Skip to main content

Full text of "Great American voices military base tour : unforgettable melodies from opera & Broadway"

See other formats

National Endowment For The Arts 



M"-' TAR 

E Tq 


* » . 
■ ♦ 


Unforgettable Melddie 

Dpera «5t Broadway 

Made possible by 

Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is proud to present the Great American Voices Military Base 
Tour. This national initiative will continue our goal of serving military services personnel and their 
families by providing admission-free professional performances of opera and Broadway classics. 
Supplemental educational activities will be available for both adults and youth to enhance their 
understanding of the music. 

Great American Voices builds on the existing partnership between the NEA and the Department of 
Defense as reflected through such NEA projects as Operation Homecoming and Shakespeare in American 
Communities. In April 2004, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience was launched as a 
national initiative to bring writing workshops with distinguished authors to more than 20 military 
bases nationwide and abroad. In fall 2004, the NEA launched the Shakespeare in American Communities 
Military Base Tour, which brought the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and its production of Macbeth to 
13 U.S. bases. 

Through Great American Voices, the NEA aims to foster long-term partnerships among military bases 
seeking cultural programming and regional opera companies with community outreach programs. 
Performances will take place at domestic military installations as early as July 2005 and will continue 
through August 2006, with 23 opera companies serving 39 military installations nationwide. 

The NEA offers its sincere thanks to staff at participating bases for their invaluable assistance in 
coordinating these performances. We are grateful to the participating opera companies for their 
creativity and enthusiasm in reaching out to new military audiences. Most of all, we extend our 
appreciation to the men and women who serve our country in the armed services, and to the families 
that support them. We hope you enjoy the show. 

Great American Voices is presented with assistance from OPERA America. Great American Vo ices is made 
possible by The Boeing Company. 

A Night at the Opera, A Trip to Broadway 

Photo by Vance Jacobs. 

Opera is one of the most exciting and enjoyable arts. Although it may seem 
intimidating to some people, those who get the chance to experience opera 
in person usually come away dazzled. 

Opera is great singing, heartfelt passion, and unforgettable music. It's no 
wonder that — until the appearance of movies — opera was for centuries 
the most popular art form in the world. Audiences flocked to it for laughter, 
tears, romance, terror, and suspense. Opera singers were the first interna- 
tional superstars, and opera composers like Giuseppe Verdi and Wolfgang 
Amadeus Mozart became national heroes. Legendary tenor Enrico Caruso 
was the first musician ever to sell records in the millions. 

Opera has always been enormously popular in the United States. It played to huge audiences from 
coast to coast — not only in cultural centers like New York or Philadelphia, but also in Gold Rush 
California and antebellum New Orleans. In the 1960s opera singers were regular guests on major 
television variety programs, from The Tonight Show to The Ed Sullivan Show. Today opera appears in 
many aspects of popular culture, and was featured in such films as The Godfather, The Shawshank 
Redemption, Moonstruck, and Pretty Woman. 

The Broadway musical began as an American attempt to create a native version of Italian opera and 
Viennese operetta. Like opera, Broadway musicals tell powerful human stories through song. 

Building on these great musical traditions, the National Endowment for the Arts presents the Great 
American Voices Military Base Tour. This program provides an evening of unforgettable melodies from 
opera and Broadway classics at military bases nationwide. Each performance will feature young artists 
from leading American opera companies. The singers will also present workshops at local schools and 
community centers to enhance understanding and appreciation of the music. 

Great American Voices is made possible by the generous support of The Boeing Company. The Arts 
Endowment is delighted to bring the best of the arts to military communities through Great American 

See you at the opera. 

Dana Gioia 

Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts 

Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

Participating Military Bases Participating Dpera Companies 

Albany Marine Corps Base (Albany, GA) 

Camp Lejeune (Jacksonville, NC) 

Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA) 

Eglin AFB (Valparaiso, FL) 

Elmendorf AFB (Anchorage, AK) 

F.E. Warren AFB (Cheyenne, WY) 

Fort Benning (Columbus, GA) 

Fort Campbell (Clarksville, TN) 

Fort Carson (Colorado Springs, CO) 

Fort Drum (Watertown, NY) 

Fort Hood (Killeen, TX) 

Fort Jackson (Columbia, SC) 

Fort Knox (Louisville, KY) 

Fort Leavenworth (Leavenworth, KS) 

Fort Leonard Wood (Waynesville, MO) 

Fort McCoy (Sparta, WI) 

Fort Polk (Leesville, LA) 

Fort Stewart (Hinesville, GA) 

Grand Forks AFB (Grand Forks, ND) 

Lackland AFB (San Antonio, TX) 

Langley AFB (Newport News, VA) 

Los Angeles AFB (Los Angeles, CA) 

Malmstrom AFB (Great Falls, MT) 

MCAS Miramar (San Diego, CA) 

Minot AFB (Minot, ND) 

NAS Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL) 

NAS North Island (San Diego, CA) 

Naval Base Kitsap (Silverdale, WA) 

Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA) 

Naval Station Pearl Harbor (Pearl Harbor, HI) 

Offutt AFB (Omaha, NE) 

Picatinny Arsenal (Wharton, NJ) 

Randolph AFB (San Antonio, TX) 

Schofield Barracks (Wahiawa, HI) 

Sheppard AFB (Wichita Falls, TX) 

MCAGCC Twentynine Palms (Twentynine Palms, CA) 

Tyndall AFB (Panama City, FL) 

United States Military Academy (West Point, NY) 

Wright-Patterson AFB (Dayton, OH) 

Anchorage Opera (Anchorage, AK) 

The Atlanta Opera (Atlanta, GA) 

Des Moines Metro Opera (Indianola, IA) 

Fort Worth Opera Association (Fort Worth, TX) 

