With music by Matthew Recio and libretto by Royce Vavrek, Puppy Episode follows three main characters who are set out on a path of self-discovery and acceptance at a time when media didn’t portray the queer experience. High school teenager Gil realizes he has feelings for his best friend Clay. Louise is a married woman who regrets not having explored the full spectrum of her queer identity. Phyllis, a quirky grandmother who suffers from dementia, reflects on what could have been if she had been honest with herself. When a popular show portrays the first coming out narrative to be shown on television, public representation forces these characters to do some soul-searching.
COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES
Your safety is our top priority.
Our safety policy was designed in consultation with leading experts in the fields of epidemiology, public health, workplace/industrial hygiene, and infectious diseases.
Updated April 4, 2022
For the performances of 40 Days of Opera throughout the city of Columbus:
- Opera Columbus will no longer require that audience members show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test.
- Masks are encouraged for all patrons.
The Opera Columbus will continue to monitor government policy changes, Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, government mandates, and public health notices and make changes as necessary or appropriate to ensure the safety of staff, artists, and the public.
Limitation on Liability/Assumption of Risk
Any person entering the premises waives all civil liability against this premises owner and operator for any injuries caused by the inherent risk associated with contracting COVID-19 at public gatherings, except for gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm, by the individual or entity or the premises.
Additionally, you, on behalf of yourself and any accompanying minor, voluntarily assume all risks and danger incidental to the event for which the ticket is issued, whether occurring before, during or after the event, and you waive any claims for personal injury, death, illness, damage, loss, claim, liability, or expense, of any kind against Opera Columbus., and its agents, sponsors, officers, directors, shareholders, owners and employees.
To read more about CAPA’s safety protocol, click here.
*Guidelines are subject to change
Avid vocal composer, Matthew Recio recently finished his post as Vanguard emerging opera composer with Chicago Opera Theatre. During his residency he developed operas with librettists Royce Vavrek (2021) and Stephanie Fleischmann (2020). The concert presentation of his work with Royce, “The Puppy Episode” was premiered in March of 2021 through the Chicago Opera Theater and is pleased to work on a co-production with Opera Columbus and Oberlin Conservatory for the staged premiere. He was a resident artist with the West Edge Opera Aperture Program developing his new opera with Stephanie Fleischmann, L’autre Moi. Most recently, he collaborated with Chicago based choir Stare at the Sun on an immersive choral cantata, The Hollow, performed at the Linne Woods forest preserve that explores themes of isolation, depression, emergence and renewal with a libretti by Alejandra Villareal Martinez. This past Spring he was thrilled to present Touch the Water with the Chicago Fringe Opera Series “A City of Works” that featured text by Chicago based writer Anna Gatdula. This collaboration was written for Chicago based artists Keanon Kyles and David Sands. As a performer/composer his collaboration on How We Hush (poetry by Jenna Lanzaro) with tenor Michael Day earned him a winning prize with Fourth Coast Ensemble’s 2021 Chicago SongSlam. He looks forward to a new collaboration with Chicago based librettist Jerre Dye on a new song that will be produced on a new album, 40×40 by soprano, Laura Strickling, featuring the work of 40 different leading composers of the art song genre. This Fall he will be collaborating on a unique project by Queer In(n) to create a vocal work inspired by the life of trans Chicago icon Mama Gloria. This will feature an adaptive libretto by Dr. Marquese Carter and featuring the talents of upcoming trans singer Jalissa Spell. In addition to his work with COT and West Edge Opera he was selected as the first commissioned composer for the Cincinnati Song Initiative 2018-2019 season. He is a published artist under the Dale Warland Series and the Craig Hella Johnson Series under G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard. As the 2018 Georgina Joshi vocal prize commission winner, Recio received a premiere of his work “In the Desert” for mezzo-soprano and sinfonietta with the Indiana University New Music Ensemble. Recio was recently named the 2017 American Prize winner in choral composition and was a featured composer with Beth Morrison Projects as an operatic composer at the National Sawdust theatre in Brooklyn, New York. The New Voices Opera Company commissioned him for his one-act opera, “In Memoriam” in 2017 (Libretto: Molly Korroch). Recio is a humble winner of the Cincinnati Camerata Competition, two-time winner of the NOTUS Composition Competition, finalist in the Young New Yorker’s Choral Competition, and a finalist in the Morton Gould Awards and BMI Awards. William Stowman’s CD, A Timeless Place (Klavier Records Label) features Recio’s song cycle Chronology of Storms, with poetry written by Jenna Lanzaro.
With equal passion for instrumental composition, Recio has been represented at the Midwest Composer Symposium, the UNK Music Festival and the Hammer and Nail Dance collaboration. His chamber works received recognition at the IMTA young artist composition competition and the Quartet Nouveau Competition. Recio is a proud alumnus of the IMANI Festival, the Atlantic Music Festival, Valencia International Performing Arts Program, Norfolk Chamber Series and Donald Nally’s Grammy award winning choir, “The Crossing”.
