Friday, March 5, 2010

March 5 - Sex and the Opening

It is finished, and we commend into thy hands Sex and the Bible: The Opera (Part I), opening at San Francisco Community Music Center.

Mark Alburger (b. 1957)

Sex and the Bible: The Opera (Part I), Op. 169 (2009)

III. Let the Waters Be Gathered
VII. Let Us Make Man

II. Vocalise for the Disobedience
III. Abyss of Separation
IV. Ragtime Intermezzo of Expulsion
V. Lounging in an Eternity of Strife
VI. Blues Dance of Fury
VII. Fathering Hope
VIII. Lounging in Mortality (Baby Boom Boogie-Woogie Begats)

I. Wicked Prelude
VII. The Flood Te Deum (The Little Death Raindrops Keep Falling Mainly in Mesopotamia)
IX. Rainbow Te Deum


II. The Separation

IV. The Covenant

V. The Slave


VI. The Circumcision

VII. The Plea (Lottery)

VIII. The Destruction

(Lotsa Luck /Parking Lot's Wife /


IX. The Deception
X. The Birth / The Banishment
XI. The Sacrifice / XII. The Burial / XIII. The Wife / XIV. The Death

I. If It Is Thus
III. Eyes Dim
IV. Fly Away
V. Well, Well, Well, Well, Well

VI. Shouldn't Work for Nothing
VII. How To Depart
VIII. On His Way
IX. One Day Dinah
X. If It Is Thus

I. I Had a Dream

II. Meanwhile, Judah (Tamar)
III. Now the Ishmaelites (Potiphar's Wife)
V. Pharaoh Had a Dream
VII. Take My Youngest Son
VIII. I Am Joseph
IX. Now I Can Die

Mark Alburger's SEX AND THE BIBLE: THE OPERA (PART I), Op. 169 (2009) is a bawdy romp through the Book of Genesis, featuring those verses-you-rarely-hear-in-synagogues-churches-and-mosques, including the nakedness of Noah, Abraham passing off his wife as his sister to interested royal suitors (twice! -- and Isaac doing the same, to boot), Lot's incestuous liaisons with his daughters, the rape of Dinah, Onan's coitus interruptus, Judah's accidental impregnation of his daughter-in-law-turned-prostitute Tamar, and the attempted seduction of Joseph. Alburger's work is troped (after medieval and contemporary practices) on F.J. Haydn's Creation; Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time; Igor Stravinsky's Babel, The Flood, Ragtime for 11 Instruments, Abraham and Isaac, The Rite of Spring, Petrushka, Agon, and Threni; Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde, War Requiem, and Peter Grimes; Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15, Op. 28; G.F. Handel's Israel in Egypt; and Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat... with additional cross-fertilization from 70's rock, Scott Joplin rags, 50's rock-n-roll, 12-bar blues, Walt Disney's Bambi, the medieval mystery Play of Daniel, Latin American rhythms, Alburger's Crystal Series, Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach, Dale Evans Rogers's Happy Trails, the folk song Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain, Prince's Darling Nicky, Alban Berg's Wozzeck, Camille Saint-Saens's Carnival of the Animals, Aaron Copland's Music for the Theatre, and George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.

MARK ALBURGER is an award-winning ASCAP composer of post-minimal, post-popular, and post-comedic sensibilities. His principal teachers were Gerald Levinson and Joan Panetti at Swarthmore College (B.A.), Karl Kohn at Pomona College, Jules Langert at Dominican University (M.A.), Tom Flaherty at Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D.), and Terry Riley. He is Music Director of Goat Hall Productions / San Francisco Cabaret Opera, Founder and Music Director of the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, Professor in Music Literature and Theory at Diablo Valley College, and Editor-Publisher of 21st-Century Music Journal. Alburger has been the recipient of many honors, awards, and commission -- including yearly ASCAP Standard Awards; grants from Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, MetLife, and Theatre Bay Area; funding from the Marra, Zellerbach, Hewlett, and Getty Foundations; and performances by chamber groups, vocal ensembles, and orchestras throughout the United States. Audience enthusiasm, critical response, and acclaim from colleagues have been consistent for Alburger's dramatic and concert works, which combine atonal, collage, minimalist, neoclassic, rap, and rock sensibilities -- often in overall frameworks troped on pre-existent material in the spirit of medieval, renaissance, and jazz practices. His complete works (178 opus number to date including the 8-hour+ work-in-progress The Bible) are being issued on recordings from New Music, available at

Soprano KIMBERLY ANDERMAN is pleased to return to San Francisco Cabaret Opera, after appearing last season as Drusilla in both Purcell’s and Mark Alburger’s settings of Dioclesian and as Ismene in Alburger’s Antigone, as well as participating in their 2008 Grand Opera Benefit Concert. A Bay Area native, Kim holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with Departmental Honors from Chapman University, where she studied with famed opera diva Carol Neblett. She has performed with over a dozen choirs at both the amateur and professional level (including the world-renowned William Hall Master Chorale, the Northern California Chamber Chorale, and the Sonoma County Chamber Singers). Kimberly was recently featured on the recording of Janis Dunson Wilson’s Walking in the Light of Christ, was the Soprano soloist for the 2007-2009 Sebastopol Center for the Arts Sing-Along Messiah. and is a frequent recitalist with Project Applause, a Sonoma County-based fundraising organization. Upcoming is the role of Harriet Mosher in Tobias Picker’s Emmeline with Cinnabar Opera Theater.

