|What does Rent, Beavis and Butthead, Nickelodeon, Children's Television Workshop and the 'magic of Christmas cheer' add up to? FLURRY TALE - an irreverent, totally slapstick, deeply moving, new holiday opera about the real meaning of the season.|
|Story and Libretto||Billy Aronson|
|Origin and Direction||Grethe Barrett Holby|
|Music Director||Steven Osgood|
|Commissioner||Family Opera Initiative / American Opera Projects|
|Major Support||Jaffe Family Foundation and the Round Table Fellowship|
|Flurry Tale Project Description|
Emma's distracted Dad proclaims his disbelief in Santa Claus and talking
snowmen, a cast of familiar holiday figures sets out to prove that they
really do exist - resulting in a zany, comical adventure. After much squabbling
amongst themselves, the mismatched group ultimately plots Dad's downfall
until Emma reminds them all of the compassionate nature of the season.
Development: Family Opera Initiative, American Opera Projects, Workshops: AOP, New York area schools, and the New York Public Library - "First Night" at the Celeste Bartos Forum, Orchestra premiere: December 1999 Clark Studio Theater, Rose Building, NYC
||Creators Rusty Magee and Billy Aronson||Daughter Emma|
|Artistic Director's Statement|
|With two young children and only "Amahl and the Night Visitors" for holiday opera fare, I decided it was time to make a new holiday opera. So in 1994 I called Billy Aronson about writing a libretto. I had only read a little of his work, but I was immediately attracted to his totally American sense of humor - a refreshing mixture of irreverence and depth. It turned out he was the right man for the job. His libretto is outrageous, a modern day Mid-Winter Night's Dream. In seeking a collaborator, Billy recommended the beloved theater composer, lyricist and comedian, Rusty Magee. And the two made magic together, an enchanted snow flurry of a tale. Christmas and the Winter Holidays might be turned upside down in this charming and wonderful opera, but the meaning of the season is dead on target.|
Grethe Barrett Holby
Magee (composer) 1955-2003 was an accomplished composer and lyricist
for theatere, television, and film and commercials. He won the New York
Outer Critics' Circle James Fleetwood Award for promising composer for his
music and lyrics for Moliere's Scapin; this adaptation has been produced
at CSC Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and American Conservatory
Theatre in San Francisco. His full length musical entitled The Green
Heart with playwright Charles Busch, was presented at the Variety Arts
Theatre in New York, produced by The Manhattan Theatre Club, and is published
by Samuel French. His children's Holiday opera, Flurry Tale, with
libretto by Billy Aronson, was commissioned and developed by American Opera
Projects' Family Opera Initiative; the orchestra premiere was presented
at The Clarke Studio Theater in NYC by American Opera Projects.
Mr. Magee wrote music and lyrics for American Repertory Theatre's acclaimed production of Ubu Rock, a new translation and adaptation of Jarry's Ubu Roi. He also wrote the music and lyrics for American Repertory Theater's production of Goldoni's Servant Of Two Masters and Moliere's Imaginary Invalid. Scapin, Servant, Invalid and Ubu Rock were all collaborations with director/adaptor Andrei Belgrader and translator/adaptor Shelley Berc. With Lewis Black, Rusty co-wrote the musical The Czar Of Rock and Roll; it premiered at Houston's Alley Theater in 1990. Rusty also arranged and performed the music for the Tony Award-winning production of The House Of Blue Leaves at Lincoln Center and on Broadway.
As an actor, Rusty appeared in the film Hannah and Her Sisters and appeared on stage in The Irish...And How They Got That Way at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York City and on Public Television.
He wrote the theme music for the CBS-Television pilot "Family Brood". His song "Road To Victory" (co-written with Bob Golden) was featured in the documentary film "New School Order", which competed at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. He has written music featured on Comedy Central, Showtime, and The Movie Channel, and songs for "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss" on Nickelodeon Television and "Out Of The Box" on the Disney Channel. Rusty co-produced and wrote music for a number of one-act plays as Musical Director and co-founder of the West Bank Downstairs Theatre in New York City.