A summa cum laude graduate and Charles F. Hockett Scholarship winner of Ithaca College (B.M. Composition), Recio is an ABD doctorate in music composition candidate at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music as a Jacobs fellowship recipient and associate instructor in aural skills. His principal teachers include Dana Wilson, Claude Baker, Aaron Travers, Don Freund, David Dzubay, Eric Ewazen, P.Q. Phan and Sven-David Sandström. www.matthewrecio.com
Royce Vavrek is a Canada-born, Brooklyn-based librettist and lyricist who has been called “the indie Hofmannsthal” (The New Yorker) a “Metastasio of the downtown opera scene” (The Washington Post), “an exemplary creator of operatic prose” (The New York Times), and “one of the most celebrated and sought after librettists in the world” (CBC Radio). His opera “Angel’s Bone” with composer Du Yun was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
With composer Missy Mazzoli he wrote “Song from the Uproar,” premiered by Beth Morrison Projects in 2012, and subsequently seen in multiple presentations around the country. Their second opera, an adaptation of Lars von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves,” premiered at Opera Philadelphia, co-commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, and directed by James Darrah to critical acclaim in September of 2016. The work won the 2017 Music Critics Association of North America award for Best New Opera and was nominated for Best World Premiere at the 2017 International Opera Awards. A new production premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in the summer of 2019, produced by Scottish Opera and Opera Ventures, helmed by Tony Award-winning director Tom Morris and earned star Sydney Mancasola a coveted Herald Angel Award for her performance. Their next opera, an adaptation of Karen Russell’s short story “Proving Up,” was commissioned and presented by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and The Miller Theatre in 2018, was a finalist for the MCANA Best New Opera Award of that year. They are currently developing a grand opera for Opera Philadelphia and the Norwegian National Opera based on an original story by two-time Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Jordan Tannahill, as well as an adaptation of George Saunders’ Booker Prize-winning novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” for The Metropolitan Opera.
His collaboration with composer David T. Little led Heidi Waleson of the Wall Street Journal to proclaim them “one of the most exciting composer-librettist teams working in opera today.” In April of 2016 they premiered their first grand opera, “JFK,” at Fort Worth Opera, a co-commission with American Lyric Theater and Opéra de Montréal that was called “ravishing” (Opera News), earning a ten-star review in Opera Now Magazine. This followed the success of their first opera, “Dog Days,” which received its world premiere in September of 2012 at Peak Performances @ Montclair, in a production co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects and directed by American maverick Robert Woodruff. The work was celebrated as the Classical Music Event of the year by Time Out New York and a standout opera of recent decades by The New York Times. They are currently developing an original work for the Metropolitan Opera through the Met/LCT commissioning program.
Royce has also worked extensively with composer Paola Prestini, first on the song cycle “Yoani,” inspired by the blog posts of Yoani Sanchez, and then on “The Hubble Cantata,” a virtual reality oratorio produced by VisionIntoArt/National Sawdust in association with Beth Morrison Projects. They recently presented the workshop premiere of “Silent Light,” an opera based on the Cannes Jury Prize-winning film by Carlos Reygadas at the Banff Centre for Creativity, a collaboration with the director Thaddeus Strassberger, and are currently working on a new opera inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” They are also developing “Film Stills,” a project for mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti that dramatizes four of Cindy Sherman’s iconic photographs through musical monologues composed by Paola, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly and Ellen Reid, and directed by R.B. Schlather. Royce and Paola’s collaboration can be further heard on the AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing for Hope recording, where their song “Union,” as sung by Isabel Leonard, is featured.
In 2014 Royce premiered “27,” his first collaboration with composer Ricky Ian Gordon, at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Created for renowned mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, the work brought to life Gertrude Stein’s famous salon at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris. Mark Ray Rinaldi of the Denver Post wrote that the opera “tells a great American story, about Gertrude Stein, as well as opera in the 21st century.” The opera was subsequently presented by Pittsburgh Opera, MasterVoices at New York City Center, Michigan Opera Theater, Opéra de Montréal and Opera Las Vegas. In 2017 their adaptation of Gail Rock’s Christmas classic “The House Without a Christmas Tree” for Houston Grand Opera was premiered to critical acclaim.
