With the inauguration of
Opera Music Theater International there is at last a major cultural
dedicated to the international showcasing of opera and music theater
through major performances, conferences,
competitions and training programs for artists, managers and cultural
officials in a nonpartisan effort to encourage
renewed interest in cultural exchanges and cultural diplomacy.
Unlike any other
organization of its kind, Opera Music Theater International attracts
for its contributions and commitment to excellence by fostering and
developing new talent, new audiences
and new works that insure the health and vitality of the opera and music
theater field for future generations to come.
Our Web Site provides
exciting information about Opera Music Theater International's
dynamic cross-cultural programs including our Institute's Professional
Artist Training Program,
the Ensemble's Great Performances Series, the Arts Administration
Fellowship Program, the New American Works Program,
the Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition, the Bravo Awards,
and much more.
Excellent Performance At The Center For The Arts Concert Hall. The Concert Was Broadcast Live Into EurAsia. All 1,935 Seats Were Sold Out.
Singers in the Lobby of The Center For The Arts after the concert. Back in the dressing rooms singers give the V for Victory sign with their fingers.
2011 Opera Music Theater International
Celebrating Twenty Years of Operatic Excellence
20th Anniversary Concert In Strathmore Hall At The Music Center at Strathmore.
James K. McCully Music Directs In This 1,976 Seat State-Of-The-Art Acoustically And Architecturally Stunning Concert Hall.
2011 Opera Music Theater International
20th Anniversary Luncheon At World Bank.
As Part Of OPERA America's NATIONAL OPERA WEEK.
MARJORIE LAWRENCE AWARD FOR OPERATIC EXCELLENCE
DOLORA ZAJICK RECIPIENT OF THE ORTRUD AWARD
DOLORA ZAJICK AS ORTRUD IN LOHENGRIN
"Marjorie Lawrence was a great singer and to be recognized by the Committee by an Award in her name is both thrilling and humbling.
Please convey my sincere appreciation to the Committee for the Award. It will continue to inspire my career and teaching.
I feel confident that our work over the next few years will justify your recognition of us." — DOLORA ZAJICK
2011 Opera Music Theater
International Ensemble Performs For
The Embassy Of The People's Republic Of China Consul General
2010 ODYSSEY III
MONUMENTAL VIEWS, SOPHISTICATED DINING UNDER THE STARS
Opera Music Theater International Celebrated Its 18th Anniversary On
Patron Saint Of Musicians Day
As featured in American Music Teacher Magazine
World's Oldest And Largest Music Society
Recognizes James K. McCully With A
For Achieving A High Standard Of
Accomplishment in Music & A Lifetime of Excellence
Opera Music Theater
International Celebrates Its 17th Anniversary With An Elegant Dinner At
On The Avenue Of The Presidents In The International Trade Center
At Federal Triangle In The District of Columbia
Excellency Ambassador & Mrs. Helmut Tuerk, Austrian Ambassador to the
United States of America
His Excellency Ambassador & Mrs. Raymond Cretian, Canadian Ambassador to
the United States of America
His Excellency Ambassador & Mrs. Juan Carlos Esquerra, Colombian
Ambassador to the United States of America International Honorary Patrons
Opera Music Theater International Sponsor
Welcome by Placido Domingo & James K. McCully
Maestros Eve Queler, James K. McCully & Heinz Fricke
Kennedy Center Opera House
McCully, I am delighted to welcome all those who have traveled from
around the world to participate in this exciting event.
Opera has long been a cherished part of our cultural heritage, engaging
us and challenging us, opening our minds to the complexity
of the human experience. Combining music, drama, literature, and the
visual arts, opera fills us with emotion and carries us into other
and eras. Although opera was once the privilege of fewer audiences, each
of you can be proud of your role in broadening its reach and appeal.
