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November 2, 2017

The Cell Theatre




New music, particularly vocal pieces, represents the legacy of the cultural heritage of the magnificent and long-enduring genre of opera. Our “Showcase of New Songs and Arias” is an evening presentation of 3-4 new vocal works—either stand-alone songs, or arias from a larger works—keeping the operatic genre alive and fresh. The pieces are selected from a Call for Scores, yielding typically over 150 submissions, by a panel of Board members and advisors. The criteria for selecting pieces includes: overall quality—is the piece finished, does the orchestration make sense, is it sing-able; innovation—what does the piece to uniquely, how has the composer’s idiom pushed through the lyrics; programmability—how well does it fit into the overall program of the “Showcase”, ; ensuring that our “Showcase” is of the highest caliber. Musicians are selected from our Core Company Residents, who are vocalists and instrumentalists that are enthusiastic about new music and meet our high standards of excellence and professionalism in performance.


Featuring Paola Prestini's Body Maps


Marcus Maroney             Greg A. Steinke       

Monica Pearce                 Ingrid Stölzel

Paola Prestini




Walter Aparicio, piano                                             Maureen Kelly, cello

Lee Braun, oboe                                                       Sammy Lesnick, clarinet/bass clarinet

Shane Brown, baritone                                           Victoria Lewis, violin

Denise Crawfort, soprano                                       Lish Lindsey, flute  

Christine Duncan, mezzo soprano                         Barbara Porto, soprano

Maggie Finnegan, soprano                                     Sugar Vendil, piano

Jane Hoffman, soprano                                          Jennifer Kuh, oboe

Sean Patrick Jernigan, baritone






















Leda Songs (2016, U.S. Premiere)

Monica Pearce

 I.   Rainer Maria Rilke (Christine Duncan)

 II.  H.D. (Denise Crawfort)

 III. D.H. Lawrence (Barbara Porto)


Leda Songs is based on the tale of Leda and the Swan, a tale from Greek mythology whereby Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces (or, depending on the interpretation, rapes) and impregnates Leda. The interpretation of this myth in art is multifaceted, with some works quite aggressive, many sensual and erotic, and some romantic. These three poems ornament the idea of metamorphosis, and the intertwining of two lovers.


Denise Crawfort, soprano                        Sammy Lesnick, clarinet/bass clarinet

Christine Duncan, mezzo soprano          Victoria Lewis, violin

Barbara Porto, soprano                            

Victoria Benson, coach                           


Epitaphs (World Premiere)

Marcus Maroney


Shane Brown, baritone

Sugar Vendil, piano



The Gorgeous Nothings  (2017)

Ingrid Stölzel


 I.   Clogged Only With Music

 II.  In This Short Life

 III. Paradise Is No Journey

 IV. The Little Sentences

 V.  It Is Very Still


The Gorgeous Nothings takes its title and inspiration from the facsimile publication of Emily Dickinson’s complete envelope writings edited by Marta L. Werner and Jen Bervin. These beautiful fragments range from completed, self-contained short poems to mere thoughts hastily expressed on scraps of paper.


Jane Hoffman, soprano

Lee Braun, oboe

Lish Lindsey, flute

Sugar Vendil, piano



Random Blackouts I (2016)

Dr. Greg A. Steinke


 Frontispiece: Trees

 Prologue (Origins are Easy)

 I.   Dirty Word                                      IV.   Leaves on Fire

 II.  Extinction is Bliss                           V.   The Buzz of Insects                                        

 III. Fireflies                                           VI.   Gasoline


Sean Patrick Jernigan, baritone

Walter Aparicio, piano

Sugar Vendil, piano



Body Maps (2007)

Paola Prestini


This personal portrait explores the plurality of certain human experiences, highlighting our strengths and vulnerabilities, particularly those of our own bodies. The piece explores the range of both the cello and the human voice (itself a body part), structurally balanced by both a choir of voices and a choir of cellos. Though essentially a duo, the layering and counterpoint represent the complexity and scope of the theme.


Maggie Finnegan, soprano

Maureen Kelly, cello















Image credits: Jillian Flexner

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