Green Sneakers

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Green SneakersFriday, April 1, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 3:45 p.m.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. (part of Series I)

Friday, April 8, 2011 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 7 p.m. (part of Series II)

Green Sneakers is the deeply moving, and at times very funny, story of the last few months of Jeffrey Grossi’s (Ricky Ian Gordon’s first partner’s) life.

“Would you consider learning Buddhism?” he asked Ricky.  “I think I want to die as a Buddhist.”

Ricky did consider it, and in fact wrote him an opera:  The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 1996.  Green Sneakers illuminates their lives and feelings around the time of that premiere, and reminds us that living with AIDS was very different fifteen years ago than it is now.  It also reminds us that looking back on a loved-one’s life brings a smile as often as a tear.

Ian Greenlaw, baritone, and the Adelphi String Quartet

Directed by Kevin Newbury

Production Design by D.M. Wood; Costume Design by Paul Carey

About the Artists

Ian GreenlawAmerican baritone Ian Greenlaw‘s prodigious gifts have brought him to center stage at opera companies and orchestras from coast to coast.  The Chicago Sun-Times characterized Ian Greenlaw as “possessing a voice both strong and sweet, and matinee idol good looks . . .”, and The Washington Post noted that he has “elegant stage presence, a subtle sense of humor and a splendid voice”.

In the 2010 – 2011 season, Mr. Greenlaw will join the New York City Opera for their production of Intermezzo.  He also performs Ricky Ian Gordon’s one-man opera Green Sneakers on the premiere season of UrbanArias in Washington, D.C.  In concert he will sing Handel’s Messiah, and appears with Opera Columbus in “Berlin to Broadway”, a concert featuring the works of Kurt Weill.  During the 2008-2009 season Mr. Greenlaw returned to the New York Philharmonic for performances of Britten’s War Requiem and L’enfant et les sortilèges.  Additionally, he performed the Fauré Requiem with the Eugene Symphony, and the St. John Passion with the Dayton Philharmonic.  Mr. Greenlaw recently made his La Scala debut as the protagonist in Lorin Maazel’s opera 1984.  Additional recent engagements include a reprise of the title role in Don Giovanni, Mauricio Kagel’s Den 24. xii, 1931 with the St. Louis Symphony Chamber Music Series, an appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Britten’s War Requiem, Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette with Atlanta Opera, Grandfather Clock/Cat in L’enfant et les sortilèges with the New York Philharmonic, and as the soloist in Bartok’s Cantata Profana with the St. Louis Symphony.  He also recently sang the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Kentucky Opera, and Peter in Hansel and Gretel at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Greenlaw made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera as the Theater Manager in Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias, and returned as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Fléville in Andrea Chénier, Moralès in Carmen, and Cascada in The Merry Widow.  He has appeared as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Colorado, Dandini in La Cenerentola with Arizona Opera, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at Chicago Opera Theatre, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Central City Opera, and Falke in Die Fledermaus at Michigan Opera Theatre.  Mr. Greenlaw has also performed the title role in Don Giovanni with the Dallas Opera, as well as the title role in Eugene Onegin, Albert in Werther, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Iron Hans in Susa’s Transformations with Lyric Opera Cleveland.

A gifted concert artist and recitalist, Ian Greenlaw has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the National Symphony, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Mr, Greenlaw has participated in the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute for Young Artists and is currently on the roster of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, under whose auspices he made his Carnegie Hall debut.  He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2002 Richard Tucker Career Grant, and is an alumnus of the Pittsburgh Opera Center and the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The Adelphi String Quartet is the Graduate String Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Maryland School of Music. As such, the Adelphi String Quartet works closely with the university’s chamber music faculty, the Left Bank Quartet, and the Guarneri String Quartet. The quartet gave their debut performance at the University of Maryland in October 2009 with a dynamic program including works by Beethoven, Mozart, and Kurtag, as well as regular performances at the Washington Arts Club’s Noon Recital Series. The Adelphi String Quartet joined the Axelrod Quartet at the Smithsonian for a performance of the Mendelssohn Octet, playing on the museum’s collection of Stradivarius instruments. The quartet also completed the world premiere recording of Walter Gieseking’s Serenade for String Quartet, which will be released on the Naxos label.  In a cross-disciplinary collaboration, the quartet joined painter Richard Klank and ballet dancer Sebastian Rousseau for a performance of Ligeti’s Metamorphoses Nocturnes. The Adelphi String Quartet was recently chosen to compete in the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Music Competition this past May. Recent performances include a participation in a masterclass given by Christoph Eschenbach, conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as October’s Schumann Festival at the University of Maryland and a recital at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA.