This year's theme, "OPERA & MUSIC THEATER INTERNATIONAL: The Next
Generation," reflects your dedication to ensuring that opera will
continue to flourish in the 21st Century, enjoying a future as rich and
creative as its past. Best wishes for a successful convention." President William Jefferson Clinton, The White House, 42nd President
of the United States of America
"Mr. McCully, on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts, I am
pleased to send greetings to all those who are coming to the 43rd
Opera Association Convention. Opera and musical theater play a vital
role in the cultural life of our nation, and it is fitting that this
around the theme of "The Next Generation." We must build all of
audiences for the arts in the next millennium to ensure that the
cultural legacy that we were
given is safely entrusted to the generation to come. This gathering of
professionals in opera and musical theater is an important step in that
transition." Jane Alexander, National Endowment for the Arts, Chairman &
Internationally Known Actress
"Mr. McCully, on behalf of the Washington Opera, I am delighted to
welcome the artists, speakers, teachers and contestants who have
from near and far to attend the 43rd National Opera Association
Convention held here in Washington, D.C. I know you will enjoy our
"Die Zauberflote", "L'Elisir d'Amore" and "Dona Francisquita" during,
what President Clinton has designated as, "National Opera and Musical
With all best wishes for an exciting and enriching week." Placido Domingo, Washington National Opera, General & Artistic
Director, Star Tenor & Conductor, One of the 3 Tenors
"Mr. McCully, thank you for your important part in making the 43rd
National Opera Association Convention the biggest and best yet." Kirke Mechem, Opera Composer, TARTUFFE, JOHN BROWN, & THE NEWPORT
McCully, we talked about you and your superb arrangements for the recent
convention. We've never met a vocal teacher and coach who was
capable of doing what you did. We were particularly impressed with your
calm and outwardly serene manner throughout the hectic days.
And you are a gentleman. Thank you for all that. For all your future
endeavors our very best wishes go with you." Evelyn Lear & Thomas Stewart, The Metropolitan Opera, International
McCully's determination to make the 43rd National Opera Association
Convention a memorable event was everywhere apparent, and he achieved
his goal." George Shirley, The Metropolitan Opera, International Artist
"Mr. McCully, an individual I have known through his participation and
membership in the National Opera Association as a State Governor,
as an active Convention Associate, and through his establishment of an
opera scholarship for outstanding young singers through the
National Opera Association's Vocal Competition. I have been impressed
with his diligence and enthusiasm in all of these areas.
I know that he has been industrious in his promotion of opera and his
encouragement of young artists." Dr. Randall L. Holden, National Opera Association, President
OMTI Official Sponsor:
Host Marriott International
INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM OF WOMEN IN
OPERA & MUSIC THEATER
James K. McCully, General Director &
National Museum of Women in the Arts,
Washington D. C.
Diana Hossack, OPERA America
Michelle Krisel, Washington National Opera
Soprano Evelyn Lear, The Metropolitan Opera
Soprano Marni Nixon, Broadway Musical Theater & Film
Nora Sands, American Institute of Musical Studies, Graz,
Maestra Eve Queler, Opera Orchestra of New York
Soprano Nancy Peery Marriott, Foundation
Felicity Jackson, European Union Opera
Kim Whitman, Wolf Trap Opera
Paula Winans, Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Patricia Heuerman, Moderator
Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II & His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Honored By The President & Mrs. Bush At The White House White Tie State Dinner
Copyrighted & Courtesy of the White House. Photo by
Opera Music Theater
International Emerging Artists Colin Eaton & Robert Burner
Entertain at the White House State Dinner in Honor of Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II and
His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
McCully, I have no idea where I would be vocally
right now in life if God had never placed you in
One thing that I can say with great certainty is
that I would not be the singer that I am today
if it were not for you.
I am now viewed as a legitimate classical singer
with a sound that can cut through an orchestra
with ease, and
surprising volume that coordinates warmth and
metal rather well, and I have you to thank.
Every good thing that
I am able to do with my voice from here on out
can be attributed to the work that you have done
with me and for me.
Thank you so much for all that you do. You are a
true Saint in the music world!"
SFC Colin D. Eaton, II ~ United States Army
"A Commanding Tenor" ~ The Washington Post ~
"Mr. Eaton not only sang the aria with great
aplomb, but nailed every one of those pesky high
even drawing out the last one to show what he
could REALLY do (showoff!). But, heck, if you
can do it, flaunt it.
And Mr. Eaton certainly can and did. And the
audience was dazzled by the ease and
musicianship of his feat." ~ The Capital ~
"Eaton reached all 11 of the required high C's
that helped to make Pavarotti famous.
Eaton later displayed strong acting skills again
in the Daughter of the Regiment trio." ~ The Baltimore Sun ~
"A young tenor whose name you shall not soon
~ The Baltimore Sun ~
Colin D. Eaton, II
SSG Robert P. Burner
~ Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Scholarship Winner ~
"Consistently Displayed Remarkable
Musicality, Technique, & Expression" ~ The Washington Post ~
Opera Music Theater
International Celebrates Its 16th Anniversary At The Evening Star
Building With An Elegant Dinner
And Magnificent Stellar Views Of The Monuments From The Pavilion Tower
In The District of Columbia
Lawrence Centennial Award for Operatic Excellence Recipient Deborah Voigt
"Once in a generation, a true dramatic soprano comes
along, with a rare voice built for the works
of Wagner and Strauss in an opera house the size of the Met. Deborah
Voigt is the real deal."