ROBERT BENDA Robert is grateful to return to Goat Hall Productions to participate in Sex and the Bible. He has previously appeared in Goat Hall’s productions of Antigone and as The Playboy of the Western World, original works by Mark Alburger, as the Magician in The Consul, Henrik in A Little Night Music, Curzio in Figaro, and as Candide. He has also participated in various Fresh Voices projects. Robert has performed with Utah Opera, and locally with Pocket Opera and Berkeley Opera. He also performed the role of Ralph in an adaptation of HMS Pinafore with the SF Gay Men’s Chorus. Robert would like to thank Mark for sharing another challenging score to help him grow as an artist.

ELIZABETH FINKLER (Cain, Shem's Wife, Lot's God, Potiphar etc.) last appeared with San Francisco Chamber Opera/Goat Hall Productions during the 2007 edition of Fresh Voices as Maenad #7 in Dionysus. She also appeared as The Old Lady in Candide and in two previous Alburger works, The Bald Soprano and Animal Opera. Most recently, she sang "That Dirty Old Man" in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, played the figure of Death in Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights (both for City College of San Francisco), and appeared in the short Sincerity for Transvideo Studios. She sings in a church choir and spends forty hours a week staring into the gaping maw of other people's finances.

Lyric soprano NANETTE MCGUINNESS has been hailed in the press for her “creamy golden tone,” “glorious soprano” and “magnetic stage presence.” She performed the roles of Mimì in the Czech Republic and Musetta in Italy, and has been heard recently by Bay Area audiences as the Countess with Capitol Opera Sacramento/Davis, Mimì and Micaela with Verismo Opera, the Foreign Woman (The Consul) with Cinnabar Opera, and the First Lady with Mission City Opera.
After performing Mark Alburger’s Sex and Delilah and Jean Ahn’s song cycle Open in 2009, Nanette is excited to be returning to Cabaret Opera for Sex and the Bible. An avid proponent of new music, she has sung the world or West Coast premieres of works that include William Ludtke's Christmas Suite with the San Jose Symphony (JoAnn Falletta conducting) as well as the title role in his Gaia Sophia and a number of his chamber pieces, the Lady with a Cake Box, Soprano in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Madam Bubble in Vaughan-Williams’ Pilgrim’s Progress with Trinity Lyric Opera, and Rorem's Homer. Her CD with the Athena Trio, Fabulous Femmes features music by Libby Larsen, Louise Talma, Germaine Tailleferre, and Margaret Garwood, among others, and went into its second pressing on Centaur in 2007. Nanette covered the soprano soloists for a season for the Berkeley Symphony (conducted by Kent Nagano), the highlight of which was the West Coast premiere of the Suite from Messiaen's St. François d'Assise.

NATHANIEL MARKEN returns to Goat Hall after first playing the roles of Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan in their production of Solidarity in the Fall of 2009, and is excited to be participating in their Fresh Voices X festival to continue the neo-con theme as the title role in George [W.] Bush: The Last Hundred Days. Nathaniel previously debuted as Wagner with San Francisco Parlor Opera's Faust in the Spring of 2009. A proponent of new music, Nathaniel has sung such 20th century pieces as Ben in Menotti's The Telephone, Snug in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Gideon in Mark Adamo's Little Women and the role of Phagita in the 2007 premier of Lou Harrison's Young Caesar with Ensemble Parallèle. Nathaniel was in the closing cast of Insignificant Others, the “only in San Francisco musical” at Pier 39 during the fall of 2008. He also co-directed and -produced of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2008 prior to completing his Masters in Voice Performance at the Conservatory. Nathaniel has also sung with Bay Area ensembles including Soli Deo Gloria and the Mission Dolores Basilica Choir. He thanks his loving family and fabulous friends for their inspiring support.