Rusty was a member of ASCAP, The Dramatists Guild and the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Rusty received his bachelor's degree in music at Brown University; He was awarded an honorary M. F. A. from the Yale School of Drama where he worked for three years as Musical Consultant for the Yale Repertory Theater and the Drama School.
|Billy Aronson (Librettist) has written plays produced by Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theatre, published in Best American Short Plays 1992-1993, Best American Short Plays 1999-2000, and Plays from the Woolly Mammoth, and awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts grant. His writing for the musical theater includes the original concept and additional lyrics for the Broadway hit musical Rent, the story and libretto for Family Opera Initiative's Flurry Tale, composed by Rusty Magee, origin and direction by Grethe Barrett Holby (orchestra premiere Lincoln Center's Clark Studio Theater 1999), story and libretto for FOI's Fireworks, and the book for Sleeping Beauty, a new musical he is writing with singer/songwriter Patty Larkin. His TV writing includes scripts for MTV (Beavis & Butt-head), the Cartoon Network (Courage and the Cowardly Dog and Codename: Kids Next Door), Children's Television Workshop (Sesame English and the Sesame Street home video Bert and Ernie's Word Play), the Disney Channel (Out of the Box), PBS (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego, Reading Rainbow, and the new Arthur spin-off Postcards from Buster), Nickelodeon (Don't Just Sit There), A&E International (Biography), The History Channel (Year by Year for Kids), and Comedy Central (Short Attention Span Theater). Aronson is a graduate of the Yale Drama School and Princeton University, and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Dramatists Guild.|
||GRETHE BARRETT HOLBY (Direction) "Strong, fresh and unabashed,"* Holby has directed world premieres of new operas by by many leading composers of our day, including Eve Beglarian, Kitty Brazelton, Richard Peaslee, Vincent Persichetti, Lisa Bielawa, Connie Beckley, Joan La Barbara, Phil Kline, Vivian Fine, and Eric Salzman; choreographed premieres by composers Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Lou Reed, and directed and choreographed for companies across the country, including Lincoln Center Festival, Kennedy Center, The York Theater, Symphony Space (NYC), and the opera companies of Washington, Los Angeles, Anchorage, Wolftrap, La Scala, Philadelphia, Lake George, North Carolina, Memphis, Indianapolis, Toledo, and Houston.|
primary mission lies in originating, collaborating on, and directing new
American opera, which began with her originating role in Robert Wilson and
Philip Glass's groundbreaking Einstein on the Beach. She is the founder
of American Opera Projects, running that company as Executive Artistic
Director from 1988-2001. Founding Family Opera Initiative in 1994,
Holby is currently collaborating with composer Kitty Brazelton and the late
George Plimpton on FOI's fourth opera entitled Animal Tales. She
is collaborating with composer Eve Beglarian on The Man in the Black
Suit (based on the story by Stephen King) for which Holby is also co-librettist
(Rockefeller Bellagio Fellow 2006); and directing premieres by Eric Salzman
and John Cage.
Educated as an architect at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS, M.Arch), and opera direction at Houston Opera Studio, combined with her unique background in dance and choreography, Holby brings "her ferociously independent spirit to bear on her multifaceted work." *(The New York Times)
|Steven Osgood (conductor) His experience as conductor, musical director, and pianist has extended from experimental theater to opera, recitals, choral music, and dance. Most recently, he conducted the world premiere of Tan Dun's opera Peony Pavilion at the Vienna Festival with Peter Sellars directing. He also prepared the world premiere of Tan Dun's Marco Polo and assisted in its recording. In 1997, Mr. Osgood conducted development workshops of and was Assistant Conductor for the premiere of Peter Lieberson's Ashoka's Dream for the Santa Fe Opera. He has also worked with the Canadian Opera Company, The Lake George Opera, Jane Comfort Dancers, and New Amsterdam Singers, among others. Steven is currently artistic director of American Opera Projects.|
|Steve Osgood, Billy Aronson, and Rusty McGee at the piano||The Suger Plum Fairy|