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Spotlight Sunday Feature - Paul Richards and Wendy Steiner

Welcome back to Spotlight Sundays! Our 9th annual New in November Festival is less than 4 weeks away and we couldn't be happier with the four chamber operas chosen for this year's New in November Festival. We hope you've marked your calendar's for Sunday, November 18 at 7:00pm at the Cathedral House at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Hartford.

Today we are thrilled to feature our first composer/librettist duo: Paul Richards and Wendy Steiner; and their opera: The Loathly Lady. You may remember Paul and Wendy from NIN8! Last year, we had the pleasure of presenting a scene from the same opera where a cruel Knight searches to find what women really want. On his journey, he meets The Lady of Shallot, Eliza Doolittle, and author Virginia Woolf. In this year's excerpt, we rejoin the cruel Knight as he meets the Elf Queen, Titania, Oberon, and Sheherazade. We hope you enjoy learning about Paul, Wendy, and what Opera for the 22nd Century means to them.

Tickets for New in November 9 are now ON-SALE! Visit our website at the link below to purchase your tickets and learn more about this exciting event!


Paul Richards is Research Foundation Professor and Head of Composition at the University of Florida. His works have been heard throughout the United States and internationally on six continents.

Awards include Special Distinction in the ASCAP Rudolph Nissim Prize, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s Fresh Ink composition prize, the New Music for Sligo/IMRO composition prize, the Flute New Music Consortium composition prize, and many others.

Commissions have come from orchestras, wind ensembles, choirs, and chamber ensembles, and his works have been recorded by Richard Stoltzman, the Slovak Radio Orchestra, the Moravian Philharmonic, and numerous chamber groups. Music by Paul Richards is recorded on the Meyer Media, MMC, Capstone, Mark, Pavane, OAR, and Summit labels, and is published by Carl Fischer Music, TrevCo Music, the International Horn Society Press, Jeanné, Inc., and Margalit Music.

Here's what Paul had to say about Opera for the 22nd Century:

Opera as a medium has always been able to absorb new cultural trends, new technologies, new musical ideas, and new themes, and there is every reason to think that it will continue to do so. Even as much of our artistic consumption moves on-line (and there is a place for opera there as well), I think people will continue to find the deeply human, deeply connective, and deeply impressive experience of live acting and singing to be meaningful. Contemporary opera, and the opera of the future, gives us the opportunity to confront, both emotionally and intellectually, some of the complex conditions of modernity, and it is my fervent belief that it will serve a vital function in the coming cultural milieu.

To learn more about Paul, please visit his website:


Wendy Steiner is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she founded and directed the Penn Humanities Forum. Among her scholarly books are: The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art (2010); Venus in Exile: The Rejection of Beauty in Twentieth-Century Art (2001); and The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism (named in “NY Times 100 Best Books of 1996”). Steiner’s cultural journalism has appeared widely in the US and UK, and she has lectured in museums and universities on four continents.

Steiner is also a creative writer and artist. She is the librettist for two operas composed by Paul Richards, which she also produced: The Loathly Lady (2009, Irvine Auditorium), and Biennale (2013, Barnes Foundation). She wrote the text for O America, a song cycle composed by Mark Rimple (2018, West Chester University). With designer Andrew Lucia she co-directed Traces on the Farther Side (2011), a real-time digital visualization of music by Frances White, which will be exhibited in the Palazzo Bembo in the 2019 Venice Biennale. Steiner is currently at work on a book about her experiences in Burundi, East Africa.


Thank you so much for tuning in for this week's Spotlight Sunday! We hope you enjoyed learning more about Paul and Wendy and what Opera for the 22nd Century means to them. We hope to see you on Sunday, November 18 at 7:00pm for our 9th annual New in November Festival! Visit our website to learn more. =)

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