A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, MARIA MIKHEYENKO has sung with the Russian Chamber Orchestra, has been a guest artist at the San Francisco Russian Festival, and presents recitals of Russian Romances throughout the Bay Area. Ms. Mikheyenko’s opera roles include Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Saffi (The Gypsy Baron), Lucy (The Telephone), and Drusilla (L’incoronazione di Poppea). She has sung with Berkeley Opera, Pocket Opera, Capitol Opera Sacramento, Bay Shore Lyric Opera, Opera Lafayette, Oakland Opera Theater, and the Austrian American Mozart Academy of Salzburg. In the world of contemporary music, Ms. Mikheyenko is a frequent collaborator with Bay Area composers. She has performed in three world premiere works by Lisa Scola Prosek: Leonardo’s Notebooks, Belfagor, and Trap Door. With San Francisco Cabaret Opera, she has portrayed Lennie Small in Mark Alburger’s Of Mice and Men, the Sentry in his Antigone, and a Quark Sister in John Bilotta’s award-winning short opera, Quantum Mechanic. Ms. Mikheyenko has also been a guest artist with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra, has appeared twice on the national radio show West Coast Live!, and joined Grammy-award winning singer/composer/choreographer Meredith Monk with the Pacific Mozart Ensemble in several performances of her world premiere work, Songs of Ascension. For more information on upcoming events, please visit

THERESA NELSON, lyric soprano, enjoys performing opera, musical theatre and early music. For nine seasons, she has been a company member and soloist with the California Revels, and with Shira Kammen’s In Bocca al Lupo. She recently released Lullay My Sweet One, a CD of lullabies with Shira Kammen. Theresa especially enjoys singing music of the Renaissance and Baroque period, with a special fondness for Handel and Mozart opera, and for new music and opera. Theresa was a founding member of the San Francisco Choral Artists, and sang as a soloist with the S.F. Symphony, Berkeley Chamber Orchestra and Young People's Symphony Orchestra. She performed as a soloist in B-Minor Mass, Magnificat, and Messiah, and in the American premiere of Steve Reich’s Desert Music with S.F. Symphony. She recently she appeared as Corydon in Acis & Galatea with Opera Non Troppo, and earlier she performed roles in Handel’s Rinaldo, Lucio Silla and Admeto, and numerous musical theatre roles. Theresa studies voice with Eric Howe, and is a nonprofit fundraising consultant in the San Francisco area.

HARRIET MARCH PAGE has pursued a life-long obsession with the arts, as actor, singer, writer, director, producer. Reeling off the decades, the 1970s was grand opera in and about the San Francisco Bay Area; 1980s, acting in plays and musicals with the Los Altos Conservatory Theatre; 1990s, writing and performing autobiographical monologues in San Francisco and producing monthly Sunday Salons; and the 2000s directing and producing as Artistic Director for San Francisco Cabaret Opera / Goat Hall Productions, whose mission is presenting contemporary opera in English and premiering new opera theater by Bay Area composers in a cabaret setting. After five years devoted to new music almost exclusively, March Page is very excited about entering a new phase with our 2008-2009 season, which includes not only new music but also Mozart (in Italian!), Purcell, Menotti, and more!

CRYSTAL PHILIPPI mezzo-soprano, has appeared with Center City Opera Theater, Union Ave Opera, New Orleans Opera, Brevard Music Center, Opera North, and has given many recitals and benefit concerts in New Orleans, San Francisco, and Italy. She has appeared in numerous operatic roles, including: Malika in Lakmé, Charlotte in Werther, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, and Mere Jeanne in Dialogues des Carmelites. She has also performed many scenes from La Cenerentola, Mignon, I Capuletti e I Montecchi, Calisto, Cosi fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, and Vanessa. She holds a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of New Orleans, where she also studied piano and clarinet. Her next appearance is with Goat Hill Productions in Sex and the Bible: The Opera (Part I) by Mark Alburger. She is also engaged as the associate director and choreographer of Sex and the Bible.

After falling off the face of the earth last year, MARILYN PRATT, coloratura soprano, is quite happy to be singing again with the San Francisco Cabaret Opera. Ms. Pratt started adult life innocently enough, earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and an MBA, then after a couple of decades in the computer industry she went off half-cocked and got a Bachelor of Music from Notre Dame de Namur University. Since then she has enjoyed dressing up in outrageous clothes and expressing extreme emotions in public, performing the roles of Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Konstanze in his Abduction from the Seraglio in music festivals in Italy, as well as Olympia in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann. When she’s not performing ridiculously difficult coloratura roles, new music with the San Francisco Cabaret Opera, or oratorio such as the beloved Messiah, she’s a geek at Oracle and an elder in St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Pacifica. Oh, and she just bought a farm in Oregon. Ms. Pratt is seldom bored.

Lithuanian-Canadian soprano, INDRE VISTONTAS, was thrilled to return to San Francisco Cabaret Opera last Fall to perform the roles of Irena and Streetsweeper in the world-premiere of Dailly's Solidarity. Miss Viskontas’s operatic roles range from The Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro to the title role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe. Recent operatic performance highlights include Aurelia in Purcell's Dioclesian and The Water Nymph in Heuser's The Golden Ax with SFCO, Beth in Mark Adamo’s Little Women at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Kate in John Estacio’s Frobisher at the Banff Summer Arts Festival, and Heart's Desire in Arthur Sullivan's The Rose of Persia with the Lyric Theater of San Jose. Miss Viskontas is also an avid performer of chamber music and a regular soloist with The Classical Revolution, performing throughout the Bay Area. Miss Viskontas holds a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto.

Decent house and fine show, home for -- yes -- more Psalm 8 (10) and Song of Solomon (9).