2024 Guest Artists, Composers & Librettists
Librettist, Love and Longing by the Lake
Jerre Dye is a librettist, playwright, director, and recipient of the Award for Dramatic Literature from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Some of his work in opera includes the upcoming Woman With Eyes Closed for Opera Philadelphia with composer Jennifer Higdon, Pretty Little Room for Opera Memphis with composer Robert Patterson, Taking Up Serpents for Washington National Opera with composer Kamala Sankaram, The Transformation of Jane Doe for Chicago Opera Theatre with composer Stacy Garrop, Parksville, a filmed, episodic, VR opera for Opera On Tap/New York with composer Kamala Sankaram and Ghosts of Crosstown for Opera Memphis. He is currently working on a new commission for Chicago Opera Theatre, developing an immersive experience for Opera On Tap/New York and serving as a librettist mentor for the Seattle Opera Creation Lab. His plays include Cicada, Distance, Short/Stories, Threads, The New Adventures of Hansel and Gretel, Wild Swans, and Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale Iris Orchestra adaptation. He is an ensemble member of Rivendell Theatre in Chicago.
Hansel and Gretel will be performed in English, featuring a singing adaptation by Kathleen Kelly.
Kathleen Kelly’s projects and repertoire are wide-ranging and diverse. She is both deeply experienced in the classical vocal canon and engaged in new creation. Recent notable projects include FORCE OF NATURE, a recording and recital tour with soprano Emily Albrink of four world premiere song cycles; leading the world premiere of Matt Bohler’s opera FAT PIG, composed for activist soprano Tracy Cox; and co-starring in the filmed opera INTERSTATE, composed by Kamala Sankaram, directed by Tonya McKinny, and produced by Minnesota Opera and Helio Arts. Kathleen is co-librettist with baritone Michael Kelly for THE HOUSE OF YES, an opera by Kamala Sankaram in development with Wolf Trap Opera.
Kelly has appeared in recital collaborations with many singers, most recently Jamie Barton, Elena Villalon, Ryan McKinny, and Caitlin Lynch. She has performed internationally including at Wigmore Hall, Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, the Kennedy Center, Spivey Hall, and Vienna’s Musikverein. She is a published poet and essayist and has written several English adaptations of operas as well as several librettos. She has worked with many opera companies including the San Francisco, Metropolitan, Houston Grand, and Vienna State Operas, and she is regularly invited to speak and write on women’s issues in the industry. Recently relocated to Texas, she is the founding artistic director of Lone Star Songs.
The Witch, Hansel and Gretel
Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller enjoys a richly varied 2023-2024 season. In the fall, Ms. Miller returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago as the Marquise de Birkenfeld in La fille du régiment, followed by continued performances of Ella in X: The Life and Times of Malcom X with Seattle Opera. On the concert stage, she joins the Rotterdam Philharmonic on tour for Die Walküre, singing Grimgerde under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Additionally, she joins the New World Symphony for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and the Tucson Symphony for Verdi’s Requiem.
Highlights of Ronnita Miller’s 2022-23 season included joining the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Schwertleitein Die Walküre at the Hollywood Bowl; San Francisco Opera as Filippyevna in Eugene Onegin; Opera Omaha as Ella in X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X; and Atlanta Opera as Erdain Das Rheingold. Ms. Miller was a member of the ensemble at Deutsche Oper Berlin for seven seasons.
Composer, Love and Longing by the Lake (Love, Loss and the Century Upon Us)
Rene Orth – “a master composer” with a “sophisticated sound world” (Classical Voice North America) – writes music described as “always dramatic, reflective, rarely predictable, and often electronic” (Musical America). She was the inaugural Resident Composer at Opera San José in the 2022-23 season and recently completed a three-year tenure as Composer-In-Residence at Opera Philadelphia.
This season, Opera Philadelphia presented the “triumphant world premiere” (Wall Street Journal) of 10 Day in a Madhouse, co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Tapestry Opera. The New York Times writes, “opera needs works like “10 Days,” which treats the medium with affection and respect while also chafing at its tropes throughout history.” With a libretto by Hannah Moscovitch, this psychological drama follows the trailblazing reporter Nellie Bly through her internment at Blackwell’s Asylum, exposing, as Bly did historically, notions of madness and societal biases against women. The opera, conducted by Daniela Candillari, starred Kiera Duffy, Raehann Bryce-Davis, and Will Liverman.
Other projects include a commission for Vocal Arts DC premiering at The Kennedy Center, composing a song cycle for mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack; writing a new song, A Prayer, for baritone Will Liverman’s next album, which is a duet for him and mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges, setting a Sara Teasdale poem; and writing an electronics and voice piece for mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis’ forthcoming debut album, Stand the Storm. The Chautauqua Institution also premieres Love, Loss, and the Century Upon Us (libretto by Jerre Dye) with a 13-piece orchestra, part of a larger work called A Summer Place. Distinctions include grants and awards from OPERA America, the American Composers Forum, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Orth is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. She received her M.M. in Music Composition at the University of Louisville and holds additional degrees from MediaTech Institute and Rhodes College.
Composer, Love and Longing by the Lake (A.E. Reverie)
Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times), Kamala Sankaram moves freely between the worlds of experimental music, creative music, and contemporary opera. Known for pushing the boundaries of form and style, she has created work for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (as 2023 artist-in-residence), an opera for the trees of Prospect Park, a techno-noir featuring live datamining of the audience and a chorus of 25 singing tablet computers, and the world’s first virtual reality opera, among other pieces. She has been commissioned by the Glimmerglass Festival (as 2022 artist-in-residence), Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, the PROTOTYPE Festival, and Creative Time, among others. She is currently a member of the New Works Initiative at Minnesota Opera. As a biracial Indian-American and trained sitarist, Kamala has drawn on Indian classical music in many of her works, including Thumbprint, A Rose, Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers, and the Jungle Book. Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculties at the Mannes College of Music and SUNY Purchase.