Jonathan Richards received his Bachelor degree in violin performance from Northern Illinois University where he studied with Mathias Tacke and Shmuel Ashkenazi of the Vermeer Quartet. He has won various competitions including the CSA Symphonia Concerto Competition, the Elgin Symphony Young Artist Competition, the Northern Illinois University Philharmonic Concerto Competition, and the Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship Competition. He has also appeared as soloist with the Kishwaukee Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Vincent’s of Chicago, the Judson College Symphony and the NIU Philharmonic. Mr. Richards completed the Masters program for violin performance at the University of Maryland’s School of Music where he studied with James Stern and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree studying with David Salness.

Francis Liu has performed at the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center and the Haydn 2009 Festival at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He is also a member of the Inscape Chamber Orchestra and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Liu has participated in chamber music studies with the Guarneri, Cleveland, Audubon, Orion, and Kronos Quartets, and has received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. In addition to his work with the quartet, Mr. Liu is an avid baroque violinist and recently attended the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin College. Mr. Liu is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin performance and studies with David Salness.

Nicholas Hodges completed his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music in Violin Performance and Music Education.  He received a Master of Music in Violin Performance and Orchestral Conducting at Penn State University where he was a University Graduate Fellow. Currently Nicholas is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Maryland under the tutelage of David Salness and joined the Adelphi Quartet as a violist in August of 2010. Nicholas served as Adjunct Instructor of Violin at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and the Creative Director of the State College Suzuki Program. For the 2009-2010 season, Nicholas performed as Concertmaster of the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra. He was Assistant Conductor of the Penn State Philharmonic and Music Director of the Penn State Sinfonietta and has served as concertmaster of the National Orchestral Institute and the Austrian-American Mozart Academy Orchestra in Salzburg, Austria.

Elizabeth Meszaros is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland.  Studying with Elizabeth Simkin, Dennis Parker, and Evelyn Elsing, Ms. Meszaros has earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Cello Performance from Ithaca College and Louisiana State University respectively. Ms. Meszaros was a winner of the LSU Concerto Competition, and has performed at Lincoln Center. An avid chamber musician, is a member of Annapolis Chamber Players and has performed with the Baton Rouge Symphony, Acadiana Symphony, Louisiana Sinfonietta, Great Noise Ensemble, and Fairfax Symphony. This summer, Ms. Meszaros attended the chamber music academy at Le Domaine Forget.  During the Fall of 2010, she served as adjunct professor of cello at the University of Maryland.

About the Composer

Ricky Ian GordonRicky Ian Gordon was born on May 15, 1956 in Oceanside, NY and raised on Long Island. After studying composition at Carnegie Mellon University, he settled in New York City, where he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Mr. Gordon’s songs have been performed and/or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica Von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley, among many others. Recent productions of his work include:

