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The Tales of Hoffmann

Two-hour English singing translation/adaptation of Les contes d'Hoffmann in three acts (originally performed with two fifteen-minute intermissions for a total running time of two-and-a-half hours).  Commissioned by Milwaukee Opera Theatre and premiered by Skylight Music Theatre in 2018. 

To highlight relationship between the artist and his Muse, the Prologue has been cut entirely and replaced with a scene of spoken dialogue between Hoffmann and Nicklausse (sample below); most recitatives have been replaced by spoken dialogue as well. The Barcarolle, retained in its original French, becomes a recurring motif which gradually takes shape as the opera progresses.  Consequently, the acts must be performed in the following order: Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta.  A truncated epilogue ends the opera on a note of redemption, with Hoffmann inspired to channel his suffering toward artistic aims.

Spoken Dialogue: Condensed Prologue

Nicklausse’s Aria: Voyez-la sous son éventail

Hoffmann's Aria: O Dieu! de quelle ivresse

 
 Pictured: Josh Robinson, Susan Wiedmeyer, Carol Greif, Cecilia Davis Photo by Mark Frohna

Pictured: Josh Robinson, Susan Wiedmeyer, Carol Greif, Cecilia Davis
Photo by Mark Frohna

This reduced edition…has maintained the substance of the opera and virtually all of the major musical numbers…We can only hope that other companies will take advantage of now having a chance to produce of one of the most enjoyable operas in the repertoire.
Robert Folstein, The Jacques Offenbach Society Newsletter

This is a decidedly scaled-down Hoffmann that, while now more operetta than opera, works completely as a work of musical art. Shepherd Express

Sung in English instead of French, it is condensed in all aspects...but instead of smaller, the result feels essential and more concentrated. OnMilwaukee



For inquiries regarding The Tales of Hoffmann, please contact me directly.


 Pictured: Mike "Ding" Lorenz, Josh Robinson, Jean Broekhuizen, Kerry Bieneman, Rebecca Royce Photo by Mark Frohna

Pictured: Mike "Ding" Lorenz, Josh Robinson, Jean Broekhuizen, Kerry Bieneman, Rebecca Royce
Photo by Mark Frohna

Musical Curtain Speech

Comedic musical curtain speech to the tune of the sinister-sounding Dans les rôles d'amoureux langoureux.  Commissioned by Milwaukee Opera Theatre to precede The Tales of Hoffmann, but could be used for a variety of theater or opera productions in any desired orchestration. Approximately 3 minutes in length.

View Perusal Score

Bolded lyrics are specific to the original production, but can be easily customized to fit specific requirements.  If additional announcements are necessary, spoken dialogue may be inserted in between verses.

The cleverest singing reminder Milwaukee has seen about silencing your cell phone and unwrapping your candy. Urban Milwaukee

...a sassy series of announcements... GMToday

For inquiries regarding the Musical Curtain Speech, please contact me directly.


Zie Magic Flute

A two-hour verse adaptation of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte for 12 singers, commissioned and premiered by Milwaukee Opera Theatre in 2017 in conjunction with Quasimondo Physical Theatre and Cadance Collective.

The role of Monostatos has been cut entirely and the characters of Sarastro and Der Sprecher have been consolidated.  In the original production, ensemble roles and all choral numbers were sung by the principal singers, though a full chorus could be utilized if desired.  Spoken dialogue has been pared down and rendered in lively rhyming verse which contrasts heightened formalized language with contemporary colloquial idioms.

Spoken Dialogue Sample

Tamino’s Aria: Dies bildnis ist bezaubernd schön

Papageno’s Aria: Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen

Schikaneder’s libretto has been loosely rendered into contemporary rhyme by Daniel J. Brylow, who sets the irreverent mood by including puns, colloquialisms, and even internet slang...There was plenty of appreciative tittering from the opening night audience. PlayOnMke

 Pictured: Nathan Wesselowski and Christal Wagner / Photo by Mark Frohna

Pictured: Nathan Wesselowski and Christal Wagner / Photo by Mark Frohna

The songs are performed in often-hilarious modern English. When the Queen's three envoys bantered back and forth about the "sexy boy" they'd saved, it was an absolute hoot! Clearly this ain't your grandma's opera. Planet Kelsey

For inquiries regarding Zie Magic Flute, please contact me directly.


 Pictured: Erin Sura, Tim Rebers, Colleen Brooks, and Robert Frankenberry / Photo by Sara Bill

Pictured: Erin Sura, Tim Rebers, Colleen Brooks, and Robert Frankenberry / Photo by Sara Bill

The Skylight Ring...is ingenious. Brylow's book and lyrics provide a clearheaded distillation of arguably the most complex, convoluted story in all of opera. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Skylight Ring

A two-and-a-half-hour chamber version of Der Ring des Nibelungen, commissioned and premiered by Skylight Music Theatre in 2015.  The original production featured a quartet of singers each playing several roles (for a total of 25 characters), though the piece could also be performed by a larger ensemble.

The basic dramaturgical conceit is that the story is re-told from Alberich's perspective and that subsequent "villians" (Hunding, Mime, and Hagen) are manifestations of Alberich in his struggle to regain the ring.  The adaptation makes use of substantial spoken dialogue and contemporary language for ease of accessibility.

Siegmund's Aria: 
Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond

Spoken Dialogue:
Equivalent of Act I of Götterdämmerung

The Skylight Ring resembles a modern day soap opera steeped in classic mythology distilled to contemporary culture, and often touched with cheeky humor. BroadwayWorld.com

For inquiries regarding The Skylight Ring, please contact me directly or contact Skylight Music Theatre.



Chamber Don Giovanni

A ninety-minute adaptation of Mozart's Don Giovanni, with spoken dialogue in lieu of recitative, co-translated with singer Tim Rebers. Commissioned and premiered by the East Side Chamber Players in 2013.

The original production made use of eight singers, though the roles of Masetto and Il Commendatore could be doubled. To ensure a small cast size, all choral numbers have been cut.

Donna Elvira's Aria and Trio: Ah, chi mi dice mai

Donna Anna's Aria: Or sai chi l'onore

With this fresh English libretto, the translators have set their sights on making the opera more accessible. Shepherd Express

 Pictured: Ryan White, Erin Sura, and Tim Rebers / Photo by Jean Brylow

Pictured: Ryan White, Erin Sura, and Tim Rebers / Photo by Jean Brylow

For inquiries regarding Chamber Don Giovanni, please contact me directly.