If death has a sound, then I am now its echo
A New Digital Film Available November 11- December 11, 2021
Composer: Shawn Okpebholo
Poet: Marcus Amaker
World Premiere: October 5, 2021, presented by Wolf Trap’s Chamber Music at the Barns
Digital Premiere: November 11, 2021
“Soldiers never die until they are forgotten. Tomb Guards never forget.”
UNKNOWN is a dramatic song cycle honoring the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery, which occurs on November 11, 2021. UNKNOWN explores the ideas of war, honor, and memory through the eyes of soldiers, family members, and Tomb Guards who are connected to each other and the Tomb through their mutual service and sacrifice.
Commissioned by UrbanArias with the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Opera Colorado, Minnesota Opera, Opera Birmingham, and Stephen E. and Dorothy P. Bird
Mayes stunned London audiences as Joseph de Rocher in the UK premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera Dead Man Walking alongside Joyce DiDonato at London’s Barbican Hall. His “searing performance” was hailed by critics as “sensational”, “a revelation”, and “of such stunning strength and complete identification”. Mayes made his European debut at the Teatro Real, Madrid, in staged performances of Dead Man Walking and has performed the role with multiple opera houses, including Washington National Opera. This season, he reprised de Rocher with The Atlanta Opera, in a critically acclaimed production co-starring Jamie Barton.
He is renowned for his outstanding performances in contemporary operas, including the Grammy-nominated world premiere of Great Scott with Dallas Opera & San Diego Opera; Margaret Garner opposite Denyce Graves with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Carolina; Out of Darkness; Three Decembers; Glory Denied; The Wreckers, Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata, Baden-Baden 1927 and Everest. 2018-2019 performances include a debut with Staatsoper Stuttgart as the title character in Nixon in China, Conte di Luna in Il Trovatore for Seattle Opera, Starbuck in Moby Dick in Pittsburgh, Glory Denied, and the title role of Sweeney Todd for Atlanta Opera as well as his first Wozzeck.
Mayes also excels in dramatic baritone roles such as Scarpia in Tosca, Jack Rance in La Fanciulla del West, and the title roles of Don Giovanni and Rigoletto. Classical Scene praised his Boston Lyric Opera debut in Rigoletto, saying, “His baritone, powerful yet fully controlled, shifted seamlessly in color between expressions of terror, pleading, and angry vengeance.”
Taylor Raven will close the 2020-21 season with a role and house debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Polina in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame and a house debut as Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with Finger Lakes Opera. During the 2020-21 season, Taylor was also scheduled to debut at the Minnesota Opera as Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola and make a role/house debut as the title role of Bizet’s Carmen at Opera San Jose. In the 2021-2022 season, Taylor looks forward to many debuts on the opera and concert stage. She will make her house debut with Houston Grand Opera as Dritte Dame in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and will make a role/house debut with North Carolina Opera in Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road as Clarissa Davis. Taylor will make a role/house debut as Mallika in Delibes’ Lakmé with Washington Concert Opera. She will perform as the alto soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Dallas Symphony under conductor Fabio Luisi, Baltimore Symphony under conductor Marin Alsop and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductor Gustavo Dudamel.
In the 2019-20 season, Taylor was scheduled to debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Grimgerde in Wagner’s Die Walküre and cover Flosshilde in Wagner’s Das Rheingold/Götterdämmerung. She was seen as Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and Concepción in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole as a 2019 Filene Artist at Wolf Trap Opera. She made her Alice Tully Hall debut, appearing with the American Symphony Orchestra for a concert of Bach arias. She is a recent alum of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera, where she was seen as Dritte Dame in the Kosky production of Die Zauberflöte, Annio in La clemenza di Tito, Tebaldo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, and the Sandman in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
In 2018-2019 Taylor made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut as a soloist in the Hollywood Bowl performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy. She appeared with the New West Symphony in Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky and made her Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra debut as a soloist in Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied as a part of their May Festival. In 2017-18 Taylor performed with Wolf Trap Opera and the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, making a Naxos Classical recording of Bernstein’s Songfest. She won 1st prize in the 2018 Loren L. Zachary competition and is a recipient of a 2017 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.
