm
Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre at NEC, Boston, MA

Opera Idaho
Friday, May 27, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 2:30 pm
The Egyptian Theatre, Boise, Idaho

“Give me Jesus” at the San Francisco Symphony

Mezzo soprano Melody Wilson
S. Suarez and S. Richards Photography

Simon, Price and Brahms
Davies Symphony Hall
Thu, Feb 17, 2022 at 7:30PM
Fri, Feb 18, 2022 at 7:30PM
Sat, Feb 19, 2022 at 7:30PM

Next Thursday through Saturday, the San Francisco Symphony premieres “Give Me Jesus”,  for chamber orchestra, male chorus and mezzo soprano. The piece is a set of arrangements of two spirituals (My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord and Give Me Jesus) and a Hymn (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing). My dear friend, the radiant Melody Wilson, sings, and the conductor is Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser.

Michael Morgan

“Give Me Jesus” was commissioned by the Symphony for what was to be Michael Morgan‘s debut with the orchestra. He was one of my closest musical friends and supporters, providing many early opportunities for me as a composer, teacher and performer.
I finished the piece in mid-February 2020. Of course, COVID-19 had other plans for the premiere, and last year Michael left us, all too soon. As the piece was already dedicated to him (he selected the hymns), it is being presented at these concerts in memoriam. 

Tickets and additional information available here.

An American Dream, 2019

I’m delighted to announce that An American Dream, my opera with librettist Jessica Murphy Moo, will be performed at Anchorage Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Virginia Opera, all in the first quarter of 2019.

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Anchorage Opera
Sydney Laurence Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Friday, February 15, 2019 @ 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 16, 2019 @ 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 17, 2019 @ 4:00 PM

Yeonji Lee  Setsuko Kobayashi
Nina Yoshida Nelsen  Mama, Hiroko Kobayashi
Hidenori Inoue   Papa, Makoto Kobayashi
Andrew Paulson  Jim Crowley
Elizabeth Baldwin  Eva Crowley
Cara Consilvio  Stage Director

This production made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation.

Lyric Opera of Chicago
Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph Street, Chicago

Friday, March 15, 2019 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 17, 2019 @ 2:00 PM

Virginia Opera
April 4, 2019 – Harrison Opera House, Norfolk, VA
April 5, 2019 – Harrison Opera House, Norfolk, VA
April 6, 2019 – Carpenter Theatre, Rhythm Hall, Richmond, VA

Yeonji Lee – Setsuko
Kristen Choi – Mama, Hiroko
Hidenori Inoue – Papa, Makoto
Director – Richard Gammon

Shalimar the Clown World Premiere Recording

The world premiere recording of Shalimar the Clown has been released on Albany Records. The recording, made in 2016, features singers Sean Panikkar, Andriana Chuchman, Gregory Dahl, Katharine Goeldner, Thomas Hammons, Jenni Bank, Geoffrey Apgalo, Justin Austin, and Aubrey Allicock. Sitarist Arjun Verma and tabla Maestro Javad Butah compliment the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Jayce Ogren. It’s available at Albany Records, iTunes, Amazon , Spotify and all other major outlets.

Shalimar the Clown is based on the novel by Salman Rushdie, with a libretto by award winning New York playwright Rajiv Joseph. As with Mr. Rushdie’s book, the opera is part Hindu/Muslim Romeo and Juliet and part Himalayan Paradise Lost — a meditation on the personal as political, and an allegory of the danger of innocence. The Wall Street Journal called Shalimar the Clown “Haunting; topical, literary and theatrical..poignant and vivid.” The Chicago Tribune said the opera possessed “The dramatic resonance of modern Shakespearean tragedy”. The NY Times cited the opera’s “genuine out of the box composing”, and noted Ms. Chuchman’s “Intelligent, beguiling, bravura performance.”

The work was commissioned by Opera Theater of St. Louis with support from the Fred M. Saigh Endowment, the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, the Whitaker Foundation, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, The Berges Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Peter Henderson produced the recording for the PanGalactic company, Paul Hennerich engineered and Jack Perla served as Associate Producer.

“An American Dream” at Seattle Opera

In September, Seattle Opera will reprise its production of “An American Dream” by composer Jack Perla and librettist Jessica Murphy Moo, which depicts the incarceration of Japanese Americans in the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, providing “an essential second perspective for Butterfly audiences.”

“We want to present opera in a way that reflects our time and place, so naturally, representing the diverse people of our region is important to us,” Lang said in the opera’s season announcement. “Whether it’s Verdi or Mozart on our mainstage, or an opera with Muslim or LGBTQ characters presented in our community, opera speaks to the experience of being human which we share. This is why it’s crucial to reduce historic barriers that have made our art form, at times, inaccessible.”

The mainstage season unfurls with Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, opening Aug. 5. Lang acknowledges that this story is problematic, thanks in part to some productions “de-emphasis of Puccini’s anti-colonial sentiment and of his criticism of U.S. attitudes toward Japan. This well-regarded production, directed by Kate Cherry, is more faithful to the original intent,” Lang said.

Source: Seattle Opera’s 2017-18 season to include Butterfly, Berlioz and a bilingual show for kids | The Seattle Times

Composer’s residency at UCLA

Regents Lecture and Concert | UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Music in Cultural Contexts

“During the months of April and May, our Music Section friends will explore various musical genres, styles, venues, and cultural eras. “Being at UCLA, the only problem is to make choices between performances, artists, and amazing venues we have around us.”

“On Sunday April 23 at 4-6 PM, The UCLA Alpert School of Music presented “A Poet’s Cabaret,” at Schoenberg Hall. Jack Perla was the featured composer and pianist, with an amazing group of UCLA opera and voice students. In addition, Jeffrey Ho performed Perla’s (2010) beautiful sonatina, “Wait Here” in 4 movements (with some improv) accompanied by Mr. Perla. “Betty Box Office (2008) was performed by talented Julia Stuart, Thomas Hollow, and Christopher Hunter.”