2010: Sycamore Trees, directed by Tina Landau, book by Ricky Ian Gordon and Nina Mankin, at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.
2010: The Grapes of Wrath – A Two Act Concert Version of the Opera with a libretto by Michael Korie, at Carnegie Hall. Narrated by Jane Fonda, with a cast that included Victoria Clark, Nathan Gunn, Christine Ebersole and Elizabeth Futral, with The Collegiate Chorale and The American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ted Sperling.
2008: Green Sneakers, a theatrical song cycle for Baritone, String Quartet, and Empty Chair, with a libretto by the composer, at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival in Vail, CO, with baritone Jesse Blumberg and the Miami String Quartet.
2007 & 2008: The Grapes of Wrath, a full-scale opera with libretto by Michael Korie, premiered at the Minnesota Opera in a production that then traveled to Utah Opera and Pittsburgh Opera. Musical America called the work, “The great American opera”. The full opera, live from the Minnesota premiere, is now available on a 3 CD set with libretto liner notes on PS Classics.
2005: Orpheus and Euridice, an hour-long song cycle in two acts, premiered at Lincoln Center. Directed and choreographed by Doug Varone and performed by Elizabeth Futral, Soprano, Todd Palmer, Clarinet and Melvin Chen, Piano, it won an OBIE Award and is recorded on Ghostlight Records.
2003: My Life with Albertine, written with Richard Nelson and based on Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, premiered at New York’s Playwrights Horizons
2001: Bright Eyed Joy: The Music of Ricky Ian Gordon, was presented at Lincoln Center as part of the American Songbook Series.
Other works include, Dream True, written with Tina Landau and premiered in 1999 at The Vineyard Theater, States Of Independence, also with Ms. Landau, for The Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, and Only Heaven, based on the works of Langston Hughes and premiered in 1995 at Encompass Opera. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, written with Jean Claude Van Itallie, premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 1996 and Morning Star, written with William Hoffman was premiered at The Lyric Opera of Chicago, where Mr. Gordon was a composer in residence. He is currently working on commissions for New York’s Metropolitan Opera (Adele Hugo) with librettist Michael Korie, a co-commission for a new work about the Civil War with librettist Mark Campbell, for Virginia Opera and The Virginia Arts Festival, and a new opera for the 50th anniversary of the Minnesota Opera (Garden of the Finzi Continis) with librettist Michael Korie. Mr. Gordon has taught both Master Classes and Composition Classes at Yale, NYU, Northwestern, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Catholic, Bennington, Vassar, Carnegie-Mellon, Elon, Michigan State, U of Michigan, and San Francisco Conservatory. He has been the featured Composer-in Residence at The Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Songfest at Pepperdine University, Chatauqua, Aspen Music Festival, and Ravinia. Among his honors are the 2003 Alumni Merit Award for exceptional achievement and leadership from Carnegie-Mellon University, the Shen Family Foundation award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, The Constance Klinsky Award, and many awards from ASCAP, of which he is a member, The National Endowment of the Arts, and The American Music Center.

About the Production Team

Kevin Newbury is a theater and opera director based in New York City. Recent opera credits include Maria Stuarda (Minnesota Opera), El Nino (San Francisco Symphony, with John Adams conducting), Roberto Devereux (Minnesota Opera and L’Opera de Montreal), the world premiere of Life is a Dream (Santa Fe Opera), Eugene Onegin (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), La Cenerentola (Glimmerglass Opera), La bohème (Wolf Trap Opera), Bernstein’s Mass (Carnegie Hall, Baltimore Symphony, Kennedy Center), Falstaff (Santa Fe Opera), Il barbiere di SivigliaLe nozze di Figaro and Il trovatore (Minnesota Opera), Die Zauberflöte (Opera Colorado, Houston Grand Opera) and Nixon in China (revival director: Chicago Opera Theatre, Portland Opera, Cincinnati Opera). Recent New York theatre credits include the world premieres of Candy and Dorothy (GLAAD Media Award Winner, Drama Desk Nominee), The Second Tosca, The Black Monk and Kiss and Cry (GLAAD Nominee).

Upcoming projects include: Anna Bolena and Werther (Minnesota Opera), Die Liebe der Danae (Bard Summerscape), Galileo Galilei (Portland Opera), the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Mark Campbell’s Rappahannock County (Virginia Opera and Virginia Arts Festival), and the world premiere of a new musical by Jeremy Schoenfeld and Nicole Parker. Kevin is also in pre-production for a film adaptation of David Johnston’s Mothra is Waiting.

D.M. WoodLighting and Production Designer D.M. Wood’s recent design credits include:  Anna Nicole (world premiere co-design: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Il Trovatore (Minnesota Opera), Roberto Devereux (Opéra de Montréal), A History of the American Film (Krannert Center), Annie Get Your Gun (Co-design: Young Vic, London), La Cenerentola (Glimmerglass Opera), Die Zauberflöte (Houston Grand Opera), The Sound of a Voice/Hotel of Dreams (Long Beach Opera), Die Zauberflöte (Opera Colorado), Les Misérables (Copenhagen, Denmark), Tosca (Canadian Opera Company), La Cleopatra/Oedipus Rex (Opern-Haus Graz, Austria), Tristan und Isolde (Savolinna Opera, Finland), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lyric Opera of Kansas City). Ms. Wood’s work in theater includes designs for American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.), Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF), Primary Stages (NYC), NYSF – The Public Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company – Minneapolis, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Centerstage, Trinity Repertory Company and Philadelphia Theatre Company.

Upcoming designs include: Moskva, Cheremushki (Lon Beach Opera), The Insurgents and Ages of the Moon (Contemporary American Theater Festival), Die Liebe der Danae (Bard Summerscape), Il Trittico(Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Hansel and Gretel (Virginia Opera), Werther and Anna Bolena (Minnesota Opera).