This fall, Schyler will be joining UrbanArias for a world premiere of UNKNOWN, a dramatic song cycle composed by Shawn Okpebholo with poems by Marcus Amaker honoring the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. Earlier in 2021, Schyler made his Opera Theatre of Saint Louis debut after joining the prestigious Gerdine Young Artist Program and later this summer he will be joining Cincinnati Opera for their reimagined centennial season. Previously, he has been seen in main stage roles at The Atlanta Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Glimmerglass Opera Festival, Dayton Opera, and the Château de Versailles Spectacles in France. He was set to make house debuts with the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari in Italy and the Teatro Municipal de Santiago in Chile before the Covid-19 pandemic.
A widely sought-after and award-winning composer, Shawn E. Okpebholo has been described by Augusta Read Thomas as “…a beautiful artist …who has enormous grace in his music, and fantasy and color.” Okpebholo comfortably composes in various styles and genres, intentional in creating music that is diverse, dynamic, and genuine. His artistry has resulted in many prizes and honors, including The American Academy of Arts and Letters Walter Hinrichsen Award in Music, First Place Winner of the 2020 American Prize in Composition (professional/wind band division) and Second Place Winner in the 2017 American Prize in Composition (professional/orchestral division), First Prize Winner in the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition, Sound of Late Composition Contest, Accent06 International Composition Competition, and the Inaugural Awardee of the Leslie Adams-Robert Owens Composition Award.
Marcus Amaker was named Charleston, SC’s first Poet Laureate in 2016. He’s also the award-winning graphic designer of a national music journal (No Depression), an internationally known electronic musician, the creator of a poetry festival, and a mentor to hundreds of students. In 2019, he won a Governor’s Arts Award in South Carolina and was named the artist-in-residence of the Gaillard Center, a world-renowned performance and education venue. His poetry has been studied in classrooms around the world and has been interpreted for ballet, jazz, modern dance, opera, and theater. Marcus has recorded three albums with Grammy Award-winning drummer and producer Quentin E. Baxter. His eighth book is The Birth of All Things, from Free Verse Press.
Stage director Kristine McIntyre has directed more than 100 operas across the U.S. with a focus on new, contemporary, and American works. Productions include Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby Dick (Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera San Jose); Dead Man Walking (Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Des Moines Metro Opera, Madison Opera); the world premiers of Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre (Center for Contemporary Opera, New York), Mark Lanz Weiser and Amy Punt’s The Place Where You Started (Art Share, LA) and Celka Ojakanga and Amy Punt’s Mirror Game; new productions of Wozzeck, Billy Budd (regional Emmy award) and Peter Grimes as well as As One (Kaminsky / Campbell / Reed), Glory Denied and Soldier Songs (Des Moines Metro Opera, Urban Arias), Jonathan Dove’s Flight (Pittsburgh Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Austin Opera), Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair (Lyric Opera of Kansas City) and Three Decembers (Des Moines Metro Opera); Florencia en el Amazonas (Madison Opera), Elmer Gantry (Tulsa Opera), Of Mice and Men (Utah Opera, Austin Opera, Tulsa Opera), the world premier of Kirke Mechem’s John Brown (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); new productions of Street Scene, The Tender Land (Michigan Opera Theater), Horovitz’s Gentleman’s Island (Utah Opera) and Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appétit; and updated English-language version of Poulenc’s The Human Voice (Utah Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera), a staged concert version of Vanessa (Toledo Opera) and the world premier of The Canticle of the Black Madonna (Newmark Theater, Portland).
In the digital realm, Kristine has done staging and video direction for the Portland Opera’s Resident Artist Recital Series as well as the Women in Politics recital and the Portland Opera at Home concert; staged the Houston Grand Opera’s Studio Artist Showcase for filming and consulted with Atlanta Opera on bringing her Bilingual Barber to video for schools in the Atlanta area.