Hawaii Opera Theatre (Honolulu, HI) 

Kentucky Opera (Louisville, KY) 

Los Angeles Opera (Los Angeles, CA) 

Lyric Opera of Chicago (Chicago, IL) 

Lyric Opera of Kansas City (Kansas City, MO) 

Michigan Opera Theatre (Detroit, MI) 

The Minnesota Opera Company (Minneapolis, MN) 

Opera Carolina (Charlotte, NC) 

Opera Colorado (Denver, CO) 

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (Saint Louis, MO) 

Orlando Opera (Orlando, FL) 

Pensacola Opera (Pensacola, FL) 

Pittsburgh Opera (Pittsburgh, PA) 

Rimrock Opera Company (Billings, MT) 

San Diego Opera Association (San Diego, CA) 

The Santa Fe Opera (Santa Fe, NM) 

Seattle Opera (Seattle, WA) 

Virginia Opera Association (Norfolk, VA) 

Washington National Opera (Washington, DC) 


For more information on these organizatio 
please visit 


(As of September 1, 2005. Bases are subject to change.) 

Scott Ramsay, Tracie Luck, Staff Sgt. Alvy Powell, and Robin Follman perform with 
Opera Carolina and the Winston-Salem Symphony at Camp Lejeune, July 4, 2005. 
Photo by Leslie Liberato/NEA. 

"There is no art form so mesmerizing as opera at its best." 
— Joyce Carol Oates, author 

Opera Is All Around Ydu 

Opera is all around you, and you may not even know it. It can be found in commercials, cartoons, television, movies, and 
even on Broadway. By the end of the performance you will hear today, you may discover that you are familiar with many 
opera melodies. The next time you turn on the television or the radio, or go to the movies, listen closely, and you may find 
that opera plays a larger role in your life than you had previously thought. Below are just some of the ways that opera has 
found a place in popular culture. 

What's Opera, Doc? 

Everyone remembers Elmer Fudd singing "Kill the wabbit . . . 
kill the wabbit" as he searches for Bugs Bunny in the Warner 
Bros, cartoons. But did you know that Elmer's melody came 
from opera? The tune is courtesy of Richard Wagner, and can be 
found in his opera Die Walkure, part of his famous Ring Cycle. 

Warner Bros, also includes several melodies from Rossini's II 
barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) as part of a cartoon 
featuring Bugs Bunny emulating one of the most popular 
characters in opera, Figaro, a barber from the Spanish city of 
Seville, as he tries to outsmart Elmer Fudd. 

Opera is fdr Kids of All Abes 

Bugs Bunny episodes are not the only way that today's adults 
were introduced to opera and musical theater as children. The 
Muppet Show and Sesame Street also offered many opportuni- 
ties. Beverly Sills and Luciano Pavarotti are among the opera 
celebrities who have performed with the Muppets. In the 
1980s, Placido Flamingo, a pink bird inspired by tenor, 
conductor, and arts administrator Placido Domingo, appeared 
on Sesame Street as a regular character. More recently, Denyce 
Graves recorded "Elmo's Opera Lullaby." 

While The Muppet Show and Sesame Street still reach 
children today, even more opera programming is available 
for kids. Acclaimed soprano Joan Sutherland created the series, 
"Who's Afraid of Opera?", which features opera tales and 

excerpts told and sung by Sutherland and puppets. Recent 
popular videos for children have featured opera, including 
"Baby Mozart," which combines Mozart compositions such 
as Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) with stimulating 
imagery for infants, and "Sumo at the Opera," a VeggieTales 
story that stars Larry the Cucumber in an operatic lesson on 

Opera On the Small Screen 

Opera has found a place in television, as a part of both 
programming and commercials. 

Opera has been the backdrop for such television shows as Grace 
Under Fire, Just Shoot Me!, and Will and Grace. Nathan Lane 
starred as a retired opera singer in the sitcom Encore! Encore! 
President Bartlett on The West Wing frequently attends the 
opera and is an opera devotee. 

Other programs have incorporated opera into episodes: 

• on Frasier, both Frasier and Niles are season ticket holders. 
In one episode, Frasier is befriended by a fictitious stage 
director at Seattle Opera, played by Patrick Stewart; 

• in one memorable episode of Seinfeld, the gang gets tickets 
to see the opera Pagliacci. Aspects of the opera's story of a 
troupe of traveling theater players whose indiscretions have 
tragic consequences are played out in "real" life, as Elaine's 
boyfriend becomes obsessed with her and follows her to the 
theater in a clown suit. 

Opera singers have been featured guests on many television 
variety shows over the years. Renowned opera star Beverly Sills 
appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and had her 
own television special with Carol Burnett. Denyce Graves and 
Renee Fleming have appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien 
and the Late Show with David Letterman, respectively, and both 
have guest starred on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 

Audra McDonald, a three-time Tony Award-winner before she 
was 30, is known for her work on Broadway and has 
performed on some of the greatest stages worldwide. In 

Luciano Pavarotti with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Photo courtesy of 

Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

addition to her vocal work, she has increasingly earned film 
and television credits, including appearing as a guest star on 
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and starring in the series Mr. 
Sterling with Josh Brolin. 

Soprano Audra McDonald as Jackie Brock and Josh Brolin as Senator Bill 
in the NBC Series, Mister Sterling. Photo by Vivian Zink and courtesy of NBC 

Even MTV has gotten in on the act, releasing the movie-musical 
Carmen: A Hip Hopera. This update to Georges Bizet's Carmen 
features rapping as well as singing, and stars pop singer 
Beyonce Knowles, actor Mekhi Phifer, and a cast of young 
actors and hip-hop performers. 

