Cow Goes to the Opera: Matinee Family Event
Saturday, June 19, 2021, 4 PM FREE!
Music by: Sunny Knable
Librettist and Director: Michael MacKenzie Wills
Based on a children's book by Amber L. Spradlin
Performers: Stefanie Izzo, soprano; Tony Ramos, Baritone
Sunny Knable, piano and tenor vocalist
MRP presents the workshop concert performance of Cow Goes to the Opera, an opera for young audience about a curious cow in the French countryside, based on an award-winning children's book by Amber L. Spradlin. Cow is given a time-out and sent to his room by Farmer Brown as punishment for something he did not do. While there, he is visited by several infamous characters from the world’s most beloved Operas. Filled with excerpts and reinterpretations of the best-known arias in the operatic tradition, Cow Goes to the Opera is fun and educational for the whole family!
California-born and New York-based, SUNNY KNABLE(b. 1983) is a multi-faceted composer with numerous awards to his credit, including three Best Composition Awards from the Festival of New American Music and the ANALOG ARTS Iron Composers Award, for which he wrote a four-minute piece in five hours. Knable’s music has been described as "great!" (TheWholeNote), "genius" (Anchorage Press), "entertaining" (Audiophile Audition), "witty, romantic and lilting" (TheaterScene.net), offering up "sparks of color and inventiveness" (Sacramento Bee), and possessing a "wealth of thematic invention" (feastofmusic.com). Dr. Knable serves as Music Director of The Church-in-the-Gardens; composer for The Garden Players, a theatrical group for children; and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Queens College and LaGuardia Community College. He holds a PhD in Music Composition from Stony Brook University, a Master of Arts degree in Composition from Queens College (CUNY) and a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition, Piano Performance and Jazz Studies from CSU Sacramento. Other professional credits include his debut album "American Variations" on Centaur Records and his composition album with bassoonist Scott Pool and pianist Natsuki Fukasawa, "Song of the Redwood Tree" on MSR Classics. His bassoon works, Song of the Redwood-Tree and The Busking Bassoonist are published by TrevCo-Varner Music. All other works are published by Trouvère Publishing.
Soprano STEFANIE IZZO has been hailed as possessing a “gorgeously rich and full sound” for her work in opera and musical theatre. Her recent performance of Maria in West Side Storywith St. Petersburg Opera was deemed “ideal in every way,” and garnered a Theatre Tampa Bay Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. Stefanie made her off-Broadway debut in 2012 as Monica in Menotti’s The Medium, and her international debut in 2011 as Adina in L’Elisir d’Amorewith Musica Viva Hong Kong. She was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the National Italian American Foundation’s Andrea Bocelli Music Scholarship and holds a B.M. from NYU and an M.A. and Advanced Performance Certificate from CUNY Queens College. In addition to operatic repertoire, Stefanie devotes a significant amount of her time to art song, particularly that of female composers, and maintains an active concert schedule in the NYC area. She is a co-founder of the chamber ensemble The Astoria Music Project.
If there's one thing you should know about TONY RAMOS, it's that he loves tacos, 90s R&B, & empowering creative artists. Actually, that's three things. He also finds writing in the third person really awkward. You may remember him in Sunny Knable's "Beethoven in Love" opera (as Beethoven) at the National Opera Center. He's starting to lose track of the number of times he's played Papageno in the Magic Flute. The same can be said for his Lincoln Center concert appearances. He spends time on both musical theatre & opera stages. If he's telling great stories through song and doing creative work, he's generally a happy guy.... just don't forget the tacos. When he's not on stage, he's a startup tech founder who has built companies in foodtech, adtech, & healthtech, and he's currently looking to help creative artists find their way into the startup world. www.tonyleeramos.com
MICHAEL MACKENZIE WILLS (Librettist & Director) He has worked with several cutting-edge icons such as Penn & Teller, Blue Man Group, MTV Networks, and FUSE TV. His award-winning show Operation Operahas played in various venues in New York City such as Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, The National Opera Center, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Premiere productions in New York include developing and directing James Gandolfini in Tarantulas Dancing, Liev Schreiber in G-Force, Jamy Ian Swiss in The Honest Liar,Fixing Frankby Ken Hanes, and the original NYC production of The Last Session. He has written the book and lyrics to 9 published children’s musicals including the entire Adventures of Superbunnyseries, the musical farce A Cow Named Cow, and POE: An Introduction to Edgar Allan. He is also an illustrator of children's books.