World Premiere of Douglas J. Cuomo's Ashes and Snow at Pittsburgh Opera
Feb. 09, 2018
On February 17, Pittsburgh Opera presents the world premiere of Douglas J. Cuomo’s Ashes & Snow. Ashes & Snow limns an anguished tale of lost love through a single dramatic monologue for tenor and a trio of instrumentalists. The monodrama is based on Wilhelm Müller’s 24 poem cycle, used famously by Franz Schuber in his Winterreise (“Winter Journey”), but set firmly in the present day. This story unfolds in a seedy motel room somewhere in the desert of the American West. The protagonist must confront his demons and face up to everything he has done, and all he has lost, in his life. Director Jonathan Moore describes his concept as "Breaking Bad meets Samuel Beckett; a journey into a Dante-esque underworld and search for forgiveness, enlightenment and atonement."
Tenor Eric Ferring, a rising star in Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artist Program, takes on the challenging role of the protagonist. Mr. Ferring is accompanied by three on-stage musicians, led from the piano by Pittsburgh Opera Director of Musical Studies Mark Trawka. Also included is a trumpet, electric guitar played by the composer himself, and electronic sound effects. Video design is by Joseph Seamans. Cuomo describes his new score as "21st-century art-song infused with acid jazz and punk energy, creating a raw and emotional experience."
(Preview of Pittsburgh Opera’s Ashes & Snow’s Video Design and Music)
(The creators of Ashes & Snow--composer/conductor, Douglas J. Cuomo and director Jonathan Moore--discuss their collaboration on the Pittsburgh Opera world premiere).
Ashes & Snow is being developed in partnership with American Opera Projects (AOP). AOP is at the forefront of the contemporary opera movement, commissioning, developing, presenting, and producing opera and music theatre projects, collaborating with young, rising, and established artists. This will be the fourth Pittsburgh Opera project involving AOP, and the third in the past two years.
Ashes & Snow: A Winterreise Dream (2017)
for tenor (amplified), trumpet (amplified, with improvisatory sections), piano (keyboards), electric guitar (with improvisatory sections), and electronics
Text based on poetry by Wilhem Müller, freely adapted by Douglas J. Cuomo