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Press Releases

Once I Was: New Recording of Ricky Ian Gordon's Songs Woven Together Thematically Features Acclaimed Young Soprano Stacey Tappan

January 2, 2013 | By Blue Griffin Recording
Press Representative
A new recording features acclaimed soprano Stacey Tappan and renowned composer Ricky Ian Gordon at the piano, as they present a special collection of the composer’s songs, purposefully woven together to tell a chronological story of a woman’s life. This special album takes the listener on a fascinating journey -- childhood, growing up, falling in love, heartbreak, grieving the death of a loved one, and moving on -- all told through Gordon’s masterful settings of poetry (including his own) to music. The songs are interpreted by a brilliant young soprano whose voice has been rapidly gaining recognition since her debut with the Houston Grand Opera as Beth in Little Women.

The project started when Tappan and Gordon first met while working on a workshop production of his opera, Morning Star, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. This lead to a collaborative recital at the Chicago Cultural Center, and the birth of Once I Was – a life story told in song. A labor of love, Tappan and Gordon’s collaboration in creating this musical journey culminated in this special recording, which marks a first solo album for Stacey Tappan. On selected tracks, she is joined by clarinetist Caroline Hartig, performing parts added by Gordon especially for this project.

Proclaimed a “rising star,” Tappan’s milestone appearances include the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl (including the DVD release of The Birds as Wren); the Ravinia Festival; the Lyric Opera of Chicago; as well as the San Francisco, Glyndebourne, Lille, Dijon, and Bangkok opera houses; among numerous others. Ricky Ian Gordon has long been considered a house-hold name for music-lovers and a leading American composer of vocal music.

“Once I Was” was recorded at Blue Griffin’s Studio The Ballroom, produced and engineered by Sergei Kvitko, and is available at www.BlueGriffin.com, as well as other online and physical retail outlets.

The complete tracks are as follows:

1 I Am Cherry Alive

2 The Special Picnic

3 Afternoon On A Hill

4 My Sister's New Red Hat

5 Wild Swans

6 Joy

7 Run Away

8 Threnody

9 The Satin Dress

10 The Red Dress

11 Recuerdo

12 Song

13 Just An Ordinary Guy

14 Poem

15 The More Loving One

16 Otherwise

17 We Will Always Walk Together

18 An Old Fashioned Song

19 What The Living Do

20 Once I Was

21 Who knows if the moon's a balloon

22 Poor Girl's Ruination/Dream Keeper



BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Stacey Tappan, Soprano

Stacey Tappan continues to distinguish herself as a world-class musical artist. In stellar reviews for her "witty and sexy" Adele in Die Fledermaus with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, she was praised for the production's "most polished singing... her coloratura bright and well-focused." In 2008 she made her French debut with Opéra de Lille as Gilda in Rigoletto, which she reprised with the Opéra de Dijon in 2010. Other recent engagements include Adina in L'elisir d'amore and Despina in Così fan tutte with the Jacksonville Symphony, Woglinde and the Woodbird in the Ring Cycle with Los Angeles Opera, and a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for multiple roles in Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, covering Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare and the title role in Lulu, and singing the role of Nannetta in Verdi's Falstaff.

Last season's appearances included the Charmeuse in Thaïs at the Edinburgh Festival, Woglinde and the Woodbird in San Francisco Opera's Ring Cycle, and Miss Wordsworth in Los Angeles Opera's Albert Herring.

Next season she will be singing Lucia di Lammermoor with Arizona Opera and Clorinda in Cenerentola with Los Angeles Opera, as well as concert performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the Mozart Requiem and Handel's Messiah.

Tappan recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic singing Wing on Wing, composed and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand" at the Hollywood Bowl. She sang in the first concert of the Recovered Voices series at the Los Angeles Opera under the baton of James Conlon, subsequently joining Conlon at the Ravinia Festival to sing the rarely heard songs of Alexander Zemlinsky and Franz Schreker. She has also appeared with Los Angeles Opera as the Wren in The Birds (released recently on DVD), Virtú and Pallade in L'incoronazione di Poppea, and the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel.

