Ardea Arts in partnership with The Garden State Philharmonic
the World Concert Premiere of
Composed by Kitty Brazelton
Story and Libretto by George Plimpton
Directed by Grethe B. Holby
The Jay & Linda Grunin Center for the Arts
Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 7pm
Ardea Arts in partnership with The Garden State Philharmonic presents the World Concert Premiere of ANIMAL TALES at The Jay & Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College (1 College Drive, Toms River, NJ 08754) on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 7pm. For more information, visit: www.ardeaarts.com/animal-tales.
Tickets are $25 ($20 for Seniors / $15 for Students) and can be purchased at www.gardenstatephilharmonic.org/events/animal-tales-new-jersey-premiere/.
Audiences will be drawn into a world of animals and the lessons learned when we seek out new adventures. A professional orchestra and guest vocalists will raise the curtain on a new family favorite that speaks to the child in all of us through narrative, orchestral music and operatic tones.
ANIMAL TALES is co-produced by Ardea Arts and the Garden State Philharmonic
Composed by Kitty Brazelton
Story and Libretto by George Plimpton
Origin and Direction by Grethe Barrett Holby
Commissioned and Developed by Ardea Arts/Family Opera Initiative
With major funding by The Jaffe Family Foundation and Opera America
The commissioning of Kitty Brazelton for Animal Tales received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.
Composer Kitty Brazelton’s passion since eighteen when she joined the campus acid rock band, discovered medieval plainchant, radical free jazz improvisation and ascetic classical modernism all at once. Los Angeles Times calls her “brainy, boisterous and quintessentially downtown” while Time Out New York explains: “Brazelton is a totalist composer…” She champions music’s power to unite. If you segregate music into genres and styles—she feels—you lose an opportunity. For human understanding. Harmony. World peace even. Nothing less than. Her “totalist” approach remains constant through all the bands she’s formed, joined and led, from fusionist chamber Musica Orbis to acid-rock Phaedra in the 1970s, to metal Hide the Babies in the 1980s, to the alt-avant rockestra DADADAH, cyber-punk trio What is it Like to be a Bat? and the revisionist medieval women composers’ quartet Hildegurls, 1990s, when she also curated the seminal totalist “Real Music Series” at CBGB. HIldegurl’s The Electric Ordo Virtutum premiered at Lincoln Center Festival ’98 in co-production with American Opera Projects, working with director Grethe Barrett Holby. In the 2000s, she turned to composing vernacular-infused opera— Fireworks, Animal Tales and Cat!, all with Holby and Family Opera Initiative, Ardea Arts and American Opera Projects. Fireworks premiered in Fort Green Park, Brooklyn in 2002, and will receive its theater premiere this May, performed by Hunter College Opera Theater. Opera-in-progress Art of Memory was awarded Opera America’s Discovery Grant for Female Composers in 2015.
A fearless adventurer into life’s possibilities, George Plimpton (Story, Book & Lyrics) was born in New York City in 1927, attended St. Bernard’s School, Phillip Exeter Academy and Harvard University, where he was an editor of the Harvard Lampoon, served as a tank driver in Italy for the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1948, and later he attended King’s College-Cambridge University. In 1953, Plimpton joined the influential literary journal The Paris Review, becoming its first editor-in-chief, a position he held until his death in 2003. In his defining role as a “participatory journalist,” Plimpton was famous for competing in professional sporting events and then writing about his experience from the point of view of an amateur, in a series of beloved books: Out Of My League, Paper Lion, and Open Net, as well many articles for Sports Illustrated. Musically, he played the piano (badly), winning second prize at ‘Amateur Night at the Apollo,’ and played the triangle for the NY Philharmonic under Maestro Leonard Bernstein. Two anthologies of his articles and shorter works establish Plimpton as a master of the short form, a humorist, and lover of life’s foibles: The Best of Plimpton (1990), and The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair (2004). A true explorer of life, Plimpton also appeared in cameo roles in a number of feature films, hosted the Disney Channel’s Mouseterpiece Theatre, appeared in an episode of The Simpsons, had a recurring role on the long-running NBC medical TV series, ER, and served as New York City Fireworks Commissioner. Animal Tales was George Plimpton’s last major work, commissioned by Family Opera Initiative. His first book, The Rabbit’s Umbrella, was written for children, and so was his last. He was an extraordinarily insightful collaborator and a joyous and inspiring team member. He died shortly after completing the libretto.
