Dog Days/Jackie O

By Roland-Silverstein, Kathleen | Journal of Singing, March/April 2018 | Go to article overview

Dog Days/Jackie O


Roland-Silverstein, Kathleen, Journal of Singing


Little, David T. (b. 1978). Dog Days, an opera in three acts, librettist, Royce Vavrek. Michael Daugherty (b. 1954). Jackie O, an opera in two acts, librettist, Wayne Koestenbaum. Hendon Music, Boosey & Hawkes, 2017.

Despite a sometimes disheartening lack of support for the arts in the United States, American opera contains to be a vibrant and flourishing genre. Two exciting new piano-vocal scores from Boosey and Hawkes have been recently released, and performance materials may be rented from the Boosey & Hawkes Rental Library. Universities and conservatories seeking unique programming opportunities for their students would do well to investigate these fascinating operas, both of which utilize small forces, well suited for academic environments.

Dog Days is a dystopian musical vision, a musical postmodern pastiche which enjoyed exceptionally enthusiastic reviews from such sources as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for its premiere with the Beth Morrison Projects. The desperate and starving family in the two act chamber opera are performed by a baritone, two tenors, two sopranos, an actor/ dancer, and a mezzo soprano. The instrumental ensemble required is a chamber group of clarinet(s), percussion, piano/synthesizer, electric and acoustic guitar, and string quartet, all of which call for sound design and amplification.

Daugherty's Jackie O, an operatic treatment of the iconic figure Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was jointly commissioned by Houston Grand Opera and the Banff Centre for the Arts, as part of HGO's New World Program. The opera received its premiere in 1997, at the Cullen Theater in Houston, Texas, and was also performed at the Banff Center in Canada. …

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