Commercials Cash in with Opera 

Opera has been used to sell such brands as Barilla Tomato 
Sauce, British Airways, Sony, Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Hut, and 
MasterCard, often creating memorable moments. Beyonce 
Knowles has belted out the sexy "Habanera" from Carmen to 
sell soft drinks, and another commercial featured a puppy 
promoting flea powder by singing "Hello, Mother," to the 
music from La Gioconda. 

In addition, an award-winning ad campaign from Nike showed 
basketball player Charles Barkley singing about and dueling 
over sneakers, to tunes from II barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber 
of Seville), surrounded by operatic referees, cheerleaders, and 

Opera, Ready for Its Close-Up 

If you've gone to the movies recently, chances are good you've 
heard some opera. Opera has been used to heighten tension, 
provide comic relief, and convey emotion in such varied films 
as The Shawshank Redemption, Fatal Attraction, The Godfather, 
Apocalyp. > Now, Moonstruck, Philadelphia, and Bend It Like 
Becktvi .cerpts frequently serve as background music, 

but opera often can be central to the plot. 

In Pretty Woman, Edward (Richard Gere) takes Vivian (Julia 
Roberts) to the opera La traviata, which tells a tale of a 
courtesan who has fallen in love with someone above her 
stature, much in the same way that Vivian has fallen for 
Edward. As Vivian watches the action unfold on the stage, she 
realizes she is watching her life story and has a very strong 
emotional reaction to the opera. 

The Thrill of Victory 

Music has long been used to heighten "the thrill of victory and 
the agony of defeat," no more so than when The Three Tenors' 
version of "Nessun dorma" from Turandot became soccer's 
World Cup anthem in 1990. 

Opera singers also appear regularly at major sporting events to 
perform the national anthem. Soprano Renee Fleming and 
mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves sang the anthem at the 2003 
and 2001 World Series, respectively. 

Soprano Renee Fleming sings the national anthem 
prior to game 2 of the Major League Baseball World 
Series in 2003 at Yankee Stadium. Photo by Mike 
Blake-Pool/Getty Images. 

Are They or Aren't They? 

Opera's ability to reach people has hit the mainstream with an 
abundance of recording artists: Andrea Bocelli, Charlotte 
Church, Josh Groban, and now Amici and II Divo, the group 
created by American Idol's Simon Cowell. With a few 
exceptions, these are not the singers you will find on opera's 
stages. Enjoy these artists, and remember that there are 
thousands of opera singers waiting to perform at an opera 
house near you. 

"People's reactions to opera the first time they see it are very dramatic. They either love it, or they hate it. If they love it, 
they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul." 

— Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere) in Pretty Woman 

Past and Present 

Many of our most beloved patriotic songs were written in the 1800s. Our national anthem, 
"The Star-Spangled Banner," was written in 1814; "America the Beautiful" was composed in 
1893; and John Philip Sousa, the March King, wrote "Stars and Stripes Forever" in 1896. In 
the 1900s, Irving Berlin, Aaron Copland, and George M. Cohan wrote some of our nation's 
most recognizable patriotic music: "God Bless America," "Fanfare for the Common Man," and 
"Yankee Doodle Dandy." Today, we continue to celebrate our national pride with these classic 
works. Similarly, many of opera's greatest hits are also from the past. Though opera's history 
began well before our young nation, the music of both genres continues to delight 

Classical period rejected many musical 
techniques that defined Baroque music. 
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific 
composer during this time. A child prodigy, 
by age four he played keyboard, by age five 
he played violin, and by age six he composed 
his first work of music (a minuet). 

He lived only 35 years, but Mozart wrote 
more than 20 Italian operas and popular 
German music theater pieces. Many of his 
operas center around regular people rather 
than mythological, Biblical, or historical 
stories. Mozart's operas continue to be 
popular; Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute), Le 
nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), and 
Don Giovanni are among the top operatic 
works performed today. 

Stephanie Blythe as Caesar sings to Elizabeth Futral's 
Cleopatra in Opera Colorado's 2005 production of Handel's 
Julius Caesar. Photo by P. Switzer. 

LATE 1 5DDS-1 75D — 

Renaissance and Baroque 

The birth of opera can be traced to the 
Renaissance era, though it gained 
popularity during the Baroque period. 
Composers working in the Baroque period 
created a complicated and fancy style of 
music. Opera singers needed to have flexible 
voices capable of handling the extra notes 
and embellished music designed to enhance 
the dramatic effect of the story. The focus 
of opera in the Baroque period was 
frequently on religious tales or mythology. 
Handel, a prominent opera composer of this 
period, is best-known for his oratorio 
Messiah, a popular work often performed 
today at Christmas and Easter concerts. 

Late 1 7 CDs — 

In favor of writing music 
that was clear and simple 
to follow, composers of the 

Bruce Sledge, Dale Travis, and Ana Maria Martinez in The Santa Fe 
Opera's 2005 production of Rossini's // barbiere di Siviglia ( The 
Barber of Seville). Photo by Ken Howard. 

LATE 1 7DDS-1 B5DS — 
Bel Canto 

The Bel Canto period is defined by beautiful 
singing. More than any other style of opera, 
the music written during the Bel Canto 
period was created to showcase the singers' 
range, power, and flexibility. Opera stories 

Did Ydu 

Mozart's life was brought 
to the big screen in the 
1984 Academy Award- 
winning movie Amadeus. 