Grethe Barrett Holby (Origin & Direction) has been a driving force in new American opera for over 30 years, credited with “propelling opera into the 21st century” (NPR). Founding director of American Opera Projects and Ardea Arts/Family Initiative, Holby has worked with many luminaries of our time including Leonard Bernstein (A Quiet Place/HGO, Kennedy Center, La Scala), Gian-Carlo Menotti (Kennedy Center), Lou Reed (The Kitchen), Vincent Persichetti (Philadelphia), Philip Glass & Robert Wilson (originating cast of Einstein on the Beach/Met Opera), Yusef Komunyakaa (The Three Astronauts), and Kitty Brazelton (Animal Tales, Fireworks, Cat, Hildegurls). She has directed & choreographed new productions for Lincoln Center Festival: Hildegurls’ Electric Ordo Virtutum (CD: Innova), and for opera companies across the US, including Anchorage, Houston, Indianapolis, Lake George, Los Angeles, Memphis, National Public Television, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Toledo, Washington, and Wolftrap. Currently she is working on BOUNCE The Basketball Opera, premiering this October for Univ, Kentucky Opera Theater. A Rockefeller Foundation fellow, Holby has been guest speaker and held master classes for The Kennedy Center, Opera America, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Boston University, Bryn Mawr College and M.I.T. She holds B.S and Masters degrees in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with concentrations in Theater and Set Design.
The Garden State Philharmonic Symphony Society, Inc. (GSP) is dedicated to a mission of maintaining and operating a professional level symphony orchestra at the Jersey Shore; to giving concerts of cultural and educational value in and for the community; and to fostering such related activities that will encourage interest in and appreciation of music. The core values of the GSP center around performance, education, and accessibility: to preserve classical music through public presentation; to promote arts education by introducing the children of our community to the wonders of orchestral and choral music; to make such music accessible to all residents; and to contribute vital energy to regional economic development and cultural tourism. Learn more about the Garden State Philharmonic’s history, mission: http://www.gardenstatephilharmonic.org/.
ARDEA ARTS is the premiere company in the U.S. creating new, high-quality opera-theater works for multi-generational and family audiences, creating and producing provocative new works of music-theater and opera to entertain, challenge and inspire today’s diverse global community, uplift the human spirit, and encourage new ways of seeing our world. The company was founded in 2006 by Grethe Barrett Holby to create a substantial new repertory with the goal of bringing the opera experience to a widely diverse audience, and the commitment to engage the community in the process and performance of the work. Learn more about ARDEA Arts’ history, mission and repertory at: www.ARDEAarts.com.
Family Opera Initiative (FOI), a major initiative of Ardea Arts, was established by Holby in 1995. FOI has commissioned and developed a repertory of opera-works including BOUNCE: The Basketball Opera, the holiday opera Flurry Tale by Rusty Magee & Billy Aronson; the swashbuckling Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Richard Peaslee & Kenneth Cavander; the summer pageant Fireworks! by Kitty Brazelton & Billy Aronson; Animal Tales by George Plimpton, Kitty Brazelton, and Grethe Holby, about “having the gumption to spread ones wings” as well as the accompanying Cat’s Tale for younger audiences. FOI has also premiered Glen Roven’s Goodnight Moon & Plums- five songs for kids during FOI’s summer performances in Southampton, NY, David Wolfson’s 10-minute gem Maya’s Ark based on a true story from inner-city Newark NJ, and a staged and choregraphed version of Babar, the little elephant with The French Institute FI-AF NYC. Works currently in development are The Three Astronauts, based on the book by Umberto Eco and Eugenio Carmi, by Pulitzer prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and an international team of writers and composers.
Ardea Arts/FOI has collaborated on these new works with extraordinary artists unexpected in the field of family entertainment. Performances have been co-produced with American Opera Projects, the Clark Studio Theater NYC, Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, TADA! Youth Theatre NYC, Playfest/Orlando Shakespeare Theater FL, NYC’s Central Park Zoo, Infinity Music Hall CT, The International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight NM, WNYC’s The Greene Space, & The Parrish Art Museum, with workshops at Atlantic Center for the Arts, American Opera Projects, Ardea Arts Center, Montclair State University-Peak Performances (NJ), and New York City area schools and community organizations
Ardea Arts, Inc. is a professional company member of Opera America, International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), Theater for Young Audiences (TYA), and International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY). Ardea Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Ardea Arts received its second Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts for BOUNCE The Basketball Opera.