We are always hearing about the professional success Carnegie Mellon University drama graduates have, but there's plenty of CMU musicians doing well, too. For one, Ricky Ian Gordon, the composer of "The Grapes of Wrath," which the Pittsburgh Opera will produce this fall, spent time at the school, and so did Josh Groben (!)...okay, there are many classical music successes, too, starting with pianist Earl Wild.
Well, just the other day I got an e-mail from a serendipitous meeting of CMU music grads in New York. A new opera company, Opera Omnia, is debuting with a production of Monteverdi's "The Coronation of Poppea" at the old Village Gate on Bleeker Street, now called (hmmm) Le Poisson Rouge.
Singing Lucano is Pittsburgh native Robert Boldin, an up-and-coming tenor who trained at Carnegie Mellon (BFA there and an masters from Northwestern University). He wrote me to tell me about it, but it turns out I have already heard him sing, but also not in Pittsburgh. He was in the Lyric Opera of Chicago chorus in the "Ring" cycle I saw there in 2005.
There are three other Carnegie Mellon alumni involved. Artistic director Crystal Manich (who will also direct the Pittsburgh Opera's upcoming production of "La Boheme" in March, to add to the connections), costume designer Carla Bellisio and lighting designer Evan Purcell.
"As we all know Carnegie Mellon grads are everywhere in the arts world, but rarely do you hear about them collaborating and coming together in opera, let alone from four different disciplines with an upstart company," writes Boldin. "The scope of this project was exciting from the start, which is why I got involved. It wasn't until after rehearsals had started that I discovered the CMU connection."
Good luck to them.
"Poppea" opens on tomorrow (August 21) and runs through the 27th.