January 2007, Maestro Leonard Slatkin presented the Marjorie Lawrence
Centennial Celebration Award to
dramatic soprano Deborah Voigt after National Symphony Orchestra
performances of Salome at Kennedy Center.
"Mr. McCully, I wish to thank you, the
Committee and OMTI for choosing to honor me with the 2007
Marjorie Lawrence Centennial Award for Operatic Excellence. I am deeply
moved to receive this award, named in
honor of the greatly gifted Ms. Lawrence, whose tragic story is
ultimately one of triumph over devastating adversity.
In the coming years, I hope to sustain your confidence in me, and as I
look at this beautiful award, will be reminded of the
tremendous legacy of which I am so humbly grateful to be a part. With
thanks, and all best wishes." Deborah Voigt, The Metropolitan Opera, International Artist
Centennial Celebration Commission Memorializes
100th Anniversary of Metropolitan Opera Star in 2007
Hallows, the Marjorie Lawrence Centennial Celebration Commission meeting
was held at the National Cathedral
with an All Hallows Guild Tea, followed by a performance of the Verdi
Requiem Mass for the Dead, and a Moonlit Tour
of the cathedral woods at night. A memorial gift was made to the
National Cathedral in remembrance of Marjorie Lawrence.
Opera Music Theater International (OMTI), under the direction of James
K. McCully, announced plans today to mark the
100th anniversary of the birth of Marjorie Lawrence with an
international celebration which promises to memorialize
the rich legacy of the Metropolitan Opera Star in 2007.
McCully, it is great that you are doing such good work to help young
singers, and we both wish you the greatest of success.
We are happy
to be on the Advisory Board and to serve as International Honorary
Chairs." Dame Joan Sutherland & Maestro Richard Bonynge, The Metropolitan
Opera, International Artists
INTERRUPTED MELODY - The Life Story of Marjorie Lawrence Trailer
was a great opera star, a Wagnerian dramatic soprano, and this is
loosely based on her book,
which had the same title INTERRUPTED MELODY. I found this to be by far,
of any film I have seen about an
opera singer, the best depiction of what the real nuts and bolts life is
like; the practicing, the developing, even
learning how to sing in developing a career. It is so well done, and so
"Mr. McCully, I would
like to express my sincere appreciation to you and the members of the
Opera Music Theater International for sponsoring the Marjorie Lawrence
International Vocal Competition.
It is an honor and pleasure to have been chosen as a Winner by this
As a young singer, I'm constantly striving to become a great artist, and
it's just great to be recognized
for my vocal achievements thus far. This award has inspired me to try a
little harder, sing a little better,
and smile a little brighter. I hope that the Opera Music Theater
International will continue its efforts
to encourage young singers for years to come. Thanks again." Lorraine Hinds ~ Marjorie
Lawrence International Vocal Competition Winner ~
17th October 2005
"Miss Nassif blossomed. Her luscious, well-supported vocal
gifts bloomed magnificently, swiftly transforming her into a
Violetta to remember with love and admiration. Displaying
great emotional maturity and a seemingly unlimited vocal
range, she melded effortlessly with her character and made
the magic happen, made the audience believe in a way that
happens infrequently even with the greatest of companies.
With these performances, the gifted Miss Nassif -- only in
her late 20s -- could be on the threshold of a truly
2nd Prize Chen Reiss 1st Prize Cristina Nassif
3rd Prize Michele Gutrick
MARJORIE LAWRENCE INTERNATIONAL VOCAL COMPETITION
National Museum of Women in the Arts
"Mr. McCully, thank you for your
continued assistance, and I thoroughly enjoyed
my experience as a participant in The Competition." Michele Gutrick ~ Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal
Competition Winner ~
"The Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition is an
excellent opportunity for young singers to hone their craft and perform
competitively with their peers.
The competition is open to all singers
whose operatic repertoire and vocal caliber meet the demands of an
The event clearly was a success!" Russell P. Allen, National Endowment for the Arts & OPERA America
General Manager of the Atlanta Opera, Virginia Opera & numerous symphony
Artists Evelyn Lear And Thomas Stewart Working With Emerging Artists
Laura Zuiderveen, John Weber, Brendon J. Cooke, Michelle Kunz, Hyun-Min Lee &
Accompanists Dr. John Bowen & Moshe Landsberg at the National Museum of Women in
Under the Direction of James K. McCully, General Director
It was at a master class that they discovered Jennifer Wilson, who looked
"unprepossessing," Ms. Lear said, until she opened her mouth and sang "Dich,
teure Halle" from Wagner's "Tannh�user."
