Fortune's Children: A Zoom Opera
Fortune's Children: A Zoom Opera
Composer, Librettist, and Music Director - David Wolfson
David Wolfson (1964) is a composer, music director, arranger, and pianist who lives in New York City. He holds a PhD in music composition from Rutgers University, where he studied with Charles Fussell, an MA in composition from Hunter College, where he studied with Shafer Mahoney and Richard Burke, and a BM from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Eugene O'Brien and John Rinehart, graduating in 1985. In that same year he was awarded the first annual Darius Milhaud Award by the Darius Milhaud Society and won the Bascom Little Musical Theatre Composition Competition for his short opera, Rainwait.
Mr Wolfson’s music has been called “brilliant” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer; the New York Times referred to it as “musically inventive” and “theatrically forceful.” His concert works have been performed by such notable performers as Margaret Leng Tan, Jenny Lin, and the Atlantic Chamber Players. Recent premieres include Daphne, a monodrama for soprano and piano, at Hunter College; Maybe We Won’t Remember How to Be Sorry, for woodwind quartet, at Music at Our Savior’s Atonement; Twinkle, Dammit!, for toy piano and toys by Margaret Leng Tan at the 1st International Toy Piano Festival; and The Faith Operas, an evening of chamber opera premiered in 2017 by Hartford Opera Theatre.
Mr. Wolfson is the composer of Story Salad, a series of stage revues for children, which toured nationally for fourteen seasons beginning in 1988, and was seen by well over a million children, teachers and parents. He has supplied incidental music for several off-off-Broadway plays, created sound designs for a set of Macy’s window displays, and written songs for an amusement park big-headed-costumed-character show, Riverside Park’s Country Critter Jamboree.
In the 1990s, Mr. Wolfson was resident composer and music director of EM/R Dance Co., a choreographer’s collective, and co-artistic director (with choreographer Lynn Wichern) of Wichern/Wolfson dance & music, a company dedicated to performances involving both dance and live music. In connection with the company, Mr. Wolfson received several grants from Meet The Composer and a grant from the Music Program of the National Endowment for the Arts. From 2005-2009, he was the Associate Artistic Director, resident composer and Music Director of Experience Vocal Dance Company (EVDC). His theatrical song cycle Dreamhouse, based on the poetry of Barbara DeCesare, was produced in 2005 as part of the Sixth Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City, to critical acclaim. His musical Play Like a Winner received its premiere production as part of the 2017 New York Musical Festival, while another musical, The Bet, was part of the 2017 Midtown International Theatre Festival the same week.
In 2013 Albany Records released Seventeen Windows, a CD of Mr. Wolfson’s music, featuring the suite of piano pieces Seventeen Windows, performed by Jenny Lin, and Sonata for Cello and Piano, performed by Ms. Lin and Laura Bontrager. His music has also been recorded by cellist Suzanne Mueller, soprano Michelle Murray Fiertek, and pop singer Tamra Haydn.
Mr. Wolfson has served as music director, music supervisor, orchestrator and/or arranger for numerous musical theatre, music theatre and opera productions and readings in New York and across the country. He teaches at Hunter College. More information, recordings and videos can be found at https://davidwolfsonmusic.net.
PRODUCTION & PERFORMERS
Moira O'Sullivan - Director
Moira O'Sullivan is a director and actor based in NYC. Most recently, she directed "Mon Valley Medium" as part of the Emerging Artists Festival in NYC which then transferred to the Carnegie Stage in Pittsburgh. She has directed for Hartford Opera Theater's New in November Festival the last three years ("Womb with a View", "The Loathly Lady" and "Triangle"). Other credits include "Rosemary" (New Wave Theater Collective) and "Insomniacs" (Playhouse on Park). As an actor, she has been seen Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters and in regional theaters across New England. Favorite shows include "Biloxi Blues", "Oleanna", and "It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play". BFA NYU Tisch. www.moiraoosullivan.com
Darius A. Gillard - Alex
Tenor Darius Gillard is steadily gaining momentum on regional operatic circuits. Praised for his warm legato and charismatic presence, he excels in the lyric repertoire. To date, he has appeared in supporting and comprimario roles with companies that include the Connecticut Lyric Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Cincinnati Opera, Greenville Light Opera, Capitol Opera Raleigh, The Comic Opera Guild of Ann Arbor, and Hartford Opera Theater.
Equally at home on the concert stage, he has also made appearances with the Florence Civic Orchestra, Charleston Chamber Orchestra, Flint Symphony Orchestra, and the Detroit Festival Camerata as a featured soloist in various oratorio works that include Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Händel’s Messiah. In regards to recital work, Dr. Gillard regularly presents and appears in guest artist and lecture recitals. Dr. Gillard hold degrees from Claflin University (B.A. 2012), Michigan State University (M.M. 2014), and the University of Michigan (D.M.A. 2020). Presently he serves as Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera
at Claflin University.
Markel Reed - Pat
Markel Reed, a native of Charlotte, N.C., has been featured in various concerts and recitals throughout the U.S., Canada and in Europe. His repertoire includes: Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Leporello in Don Giovanni, Morales in Carmen, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, and John Sorel in The Consul.
In the Summer of 2019, he originated the role of “Chester” in Terence Blanchard’s acclaimed opera Fire Shut up in my Bones with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. As a member of Utah Opera’s Resident Artist Program (2015-17), Mr. Reed performed the roles of Masetto in Don Giovanni, Dancaïre in Carmen, Kromov in The Merry Widow and covered the role of Brian Castner in Jeremy Howard Beck's The Long Walk. Mr. Reed was featured in an original miniature opera revue as part of the collaboration between Utah Opera, local composers of the state and story tellers of Salt Lake City's The Bee, entitled "Operas on the Hive" where his performance was praised.
Prior to his position with Utah Opera, Mr. Reed was a young artist of the Kentucky Opera Studio Artist program during the 2014-15 season where he was featured in the role of Count Paris. He has also performed with The Metropolitan Opera, Bronx Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Louisiane and Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre. Markel covered as a funeral soloist in The Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Porgy and Bess. Markel Reed pursued his Bachelors of Music Performance at Oakwood University and is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre program.
Thao Nguyen - Chris
Thao Nguyen is acclaimed by critics for his "velvety baritone and his ease and grace on stage." At home on the classical/operatic and contemporary stage, Mr. Nguyen has performed with many companies on the east coast including Connecticut Opera, Playhouse on Park, Piedmont Opera, Mountain Theatre, Lees McRae Theatre, Temple Theatre and Cape Fear Regional Theatre! This year, Mr. Nguyen has had the pleasure of being a part of the english world premiere of Tropical Angel, a co-production based in NYC and Taipei, Taiwan. This is gripping tale of a soldier in war torn Taiwan. It explores the tragedy of this moment in time and how humanity still can find a light in the darkness. As a champion of new music, he is delighted to be a part of the evolution of opera in this first of its kind "Zoom Opera" Fortune's Children by David Wolfson.
Also active in film and TV, Mr. Nguyen is represented by The Brock Agency for Film/TV/Commercial. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @thetaoofThao and www.thaotnguyen.com.