Decameron Opera Coalition




When: UrbanArias’ chapter THE ROOST premieres on OCTOBER 16, and will be available to view for six months.

All other tales will premiere between October 9th and 30th, see full schedule below.

Where: Information about tickets click here

Tickets are $15, and available now! Click here to purchase tickets.

UrbanArias is proud to partner with eight other American opera companies to create a newly-commissioned operatic video titled Tales From a Safe Distance inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron. Each company is contributing one chapter of the whole, just as the people quarantined in Boccaccio’s novellas each tell one story. Each opera will be about ten minutes long, and the whole work will be revealed online in a series of episodes, beginning October 9, 2020. The lead creatives of this project are UrbanArias favorites Peter Hilliard and Matt Boresi (Blue Viola, The Last American Hammer), who will write the material that frames the individual tales.

UrbanArias has commissioned director/librettist John de los Santos (Service Provider) and composer Marc Migó to write THE ROOST, a sexy comedy about expecting parents in lock-down. Please click here to go to the Decameron Opera Coalition’s Website for more information about the collaboration, schedule and tickets.

*Click on the schedule above to go to website for registering and purchasing tickets.

Image: Ashley Soliman, Instagram: @terribleboogie

THE ROOST, Synopsis
Expecting your first baby should be a joyous time. Expecting your first baby while quarantined during a long hot summer with a non-working air-conditioner is another story altogether. With hormones at their peak, and one over bearing Mother, Kat and her boyfriend, Ricky, face these challenges in this new operatic comedy inspired by one The Decameron’s sexiest tales.

The Inspiration
Boccaccio’s The Decameron, a masterwork of classical Italian literature, is the tale of 10 people who are quarantined together outside of Florence during the Black Plague in the 14th Century.  Each person rules for a day, setting a theme for the stories to be told by everyone in the group.  The resulting collection of 100 stories includes witty discussions of human vices, the triumph of fortune over man, the power of human will, tragic love, trickery, deceit, bawdiness, and even happy endings. The plague in Boccaccio’s Decameron devastated the societal norms of 14th century Florence. The COVID pandemic of 2020 has laid bare modern-day economic inequalities, outmoded social constructs, and remarkable greed, cruelty, and folly all over the world. The Decameron’s stories punctured many a human foible and hypocrisy, and so we seek to poke at the disparities between being and seeming in our modern era.

The Libretto
Please click here to read the libretto.

The Authors

Director/Librettist: John de los Santos
Director/choreographer and librettist John de los Santos’ productions include the world premiere of Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun at Santa Fe Opera, Le Comte Ory, and Otello for Loft Opera, the world premiere of When Adonis Calls (from his libretto) for Asheville Lyric Opera, La Cage Aux Folles for Skylight Music Theatre, La Fille du Regiment for Arizona Opera, Carousel for Ashlawn Opera, and Green Sneakers for Opera Birmingham. His acclaimed production of Maria de Buenos Aires has been seen at the Lexington Philharmonic, San Diego, Fort Worth Opera, and Arizona companies. John currently serves as Librettist-in Residence for Opera Lab at The Juilliard School. He was commissioned by Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative to create a new work with composer Christopher Weiss. The resulting piece, Service Provider, premiered at The Kennedy Center in 2015, and has since been performed at Urban Arias, Opera Memphis, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera, and was featured on TED Talks. His partnership with composer Clint Borzoni, began with When Adonis Calls, and continues with The Copper Queen, which won the top prize Arizona Opera’s commission program, Arizona SPARK. His new libretto, The Christmas Spider, will be presented in December of 2020 by The American Opera Project in NYC.