"We couldn't believe our ears," Ms. Lear said. "We said, 'Where have you been?'
" They quickly helped her get New York management, leading to her professional
debut, in the title role in "Turandot", and on to the understudy contracts that
led to her star-is-born moment in "G�tterd�mmerung."
Jennifer Wilson, an unknown 39-year-old soprano, suddenly burst onto the
international opera scene by jumping in for Jane Eaglen as Br�nnhilde in
Wagner's "G�tterd�mmerung" at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, just a day after
singing the same character in a rehearsal of "Die Walk�re." Artistry aside, this
is a stunning athletic feat. Few people today have the vocal heft and stamina to
get through even one of these roles, let alone take on both back to back.
Ms. Wilson not only sang the killer leading role of the five-hour "G�tterd�mmerung,"
she also sang it so well, with a huge, beautiful sound and dramatic nuance, that
she brought down the house.
James K. McCully Raised
To The Sublime Level of President
& General Director of OMTI
the Library of Congress, James K. McCully was raised to the sublime
level of President & General Director of OMTI,
by a special election of the Board of Regents of Opera Music Theater
International. In 2007, James K. McCully will succeed
Dr. Tomas C. Hernandez, National Endowment for the Arts director of the
former Opera-Musical Theater Program,
who served as President of the Board of Regents of Opera Music Theater
International from 2004-2006.
"I invited Mr. McCully
to be an On-Site Evaluator for the Opera-Musical Theater Program based
on his familiarity with the grants process,
having been a Fellow in the Program under my predecessor, Patrick Smith,
who had left to become editor of OPERA NEWS.
I found Mr. McCully to be reliable, insightful, and thorough in
fulfilling this important task, which he agreed to do, as a service to
Among his many accomplishments, I am personally impressed with his
success in creating International Forums for Singers and Conductors;
his ability to enlist the participation of such major figures as Placido
Domingo and Dame Joan Sutherland;
his commitment to American Works; and his support of young talent."
Dr. Tomas C. Hernandez, National Endowment for the Arts,
Director of the former Opera-Musical Theater Program
Official Sponsor: Ancient & Accepted Freemasons
& Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Belmont Mansion Grand Ball, Emerging Artists Concert, featuring soprano
Hyun-Min Lee, baritone Arturo Chacon,
tenor James Baker, soprano Connie Coffelt & accompanist JoAnn Kulesza
under the direction of James K. McCully.
The Grand Ball at Belmont Mansion
Under the direction of James K.
McCully, Opera Music Theater International presented its Emerging Artists
Concert as part of the Grand Ball at Belmont Mansion in Washington D.C.
benefiting Capital Children's Charities.
The Concert occurred at the magnificent Belmont Mansion, former home of New York
Congressman Perry Belmont, with accompanist JoAnn Kulesza. The piano used for
the performance was a gold leaf 1911 Steinway Model B grand piano (one of two in
The performance at Belmont Mansion included four prominent emerging artists
showcasing a selection of bravura operatic masterworks. The performances took
place in two acts at two different times during a formal evening of cocktails,
fine cuisine, chamber music, silent auction and dancing.
The evening's goal was to reflect a dazzling evening of early 20th Century high
society entertainment in this turn of the century French inspired mansion. The
event clearly was a significant success and offered a magnificent evening.
All four singers for The Grand Ball performances have excellent voices, were
well trained, and exhibited clearly defined technique and ability. The event was
well attended. Given the nature of the event, there were times when it took the
audience some time to quiet down for the performers. The performances were
clearly appreciated, however, and the audience showed its interest in the
performances by rousing ovations after each selection.
Overall, the performances were very well executed and enjoyable. Certainly the
talent represented was excellent and the evening was clearly a major success.
Russell P. Allen - National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America consultant,
general manager of Atlanta Opera, Virginia Opera, and numerous symphony
orchestras, reviews Opera Music Theater International's Grand Ball at Belmont
Mansion Great Performances.
Metropolitan Opera Artists Carmen Balthrop, Dominic Cossa, Mattiwilda
Dobbs, Evelyn Lear, George Shirley, Thomas Stewart & Shirley Verrett
Broadway Legends and Motion Picture Icons, Emmy Award winner Marni Nixon
& Grammy Award winner William Warfield
International artist manager Ann Summers moderates this distinguished
panel of artists, offering solid advice to young singers,
direction of James K. McCully.
The husband and wife team of Thomas Stewart and Evelyn Lear is legendary.
Not only have they appeared on
every operatic stage globally, but their widespread influence can be equally
felt among academic circles.
Through the medium of master
classes, and young artist/apprenticeship programs, they are tireless in their
efforts to promote future generations of vocalists.
