Trial By Jury and Scalia/Ginsburg

 

SCALIA/GINSBURG 

BY DERRICK WANG

 

& TRIAL BY JURY

BY GILBERT AND SULLIVAN

Orchestration by Derrick Wang

APRIL 17 (7:30 PM), APRIL 18 (7:30 PM) & APRIL 19 (2:00 PM), 2020 at the Valentine Theatre

 

Scalia/Ginsburg is an American comic opera by composer-librettist Derrick Wang about the unlikely friendship of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. Launched at a special presentation at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013, Scalia/Ginsburg received its world premiere production in 2015 to rave reviews. Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury is a joy of courtroom banter and farce. Plaintiff Angelina sues the fickle defendant, Edwin, for breach of marriage promise. Through much compromise and hilarity, the judge resolves he should marry Angelina himself. One of G&S’s early collaborations remains one of their most good-humored—with a quintessentially British dry wit.

Trial by Jury kicks off this evening of courtroom hilarity with Scalia/Ginsburg anchoring the second half.

 

Performed in English with English supertitles.

Trial By Jury

Angelina is suing Edwin for breach of promise, claiming that he has broken his word to marry her. In his own defense, Edwin argues that is unfair to punish him for loving one girl one day and, bored with her, loving another the next. However, the sight of this beautiful girl overcome by emotion and greatly distressed quickly captures the hearts of the 'impartial' jury. In an attempt to resolve the matter, Edwin offers to marry both girls but his suggestion is rejected on the grounds of bigamy.

Faced with potentially substantial damages, Edwin then claims to be a drunkard and a bully, liable to beat Angelina when intoxicated, and worth very little in financial terms. This leads the Judge to suggest that they make him drunk and observe his behavior towards Angelina! When all except Edwin object to this the Judge becomes very impatient with the whole affair and, in a final effort to bring the trial to a conclusion, he declares that he will marry Angelina himself. This suits everybody, and the case is closed.

 

Scalia/Ginsburg

1. In the plot of this comic opera, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is visited by The Commentator, an otherworldly figure who:

   A. Confronts Justice Scalia (as in Don Giovanni).

   B. Seals Justice Scalia in a chamber (as in Aïda).

   C. Compels Justice Scalia to undergo three trials (as in The Magic Flute).

   D. All of the above.

2. When Justice Ginsburg arrives to assist Justice Scalia, she:

   A. Comforts Justice Scalia (in the style of Bellini).

   B. Debates Justice Scalia (in the style of Verdi and Mozart).

   C. Explains her view of the evolving Constitution (in evolving musical styles).

   D. All of the above.

3. The trials undergone by the Justices include:

   A. An inquisition (in which the Commentator directly questions the Justices).

   B. A trial of silence (in which the Justices must not say anything).

   C. A mystery.

   D. All of the above.

4. If the Justices pass the trials, they will receive:

   A. Their freedom from the sealed chamber.

   B. Access to another realm.

   C. A special talent.

   D. All of the above.

5. In the opera Scalia/Ginsburg, Justices Ginsburg and Scalia are described as:

   A. [U.S.] Supreme Court Justices.

   B. Different.

   C. One.

   D. All of the above.

 

MUSICAL NUMBERS

“The Justices are blind!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scalia

“Dissent!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Commentator

“Oh, Nino” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . Ginsburg, Scalia

“Always ‘liberal’” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scalia, Ginsburg

“You are searching in vain (for a bright-line solution)” . . . . . . . . . . . Ginsburg

“He built stairs” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scalia

“You, sir, are wrong here” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ginsburg

“Withdrawn!” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commentator

“We are different, we are one” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ginsburg, Scalia

Finale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commentator, Ginsburg, Scalia

 

 

Jennifer Zetlan, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Scalia/Ginsburg

Soprano Jennifer Zetlan is internationally recognized for her artistry and captivating stage presence. She has been seen and heard on opera and concert stages worldwide, as well as recital venues and on Broadway. Last season, Ms. Zetlan created the title role of Rhoda (Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt) for On Site Opera, reprised her role in Crossing with American Repertory Theatre at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, reprised her Fanny in the New York premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star, and joined the San Francisco Symphony as Xenia in (Boris Godunov). The 2018-2019 season included her return to the Metropolitan Opera as the cover of Laura Fleet in the New York premiere of Marnie, Carmina burana with the Kansas City Symphony, Fauré’s Requiem at St. John of the Divine, Ginsburg in Scalia/Ginsburg with Opera Delaware, and the title role in Ellen West with Opera Saratoga. In the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Zetlan made her European debut with the Staatstheater Stuttgart in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, created the title role in the world premiere of Jane Eyre by Louis Karchin with Center for Contemporary Opera, (studio recorded for Naxos), and concluded a run of Fiddler on the Roof (directed by Bartlett Sher) on Broadway. On the concert stage, she performed Kaija Saariaho’s Lonh with the New York Philharmonic at the Park Avenue Armory, sang Woglinde (Das Rheingold) with the New York Philharmonic, and sang the soprano solos in Bruckner’s Te Deum and Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall. She was also heard in recital with pianist David Shimoni and composer Ricky Ian Gordon and was seen in Charlottesville Opera’s new production of Oklahoma! as Laurey.