Rossini was famed for his 
short temper. While 
conducting a rehearsal 
one day, he was dismayed 
to hear a squealing noise 
emanating from a player's 
horn. "What's that?" he 
fumed, and instructed the 
player to go home. As the 
player was leaving, 
Rossini snapped, "I'll join 
you later." The player in 
question? Rossini's own 

Rossini wrote 7/ barbiere 
di Siviglia (The Barber of 
Seville) in 13 days and, 
according to legend, he 
spent the whole time in 
his dressing gown, 


Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

Aida is the quintessential 
grand opera due in Large 
part to its triumphal march. 
The stage fills with 
numerous people, usually 
about 100 actors, but 
legend has it that in one 
production in a Connecticut 
arena in the 1980s, 1001 
actors were used. Over the 
years, the procession has 
also featured such animals 
as elephants, tigers, and 


More than 100 years after 
its world premiere (and after 
thousands of performances 
worldwide), Puccini's La 
boheme recently made its 
Broadway debut. Australian 
producer Baz Luhrmann — 
of Moulin Rouge and Strictly 
Ballroom fame — brought 
La boheme to the Broadway 
stage and popular acclaim. 
His interest in this piece and 
the attention of audiences 
showcase how relevant time- 
tested classics are today. 


Turandot, which was left 
unfinished at the time of 
Puccini's death, debuted 
17 months later. Though a 
final scene had been added 
by another composer, 
conductor Arturo Toscanini 
chose to end the opera with 
Liu's death, following the 
last notes that Puccini had 
inscribed. The conductor 
simply set down his baton 
and, preempting applause, 
turned around to make the 
:f e to an 

triumph he said, 

and left the pit. Fhe ligh 
went up, and the audience 
dispersed in silence. 

during this period frequently focused on 
passion and romance. 

The most important Italian opera composer 
of the first half of the 19th century, and a 
leader in the Bel Canto style, Gioacchino 
Rossini reinvented the form and content of 
Italian opera. By the age of 20, he was the 
leading composer in Italy, and he went on to 
conquer the music worlds of Austria, France, 
and England. He was comfortable writing 
serious opera, but is perhaps best known for 
his comic operas: II barbiere di Siviglia (The 
Barber of Seville) and La Cenerentola (a re- 
telling of the story of Cinderella). 

Another important Bel Canto composer was 
Gaetano Donizetti. Born quite poor, his life 
changed forever when a conductor educated 
him and sent him to a prestigious music 
school. Donizetti moved from Italy to Paris 
and finally to Vienna while pursuing his 
career. His legacy includes many operas, of 
which the most well-known is Lucia di 
Lammermoor, based on a popular 19th- 
century English novel. 

Mid- to Late 
1 BDDs — 
The Dominance 

of Verdi 

verdi During his lifetime, 

Giuseppe Verdi dominated 
the opera scene in Italy. At a memorial a 
month after his funeral, thousands of people 
filled the streets of Milan and sang the most 
famous of his choruses, "Va, pensiero" from 
his opera Nabucco. Verdi wanted to convey a 
more realistic theatrical experience. In his 
operas, more was demanded of the lead 
performers, orchestra, and chorus, both 
musically and dramatically. Verdi's La traviata 
and Rigoletto are among the most popular 
operatic works performed by opera 
companies today. Verdi is also known for 
developing the style of grand opera, with 
large casts of singers, stunning sets, 
beautiful costumes, and high drama. A 
classic example of this is his opera Aida, 
which is set in ancient Egypt. 

Orlando Opera's 2004 production of Leoncavallo's 
Pagliacci. Photo by Tony Firriolo. 

Late ibdds to 

early 1 9qds 

Verismo and Puccini 

"Verismo" means "realism" in Italian, and 
this realism was often portrayed in opera 
through central themes of passion, violence, 
or sensational depictions of daily life. The 
writers and playwrights of this time were 
particularly interested in new subject matter 
that reflected life in the lower classes, local 
customs, the southern regions of Italy, and 
regional language and idioms. Examples of 
Verismo operas are Pietro Mascagni's 
Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) and 
Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. 

Giacomo Puccini was one 
of the composers 
connected to the Verismo 
period. Puccini was born 
into a family of church 
musicians and was 
expected to follow in his 
father's footsteps. 
However, he attended a 
performance of Verdi's Aida that changed 
the course of his life, and ultimately altered 
the landscape of opera with his well-known 
compositions. He took time between operas, 
refining the previous one, selecting the 
topic of the next, and hunting for game. His 
operas are known for their musical 
accessibility and dramatic stories. Madama 
Butterfly La boheme, Turandot, and Tosca 
are among the most frequently performed 
operas today. 


"My association with opera has opened my eyes. Singers are as passionate about their arias as I am about batting .390. 

If only we could get patrons to do the wave!" 
— George Brett, baseball player 


American Musicals 
and Opera 

George Gershwin, born in 1898, 
began his musical career as a 
songwriter working with his 
lyricist brother, Ira, creating 
such songs as "They Can't Take 
That Away From Me" and "Love 
Is Here To Stay." The Gershwins were at home 
on Broadway, but perhaps their best-known 
work — Porgy and Bess — continues to be the 
most performed American work on opera 

The 1940s brought Oklahoma! from the prolific 
duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein 
II. In many ways, this musical marked a 
turning point for Broadway composers. It was 
the first time that composers focused on 
creating characterizations through music 
instead of simply writing beautiful melodies, 
and it was the first musical in which all the 
songs were recorded for a soundtrack album. 
Rodgers and Hammerstein continued into the 
1950s with Carousel, South Pacific, The King 
and I, and The Sound of Music. 

In 1954 the music world was taken by storm by 
West Side Story, an interpretation of 
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Written by 
Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen 
Sondheim, this work is infused with classical, 
pop, jazz, and Latin music. Bernstein also gave 
us Candide, and Sondheim has since composed 
Tony Award-winning works that have been 
performed on both Broadway and opera stages, 
including Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, 
and Into the Woods. 