For over two decades, the team
of Stewart and Lear were at the height of their careers as leading Helden
Baritone and Lyric Soprano at the Chicago Lyric Opera, Metropolitan Opera,
Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden in London, and so the list goes on.
Their performances of German
opera repertory are considered to be definitive in nature. Die Walkure and Die
Meistersinger both of Wagner, Der Rosenkavalier of Strauss, and Die Zauberflote
of Mozart are exemplary here.
Theater International honored Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart with Lifetime
Achievement Awards for their illustrious careers in the history of opera, and
their commitment to a new generation of emerging artists.
The National Theatre Concert
featured OMTI Ensemble Marcia Saint Clair, mezzo; Cassondra Morrison, soprano;
Benjamin Warschawski, tenor;
Michelle Auslander, soprano; Frank Basile, bass-baritone; Awilda Oliveira,
soprano; Dr. Richard Bosworth, accompanist
& James K. McCully, general director.
Helen Hayes & James K.
The National Theatre Concert
Regarded as the quintessential
American icon, the National Theatre in Washington, DC embodies a rich tradition
of history. For a number of years, its hallowed halls have witnessed many
unforgettable performances by world renowned artists. To this day, it still
attracts a large number of devotees because of its outstanding cultural events
and community outreach.
Under the auspices of the
Shubert Organization, many stage works as well as world premieres have been
presented. The general public and critics alike have adopted the ever popular
sobriquet, "The Theatre of the Presidents," as an endearing descriptor for the
National Theatre; it has hosted every American President and First Lady for
major events since the beginning. Even the Theatre's location on the "Avenue of
the Presidents" is befitting of this revered institution.
Of no less stature, Helen Hayes
is equally known as the "First Lady of the American Theatre." She appeared as
leading actress in numerous stage productions at the National Theatre. Her
ubiquitous presence continually manages to be felt. An official portrait of her
is on permanent loan from the National Portrait Gallery and is housed at the
Helen Hayes Gallery inside the National Theatre itself.
Billed as a celebratory concert,
and as part of Monday Night at the National Theatre, presentation of Opera Music
Theatre International (OMTI) featuring ensemble members Marcia Saint Clair,
mezzo; Cassondra Morrison, soprano; Benjamin Warschawski, tenor; Michelle
Auslander, soprano; Frank Basile, bass-baritone; Awilda Oliveira, soprano; and
Dr. Richard Bosworth, accompanist in formal concert attire, under the direction
of James K. McCully in honor of John McCullough.
McCullough, a highly regarded
actor in his own right, was allegedly shot and murdered by a fellow colleague on
the premises of the National Theatre. Legend has it that his remains are buried
somewhere beneath the stage area and that his ghost appears regularly during the
evenings especially during opening nights of theatrical debuts. Washington Post
has described it as a nocturnal presence within the walls of the Theatre,
roaming about and presiding over the theatrical activities in a dutiful manner,
almost as if to say "the show must go on."
caliber of the singers that you brought to our stage was breath -
taking. Any one of them alone could have held an audience spellbound;
together the ensemble was dazzling indeed."
Donn B. Murphy, President of The National Theatre
James K. McCully Honors Banff Centre for
the Arts 20th Century Opera & Song Program At The Embassy of
National Endowment for the Arts Alexander Crary & Gigi Bolt,
Banff Centre for the Arts Keith Turnbull & OPERA CANADA Wayne
CONTEMPORARY OPERA WORLD
Welcome by Paul Frasier, James K. McCully & Marc A. Scorca
The contribution to the form of the Banff Centre for the Arts' 20th Century
Opera and Song Program was recognized at a reception held at the Canadian
Embassy in Washington, DC.
The timing of the reception coincided with the start of The Banff Centre's 65th
Anniversary Celebrations. Paul Fraser, Minister, Public Affairs (Canadian
Embassy) joined James K. McCully, Chairman (National Opera Association
Convention) and Marc A. Scorca, President & CEO (OPERA America) in welcoming
delegates and friends of the Centre to the embassy.
Graeme McDonald, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Banff Centre, and
Keith Turnbull, Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Banff Theatre Arts
represented the Centre. A highlight of the reception was the presentation of a
video retrospective of the major training programs and works developed and
produced at Banff over the last 10 years.
The Washington reception was the highlight of this year's nine city audition
tour which included London, Paris and New York as well as six Canadian cities.
Turnbill commented "on the audition tour we seek singers and instrumentalists
with depth, versatility, and an appetite for new music incorporating innovative
movement and scenography. This year the quality of applicants was extremely high
--our message is getting out. It is gratifying that we are often bringing back
Canadians who are now working in London, Paris or New York."