Composer: Marc Migó
After receiving a Deutsche Grammophon CD collection from his grandfather for his 16th birthday, Marc Migó (1993, Barcelona) became unexpectedly and passionately drawn to its contents. This discovery led him to seek out guidance from pianist Liliana Sainz and composer Xavier Boliart. Three years later, he enrolled at ESMUC (Superior Music School of Catalonia). In 2017, thanks to a scholarship issued by Fundación SGAE, Marc moved to New York in order to continue his musical studies. He pursued his Masters at The Juilliard School, where he was awarded the 2018 Orchestral Composition Prize. In 2019 he received The Pablo Casals Festival Award for his Cello Sonata Cerdanyenca, a Morton Gould young composers award by ASCAP and the New Juilliard annual commissioning competition award. He also has been a blueprint fellow at the National Sawdust and a MCI fellow at the 2020 Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute. Marc Migó is currently a C.V. Star fellow at Juilliard, were he is earning a DMA in composition under the mentorship of John Corigliano. He has received commissions from leading institutions, ensembles and performers, such as UrbanArias, the Dutch National Opera, the New Juilliard Ensemble, Barcelona Symphonic Band, Festival Pablo Casals in Prades, l’Associació Joan Manén, Fundación Pro Arte Córdoba, duo Isas- Kwiek and cellist Mark Prihodko.

Our small ensemble of singers are:

Mezzo-soprano: Emily Pulley
Acclaimed soprano Emily Pulley’s radiant voice and electrifying acting have won her both national and international acclaim on the operatic stages. Not settling for complacency in her already established career, Pulley continues to add some of opera’s greatest roles to her repertoire, with a recent début as the title role of Bizet’s
Carmen with Central City Opera, Mrs. De Rocher in Minnesota Opera’s production of Dead Man Walking, as well as Becky in Morning Star with On Site Opera. Last season, she joined both Los Angeles Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago for their production of The Light in the Piazza, covering Renee Fleming in the leading role. Next, Ms. Pulley will perform Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with Opera Omaha.  Other recent engagements include her performance as Madeline in Three Decembers with Nashville Opera, Desiree in A Little Night Music with Madison Opera, Martha in Faust with Opera Omaha, Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd with Mill City Summer Opera and Madison Opera, Amneris in Aïda and Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites as a part of Eugene Opera’s New Year’s Eve Opera Trio concert and Mrs. P in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat with UrbanArias.

Soprano: Sharin Apostolou
Greek-American soprano Sharin Apostolou represents the new generation of classical singing artist, bringing international acclaim to her specialties of Baroque and early music, contemporary opera, and the repertoire of the American Musical Theatre. The Oregonian has described her singing as “dazzingly exuberant with a lovely, high, clear coloratura.” Engagements for the 2019-2020 season include a return to Syracuse Opera as Despina in Così fan tutte and a repeat of the same role with Opera Memphis, as well as concerts with Alpine Theatre Project. Next season includes a return to Opera Southwest.
Recent seasons for Ms. Apostolou include debuts with the Center for Contemporary Opera in the US premiere of Louis Andriessen’s Odysseus’ Women/Anais Nin, New York City Opera for Resphigi’s La campana sommersa, Opera Southwest as Jemmy in Guillaume Tell, and UrbanArias in the title role of Randall Eng’s Florida. Additionally, she has sung Jenny in Threepenny Opera with Syracuse Opera, Nell Gwynn for the NY premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players with The Little Opera Theatre of New York, and Guinevere in Camelot, The Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods, and Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, all with Charlottesville Opera.

Tenor: Ryan MacPherson
International artist Ryan MacPherson has performed with the New York City Opera, The Opéra National de Paris – Bastille, Teatro Real – Madrid, Opera Nice – Côte d’Azur, Wiener Konzerthaus, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, England’s Buxton Festival, as well as with multiple regional companies throughout North America. His discography includes works by Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, Charles Ives, and Charles Wuorinen. He records Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre in the fall of 2017 for the Naxos record label. After a distinguished 20-year operatic career, MacPherson pivoted into arts administration, specifically nonprofit development, donor fulfillment, and community experiences. Ryan is currently the Director of Development at The Charlottesville Symphony Society supporting The Charlottesville Symphony at UVA. In addition to his stage experience, he brings with him a wealth of artistic knowledge through his work as an actor, voice teacher, artistic consultant, and entrepreneur. MacPherson holds a Bachelor of Educational Studies in Music from the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as a Master of Music in Opera and Artist Diploma, from Yale University.

