Theater and Opera

Counter-Anthem (Work in Progress)

Counter-Anthem is the first installment of the original musical theater/opera trilogy Handbook for the Revolution.

The project highlights the cyclical nature of history by focusing on three historical events:

  1. The Battle of Fort McHenry: The battle which inspired the writing of the American national anthem
  2. The Battle of Marathon: The battle which marks the beginning of modern warfare
  3. Occupy Oakland: The most recent American resistance movement

Equally important to the subject matter is the method of construction and performance of the piece. The work will employ the Interchange Orchestration Technique, a way of composing in which all parts: vocal, instrumental, and narrative are interchangeable. Within the three main sections, there are six subsections. The narrative arc of each section leads to a conflict in the penultimate section, followed by a declaration of the anthem, which is in essence counter to the purported disposition leading to the conflict.

The work will be presented in the following format:

PART I: Baltimore, 1814

  1. The Times
  2. The State Speaks for the State
  3. The People Speak for the People
  4. The Battle (Phalanx)
  5. Counter-Anthem

Part II: Athens, 490 BC

  1. The Times
  2. The State Speaks for the State
  3. The People Speak for the People
  4. The Battle (Phalanx)
  5. Counter-Anthem

Part III, Occupy Oakland, 2012

  1. The Times
  2. The State Speaks for the State
  3. The People Speak for the People
  4. The Battle (Phalanx)
  5. Counter-Anthem

Hear a sample of the final section of each part here:


 Re:

  1. On The Way Home
  2. At Home
  3. On The Way To Work
  4. At Work
  5. On the Way Home

Synopsis

Married couple, Emily and John have both been independently and anonymously communicating with Lisa through a series of emails. Emily, however, believes Lisa to be a man named Michael. In the same turn, John believes Lisa to be a woman named Rene. Emily is suspicious that John is having an affair, and confides this to “Michael.” Meanwhile, John complains to “Rene” about his disdain for his job, and in particular his boss. Unbeknownst to either John or Lisa, she is actually his boss. After an unseen argument, Lisa looks to her mysterious friends for comfort and encouragement. John relays his “triumph” over his boss, and Lisa counters with her remorse over her decision to terminate her employee the following day. At the same time, Emily conveys her decision to leave her husband. The characters speak directly to each other only in the final scene immediately preceding a harsh emergency stop on the train. They continue to speak in metaphors, but now use those related to them by the other characters in a futile attempt to connect at a deeper level.

Click Here for Libretti from Selected Samples

Re: was commissioned by the Juventas new music ensemble.


The American Dream

  1. Preface
  2. Farm Life Ain’t So Bad
  3. Eden Disbursed
  4. The Proposition
  5. The Glory of the Poppy
  6. Exposition
  7. Revolution Solution
  8. Conclusion

The American Dream is comprised of a series of eleven sections, both instrumental and SATB chorus, with a narration linking all of the sections.

Synopsis

The American Dream is comprised of a series of eleven sections, both instrumental and SATB chorus, with a narration linking all of the sections.

Growing economic burdens have strained the financial health of the seaboard cities. Compounding these issues are mounting difficulties in bringing large quantities of food into these regions from the meager yield of the degraded heartland soil. The protagonists of the story, THE HUSBAND and WIFE decide to abandon the troubles of the urban world and make a pilgrimage to the countryside in order to become subsistence farmers.

The couple has been living an uncomplicated life when the troubles of their former existence seep into the new. The government imposes restrictions on the amount of land a household may possess, based on per capita figures. THE HUSBAND and WIFE have a percentage of their land seized and concurrently discover that THE WIFE is pregnant.

Again facing economic calamity, the couple is approached by a group of FARMERS with a business proposition. They would like to rent some land for poppy production in order to eventually manufacture heroin to put on the black market. After some moral deliberation, the family agrees. Shortly thereafter, the GOVERNMENT approaches the family with a similar proposal. Influenced by greed and desperation, they agree to work with the government, and renege on their contract with the farmers.

The FARMERS soon realize that their plan has backfired, as many in their own camps have become drug addicted. The GOVERNMENT is discovered and exposed as conspirators in a moderate socioeconomic cleansing campaign. All seek resolution.

Click Here for Libretti from Selected Samples