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May 4: UrbanArias presents 'Inbox Zero'

March 14, 2023 | By Gail Wein, Classical Music Communications
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Press Release
March 10, 2023
For Immediate Release

Press Contact:
Gail Wein - (646) 484-9691

UrbanArias presents: “Inbox Zero

May 4 at Keegan Theatre: the latest work by the music theater team Peter Hilliard and Matt Boresi

Monodrama commissioned by UrbanArias features baritone Keith Phares

UrbanArias has teamed up once again with the acclaimed composer and librettist team Peter Hilliard and Matt Boresi. Hilliard and Boresi’s latest work, Inbox Zero, will be performed on May 4, 2023 at 8 pm at Keegan Theatre in Washington, D.C. (1742 Church St NW). The monodrama features baritone Keith Phares, with members of the Inscape Orchestra conducted by UrbanArias Artistic Director Robert Wood. Dennis Whitehead Darling directs. Tickets are $25, available online at The Keegan Theatre, or by email or phone (202) 265-3767.

Inbox Zero is the story of Jackie, a man whose desire for monetary gain supersedes his understanding of human nature. As he struggles to provide for his wife and child, an internet scam captures his imagination and attention, and he is soon embroiled in an imagined international intrigue that convinces him to drain the family bank account in hopes of a million dollar get-rich quick scheme.

The work is the third and most recent UrbanArias commission from Hilliard and Boresi. Inbox Zero, along with their previous works, Blue Viola (also featuring Phares) and The Last American Hammer, are part of the duo's multi-project exploration of the degrading effects of commerce and class upon survival and fulfillment.

This presentation is a staged workshop reading, focusing on the words and music rather than a full production. A talkback with the creators will follow the performance.

Calendar Listing

UrbanArias presents


May 4, 2023 at 8:00 PM

at The Keegan Theatre in DuPont Circle
(1742 Church St. NW, Washington, D.C.)

Keith Phares, baritone

Music by Peter Hilliard
Libretto by Matt Boresi

Inscape Chamber Orchestra
Robert Wood, conductor
Directed by Dennis Whitehead Darling

Tickets are $25; available online at The Keegan Theatre. Email; phone (202) 265-3767


Composer Peter Hilliard (ASCAP) and lyricist Matt Boresi are writers of operas, musicals, art song, and choral work favoring themes of contemporary life. Hilliard and Boresi’s work includes the chamber operas “Blue Viola”, “The FIlthy Habit”, “Don Imbroglio”, an upcoming musical for Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, the song cycles “Buyer Beware” (tenor), and “Farmball Songs” (baritone), and the puppet operas “Verdi by Vegetables” and “The Harmony Jar”. Their song cycle for mezzo about community conflicts was released on Albany Records. 

They are co-founders of the award-winning Decameron Opera Coalition, a network of independent opera companies creating new work and a national conversation about the future of opera and music theatre.

For over 20 years, in repertoire from Baroque through present day, Baritone Keith Phares has appeared in leading roles with Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, the New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, São Paolo Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and elsewhere; in collaboration with Hal Prince, Francesca Zambello, Frank Corsaro, Richard Hickox, Marin Alsop, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Thomas Allen, among others; and in recital with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, The American Modern Ensemble, WordSong, Illuminarts, LyricFest and Brooklyn Art Song Society.  

Keith Phares is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Bowling Green State University. 

Conductor Robert Wood founded UrbanArias in 2009. Under his guidance, the company has achieved national recognition as an innovator in the field of opera, and has produced over 30 contemporary works in Virginia, DC, and New York City, 16 of which were world premieres, and 12 of which were UrbanArias commissions. He conducts all of UrbanArias’ productions.

Maestro Wood made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 2004 and has conducted numerous opera productions across North America. His collaborations with the Wolf Trap Opera Company include Le Comte Ory and Die Zauberflöte. Maestro Wood was Conductor in Residence at the Minnesota Opera (2006-2008), and Chorus Master at The Santa Fe Opera (2001-2004).

UrbanArias is dedicated to commissioning and producing short, contemporary operas – works that are up to 90 minutes long, and written within the last 25 years. UrbanArias brings engaging, accessible, and entertaining operas to audiences in the Washington, DC area and around the globe.



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