Events will include opening night at the opera and a post-show party on Friday, March 13, talks by the directors and composer, hanging out in the con suite with Somtow and other fans and enjoying such Milwaukee specialties as cheese, fish fry, cheese, bratwurst, cheese, summer sausage, cheese, bheer, cheese, German fare, cheese, brandy old fashioneds, cheese, frozen custard, cheese curds and more cheese.
Come as you are or get out your formalwear, historic garb or steampunk finery.
Premiering Friday, March 13, 2015, at the Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee, Wis., “The Snow Dragon” is a chamber opera with music and libretto by Somtow Sucharitkul, based on his 1982 short story, “The Fallen Country.” (Originally published in the Ace Books anthology “Elsewhere II,” the story was also adapted into a young-adult novel with the same name, published by Bantam in 1986.) After its Milwaukee world premiere, the opera will head to Thailand for a special performance in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“The Snow Dragon” is the Thai-American composer and author’s seventh opera. “In writing this work,” Somtow says, “I hope to bridge many genres. This work connects opera and fantastic literature, speaks directly to young people in an accessible style which sacrifices none of the subtleties of ‘classical opera.’”
Its melodically inventive music brings in the eerie tropes of fantasy and horror film music, making the score very accessible to an audience new to opera, with hummable tunes.
The opera’s plot centers on young Billy Binder, who escapes from his painful life to a fantastic world of eternal snow, where he rides a dragon, fights monsters and rescues princesses. Yet the world is ruled by the evil and omnipresent Ringmaster. Defeating the Ringmaster in the fantasy kingdom is key to overcoming Billy’s real-world problems, but that’s easier said than done.
Viswa Subbaraman, artistic director of Skylight Music Theatre (and previously with Opera Vista in Houston and the Orchestre National de France), will provide music direction, and the stage director is Matthew Ozawa, whose credits include the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera.
Somtow Sucharitkul, pseudonymously known as S.P. Somtow and fondly called “Uncle Somtow” by sf fans across the U.S., has authored more than 50 books. Born in Thailand and reared in the U.K., Somtow began composing music while living in Thailand in the 1970s.
In 1979, he moved to the United States and became a fantasy and science-fiction writer and fan, regularly attending sf cons and gaining renown for such works as “Starship & Haiku”; the “Aquiliad,” “Mallworld” and “Riverrun” series; and “The Bird Catcher,” as well as acclaimed horror novels including “Vampire Junction.”
Somtow won the John W. Campbell Award, the World Fantasy Award, the International Horror Guild Award, the American Horror Award and many others.
In 2001, Somtow moved back to Thailand, refocused on music and founded Bangkok Opera, the country’s first opera company, to produce his “Madana,” the first full-scale grand opera by a Thai composer. Along with Bangkok Opera/Opera Siam, Somtow now directs the Siam Sinfonietta and the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra. For his contributions to Thai arts, Thailand’s Ministry of Culture gave him its Silpathorn Kittikhun Award.
More than 50 years old, Milwaukee’s Skylight Music Theatre has achieved international recognition for its broad and adventuresome repertoire of baroque opera, European operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan, Broadway musicals, contemporary chamber operas and original musical revues. The Skylight produces over 90 performances each season, winning praise for artistic excellence and virtuoso ensemble productions.
Set on Lake Michigan and crossed by rivers, Milwaukee is a city of contrasts: Its elegant Santiago Calatrava-designed art museum and the mechanistic Harley-Davidson Museum; hearty German fare and authentic Southeast Asian cuisine; beer and frozen custard; the horticultural shrine of the The Domes and the geek mecca of American Science and Surplus; high-fashion boutiques and thrift stores. There’s lots to see and do.
Our hotel is the luxurious Hilton Milwaukee City Center, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave., in downtown Milwaukee. A classic art deco structure built in 1927, the newly renovated hotel, part of Marcus Hotels & Resorts, boasts a AAA Four Diamond rating. It’s close to many shopping and dining options, and a short walk from Intermodal Station (the rail and bus station) and the Milwaukee Public Museum, one of the nation’s largest natural-history museums.
Room rates are just $100 per night for double-double or king rooms with free wifi and discounted self parking. We have a limited block at this rate, so please make reservations as soon as possible! There is no deadline, but the rate applies only as long as there are vacancies. Book now! If you have any difficulties reserving your room, please call us immediately.
|At the door:||$65.|
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