Music will be conducted by UrbanArias’ Executive and Artistic Director Robert Wood, who is UrbanArias’ founder. Under his leadership the company has achieved national recognition and has given over 120 performances, including six commissions and ten world premieres. Notable productions have included After Life/Josephine , and Glory Denied (Cipullo), The Last American Hammer and Blue Viola (Hilliard), Paul’s Case (Spears), Why Is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me?: A Love Story (Smith) , Independence Eve (Boquiren), As One (Kaminsky), and Three Decembers (Heggie). Maestro Wood made his debut at the San Francisco Opera with Verdi’s La traviata (starring Rolando Villazon), and has also conducted L’italiana in Algeri and several concerts there. He recently conducted Rigoletto at Austin Opera , Silent Night at the University of British Columbia , As One at Hawaii Opera Theatre and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Three Decembers at Kentucky Opera, Die Fledermaus at Hawaii Opera Theater, and Roméo et Juliette and Carmen at Opera Colorado. Mr. Wood was Conductor in Residence at the Minnesota Opera from 2006-2008, leading productions of L’italiana in Algeri , Le nozze di Figaro , La donna del lago , Rusalka , and Il barbiere di Siviglia . Mr. Wood has also conducted L’italiana in Algeri at Vancouver Opera, Le Comte Ory and Die Zauberflöte at Wolf Trap Opera, and The Nutcracker for San Francisco Ballet.

with members from the Inscape Chamber Orchestra.

Clarinet: Evan Solomon
A native of Philadelphia, Clarinetist, Evan Ross Solomon is widely-known for his versatility, depth of tone, and technical brilliance on both clarinet and bass clarinet. Recognized for his compelling performances of works of Brahms, Mozart, and Messiaen, Mr. Solomon is equally at home in many works of contemporary music. As principal clarinet of Inscape Chamber Orchestra, Mr. Solomon’s performances have been praised by publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Gramophon Magazine. Mr. Solomon appears prominently on all four of Inscape Chamber Orchestra’s recordings including the 2014 Grammy nominated Sprung Rhythm, and the 2016 recording of Petrushka, for 17 solo players. As a conductor and arts leader, Mr. Solomon is the Artistic Director of the DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP). Since assuming this role in 2014, Mr. Solomon has conducted DCYOP ensembles on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, at the National Basilica, and with the Washington Ballet in performances of Peter and the Wolf. Mr. Solomon has participated in three international tours with the DC Youth Orchestra including their residency at the MusicaRiva Festival in Riva del Garda, Italy in the Summer of 2018. Mr Solomon holds Degrees from Peabody Conservatory of Music and University of Maryland.

Piano: R. Timothy McReynolds
Enjoying a career that embraces art song, opera, chamber music, and cabaret, pianist R. Timothy McReynolds is also active as a teacher and vocal coach. He is currently on the Piano faculty of Towson University. For the past fifteen years he was a member of the Voice/Opera faculty of the University of Maryland. Dr. McReynolds received his B.M. from Indiana University, M.M. from the University of Michigan, and completed his D.M.A. at the University of Maryland. He has performed all over the world, including Mexico, Italy, Germany, and Austria, as well as across the United States. He has worked with artists such as, Michael Mayes, Isabel Leonard, Emily Pulley, William Warfield, and Corinne Winters. The Washington Post hails him as the, “perceptive accompanist”, while the website Classical Journal proclaims him as the “brilliant accompanist” in a recital with mezzo-soprano, Delores Ziegler. Recent concert venues include the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, a tour of Maryland with the Annapolis Symphony, the Egyptian Embassy Concert Series in Vienna, Austria, and both the Stern Auditorium and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. His discography includes several recordings on the Sono Luminus label with the Grammy-nominated Inscape Chamber Orchestra of D.C., as well as many others from voice recitals to chamber music to cabaret.