The uniqueness of the programming, the commitment to 20th Century works, and the
impressive list of recent world and North American premieres were all cited as
key factors in the decision to honour Banff as a world leader in the training,
development, and production of contemporary opera.
Professional artists from a variety of disciplines were auditioned for a number
of programs, including this year's world premiere opera Zurich 1916, the
Dramatic Integration, and the New Work Development programs.
Metropolitan Opera Artist Ryan Edwards Works With Emerging Artists
Robert Cantrell, Jonathan Saxon, Madeline Grey & Jose Sacin.
Accompanists Moshe Landsberg & Dr. John Bowen, under the direction of
James K. McCully, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Opera Music Theater
Institute, under the direction of James K. McCully, presented a master class by
Ryan Edwards, renown singer, author, and musicologist. The master class occurred
at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.
"A naturally gifted performer-advocated-teacher offers solid advice to
aspiring young singers."
The master class was
underwritten in part by Yamaha Artist Services, which provided a Yamaha C-7
Conservatory Concert Grand for the event. Working with Mr. Edwards (author of
"The Verdi Baritone" and "Verdi and Puccini Heroines") were accompanists Moshe
Landsberg and John Bowen.
Ryan Edwards began the Master Class with comments on his perception of talent in
the singing world today, remarks about what he is going to focus on in the
Master Class Session, and thoughts on opera production as it relates to singing
After a very brief greeting that included minimal comments about his background,
Mr. Edwards' initial statements included an overview of his thoughts about
singer training in the world today. He focused on the significant quality of
training in America and how the world's premiere emerging talent seemed to
radiate from American music conservatories. His direct quote on American singers
was that they "are the most well prepared and musically astute" singers found
Mr. Edwards then moved on to his thoughts on Guiseppe Verdi as a composer and
his relationship with singers. His insight led to his position that Verdi, more
so than any other opera composer, wrote music that epitomized the human
experience through vocal music production. Mr. Edwards cited how Verdi dealt
with humanity and human issues and managed to use opera as the medium to throw
life and its intricacies in the audience's face. Thus, in explaining his focus
for the day's session, he would use Verdi as the consummate example of how
characterizations are realized vocally.
In further explaining Verdi's mastery, Mr. Edwards continued, used various
styles of musical expression during his career; beginning with the bel canto
formula popular at the beginning of his career and evolving into the
through-composed style of his later years. Throughout his stylistic evolution,
the one constant that Mr. Edwards details in Verdi's continuing ability to make
real, human characterizations.
Found in the complete body of his repertoire, Mr. Edwards cites, is music that
breathes and emotes through an inherent intensity not found in all composers.
Mr. Edwards defined intensity as not being tension. Intensity, he said, is a
necessary component of vocal production and expression - tension is not.
Intensity is needed to define characterization: excess tension is not. Verdi's
music demands intensity for effective characterization.
Mr. Edwards was also very clear that for the best possible effort at realizing
true vocal intensity, with Verdi's (or, he implied, with any like composer) work
should be viewed as it was originally intended. Mr. Edwards said avoid "concept"
productions if one wants to truly sample Verdi's genius. Concept productions
tend to marginalize characterizations, distract from the music being presented,
and disallow appropriate focus on the humanity of the character. It's the
psychology of human emotion that makes the music relevant. And to get into
character and the emotional statement being presented, the music must first be
learned and experienced as originally presented. That's where the real
characterization has the best chance of coming through.
So, Mr. Edwards summarized his intent at today's session by stating that the
focus of the Master Class would not be on technical issues, per se. But rather
he would try to point out how best to bring forward the depth of character that
is inherent in the music.
His one bow towards technical prowess was noted in a statement regarding singers
performing on pitch. Mr. Edwards stated that any singer who cannot sing
consistently on pitch will not have any kind of career. It was clear to this
reviewer during the course of Mr. Edwards introduction of the session that he is
clearly a man of expertise on opera characterizations. It was also clear that he
aptly used Verdi as an appropriate and significant example of a composer's
mastery of characterization through music, and that his own experience and
understanding should provide for an interesting Master Class both enlightening
for the viewer and rewarding for the singers.
Throughout the Master Class, Ryan Edwards was personable, encouraging and
helpfully demonstrative. He relished what he was doing, clearly expressed his
love of singing and support of such learning activities as master classes.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Edwards gave these final words of advice:
1.) be true to
2.) be worthy of your gift,
3.) do not be ashamed or frightened, and
The Master Class itself was an
excellent example of a naturally gifted performer-advocated-teacher offering
solid advice and clearly communicated guidance to aspiring, young professional
singers. Those in attendance were able to glean good solid information from the
Master Class as well as enjoy an entertaining and fun session.