Heralded for her "breakthrough performance" as Bella in Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Sir Michael Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage, Ms. Tappan also has appeared with the Lyric Opera as the Woodbird and Woglinde in Wagner's Ring Cycle, the Charmeuse in Thaïs, First Esquire in Parsifal and Papagena in the student matinees of Die Zauberflöte. While with the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, she "turned heads throughout operatic America" and "emerged as a real star" as Isis in the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's Lovers and Friends: Chautauqua Variations.

Equally outstanding on the concert stage, Tappan's recent performances include Beethoven's Christ on the Mount of Oliveswith the Springfield Symphony in Massachussetts, and Carmina Burana with Colorado Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony and Springfield Symphony, which she has also sung with Wichita Symphony and Elgin Symphony. She has been a featured soloist in Mahler's Second Symphony with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra. Chicago concert highlights include "Bernstein on Broadway" with the Grant Park Festival Orchestra, Hugh Wood's Scenes from Comus with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, three performances of the Stars of Lyric Opera concerts in Chicago's Millennium Park, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, and Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream at Ravinia Festival. She portrayed Cunegonde inCandide at the Chicago Cultural Center, later returning in Rossini's Il signor Bruschino and Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, winning critical acclaim as "the vocal showstopper."

She was a member of the Juilliard Opera Center and an ensemble artist with the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Wolf Trap Opera, before making her professional debut with Houston Grand Opera as Beth in Little Women, broadcast on PBS' Great Performances, released on CD by Ondine and on DVD by Naxos. With Bangkok Opera, she portrayed Pamina in Die Zauberflöte after singing the title role in Madana, the first grand opera by a Thai composer. She is featured on the best-selling Thai recording of the Mahajanaka Symphony, a work honoring the King of Thailand. Her operetta roles include Mabel inPirates of Penzance with Michigan Opera Theatre, and Hannah Glawari in The Merry Widow and Lilli Vanessi in Kiss Me Katewith Chicago's Light Opera Works.

Her awards include grants from the Elardo Competition and the Solti Foundation U.S., first place in the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation competition, finalist in the MacAllister and Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum competitions, the Richard F. Gold Career Grant, the Lucrezia Bori award, and first place from the New York Singing Teachers Association, as well as scholarships from Wolf Trap Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, the University of Miami, and Chapman University.

Ricky Ian Gordon, Composer

Ricky Ian Gordon’s songs have been performed and/or recorded by such renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Frederica Von Stade. His opera, “The Grapes Of Wrath,” written with librettist Michael Korie, made its premiere at Minnesota Opera and has been performed many times since, including a concert version at New York’s Carnegie Hall, narrated by Jane Fonda. It was cited in Musical America as “The Great American Opera.” In Opera News Magazine it was called one of the Operatic Masterpieces of the 21st Century, as was his “Orpheus and Euridice” which premiered at Lincoln Center and received an OBIE Award.

Other works include “Sycamore Trees,” a commission of The Signature Theatre, for which he wrote the book, music and lyrics; and “Green Sneakers” which was commissioned by the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, and hailed “A Masterpiece” in Opera Today. The Lincoln Center/ American Songbook Series concert devoted to his music entitled “Bright Eyed Joy: The Music of Ricky Ian Gordon,” was praised by the New York Times: “If the music of Ricky Ian Gordon had to be defined by a single quality, it would be the bursting effervescence infusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high-end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim…It’s caviar for a world gorging on pizza.”

He has been the guest of many festivals, universities and conferences and received numerous honors including The Stephen Sondheim Award, The Helen Hayes Award, An Alumni Merit Award from Carnegie-Mellon University and The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Award. Currently he is at work on a new opera with Mr. Korie as well as a Metropolitan Opera commission with Lynn Nottage as librettist. He studied composition at Carnegie Mellon University. Website: www.rickyiangordon.com


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