Other recent and upcoming projects include “Strip Mall” with Matt Marks for the Los Angeles Philharmonic; “Epistle Mass” with Julian Wachner for Trinity Wall Street, “Midwestern Gothic” with Josh Schmidt for Signature Theatre, Virginia; “Naamah’s Ark” with Marisa Michelson for MasterVoices; “O Columbia” with Gregory Spears for HGOco; and “Knoxville: Summer of 2015” with Ellen Reid for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and National Sawdust; “Crypto” with Guillaume Coté and Mikael Karlsson; “The Wild Beast of the Bungalow” with Rachel Peters for Oberlin Conservatory; “Jacqueline” with Luna Pearl Woolf for Tapestry New Opera; “Adoration” (based on the film by Atom Egoyan) with Mary Kouyoumdjian for Beth Morrison Projects and “Agnes” with Daníel Bjarnason for the Icelandic Opera.
Royce is co-Artistic Director of The Coterie, an opera-theater company founded with Tony-nominee Lauren Worsham. He holds a BFA in Filmmaking and Creative Writing from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Montreal and an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University. He is an alum of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program.
Taiwanese-American conductor Tiffany Chang is determined to improve ensemble work culture for musicians and to help artists pursue purpose so they can feel fulfilled every day.
Chang is recognized internationally for her exceptional artistry, formidable versatility, and unshakable integrity that lead people to accomplish things they once thought were impossible. Her innovative creativity on the podium naturally elicits the best work from any musician, while her refreshing perspectives as a leader give people the power to feel like their work matters.
Awarded a 2020 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Chang serves as artist-faculty at two major institutions across the United States, Oberlin Conservatory as Conductor of the Oberlin Arts and Sciences Orchestra and Berklee College of Music as Associate Professor. Her visionary leadership at both institutions had transformative impact that had local communities take immediate notice.
Equally adept in opera, she garnered significant attention at The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors in 2019 and was named winner of The American Prize in Opera Conducting in 2017. She also served ten seasons as Music Director/Conductor for the North End Music and Performing Arts Center’s (NEMPAC) Opera Project in Boston and served as guest conductor in productions at Boston University and Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.
Her versatility continues to encompass frequent appearances with new music ensembles, such as the Dinosaur Annex Contemporary Ensemble, ALEA III, Xanthos Ensemble, and she has been invited to present a pioneering orchestral work she commissioned during the pandemic to be performed entirely on Zoom at the 2021 New Music Gathering.
She has additionally been engaged by BlueWater Chamber Orchestra, OperaHub, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, Parkway Concert Orchestra, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, Northern Ohio Youth Orchestras, Boston University, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, among others.
Chang studied conducting with David Hoose and Bridget-Michaele Reischl; she has also worked with Carlo Montanaro, Emmanuel Villaume, Gustav Meier, JoAnn Falletta, Robert Spano, Gunther Schuller, Larry Rachleff, and Ann Howard Jones. She holds a doctoral degree in orchestral conducting from Boston University and degrees from Oberlin Conservatory in cello performance, music education, composition, and music theory.
Sought-after as a webinar panelist and speaker, Chang recently began sharing her passion for leadership and work culture in her blog “Conductor as CEO.” Visit www.tiffanychang.net for more.
Christopher Mirto is a director, teacher, producer, and actor. He is currently on the opera faculty at Oberlin Conservatory, where he created and runs Oberlin’s New Opera Commissioning Program. Before joining the faculty at Oberlin, Christopher worked as a freelance artist while teaching at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.
Some of his career highlights include performing in two of Richard Foreman’s plays at the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre in New York City, playing Christina Crawford opposite Joey Arias in Christmas with the Crawfords, and directing a revival of Dionysus in 69 at The Performing Garage. He co-created The Ophelia Project with soprano Cree Carrico and co-wrote the musical Three Sisters, or The Dormouse’s Tale with Brian Valencia.
A frequent collaborator with Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, where he has staged Carmen, La bohème, and The Marriage of Figaro. He has directed operas at Manhattan School of Music, Curtis Institute, and with the Longfellow Chorus in Portland, Maine. Recent opera productions: the Pulitzer-winning Angel’s Bone by Du Yun and Royce Vavrek; Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up (Oberlin Conservatory); and the world premiere of The Wild Beast of the Bungalow by Rachel J. Peters and Royce Vavrek. Recent theatre productions: Wakey Wakey by Will Eno (Dobama); Musica Extrana (Artist Immersion: Spain).
Upcoming projects: an untitled virtual reality/opera collaboration with Du Yun and Hana S. Kim and the world premiere of Alice Tierney by Melissa Dunphy and Jacqueline Goldfinger. New York University: BFA; Yale School of Drama, MFA.
Dan Michalak, Music Director/Voice Coach
Jamie O’Leary, Dramaturg
Inda Blatch-Geib, Costume Designer
Kevin Duchon, Lighting Designer
Robert Pierce, Stage Manager
*Opera Columbus debut
+Opera Columbus/Capital University Resident Artist
PNC Arts Alive is a Presenting Partner of the 40 Days of Opera celebration