Create an Opera in 24-hours? No Problem!

TRANSPORTATION TRANSFORMATION: Not just your typical MTA Monday morning commute on the F train!

Progress occurs when opportunity meets preparation.

Such was the case when I got the call from NY Opera Alliance to be the librettist on a quirky and ambitious project to create a 10-minute opera in one day. I said “Of course I’ll do this!” and then turned around and said “How the hell am I going to do this?!” It called upon every skill I’d been developing over the past three years. It pulled me out of the cushy, complacent chair I’d been smugly sitting in sipping tea. It got me – quite literally – down on the floor  next to the piano, surrounded by sheets of music and post-it notes and from there I went to work with pencil in hand.

Composers should never get up this early
Composer, Peter Michael von der Nahmer, Dramaturging in the WNYC studios at 7am!!

We worked 18 hours straight, reporting to NY Public Radio’s WNYC/WQXR studios at 6:45 Friday morning April 12 to receive the prompt for what this opera was going to be about. By Saturday afternoon, four exquisite opera singers and one fantastic music director were performing a polished pastiche of Mozart’s music with the original story and text I had set to his music, with my dramaturge’s guidance and my director’s vision. This was a trip – and I didn’t get much sleep but I got some and that’s ok. It gave me a powerful purpose to live into.

“oh the healing powers of opera and opera people!” I say this often.


TRANSPORTATION TRANSFORMATION: Not just your typical MTA Monday morning commute on the F train!

World premiere at the Jerome L Greene Performance Space at WNYC, New York’s public radio station

Featuring the vocal talents of:

Danielle Buonaiuto, Soprano
La Toya Lewis, Soprano
Melissa Serluco, Mezzo-Soprano
Brian Alvarado, Baritone

With creative team:

Richard Pearson Thomas, Music Director
Marianna Mott Newirth, Librettist
Mike von der Nahmer, Music Dramaturge
Jennifer Williams, Stage Director
Alexa Rosenberg, Production Stage Manager


Here is the complete broadcast from the Greene Space featuring the works of several  exemplary opera companies here in New York City. Bravi Tutti! Check out their performances, there will be awesome opera happening across this fine city from May to August. Our work is presented as the last piece in the broadcast if you’d like context for the whole affair.

One thought on “Create an Opera in 24-hours? No Problem!

  1. Fabulous idea Greene Space to promote small companies in a gala. I Enjoyed La Susanna at 20:00, I also like outreach, education and widening audiences. Transportation transformation was quite a challenge and a half, an impressive large amount of off copy singing in just one day, excellent project, pa pa pa pa is one of my favourite sings I enjoyed the new lyrics.

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