The 1950s also saw important premieres on the 
opera stage — 1954's The Tender Land by 
Aaron Copland, known to many as the com- 
poser of "Fanfare for the Common Man," and 
Susannah by Carlisle Floyd, which premiered at 
Florida State University in 1955. Floyd is an 
important composer of modern American opera 
and continues to write today, most recently 
premiering Cold Sassy Tree. 

In the 1960s and 70s, opera's popularity in 
the United States grew. The result was the 
establishment of opera companies in cities of 
all sizes. No longer were major cities the only 
choice for opera lovers. With the increased 

number of opera houses and with growing 
audiences, companies focused on 
commissioning new works. 

Sandra Piques Eddy, Benjamin Bunsold, Jennifer Dudley, Coral 
Owdom, and Tawney Seward perform in Fort Worth Opera's 
2005 production of Adamo's Little Women. Photo courtesy of 
Fort Worth Opera Association. 

Present Day — 
Blurred Lines 

New operas are created around a variety of 
subjects, many of which originate in 
literature. Examples include Little Women, 
composed by Mark Adamo, based on the 
classic novel by Louisa May Alcott; The 
Great Gatsby by John Harbison, based on 
the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel; and Margaret 
Garner by Richard Danielpour and Toni 
Morrison, an opera about a historic person 
whose story also serves as the basis of 
Morrison's book Beloved. 

On Broadway, many musicals are based on 
texts that originated as operas. The musical 
Rent, written by Jonathan Larson, is based 
on Puccini's La boheme and focuses on the 
relationships of struggling young people. 
Larson updated Puccini's opera to feature a 
rock score and changed the setting from 
Paris to New York City, but the challenges 
facing the characters, as well as the strong 
emotions felt among them, are timeless. 

Another popular opera story, Madama 
Butterfly, has played to packed houses as 
the musical Miss Saigon, written by Claude- 
Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil. The 
opera explores the tragic love story 
between a young Japanese geisha and an 
American soldier at the turn of the 19th 
century. The musical sets the story in 
Saigon during the Vietnam War, but the 
passion between the young couple and the 
tragedy that overtakes their lives remain 
the same. 

Gershwin's musical Of Thee 
I Sing was awarded the 
first Pulitzer Prize for a 
musical comedy. 

At the turn of this century, 
Time magazine listed 
Rodgers and Hammerstein 
among the "Top 100 Most 
Important People of the 
[20 th ] Century." 

Shirley Jones (a.k.a. Mrs. 
Partridge from the 1970s 
sitcom The Partridge 
Family) sang the ingenue 
in the movie versions of 
Oklahoma! and Carousel. 

Gertrude Lawrence, the 
actress who created the 
role of Anna in The King 
and I, was buried in the 
pink satin hoop ballgown 
that she wore during the 
famous "Shall We Dance" 

Bernstein wrote Candide 
and West Side Story at the 
same time. The now famous 
"Tonight" duet was 
originally planned for 
Candide, and "Oh, Happy 
We" was originally for West 
Side Story. 


After a seven-year struggle 
to get Rent produced, 
composer Larson saw the 
first preview performance 
and then died unexpect- 
edly, leaving behind a 
musical that has cult-like 

Composer artist renderings by Mary McHale, courtesy of Cleveland Opera. 

Continued on page 12. 


Participating Bases and Dpera Companies 

Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

Continued from page 9. 

Patrick Miller dips Anna Christy in Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2004 
production of Bolcom's A Wedding. Photo by Dan Rest. 

Most recently, Elton John and Tim Rice collaborated on Aida, 
based on Verdi's opera, explaining that it is an "ageless story 
of love and betrayal." This musical premiered after their other 
collaboration, Disney's The Lion King. 

Broadway and opera are thriving today with productions of 
new works and old favorites. Hot tickets on Broadway include 
the Tony Award-winning musicals Spamalot and The Producers, 
as well as revivals of Fiddler on the Roof and Sweet Charity. In 
opera, William Bolcom's A Wedding, based on Robert Altman's 
movie, had its highly anticipated premiere; Jake Heggie's 
recent Dead Man Walking continues to be presented by 
numerous companies; and a number of classic operas such as 

Madama Butterfly, II barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of 
Seville), and La traviata highlight opera company seasons. 

Opera and patriotic music both have a long and rich history 
and continue to move us today. Just as U.S. citizens love to 
tap their toes to familiar marches, opera audiences never tire 
of crying when La boheme's Mimi dies, gasping when Tosca 
stabs Scarpia, or laughing when Bartolo is outwitted by his 
ward in II barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). Both 
genres offer songs and arias from the past and present that 
have entertained audiences for centuries and most assuredly 
will delight future generations. 

Oenyce Graves singing at the National Prayer Service for the 
victims of September 11 th . Photo by Donovan Marks. 

Opera for the Brave df Heart 

A history of opera is not complete without recognizing Richard Wagner. Born the same year as Verdi, he was an 
innovator who created works on a large scale. Wagner's operas deal with the legends and mythology of Nordic and 
^nic culture. He takes his time telling the stories and his music stretches the abilities of most singers, often 

' j operas difficult to perform. His operas have developed a strong fan base, with opera lovers traveling the 
his complete Ring Cycle, which includes four individual operas performed over several evenings: 
Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung. 


"I was in my late 40s before I seriously began attending opera. It has been worth the wait. I am quite naive about music, 

but nothing would make me change my naivete for sophistication, because it means that almost every opera that I see, 

I'm seeing for the first time, and everything, therefore, is fresh and surprising." 

— Patrick Stewart, actor 


Debunking Myths 

"I had some friends drag me to an opera recently, you know how they've got those little opera glasses, you know, do 
you really need binoculars, I mean how big do these people have to get before you can spot 'em? The opera kids they're 
going two-fifty, two-eighty, three-twenty-five, they're wearing big white woolly vests, the women have like the breast 
plates, the bullet hats with the horn coming out. If you can't pick these people out, forget opera, think about 
optometry, maybe that's more your thing." 

