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Hartford Opera Theater Presents ‘Fortune’s Children: A Zoom Opera’

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This summer, Hartford Opera Theater commissioned a mini-opera, written specifically for Zoom, from NYC composer David Wolfson. The case will be singing live on Zoom from three different states.

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Hartford Opera Theater is pleased to present FORTUNE’S CHILDREN: A ZOOM OPERA with music and libretto by David Wolfson as its fall production.

Directed by Moira O’Sullivan with music direction by David Wolfson, FORTUNE’S CHILDREN: A ZOOM OPERA will be performed live on Zoom with singers in three different states.

This chamber opera takes place in the not-so- distant future, at the beginning of the next pandemic. Three adult brothers of very different socioeconomic status have a Zoom meeting to discuss the thorny question of who is going to care for their elderly mother. Themes of family, communication, and responsibility are explored in the piece.

FORTUNE’S CHILDREN: A ZOOM OPERA will play Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. live via Zoom Webinar. Tickets are available at hartfordoperatheater.com for $20 per household.

FORTUNE’S CHILDREN: A ZOOM OPERA will feature Darius A. Gillard as Alex, Markel Reed as Pat, and Thao Nguyen as Chris.

FORTUNE’S CHILDREN: A ZOOM OPERA takes place in the not-so-distant future, at the beginning of the next pandemic. Three adult brothers of very different socioeconomic status have a Zoom meeting to discuss the thorny question of who is going to care for their elderly mother.

The performance will begin with a discussion about opera during the pandemic by West Hartford resident Dr. Lisabeth Miller, Hartford Opera Theater artistic director, and Dr. Michelle Fiertek, Hartford Opera Theater executive director, and will conclude with a discussion with the cast and creative team.

David Wolfson (Composer/Librettist/Music Director)

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.

Moira O’Sullivan (Director)

Moira O’Sullivan is a director and actor based in NYC. Most recently, she directed “The Mon Valley Medium” as part of The Emerging Artists Festival in NYC which then transferred to Carnegie Stage in Pittsburgh. She has directed for Hartford Opera Theater’s New in November Festival the last three years (“A 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.moiraosullivan.com

About Hartford Opera Theater

Hartford Opera Theater, Inc. is dedicated to enriching the lives of all members of the Greater Hartford community by offering quality, innovative, and affordable opera. Our organization is committed to keeping the genre of opera relevant for patrons and artists through the presentation of productions that are both culturally topical and true to opera as an art form. We foster a safe environment in which emerging and established artists can feel free to collaborate and create. In addition, HOT promotes arts education and appreciation by providing free outreach programs to members of our community. At HOT, we believe that all people deserve to experience the beauty and total art that is opera. Hartford Opera Theater – Opera for Everyone.

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