Works for Young Voices

One Act or full-length music-theater works, often written collaboratively with adolescents.

 
 
Photo by Marina Anaya

Photo by Marina Anaya

ILLUSIONS / ILLUSIONES (2001-02)

Libretto by Peter Webster, (written with the ensemble), and music by myself and teenagers from Salt Lake City, Utah; commissioned by the Utah Opera. 

Two Latino teenagers fall in love, but misunderstand where each of them fit into a potentially violent and judgmental contemporary culture. They find good advice and redemption in the words of their grandparents, one a Mexican immigrant, the other a Holocaust survivor.

Premiered by Utah Opera and toured throughout Utah and nearby states.

Duration:  45 minutes

Recording pending. Scores available from the composer: rogerwames@gmail.com


Stratton.jpg

A MAN’S WORTH (2008)

Developed with Jeffrey Gilden and the students of the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive.

This short 45 minute opera, for up to twenty singing actors and piano, is based on the life of Winfield Scott Stratton, a prospector in Colorado who became one of the richest men in the west in the late 1800s.  It was a life of complex, colliding energies – a man of great generosity, simple habits, and unusual luck – combined with a man who was unable to trust nearly everyone who came close to him.  While he worked for twenty years to find his fortune, it only took him half that time to give it away and drink himself to death, largely because of his loneliness and personal suffering.  He bequeathed a fortune to Colorado Springs, established a home for the indigent and the elderly, built the city an urban railway, museums and civic buildings – and yet could not, himself, find a way to be satisfied with his achievements.  He is cherished in that part of the world today and celebrated for his simple ways of giving.

Score available from the composer: rogerwames@gmail.com


Julie Penrose

Julie Penrose

PENROSE: A COLORADO LEGACY (2011)

Developed with Jeffrey Gilden and the students of the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive.

One-Act Opera, 40 minutes in length, commissioned by Central City Opera and the Colorado Springs Conservatory.

The story of Julie and Spencer Penrose, his 'male antics' and her philanthropic, persuasive ways. Humorous, boisterous and wonderfully touching love story about early Colorado and a generous couple who supported the arts.

Score available from the composer: rogerwames@gmail.com


Screen+Shot+2019-01-01+at+5.59.58+pm.jpg

RECOLLECTIONS (2013)

Developed with Jeffrey Gilden and the students of the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive.

One Act Opera, 50 minutes in length, commissioned by the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive.

Written ensemble style after the massive forest fires of the summer of 2013, and after interviewing several citizens in Colorado Springs who were victims of the fires, this is a story written to the question: If you could only take a small box of mementos with you, what would they be? The answer was more complex – and it centered around a dysfunctional family with a divorced father who was prematurely afflicted with dementia – and a secret that needed to be revealed to help everyone grow and release. It won Second Prize in the theater division of Boston Metro Opera’s International Composition Contest in 2014.

Excerpts on YouTube. Score available from the composer: rogerwames@gmail.com


Screen+Shot+2019-01-01+at+6.03.05+pm.jpg

INNER LIGHT

Developed with Jeffrey Gilden and the students of the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive.

One Act Opera, 50 minutes in length, commissioned by the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive. The story celebrates the deep love between Gen. William Palmer and his wife, “Queen” Mary [Lincoln] Palmer… her grave health but inspiring thoughts on philanthropy and his life as a Quaker and a warrior – along with his constant ability to prioritize between his engineering feats (he established railroads and built the city of Colorado Springs), and his family. The piece is a series of love duets, with narrative thread – accompanied by the ensemble improvised and developed ‘train’ that takes the couple through their fascinating, generous, challenging and loving lives.

Score available from rogerwames@gmail.com


Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 6.07.47 pm.png

THE LUDLOW MASSACRE

Developed with Jeffrey Gilden and the students of the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive.

One Act Opera, 45 minutes in length, commissioned by the Central City Opera / Colorado Springs Conservatory Summer Performance Intensive.

After visiting the actual site of the massacre, and studying events at the History Colorado Center, the teenagers and collaborative artists - Jeff Gilden and myself crafted an opera that exposes the political issues, the maltreatment of miners who wished to have and follow their union, the misuse of government military power – and the courage of Mother Jones, and the execution of Luis Tikas, along with the routing and burning of women and children in this horrible event in Colorado and U.S. history. But it is uplifting, and honors the heroes who spoke out against the atrocity and held the murderers responsible.

Score available from rogerwames@gmail.com