ABOUT THE PROJECT
A Chamber Opera in Concert Version
by Douglas J. Cuomo
“Incredibly compelling... a bold experiment with poetry and sound”
- The Houstonian
“A compelling new musical score [with] variety and searing qualities."
- Broadway World
“An abundance of genuinely poignant moments and brilliantly creative artistic elements.”
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In this fiercely contemporary reimagining of Wilhelm Müller’s poetry cycle Winterreise, composer Douglas J. Cuomo has created a thought-provoking work that mirrors the complexity of modern life and relationships.
The “radiant, communicative tenor” (Opera News) Tony Boutté assumes the existential mantle, giving a searing, intense performance as a man desperate for atonement, while electric guitar and electronics (Douglas Cuomo), trumpet (Frank London) and keyboards (Alan Johnson)—infused with acid jazz and a punk energy—narrate his delirious fever dream.
The semi-staged concert version of Savage Winter was premiered in 2018 in Houston by Aperio Music of the Americas. This seventy-five minute performance without intermission requires minimal staging and features projected images from the original opera that bring depth to this dynamic work.
The fully staged version, directed by Jonathan Moore, and with images by Joseph Seaman, was premiered at Pittsburgh Opera and Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2018, and is a co-production of American Opera Projects.
Douglas J. Cuomo
Douglas J. Cuomo has composed for the concert, operatic and theatrical stage, a well as for television and film. His expressive musical language, with its arresting juxtapositions of sound and style, is a natural outgrowth of his wide-ranging background and training. A professional guitarist while still in his teens, he alternated years of college – studying jazz, world music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and University of Miami– with years on the road playing in jazz, pop and funk bands.
Tony Boutté was described in a recent issue of Opera News as “possessed of a radiant, communicative tenor.” A native of Louisiana, Boutté made his operatic debut as Orfeo in Stephen Wadsworth’s groundbreaking Monteverdi Cycle with Skylight Opera. He has sung extensively, nationally and abroad, including New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles, and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 singing Handel’s Messiah. He has performed and recorded numerous premieres, including John Eaton’s Benjamin Button, Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma (BAM Next Wave 2008), Michael Gordon’s Chaos, Bang on a Can’s Carbon Copy Building, and In the Penal Colony by Philip Glass. His festival appearances include Salzburg, Aspen, Bard, Schleswig-Holstein, Settembre, Aldeburgh, and Versailles. Boutté’s extensive recording catalog includes works by Lully, Handel, and Bach, as well as multiple world premiere recordings. Recent releases include Fauré songs (Edition Peters Sounds) and music of Boismortier (Centaur) with Arcanum Ensemble. He recently joined the faculty of Sam Houston State University (TX) and is artistic director of New American Voices, an initiative created to champion new American works for voice through the collaboration of singer and composer.
Sir Frank London is a Grammy-award winning trumpeter and composer. A member of the Klezmatics, he has played trumpet with Lester Bowie, David Byrne, Pink Floyd, They Might Be Giants, LL Cool J, Hector LaVoe, Itzhak Perlman, Jane Siberry, Mel Tormé, LaMonte Young, and John Zorn and is featured on over 500 CDs. His compositions include the Yiddish-Cuban opera Hatuey Memory of Fire (with Elise Thoron); Salomé: Woman of Valor (with Adeena Karasick); the folk-opera A Night in the Old Marketplace (with Alex Aron and Glen Berger); 1001 Voices: Symphony for a New America (with Judith Sloan & Warren Lehrer); and Tony Kushner’s A Dybbuk. In 2019 he will premiere Ghetto Songs at Hamburg’s Elbephilharmonie; From Shtetl to Stage at Carnegie Hall, and Kurt Weill in New York. London was knighted by Hungary for his work advancing Jewish and multicultural Hungarian music and culture.
As music director, conductor, pianist, and vocal coach, Alan Johnson has prepared, performed, and premiered works in opera, theater, and dance since 1986. Among his many awards are an Obie for sustained excellence in music direction and a Joseph Jefferson Award for outstanding music direction (The Sound of a Voice and Hotel of Dreams, composed by Philip Glass). His previous BAM appearances include Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass, Winter/Spring 1991) and Arjuna’s Dilemma (Cuomo, Next Wave 2008). His long association with Philip Glass has included music direction for premieres in opera (In the Penal Colony, The Sound of a Voice); dance/ theater (Provenance Unknown, The Mysteries and What’s So Funny, Henry IV Parts I and II, Cymbeline, and In the Summer House); and music preparation for premieres of Book of Longing, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, Hydrogen Jukebox, Orphée, and La Belle et La Bête. Johnson is music director at John Duffy Institute for New Opera at the Virginia Arts Festival and received a 2016 Rockefeller residency in Bellagio, Italy. He is currently on a recital tour of opera excerpts by Anthony Davis.