Other recent directing credits include a film-noir style Don Giovanni (Utah Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Kentucky Opera, and upcoming at Pittsburgh Opera); an Emmy-award winning production of Manon (Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Santa Barbara); Otello, La Cenerentola, Tosca, Le nozze di Figaro, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria and La clemenza di Tito (Pittsburgh Opera); The Pearl Fishers (Utah Opera); Jenůfa, Eugene Onegin and La bohème (Des Moines Metro Opera); Lucia di Lammermoor and Madama Butterfly (Arizona Opera); Così fan tutte, Norma, and The Turn of the Screw (Lyric Opera of Kansas City); Il ritorno d’Ulisse, Lucia di Lammermoor and La traviata (Portland Opera); The Tales of Hoffmann, Un Ballo in Maschera, Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci and Così fan tutte (Madison Opera); Verdi’s Un giorno di regno (Wolftrap Opera); La bohème (New Orleans Opera); Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci, Carmen and Werther (Kentucky Opera); Don Giovanni and Rigoletto (Tulsa Opera); a new American setting of Hansel and Gretel (Skylight Opera Theatre); Lucia di Lammermoor (Anchorage Opera); Tancredi (Opera Boston); La Rondine (Oberlin in Italy); Béatrice et Bénédict and Viva la Mamma (Tacoma Opera), and Die Fledermaus, A Little Night Music, Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, and seven Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for Mock’s Crest in Portland.
Upcoming projects include a digital workshop and world premier of Mark Lanz Weiser and Amy Punt’s new opera Galaxies in Her Eyes – the first opera ever written specifically for a planetarium, a new production of Handel’s Semele for Pittsburgh Opera, a new production of Sweeney Todd for Des Moines Metro Opera, two upcoming revivals of her production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and several operas for the digital sphere.
Kristine began her career at the San Francisco Opera and then spent eight years on the directing staff of the Metropolitan Opera where she directed revivals of La traviata, Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Luisa Miller, and directed La traviata on tour for the company in Japan and for HD broadcast as part of the Renée Fleming gala. Kristine has trained opera singers in the studio programs at the Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Portland Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera and has written and directed operatic adaptations for Portland Opera To Go, a touring educational arts program that has reached over one hundred thousand people in Oregon, Washington and Northern California. Her recent bilingual adaptation of The Barber of Seville was produced to great acclaim at Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Houston Grand Opera/HGO CO and Chautauqua Opera.
With a background in theater, Kristine was the founder and artistic director of everyman, a San Francisco-based theater company for which she directed and designed critically acclaimed productions of works by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Howard Brenton. She has also collaborated with Rebecca Salzer Dance Theatre where she co-created exciting new works which explore the boundaries of theatre, film and dance. Collaborations include Skywatch! and most recently Bird Lady, a piece of dance theater about street photographer Vivian Maier. Kristine has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Theatre from the University of Hull in England.
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 25 contemporary works in Virginia, DC, and New York City, eleven of which were world premieres, and seven of which were UrbanArias commissions. He conducts all of UrbanArias’ productions. Highlights inlcude Glory Denied (Cipullo), The Roost (Migó/de los Santos – world premiere, UrbanArias commission), The Last American Hammer (Hilliard/Boresi – world premiere, UrbanArias commission), Paul’s Case (Spears/Walat – world premiere), Three Decembers (Heggie/Scheer), Blue Viola (Hilliard/Boresi – world premiere, UrbanArias commission), As One (Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed), After Life and Josephine (Cipullo – world premiere/UrbanArias commission), and Independence Eve (Boquiren/Neer – world premiere).
Maestro Wood made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 2004 with Verdi’s La traviata; he also conducted L’italiana in Algeri there, as well as several concerts. He recently conducted Rigoletto at Austin Opera, Silent Night at the University of British Columbia with the Vancouver Opera orchestra, Roméo et Juliette and Carmen at Opera Colorado, Die Fledermaus and As One at Hawaii Opera Theater, and Three Decembers at Kentucky Opera.
Mo. Wood has also conducted L’italiana in Algeri at Vancouver Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Hawaii Opera Theater, The Love for Three Oranges at Indiana University Opera Theater, La cenerentola at New Jersey Opera Theater, and The Nutcracker for San Francisco Ballet. Mo. Wood’s collaborations with the Wolf Trap Opera Company include Le Comte Ory and Die Zauberflöte. Additionally, Maestro Wood was appointed Conductor in Residence at the Minnesota Opera from 2006-2008, leading productions of L’italiana in Algeri, Le nozze di Figaro, La donna del lago, Rusalka, and Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Mo. Wood held the position of Chorus Master at The Santa Fe opera from 2001 to 2004, where he received critical acclaim for the choral contribution to the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Madame Mao, and the American premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin. Mo. Wood was a Merola Opera Program and Western Opera Theater participant, and spent several years in Vienna studying voice and singing in the Arnold Schönberg Chor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, and completed his Master’s at Florida State University.
Available On Demand