Twitter @Vocalcomposer

Steamboat Opera to present The Three Feathers in August 2020

I am thrilled to announce that Steamboat Opera, under the Artistic Direction of Maestro Andres Cladera, will present The Three Feathers from August 7-9, 2020 in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Based on a little known tale by the Brothers Grimm, with a libretto by Dana Gioia, this magical opera presents a young female protagonist, Princess Dora, as its hero. A magic feather leads the shy, self-doubting princess to an enchanted Underworld ruled by a giant Frog King. Here she summons her courage and compassion to face a series of mysterious and comic adventures that change her life. Completing her quest, she saves her father's kingdom from the plots of her selfish sisters and earns her right to the crown.

The work was commissioned by The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech and the world premiere took place in October 2014 at The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, in collaboration with Opera Roanoke and Blacksburg Children’s Chorale. The premiere was directed by Beth Greenberg and conducted by Scott Williamson.

The Steamboat Opera production marks the first professional production of the work.

For more information, please click here.


Below: Dora meets the Frog King in the Underworld




Indianapolis Opera to present Vedem with Brundibar in April 2020

Indianapolis Opera will present a semi-staged version of my Holocaust-themed oratorio Vedem in a double bill with Hans Krasa's Brundibar from April 24-26, 2020. Vedem tells the story of the boys imprisoned in the infamous Terezin Concentration Camp during WWII, and their secret magazine entitled Vedem (Czech for "in the Lead"). All 800 pages of the magazine were buried by the last remaining child at Terezin — Sidney Taussig —  who retrieved the papers after the war. This treasure trove gives us an unvarnished glimpse into the daily lives of the boys. My long-time collaborator, poet David Mason, wrote the libretto and entwined six of the original Vedem poems within. The work is scored for boychoir, tenor and mezzo-soprano soloists, accompanied by an instrumental quartet comprised of clarinet, violin, cello and piano.
This production marks several firsts for Indianapolis Opera: Vedem is the first piece by a woman composer to be performed by their company, and the production marks the first mainstage collaboration between the opera company and the Indianapolis Children's Choir.
The oratorio was commissioned by Mina Miller and Music of Remembrance and premiered in May 2010. Four of the then-six survivors traveled to Seattle for the premiere. Naxos released the CD in May 2011, and Fanfare Magazine wrote: "A most touching experience, and one that further confirms Laitman's status as one of the most talented and intriguing of living composers."
For more information, please click here

Opera at UC Irvine to present THE SCARLET LETTER in MAY 2020

I am thrilled to announce that The Opera Department at UC Irvine in California will present The Scarlet Letter May 9-10, 2020. The presentation will be under the artistic direction of Dr. Darryl Taylor with Dr. Stephen Tucker conducting.


For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here


Review of "Hands" premiere by Chicago Classical Review

The Grant Park Chorus, under the director of Christopher Bell, premiered my choral work "Hands" on July 18, 2019 at the Columbus Park Refectory in Chicago. The piece sets the poetry of Robinson Jefferrs (1887-1962). This particular poem was written in response to Jeffers' visit to the ancient Esselen people's "Cave of the Hands" near Tassajara, CA. To Jeffers, the multitude of hands painted inside the cave was a reminder that we are part of a continuing chain of humanity and that artistic expression is central to the human experience. 

Of the premiere, Chicago Classical Review wrote: 

The focal point of the program was the world premiere of Lori Laitman's Hands, commissioned by Grant Park on the occasion of Carlos Kalmar's 20th anniversary as festival artistic director and principal conductor. 

The text of Hands is taken from American Robinson Jeffers’s poem, which reflects on a visit to the “Cave of Hands” near Tassajara, California. There a smattering of handprints painted by the ancient Esselen people adorn the cave’s walls. The sight prompted the poet’s stanzas about humanity’s inherent drive toward artistic expression that transcends time.

Laitman’s setting does service to its source material, evoking the mysterious cave in the march-like opening and a smart “chromatic, melismatic melody, rising and falling, as if tracing a hand’s shape from the thumb outward,” as the composer describes in her program notes. Inventively, the piece’s musical material runs tangent to the text through a stylistic mélange of Gregorian chant, Baroque chorale, and 20th-century minimalism layered one atop the other–suggesting that perhaps all art, like the human experience itself, is instantaneously present in every moment.

The premiere was received warmly, garnering a standing ovation from the capacity audience. After the chorus delivered a briskly paced reading of Thea Musgrave’s quirky On the Underground, Set No 2., Bell invited Laitman and Lita Grier to join the chorus at the front of the stage to acknowledge the applause in a fitting cap to the evening.

The full review can be read here


New Mary Oliver choral work commission

The Donald Sinclair Sutherland Music Endowment for the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir, under the director of Matthew Robertson, has commissioned a new choral work to premiere in early March 2020. 

Early in my career, Mary Oliver granted me permission to set many of her poems. For this commission, I chose to set her exquisite poem Snowy Night. The poem's theme of appreciation for the natural beauty of the world resonated deeply with me.

I look forward to the premiere, and am grateful to Donald Sutherland for creating the commissioning endowment.