Russell P. Allen -
National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America consultant, general manager of
Atlanta Opera, Virginia Opera, and numerous symphony orchestras, reviews Opera
Music Theater International's Ryan Edward Master Class at the National Museum of
Women in the Arts in Washington DC.
The White House Concert at
The State Governors Reception for The President
performs McCully's AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT at the White House
Dr. Richard Bosworth at the EAGLE STEINWAY with OMTI Emerging Artists &
President William Jefferson Clinton gives a BIG THUMBS UP on a
successful concert at the State Governors Reception
President William Jefferson Clinton & James K.
McCully OMTI Emerging Artists & Sinfonian Chorus at the White House
"Mr. McCully, I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we are to you
for your appearance at the White House.
The President and Mrs. Clinton join me in extending many thanks for your
time and talents."
Capricia Penacia Marshall, The White House, Social Secretary
Lawrence Centennial Celebration
Lawrence Award Winner-Artist Division, Gilung Yun - Seoul, Korea
Marjorie Lawrence Award Winner-Studio Division, Jeremy Hedrick - Denton,
Ambassador of Columbia & Marjorie
Lawrence Award Judges
MET Artists Shirley Verrett, George Shirley, Evelyn Lear
& Thomas Stewart
Washington National Opera Artistic Administrator Edward Purrington
Opera Orchestra of New York Maestra Eve Queler
Opera Music Theater
International, under the direction of James K. McCully,
commemorates the 100th Anniversary of Broadway
musicals with Grammy Award Winner William Warfield of SHOW
BOAT, PORGY & BESS; Emmy Award Winner
Marni Nixon of MY FAIR
LADY, WEST SIDE STORY, THE KING & I, THE SOUND OF MUSIC;
National Endowment for the Arts,
Theater Program director Gigi Bolt; National Theatre president Dr. Donn B. Murphy;
and National Portrait Gallery cultural historian
Henderson, creator of the exhibition and book, RED, HOT &
BLUE: A Smithsonian Salute To The American Musical.
William Warfield, Marni
Nixon & James K. McCully
The 100th Anniversary of Broadway & Hollywood Musicals
A SMITHSONIAN SALUTE TO THE AMERICAN MUSICAL
"Actually to sit on a panel with William Warfield and Marni Nixon, and
repositories in all the fields, I was considering my role on this panel.
When I was at the New York State Council on the Arts, as Director of the Theater
program, I was working with Kitty Carlisle Hart, the widow of Moss Hart and
Dorothy Rodgers, Richard Rogers' wife, and I saw wonderful work all over the
state -straight plays and musicals.
There are a few moments in my memory, and one of those was a night over at
Dorothy Rodgers' apartment for a meeting. I was standing at the far end of the
living room, and sitting there at the other side of the room at the piano was
Richard Rodgers, playing away at a tune, working something out. I couldn't
believe that I was seeing it, and I have felt that way ever since.
There have been so many moments that I treasure in the musical theater, from the
excitement of the opening night of CHORUS LINE on Broadway, or the revivals of
SHOW BOAT and CAROUSEL, SHE LOVES ME, and GUYS & DOLLS, to the new music
explorations of Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthall.
Julie had done so much work in the small theaters off of Broadway for the last
twenty years before being given the opportunity like this, that so many of our
magnificent artists have not yet received, people like Polly Penn, Jonathan
Larson, Martha Clarke, and so many others.
It was this sweep in evolution and this sense of cultural historical development
that was, for those of you who have not seen the exhibition that was so
absolutely stunning. Thrilling! All of the joy, and hope, and genius, and shared
spirit and energy were right there, and I'm so glad "RED, HOT & BLUE" is touring
the country. I salute you Amy. It was wonderful."
GIGI BOLT, Director of Theater Program, National Endowment
for the Arts
Director of Theater Program, New York State Council on the Arts
RED, HOT & BLUE: A Smithsonian Salute To The American Musical, was published to
coincide with the Washington, DC, exhibition of the same name at the National
Portrait Gallery, which co-created both exhibition and book with the National
Museum of American History.
MARNI NIXON MUSIC THEATER MASTER CLASS
OMTI James K. McCully's Protege & Pupil Wendy Lane Bailey "One of the area's best singers." ~ The Washington Post ~
To the last pupil, Wendy Lane Bailey, Ms. Cook
said, ''I'm sure people tell you all the time that you're real good,
because you are." BARBARA COOK MASTER CLASS AT KENNEDY CENTER ~ The New York Times ~
would like to thank James K. McCully, and Opera Music Theater
International for allowing us to do this."