— Jerry Seinfeld 


Jerry Seinfeld's closing monologue from "The Opera" episode of Seinfeld, where he and his friends attend the opera, 
captures the sentiments of many people when they think about opera. However, if you look a little closer, you'll discover 
that many of these stereotypes don't hold true in today's opera performances. 

Breast Plates and Horns 
For the record, breast plates and horns on the hats are a feature 
of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle. This four-part musical 
extravaganza features gods, giants, humans, and the underworld, 
and the costumes are similar to those in epics such as Troy and 
Gladiator. But, like movies, operas have a wide variety of settings 
and styles, and you can see everything from extravagant period 
costumes to modern-day attire. 

It's Ndt Dver 
'til the Fat Lady 

Although opera singers are 
typically thought of as 
having full figures, as well 
as full voices, this is not 
always the case. Several 
opera singers have made 
People magazine's annual 
"Most Beautiful People" list, 
including Kathleen Battle 
and Thomas Hampson. 
Singing is athletic, and today's singers care for their bodies, 
which house their instruments — their voices. They must be able 
to project their voices, without microphones, into theaters that 
seat as many as 4,000 people. 

Long and Bdring 

The average opera is approximately three hours long, which is 
comparable to many Academy Award-winning movies including 
The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Saving Private Ryan, and Titanic. 
In opera, at least, the three-hour performances include 
intermissions! Operas also tell timeless stories of love, 

Soprano Anna Netrebko. Photo courtesy of 
Los Angeles Opera. 

deception, seduction, jealousy, passion, loyalty, betrayal, 
tragedy, and whimsy. Many have plots that are similar to movies: 

• Don Giovanni features the misadventures of two men on the 
run, much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (or, in a 
gender switch, Thelma and Louise). 

• Faust finds a modern-day equivalent in The Devils Advocate. 

• The Magic Flute's hero, Tamino, undergoes a series of trials in 
a magical world, similar to Dorothy in The Wizard ofOz. 

• In Aida, Amneris' jealousy runs as deep as Glenn Close's in 
Fatal Attraction, but Amneris is successful in getting her revenge. 

Many of 
works — 
including Othello, 
Romeo and Juliet, 
Hamlet, and 
Macbeth — have 
been remade into 
operas. And many 
popular books 
have inspired new 
operas, including 
Louisa May 
Alcott's Little 
Women, F. Scott 
Fitzgerald's The 
Great Gatsby, and 
Sister Helen 
Prejean's Dead 
Man Walking. 

Nathan Gunn as the title role in Opera Theatre of Saint 
Louis' 2002 production of Thomas Hamlet. Photo by Ken 


Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

Top: Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves in The Devil's Advocate. Photo by 
Warner Bros./ Online USA and courtesy of Getty Images. Bottom: 
Los Angeles Opera's production of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust. 
Photo by Robert Millard/LA Opera. 

Convinced Yet? 

When considering attending the opera for the first time, here are 
some answers to frequently asked questions about the 

Do I need to prepare in advance? 

i kind of person who made a point of reading (or re- 
ofthe Worlds or perhaps Charlie and the Chocolate 
factory before seeing the movie? Are you intrigued by the bonus 

features on DVDs? If so, you may want to take advantage of 
various opportunities to explore an opera before the curtain 
comes up. 

Printed programs usually provide a synopsis and background 
articles, and many people arrive at the opera 20 minutes early to 
do some reading before the opera begins. Most companies also 
offer preview talks that illuminate themes of the opera and 
identify key musical passages. 

Overachievers can listen to a recording of the opera or read 
background information in advance of attending a performance. 
But none of this is a requirement for enjoying a night at the 
opera. Nearly every opera company in the United States has 
supertitles (English translations of the opera's libretto that are 
projected onto a screen above the stage, similar to the subtitles 
in a foreign film) so you can be sure to understand what is 
happening on stage. 

Is it expensive? 

Like Broadway shows and sporting events, opera tickets come in 
all price ranges. Every opera company offers reasonably priced 
seats, and many also provide discounts for students, teachers, 
military, and seniors. In addition, some opera houses have 
deeply discounted "standing room" tickets. 

Insider's Tip: Many opera fans consider the cheap seats to 
be the best in the house; these seats are usually located in 
the balcony of the theater, so they actually provide a 
better view of the stage and a fuller sound than seats in 
the front of the theater. 

What do I wear? 

When attending the opera, feel free to wear what you feel 
comfortable in. Most people wear what they would wear to work 
in an office, but you may see people more casually dressed. 
Opening night of the season or a new production will bring out 
audience members dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. And, 
on regular nights, you may also see people who are dressed up 
for a special occasion — a night at the opera! 

When should I applaud? 

It is appropriate to applaud after big arias and ensemble 
numbers throughout the performance, at the end of scenes and 
acts, and most certainly at the end, when the performers take 
their curtain calls. When in doubt, follow the lead of those 
around you. If you are feeling daring, you may yell "BRAVO!" 
after a particularly moving aria or performance. 