 

Brian Cheney, Justice Antonin Scalia - Scalia/Ginsburg

Hailed by KUSC Los Angeles as the “next great tenor,” Brian Cheney, protégé of legendary tenor Jerry Hadley, has gained international acclaim for his portrayal of characters such as Don José (Carmen), Mario Cavaradossi (Tosca), Rodolfo (La bohème), the Duke (Rigoletto), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), and Canio (Pagliacci). Last season, Mr. Cheney performed the role of Victor Frankenstein (Frankenstein) with The Angel's Share in the Brooklyn Catacombs, the tenor solo in the Bernstein Choral Celebration with National Philharmonic at the Kennedy Center, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Saint-Saens’ Oratorio de Noel with Cappella Cantorum, Verdi’s Requiem with Southern Illinois Symphony, as a soloist in the Three Holiday Tenors concert with NJ Festival Orchestra, in a Gala concert with the St. Johns Lattingtown Church, and in the Salute to Vienna Concerts produced by Attila Glatz Productions. He also performed Canio (Pagliacci) and the tenor soloist in Pulcinella with Opera Orlando, Manrico (Il trovatore) with Southern Illinois Music Festival, and as Scalia in the World Premiere of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg with Opera Delaware. Additional recent engagements included the role of Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) with Opera Piccola, Festival Opera, Southern Illinois Music Festival, and Pacific Opera Project; Don José (Carmen) with Knoxville Opera, Window Symphony Orchestra, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, and Southern Illinois Music Festival; Rodolfo (La bohème) with Window Symphony Orchestra and Norwalk Symphony; Canio (Pagliacci) with Asheville Lyric Opera and Heartland Opera Theatre; Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) with Salt Marsh Opera; Lord Byron (Ada) with Center for Contemporary Opera; and Cavardossi (Tosca) with Southern Illinois Music Festival and Pacific Opera Project.

 

Michael Colman, The Commentator - Scalia/Ginsburg and Foreman of the Jury - Trial By Jury

Bass-baritone Michael Colman has performed roles ranging from Mozart’s Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) and Rossini’s Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia) to Britten’s Collatinus (The Rape of Lucretia) and Puccini’s Schaunard (La bohème). Michael made his professional debut as an Apprentice Artist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and went on to perform leading and supporting roles with Virginia Opera, Dayton Opera, Toledo Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Opera on the James, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Janiec Opera Company, Fayetteville Opera, Savannah Voice Festival, and Charlottesville Opera. Mr. Colman is a former Toledo Opera Resident Artist and was last seen in Toledo as Count Ceprano in Rigoletto.

 

Rahim Mandal, The Learned Judge - Trial By Jury

American baritone Rahim Mandal who is known for his vocal power and charismatic presence, is thrilled to be one of Toledo Opera’s Resident Artists for the 2019-2020 season. Recently, Mr. Mandal was seen singing Usciere (Rigoletto) with New Orleans Opera. Other professional engagements include the Big Bad Wolf in Samuel Barber’s Little Red Riding Hood with New Orleans’ MetroPelican Opera Company’s outreach program, Wagner (​Faust) with Natchez Music Festival, and Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) with Teatro Lírico in Havana, Cuba. Mr. Mandal has also been a soloist for many concerts including a benefit concert of Faure’s Requiem. Mr. Mandal holds two degrees in vocal performance, a Bachelor’s from Loyola University New Orleans and a Masters from Florida State University.

 

Caroline Miller, The Plaintiff - Trial By Jury

Caroline Miller is an innovative and theatrical singer with a particular interest in contemporary opera, operetta, and film. She appeared with Ohio Light Opera as Phyllis (Iolanthe), Mascha (The Chocolate Soldier), and the dramatic diva Bellabruna (Blossom Time). Ms. Miller appears on the only contemporary professional recording of Blossom Time, produced by Albany Records. Opera News lauded her portrayal of Bellabruna, writing “Miller projects all the confident insouciance of a pampered prima donna.” She is a co-founder of The Pleiades Project, which tells women’s stories and brings opera to new audiences through film. Ms. Miller starred in the short-film Così, which was named an official selection in the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival. She holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Brian Skoog, The Defendant - Trial By Jury