Amy Henderson, National Portrait Gallery, Cultural historian & Creator
of the Exhibition and Book
RED, HOT & BLUE: A Smithsonian Salute To The American Musical
Widely acclaimed by audiences
and critics alike, Carlisle Floyd belongs to a rare breed in the annals of music
He is considered to be the most
influential operatic composer in America and has remained at the pinnacle of his
profession for over half a century.
Among his stage works, Susannah
(1955), Of Mice and Men (1970), and Cold Sassy Tree (2000) highlight his unusual
gift for melody. The arias contained within exemplify the expressive and intense
lyrical nature of his musical language.
To date, Floyd's total operatic
output is in constant demand among major opera companies across the United
States such as Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and
the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The Passion of Jonathan Wade and
Willie Stark were a testament to his popularity in these venues.
The New Yorker music critic
Andrew Porter's aphoristic statement..."he has learned the international
language of successful opera in order to speak it in his own accents and to
enrich it with the musical and vernacular idioms of his own
country"...pretty much says it all.
Opera Music Theater International honored Carlisle Floyd with a Lifetime
Achievement Award for bringing a national voice to American themes in his series
of contemporary American operas.
"Mr. McCully, I am deeply honoured by the
Award of Excellence that you have given me. I very much appreciate this
Composing is sometimes a very lonely occupation and it is very
gratifying to have this kind of recognition."
Thea Musgrave, Opera
Composer, SIMON BOLIVAR, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, & MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
His Holiness Pope
Benedict XVI Celebrates Solemn Vespers In The Crypt And Addresses
United States Bishops At The Basilica of the National Shrine of the
Photos are copyrighted and courtesy of
the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Opera Music Theater
International Studio Artist Edward M. Kerrick
Sings Solemn Vespers at the National Shrine of the Immaculate
Conception Before His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Addresses the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the
Washington Basilica Crypt
"Maestro McCully, there are no words to describe
how much you have transformed me. In all of the
I have studied voice, I have never discovered so
much about myself before working with you. You
singing multiple high C s my very first lesson
and had me singing repertoire more advanced than
I ever thought possible. I never believed in a
million years that I would be seeing myself as
the next tenor on the rise, let alone be
recognized the same way by others. You have been
my teacher, but my Guardian Angel that led me
into the right path of musical success. You
believed in me,
challenged me, supported me, and most
importantly, guided me. I now see that God has a
musical plan for me
thanks to you and I will only continue to grow
leaps and bounds with your amazing world class
You are the most influential instructor of voice
I have ever had.
Thank you so much for all that you have done. " ~
Edward M. Kerrick, Studio Artist
~ National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
James K. McCully Welcomes
International Congress On Singer Training Delegates From Around the
European Union Opera-Felicity Jackson, International Resource Centre for
Performing Artists-Ann Summers,
& Banff Centre for the Arts 20th Century Opera & Song Program-Keith
Metropolitan Opera National
Council Auditions Gayletha Nichols addresses International Congress on Singer
Training and moderator Michelle Krisel, Washington National Opera Center for
Training & Education.
Opera Sopranos Shirley Verrett & Mattiwilda Dobbs
Maestro Everett Lee & Grammy Winner William Warfield
Legacy Awards In Washington DC
On the evening of January 16 during the 43rd National Opera Association
Convention chaired by James K. McCully, The Legacy Awards took
The Legacy Awards were initiated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in honor of
African American singers who have made outstanding
contributions in opera and music theater.
The Honorary Chairs of The Legacy Awards, Todd Duncan & Mattiwilda Dobbs, were amongst the first cohort of honorees.
Co-Hosts were Shirley Verrett and
yours truly [George Shirley],
and honorees were conductor Everett Lee, baritone Fred Thomas,
and sopranos Margaret Tynes and Adele Addison.
A greatly anticipated feature of The Legacy Awards is the concert of operatic
arias and ensembles performed by some of the most outstanding young African
American and Afro-Canadian singers on the horizon.
On this occassion, following the concert, there were three surprises,
unrehearsed additions to the evening's artistry:
A sonorous rendition of "Ole Man River" from the golden throat
of septuagenarian William Warfield;
A silvery "Summertime" from the ever-youthful Mattiwilda Dobbs; &
A beautiful excerpt from "Carousel" sung by the peerless voice of
The audience was on its feet, and the young artists were in awe of the
opportunity they had been afforded to witness The Legacy incarnate!
It was truly a night to cherish, an extraordinary moment in a
George Shirley, The Metropolitan Opera, International Artist