"Of the performing arts, grand opera has it all — magnificent music, glorious voices, imaginative sets, 
gorgeous costumes, high drama, and exuberant comedy. The sights and sound of opera can be spellbinding, 

and the magic of performances may repeat in one's dreams." 
— The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court 

Important Dates in Opera and Musical Theater 

Stephen Kechulius as Rigoletto and Raul Hernandez as the Duke in Seattle Opera's 
2004 production of Verdi's Rigoletto. Photo by Rozarii Lynch and courtesy of Seattle 

1 5DDS 

1597 Birth of opera: Dafne (Jacopo Peri). Created by a 
Florentine group called the Camerata 

1 6DDS 

1643 Premiere of L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation 
of Pop pea) (Claudio Monteverdi), one of the earliest 
operas that continues to be performed today 

1 7DDS 

1756 (January 27) - Birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in 
Salzburg, Austria 

1786 (May 1) - Premiere of Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage 
of Figaro) (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) 

1787 (October 29) - Premiere of Don Giovanni (Wolfgang 
Amadeus Mozart) 

1791 (September 30) - Premiere of Die Zauberflote {The 
Magic Flute) (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) 

1792 (February 29) - Birth of Gioacchino Rossini in Pesaro, 


1813 (October 9) - Birth of Giuseppe Verdi in Roncole, Italy 

1816 (February 20) - Premiere of // barbiere di Siviglia { The pi ^burgh Opera's 2003 prodi 
Barber of Seville) (Gioacchino Rossini) 

1838 (October 25) - Birth of Georges Bizet in Paris, France 

1851 (March 11) - Premiere of Rigoletto (Giuseppe Verdi) 

1853 (March 6) - Premiere of La traviata (Giuseppe Verdi) 

1858 (December 22) - Birth of Giacomo Puccini in Lucca, 

1871 (December 24) - Premiere of Aida (Giuseppe Verdi) 

1874 (April 5) - Premiere of Die Fledermaus {The Bat) 
(Johann Strauss) 

1875 (March 3) - Premiere of Carmen (Georges Bizet) 

1883 (October 22) - Metropolitan Opera opens in New York 

1896 (February 1) - Premiere of La boheme (Giacomo 

1898 (September 26) - Birth of George Gershwin in 
Brooklyn, New York 

1 9DDS 

1900 (January 14) - Premiere of Tosca (Giacomo Puccini) 

1902 (June 28) - Birth of Richard Rodgers in New York City 

1904 (February 17) - Premiere of Madama Butterfly 
(Giacomo Puccini) 

s La bohei 

by Suellen 


Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

Paul Saik, Brian Shadowens, Corey Trahan, and Jane Redding in Des Moines Metro 
Opera's 2002 production of Bernstein's Candide. Photo by Davitt Photo Alliance. 

1910 (March 9) - Birth of Samuel Barber in West Chester, 

1911 (January 26) - Premiere of Der Rosenkavalier (Richard 

1918 (August 25) - Birth of Leonard Bernstein in Lawrence, 

1926 (June 11) - Birth of Carlisle Floyd in Latta, South 

1930 (March 22) - Birth of Stephen Sondheim in New 
York City 

1935 (October 10) - Premiere of Porgy and Bess 
(George Gershwin) 

1940 (December 7) - Metropolitan Opera / Texaco Radio 
Broadcasts begin 

1943 (March 31) - Premiere of Oklahoma! (Richard Rodgers) 

1949 (April 7) - Premiere of South Pacific (Richard Rodgers) 

1951 (March 29) - Premiere of The King and I (Richard 

(April 1) - Premiere of The Tender Land (Aaron Copland) 

(February 24) - Premiere of Susannah (Carlisle Floyd) 

tober 29) - Premiere of Candide (Leonard 

1957 (August 19) - Premiere of West Side Story (Leonard 

1958 (January 15) - Premiere of Vanessa (Samuel Barber) 

1965 Congress establishes The National Endowment for the Arts 

1970 OPERA America is established 

1979 (March 1) - Premiere of Sweeney Todd (Stephen 

1983 New York City Opera introduces projected English 

translations (called supertitles) - the first company to 
do so in the United States 

1986 (October 9) - Premiere of The Phantom of the Opera 
(Andrew Lloyd Webber) 

1987 (October 22) - Premiere of Nixon in China (John 

1989 (September 20) - Premiere of Miss Saigon (Claude- 
Michel Schonberg) 

1990 (July 7) - First Three Tenors Concert in Rome, Italy for 
the World Cup 

1996 (January 27) - Premiere of Rent (Jonathan Larson) 

1998 (March 13) - Premiere of Little Women (Mark Adamo) 
(September 19) - Premiere of A Streetcar Named 
Desire (Andre Previn) 

1999 (December 20) - Premiere of The Great Gatsby (John 


2000 (October 7) - Premiere of Dead Man Walking (Jake 

2002 (December 8) - Premiere of La boheme on Broadway 

2005 (May 7) - Premiere of Margaret Garner (Richard 

John Packard is arrested in Michigan Opera Theatre's 2003 production of Heggie's 
Dead Man Walking. Photo by Christopher Barbeau. 


"This was my first opera, and I loved it. Your performance was a feast for the senses 

— High school student from Orlando, FL 

much better than any movie. 

Rinat Shaham in the title role of The Minnesota Opera's 2005 production of Bizet's Carmen. 
Photo coutesy of The Minnesota Opera. 

Denyce Graves and Rodney Gilfrey struggle in Michigan Opera Theatre's 2005 world premiere 
production of Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner. Photo courtesy of Michigan Opera 

Melissa Parks, Richard Bernstein, Isabel Bayrakdarian, and Kevin Glavin are a happy family in 
Pittsburgh Opera's 2004 production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). 
Photo by David Bachman. 


ARIA: Generally defined, a musical work (or "song") for 
solo voice in an opera, expressing the innermost 
thoughts and feelings of an operatic character. Arias 
usually do not drive the action of the drama but rather 
are moments of reflection for the character. They 
provide an opportunity for lyrical expression in an 

BARITONE: The baritone is the most common male 
voice, lower in range than the tenor and with a 
"darker" tone. In comic opera, the baritone is often the 
ringleader of the hijinks, but in tragic opera, he is 
often the villain. 