American tenor Brian Skoog is known for his “strong voice” and “fine lyric tenor.” He was most recently seen with Toledo Opera as Chester A. Arthur (The Ballad of Baby Doe). In 2018, Mr. Skoog appeared as Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) for the Nina Odescalchi Kelly Family Matinee at Central City Opera, where he also sang the dual role of Larry/Matt (The Face on the Barroom Floor). Last season, Mr. Skoog performed the role of Tebaldo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi with The Cleveland Opera; previous Cleveland highlights include Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Tito (La clemenza di Tito), Jenik (The Bartered Bride), and the Witch (Hänsel und Gretel). Recent seasons include:  Mark (The Divorce Box) and Gastone (La traviata) with Cleveland Opera Theater, Le Remendado (Carmen) with Dayton Opera, Theseus (Hercules vs. Vampires) and Elder Hayes (Susannah) with Nashville Opera, and Mark Smeaton (Rex) andJacey Squires (The Music Man) with Utah Festival Opera. An active concert performer, Mr. Skoog appeared with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra last season as the tenor soloist for Handel’s Messiah. He was the tenor soloist for the world premiere of Margaret Brouwer’s environmental oratorio Voice of the Lake, which was released on DVD in 2019. Other recent concert highlights include Bach’s Cantata No. 80, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Schumann’s Dichterliebe. Mr. Skoog is a previous Toledo Opera Resident Artist. Learn more at www.brianskoog.com.

 

Jaewook Lee, Counsel for the Plaintiff - Trial By Jury

Jaewook Lee, tenor and native South Korean, received a BM from Seoul National University and a Diploma and a Master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. His operatic roles while at SMU included Don Basilio (Le nozze di Figaro), The Mayor (Albert Herring), Count Belfiore (La finta giardiniera) and Sam Polk (Susannah). He sang the role of Tamino (The Magic Flute) at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Naples, Italy, Nemorino in the Dallas Opera’s outreach production of The Elixir of Love and Alfredo (La traviata) at Opera in the Ozarks. Mr. Lee was a finalist in 2012 and 2014 at the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and 2014 at the McCammon Voice Competition and won fourth place at NATS. He just finished his Artist Diploma program at Texas Christian University where he performed the roles of Don José (La tragédie de Carmen), Fenton (Falstaff), Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi).

 

Justin Bays, Usher - Trial By Jury

 

Kevin J. Bylsma, Conductor - Trial By Jury and Scalia/Ginsburg

With more than two decades experience as a vocal coach, collaborative pianist, choral conductor, and organist, Kevin J. Bylsma is a musician of impressive depth and ability, well known for his work in opera, art song, and oratorio. A longtime member of the Toledo Opera staff as Head of Music Preparation, Mr. Bylsma was formerly Music Director of the Department of Community Programs for the Michigan Opera Theatre and vocal coach, accompanist, and chorus master for OPERA! Lenawee. In recitals and master classes he has collaborated with the great American singers Samuel Ramey, Diane Soviero, Marilyn Horne, Michelle De Young, and Irina Mishura. He is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ann Arbor Festival of Song, and his solo piano performances and collaborative work have been featured on WTGE’s Live from FM91 program. Dedicated to the education and training of the next generation of operatic talent, Mr. Bylsma is Instructor of Opera and repetiteur at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, responsible for vocal coaching and serving as a collaborative pianist for the school’s large body of young singers. Mr. Bylsma also serves on the artistic staff of OperaWorks, an intensive opera training program, based in Los Angeles, CA. and he is the Associate Organist of the historic Mariner’s Church of Detroit.

   

James M. Norman, Director - Trial By Jury and Scalia/Ginsburg

James Norman has been active in the Northwest Ohio arts community for many years.  In his 30+ years in the business, Mr. Norman has directed, costumed, and stage-managed plays, musicals, and operas. For the Opera On Wheels education program of Toledo Opera, he has designed and directed Hansel and Gretel vs. the Witch, Romeo and Juliet, Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?, The Magic Flute, and The Billy Goats Gruff. Favorite musical theatre pieces he has directed include: The Full MontyVictor/Victoria, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, All Shook Up, and Evil Dead: The Musical.  Mr. Norman is an accomplished singer and actor as well having sung comprimario roles and in the chorus for Toledo Opera for many years. He has sung with Renee Fleming, Robert Merrill, Lili Chookasian, Irina Mishura, Diana Soviero, and many more. He serves as Director of Operations and Production and Artistic Director of Opera On Wheels for the Toledo Opera. Additionally, Mr. Norman has taught part-time in the English department at the University of Toledo since 1992 and is president of the Ballet Theatre of Toledo board.

 

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