A Letter from the Director of the Stony Brook Opera

This will be the last Newsletter that I will write and edit, for at the end of the current academic year, I’m retiring after 49 years of teaching, conducting, and
doing all kinds of administration at Stony Brook.
Running the opera program all these years has been
particularly rewarding to me. The program began in
the Spring of 1970 as a collaboration between the
Departments of Music and Theater Arts. For the first
several years we produced our operas in the tiny
Calderone Theater on South campus, where the
Theater Arts Department was housed. Generally the
number of performers exceeded the number of
audience members in this very small space. As time
went on, our two departments went our separate
ways, and after the Staller Center was constructed,
we entered into a partnership with the Staller Center,
which has lasted until today. Beginning with our next season, Brenda Harris, who is directing our Fledermaus, will assume my duties as Artistic Director of Stony Brook Opera. She is excited to take over, and has great ideas for the future. This last issue of our current season is devoted to Johann Strauss Junior’s popular operetta Die Fledermaus, and includes an article about the work by Ryan Minor, Associate Professor of Music in the Department of Music (see pp. 2-3), the Metropolitan opera synopsis of the opera (pp. 3-4), an interview with Brenda Harris and our projections and lighting designer Joey Moro (pp. 4-6), and an introduction to our three guest singers for this production (pp. 7-8): soprano Julia Radosz (Rosalinda), tenor Christopher Reames (Falke), and tenor Chad Kranak (Frosch, and choral tenor parts). Julia makes her Stony Brook debut, but Chris is an alum whom we are bringing back, and Chad appeared as Normanno in our 2014 production of Lucia di Lammermoor. We were all heartened by the full houses and enthusiastic response to our chamber production of Rameau’s Pigmalion in the Recital Hall at the beginning of March, and we look forward to welcoming all of you to the Main Stage for our Fledermaus at the end of April (see the Date Line on p.9) This production will be fully staged, with projected sets and theatrical lighting by Joey Moro, costumes selected by our stage director, Brenda Harris, with furniture and props borrowed from the Theater Arts Department and other prop-rental houses. I’ll conduct the Stony Brook Opera cast and chorus, and the Stony Brook Symphony orchestra. Don’t miss this production of Strauss’ delightful comic masterpiece, which will be sung in English with projected titles. I hope to see many of you there at the performances. Finally, I want to express my profound gratitude to all of you for your support of our program over the years.

David Lawton