Hush-A-Bye: an all-vocal arrangement

I started writing this arrangement in the Cincinnati airport last July. Completing the arrangement, recording all of the vocal parts, editing them all, and learning a ton of new production tools… my site ip . 3 months later this is the result. And I’m hugely proud of it.

Note: most of this happened during Pearl Fisher rehearsals at Seattle Opera. This just goes to prove, that opera and composition and sound production CAN and DO work beautifully together.

Seattle Opera, finally!

Seattle Opera, Leila
Seattle Opera, in rehearsal as Léïla in The Pearl Fishers, by Bizet

Growing up in WA state, there is no higher musical goal than singing with Seattle Opera… … And I made my debut last Sunday.

Over the next weeks, my extended family and childhood mentors will all be coming to see my perform Léïla in The Pearl Fishers by Bizart (sung in French).

You can see from above, that the rehearsal process was an absolute joy. Seattle Opera treats their artists so well! Plus, we have a fantastic artistic team preparing the music with utmost attention to detail- but still being nice when they say “don’t sing flat here.” :-)

We also can’t help but look great in the production with costumes by fashion guru, Zandra Rhodes. (Mostly) She and I talk about the costumes in this sneak-peak below.

For more info and tickets, go to http://www.seattleopera.org.

Some recent compositions

I’m currently enjoying a peaceful retreat in the middle of Washington state. I’ve set a whole month to be near family and work on music – both composing and voice. Every day I prepare audition repertoire and practice Leila for Pearl Fishers at Seattle Opera this fall. And I also sit at a little desk looking over a pond with great blue herons and dwindling goldfish, and write music.  Here are three songs I completed within the past two weeks. domain names search australia Hope you enjoy!

“Requiem” – I always wanted to write my own version… : (this one has great vocals!)

 

“Affinity” –  This one feels like magic happened.

 

“Easy Optimist” – Because every day should start with a bounce.

Morning Star (Cincinnati Opera)

This was, without a doubt, my most fulfilling operatic experience to date.

Morning Star was composed by Ricky Ian Gordon, to the libretto of William Hoffman. I’ve known Ricky for 6 years, so when he asked me to create the role of Esther, I didn’t hesitate in responding yes. The show centers around an immigrant family in New York, and the horrific Triangle Factory Fire, which sparked the labor movement.

While the opera was incredible by itself, it was truly the hearts of my colleagues that made it such a special experience. Everyone arrived with an extraordinary willingness to share and be open to telling a true story. Even the first rehearsal brought tears to our eyes- the music is stunningly beautiful and often sad. The cast found such joy in working with each other, and that joy expanded to include the stage crew as well as our creative team. Every singer will tell you that Tech rehearsals are the worst, but this time was different- we were all happy to just get to hang out and help each other work towards greatness.

And greatness was achieved. When you have Ricky Ian Gordon composing,  it’s difficult to avoid greatness, but the Chicago Tribune also testified that Morning Star will be remembered (and hopefully performed again soon!). Here’s a link to the article:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/vonrhein/ct-cincinnati-morning-star-opera-review-20150702-column.html

Multimedia Composition Demo

I just completed the final course in my professional certificate with Berklee Online! The courses were mostly focused on modern production and composition for video games, with a little bit of music business thrown in.

As part of the final, I put together a demo reel of various compositions I’ve made over the past 9 months. Keep in mind- I only learned how to use Logic Pro X a year ago. I think this reel shows how fast I’ve assimilated years of education in classical education with modern styles and technology. site generator . Imagine what it will look like in one more year… ::grins::

I especially love the ending. Has an epic feel to it. Hope y’all enjoy!

ALL of this music was composed, performed, and produced by myself.

Faust at West Bay Opera

Elizabeth Zharoff, as Marguerite
Elizabeth Zharoff, as Marguerite

Elizabeth Zharoff, in her first appearance with West Bay Opera, is beautiful and very appealing as the young and pure Marguerite, and stunningly powerful of voice. As Marguerite’s sad story unfolds, she becomes a wretched, pathetic broken rag doll, her madness spilling out over the stage. Brava.” – Mercury News

I’ve had the privilege of working with West Bay Opera for the past 5 weeks on a new production of Gounod’s Faust. Ragnar Conde directs, and Jose Luis Moscovich leads a fantastic (and very nice!) cast. Performances began last weekend at the Lucie Stern Theater in Palo Alto, and will continue this weekend. Tickets can be found at http://www.westbayopera.org.

Faust is one of my favorite operas. I love French opera in general, and Marguerite in particular is an intriguing character, because she goes through such a fast and dramatic change. No other character I’ve played needed to so much careful attention to the emotional progression. She begins totally innocent and vivacious, and then proceeds to fall in love, become pregnant, kill her baby, watch her brother die, and then finally go insane. Roles like Violetta and Lucia have a longer time on-stage to develop each of these states, whereas Marguerite evolves rapidly, with large time lapses between scenes. It is challenging- but ultimately inwardly gratifying- to follow her heart through this opera.

InnovoxVR

Innovox_Title

The past month, I’ve worked with programmer Keith Kaisershot and artist Samuel Hum to develop an awe-inspiring VR experience. I combined both composition and vocals into 360° surround sound. I really believe this is one of the most incredible ways to experience being inside a voice.

Short Description:

InnovoxVR is an interactive music/art experience inside virtual reality.

It was created during the 2015 mobile VR jam by opera singer/composer Elizabeth Zharoff, programmer Keith Kaisershot, and artist Samuel Hum.

The user appears inside of a dark sphere, which has 12 surrounding vertices. Each vertex corresponds to a unique vocal track. When all tracks play simultaneously, the user hears one voice weaving into a song. The audio projects from each vertex, so that the user is encompassed, and can experiment with auditory perception.

There is no directional movement inside the experience other than turning the head. To trigger a track on, the user taps once on the Gear VR headset. To trigger the track off, the user taps once more. Thus, the user can select different layers of the track, choosing which to hear. We used Unity 4 to develop the experience.

The art perfectly complements the audio, also flowing once a track is triggered. When a vertex is activated, an image resembling a galaxy spirals outwards. As the music intensity increases, the spiral speed also increases, making the entire sphere seem to pulse faster and brighter. Floating creatures also emerge and float around the user. At the end, the creatures and galaxies all explode with light, as the screen fades to white and the music ends.

 

Sneaky, quirky, and maybe in a Tim Burton film

I wrote this last week, while working on some music for a independent developer. Was given two main adjectives: sneaky, and quirky. I think it turned out really well. I was looking to combine the feeling of a Tim Burton film with the magic of Harry Potter… and somehow Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King hopped in too.

Journey: a vocal arrangement

Screenshot from the game, by That Game Company
Screenshot from the game, by That Game Company

For those of you who love video games, you should listen to this.

For those of you who love opera, you should also listen to this.

I’ve been looking for ways to use my voice for video games. This is just one of the possibilities I have in mind- arranging incredible game soundtracks for only a human voice, and recording and editing all these tracks myself. (cough, cough- it takes time!) I hope to refine this a bit more after I hear comments, and also after I’ve completed a few other songs.

This song is originally heard in Journey, with music composed by Austin Wintory.

It’s still a work in progress, so kindly don’t download or post this elsewhere yet.