BASS: The lowest and "darkest" of the male voices. Low 
voices usually suggest age and wisdom or evil 
characters in serious opera, but in comic opera they are 
generally used for old characters who are foolish or 

BROADWAY: While the term comes from a street in New 
York City's theater district, Broadway commonly refers 
to the popular musicals and plays produced there. 

CHORUS: A group of singers with more than one 
individual singing each part. The chorus usually 
represents collective groups such as soldiers, priests, 
peasants, nymphs, etc. — whatever is required by the 
story. The term also refers to the music sung by a 

COLORATURA: Widely used to denote certain passages 
of rapidly moving, complex vocal music in opera, 
characterized by flexibility in the voice, and the singers 
who specialize in them, e.g., coloratura sopranos. 

CONTRALTO: The lowest of the female voice types. It is 
rare to find a contralto singer, and true contralto roles 
are few and far between. These roles are usually older 
women and special character parts such as witches and 

DUET: In opera and musical theater, a composition for 
two voices supported by accompaniment. A duet is 
often performed by pairs of lovers, but may also be 
used to express conflict between characters who are at 
odds with one another. 


Great American Voices Military Base Tour 

David Daniels resists the temptation of Elizabeth Futral in Lyric Opera of 
Chicago's 2003 updated production of Handel's Partenope. Photo by Dan Rest. 

iva, Chen-Ye Yuan, and Mark Duffin celebrate in 
i /"004 production of Adams' Nixon in China. 

ENSEMBLE: In opera and musical theater, it is a piece sung by more 
than two members of the cast. Although the term can refer to a trio 
of three singers, a quartet of four signers, etc., it is often used to 
refer to any sung portion of a piece in which a number of characters 
are expressing different emotions simultaneously or are expressing 
perplexity or confusion in the face of an impossible situation. 

FINALE: The last part of an opera, or of an act of an opera. The finale 
is often a formal, extended piece during which the principal 
characters have the opportunity to dramatically evolve to a climactic 
point or to the completion of the drama. 

INTERLUDE: A short instrumental passage or separate work of music 
that is often provided by a composer to cover a change of scene or to 
move dramatically from one mood to another. 

LIBRETTO: The complete text of an opera, but literally the "little 
book" that was published for operatic audiences beginning in the 
18th century so that they could read the text during the performance 
(or prepare prior to a performance). They are not regularly published 
anymore, now that audio recordings of operas come with complete 
texts, and projected English translations are provided in most opera 

MEZZO-SOPRANO: A mezzo-soprano, or mezzo, has a voice lower 
than a soprano's but higher than a contralto's. Throughout opera 
history the mezzo has been used to convey many different types of 
characters: everything from boys or young men (so-called "trouser" or 
"pants" roles), to mothers or mother-types, seductive heroines, and 

OVERTURE: An instrumental or orchestral musical composition that 
acts as an introduction to an opera or other theater work. The 
overture originated in opera. 

PRELUDE: A short instrumental number for orchestra that leads 
directly, with no pause, into the opening act of an opera or other 
theater work. 

RECITATIVE: A type of vocal writing in opera that mimics speech or 
recitation; often precedes an aria. 

SOPRANO: The highest of the female voice types, the soprano has 
always had a place of prominence in the hierarchy of vocal types. In 
the operatic drama, the soprano is almost always the heroine or 
protagonist of an opera, since a high, bright sound can suggest 
youth, innocence, and virtue. 

SUPERTITLES: English translations of an opera's libretto that are 
typically projected onto a screen above the stage. 

TENOR: The highest of the male voices, the tenor is frequently the 
hero or protagonist of an opera. 


Great American Voices Military Base Tour is presented by 

the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with 

DPERA America and is made possible by The Boeing Company. 

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), established by Congress in 1965 as an independent federal 
agency, is the official arts organization of the United States government. As the largest annual funder of the 
arts in the country, the NEA is dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established, 
bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Through its grants and programs, 
the NEA brings great art to all 50 states and six U.S. jurisdictions, including rural areas, inner cities, and 
military bases. 

The Boeing Company is the world's leading aerospace company. It is the largest manufacturer of satellites, 
commercial jetliners, and military aircraft. The company is also a global market leader in missile defense, human 
space flight, launch services, aerospace support services, and homeland security services. As a leading contrac- 
tor to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Boeing works together with its DoD customers to provide U.S. 
Armed Forces and U.S. allies around the world with fully integrated high-performing systems solutions and 

OPERA America — the nonprofit service organization for opera — leads and serves the entire opera commu- 
nity, supporting the creation, presentation, and enjoyment of opera. Artistic services help opera companies and 
creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation 
of North American works. Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the 
need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees, and volunteers. Education, audience development, and 
community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera enjoyment. 

Additional copies of this publication may be downloaded on the NEA's Web site for Great American Voices at 

This publication is published by: 
National Endowment for the Arts 
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20506-0001 
(202) 682-5400 


(202) 682-5496 

For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing 

Individuals who do not use conventional print may contact the Arts Endowment's Office for AccessAbility to 
obtain this publication in an alternate format. Telephone: (202) 682-5532. 


On the cover: Eudora Brown and William Burden sing the title characters in Hector Berlioz's Beatrice and 

Benedict. Photo by Scott Humbert, courtesy of The Santa Fe Opera. 

Cover design by Andy Weiskoff. Layout and design by Katherine Ehle. 

Special Thanks: Diana Hossack, Andrea Johnson, and Nicolas Reveles for their research and development of the 

educational content of this publication, and Leslie Liberato and Georgianna Paul for their contributions to the text. 

A Great Natidn Deserves Great Art. 


Miu |TARY 


Unforgettable Melddies 
from Dpera & Broadway 

Great American Vdices is presented by 

the National Endowment for the Arts 

in cooperation with dpera america. 

Great American Voices is made possible 
by The Boeing Company.