Spotlight Sunday Feature - Beth Ratay and Rich Orloff
Happy Spotlight Sunday and Happy Halloween! 🎃 We hope you're just as excited as we are about our 11th annual New in November festival on Sunday, November 14 at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Hartford. If you haven't already, be sure to purchase your TICKETS for this exciting evening celebrating new opera in Connecticut's capital city. Today we are thrilled to introduce our third composer/librettist duo behind our third featured opera: The Total Spiritual. We are delighted to welcome back composer, Beth Ratay and librettist, Rich Orloff to our 11th annual New in November Festival after we performed their opera A Womb with a View at NIN10. We hope you enjoy learning about Beth, Rich, and what Opera for the 22nd Century means to them.
Beth Ratay is a versatile composer who is able to craft music using a wide variety of styles and techniques. From music possessed of a quiet, understated grace, to music based on mathematical concepts, to emotive and hilarious opera, Ratay's music is engaging, charming and beautiful.
Ratay has had her music performed by diverse ensembles such as Earplay, West Edge Opera, Coalescence Percussion Duo, the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, Ninth Planet, The Hartford Opera Theater, and the Oregon Bach Festival Composer’s Ensemble. Her studies on the relationship of text to music in the work of Leoš Janáček and symmetric or layered musical structures in the music of Harrison Birtwistle strongly informs her own compositions. Ratay is a vigorous supporter of new music as the Artistic Director for the Boston New Music Initiative.
Beth Ratay is also active as a performer. She has a youtube channel with a series called “Tooter Tuesday” which showcases a work for flutes by a living composer each week. She was also the principal flutist for the University of California, Santa Cruz Orchestra and for the April in Santa Cruz New Music Festival for three consecutive years and is currently a member of the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus.
Dr. Ratay also enjoys teaching, especially general education classes, and has taught at Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College, Hartnell College, Gavilan College, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Beth currently lives with her amazing family including one husband, two sons, and one cat in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Find out more about Beth Ratay’s music at rataymusic.com
Here is what Beth wants HOTOpera fans to know about The Total Spiritual
At its core, the Total Spiritual is about empathy and the power of emotions for healing, but that message is wearing a very silly hat.
Here is what Beth had to say about Opera for the 22nd Century:
Opera is about sharing meaningful stories in a way that connects with and challenges the audience. It should never be an event to be endured, but should immerse the audience. While many classic operas have a timelessness that allows them to resonate with modern audiences, it is so very important that new operas continue to be created to address specific experiences present in our modern world. I also think collections of shorter operas or scenes like New in November is the perfect way to draw in new audiences hesitant to try opera, and is more digestible for modern sensibilities. Opera for the 22nd Century should be pertinent, pithy and gratifying.
Rich Orloff’s plays range widely in style. His comedy FUNNY AS A CRUTCH was a New York Times Critic’s Pick, and his comedic revue ROMANTIC FOOLS has had over 120 productions around the world, including two in Madrid, where apparently they have more romantic problems than the rest of us. His documentary-style play VIETNAM 101: THE WAR ON CAMPUS, has had over 50 productions at theaters and schools around the country. His other full-length plays have won such honors as the Festival of Emerging American Theatre Prize, the Playwrights First Award, the Goody Fellowship, and the Pickering Award for Playwriting Excellence. Rich’s 80 short plays have had over 2000 productions on six continents – and a staged reading on Antarctica.
Before the pandemic, Rich toured his one-person show IT’S A BEAUTIFUL WOUND around the country, performing at both theaters and holistic health conferences. BLESSINGS FROM THE PANDEMIC, his theatrical mosaic of poetic reflections, has been performed by theaters, schools, churches and synagogues, and was just published by TRW Plays. His musical comedy ESTHER IN THE SPOTLIGHT will premiere in New York City in early 2022.
Rich wrote the librettos for opera adaptations of two of his short plays, and his educational children’s play SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS FIGHT TUBERCULOSIS TOGETHER was a big hit in Kosovo. He has no idea what he will do next. richorloff.com
Here is what Rich wants HOTOpera fans to know about The Total Spiritual :
About THE TOTAL SPIRITUAL: Several years ago, a playwright friend, who loves theater but hates theater inside theaters, decided to produce an annual short play festival around and IN a New York pool. Inspired by the setting (I love to swim), I wrote this play... and six more. THE TOTAL SPIRITUAL has been performed both in theaters and around pools, and it will be published in the upcoming short play anthology, GO PLAY OUTSIDE!
What Rich had to say about Opera for the 22nd Century:
I don't have anything wise or witty to say about Opera for the 22nd Century; I'm just delighted to have one of my plays adapted to an opera.
Thank you for tuning in to our Spotlight Sunday series featuring: Beth Ratay, Rich Orloff, and The Total Spiritual. Follow our social media pages this week for more information about this composer/librettist dream team. Don't forget to purchase your TICKETS for our 11th annual New in November festival before it's too late. Stay tuned for more features.
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