Sunday, November 11, 2012

Political Cabaret - Hard Right

Should I create a Hard Right Cabaret, using the unedited words of  Republican politicians ?
Check out my latest Youtube video and vote!

Cabaret seems to be on the upswing here in NYC. So what is cabaret exactly? Here's a Wikopedia definition:

Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring music, comedy, song, dance, recitation or drama. It is mainly distinguished by the performance venue (also called a cabaret), such as in a restaurant, pub or nightclub with a stage for performances. The audience usually sits at tables, often dining or drinking. Performances are usually introduced by a master of ceremonies or emcee (MC). The entertainment is often (but not always) oriented towards adult audiences.
Cabaret also sometimes refers to a Mediterranean-style brothel – a bar with tables and women who mingle with and entertain the clientele. Traditionally these establishments can also feature some form of stage entertainment, often singers and dancers or burlesque entertainers.

I will add to this that the Cabaret that existed in Berlin in the 1920's was quite political.

Vote - it's your right

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Paranormal Miracle

Rescheduled "PARANORMAL ACTIVITIES" Monday, November 5 at 8 PM
Christ and Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church
120 West 69th Street
Between Broadway & Columbus Avenues

It appeared that Hurricane Sandy had assassinated my new Satyrical Suite for Chamber Orchestra,
Hard Right. With movements titled Hymn to Hypocrisy, Waltzing Mitt-ilda, Trickle down Tango and Tea Party Trot, was the cancellation of Monday's Premiere at the DiMenna Centre due to bad Republican Karma?

But now, Paranormal Activities, the Halloween concert of The Pit Stop Players, has - rather appropriately - risen from the dead. Thanks to Josh Rosenblum. You are all invited.

Addendum: add to my previous blog concerning New York Cabaret spots
The Cornelia Street Cafe
54 Below

Hope to see you at the show!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hard Right at New York's DiMenna Center

Is it possible to be inspired by evil? Of course it is? Would Shostakovich have been Shostakovich without Stalin? Would Benjamin Britten have written his War Requiem without war? Would Tchikovsky have written Swan Lake without an evil sorcerer? And now it's my turn for inspiration from the dark side., i. e. the U.S. Republican Party.

Hard Right, my satyrical suite for chamber orchestra, was written in record time (for me). It will be premiered by Joshua Rosenblum and the Pit Stop Players, a wonderful collection of musicians from Broadway's pit orchestras, at The DiMenna Center in NYC on this Monday, Oct. 29 at 7:30

This is a Halloween Concert, and the scariest thing I could think of was the Republican Party.

The movements are:

  1. Circus March (Stump speech)
  2. Hymn to Hypocrisy
  3. Waltzing Mitt-ilda
  4. Trickle Down Tango
  5. Tea party Trot and Gallop
This suite may form the nucleus of a political cabaret, also to be called Hard Right, or, if the Republicans win, The Resistance. I figure the satire that the Republicans spout can be used verbatim as my text.
Last week's Time Out New York had a great article on the Renaissance of Cabaret in NYC. Here are some of the venues they mention:
  • Joe's Pub
  • Birdland
  • Ars Nova
  • Le Poisson Rouge
  • Therapy
  • XL
  • Flute
  • Cutting Room
  • Beechman
  • The Met Room
  • Don't Tell Mama
  • Triad
As well, last week there was a Cabaret Convention at the Rose Theater.

Comments are welcome, even from Republicans.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Distinguished Concerts International New York

So you want to debut in New York City? No problem. Just hand over $8-10,000 and Distinguished Concerts International arrange a concert at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall. They will provide publicity - to a degree - and find an audience for you - to a degree.

That's the way it is in NYC. For a price, you can do anything, even arrange a "vanity" concert.
Don't count on that audience to be buying tickets though (yes, DCINY lets you keep ticket revenue).
There are various organizations here that will paper your house. Try Audience Extras, for example And don't count on a revue either - the critics at the NY Times have a multitude of other performances to choose from.

Some years ago, I put in my time on a symphony orchestra negotiating team. Symphony musicians mostly see themselves as charity cases - to a degree. Board members never tire of telling them this. So orchestra musicians are inclined to give in to cries of penury. Problem is - it's a race to the bottom. 

And where is the bottom? It has been reached here in New York by DCINY. They don't pay you to play - you pay them. It happens all over this city. Witness the numerous small opera companies supposedly coaching up and coming singers. In reality, the singers are paying to sing and are themselves supporting the opera company.

For a composer like myself, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Not having a lot of $$$, I nevertheless can hope to hire performers. But for the performer, it is hell itself. Dante's Inferno for musicians. 
Is that what the DI in DCINY stands for?


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dog Days

Finally, a good composer. Last Saturday I saw Dog Days by composer David T. Little at Montclair State University in New Jersey. This was part of their series called Peak Performances, concentrating on new opera. How did I get there, living in Manhattan and not owning a car? Answer: the Series provided a bus, leaving from the 42nd St. Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. Impressive! Round trip for just $15 and only 30 minutes.

A very impressive production. For one thing, the performers interacted (at times) with images on an overhead screen. For another, the music was very well written and very well played, this in spite of the composer, David T. Little, advertising himself as a drummer in a Rock Band. Sure, sure! And a degree from Princeton?

I did't hear much related to rock music, mostly tonal music with dissonance and electronic effects added when it seemed appropriate to the text.  Nice contrasts, nice changes of pace. One quibble; absolutely everything was amplified, including the singers. Why? I am suspicious that the composer wrote a score, as good as it was, that drowned out the singers, and so they needed amplification. It made the voices seem to come from somewhere else than their throats - namely from the speakers. It also created an emotional distance between the singers and the audience. Another quibble: the text was for me altogether too earnest and too depressing. The kind of subject matter that attracts grants but not audiences? I mean - a family gradually starving to death and eventually eating the family dog, who just happens to be a human being who thinks he is a dog.

Just in case a reader of this blog has an opera to flog:
Dog Days was produced by Peak Performances in association with Beth Morrison Projects


Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Score to Settle

Check out A Score to Settle, a concert / monologue with harpist Rita Costanzi.

Voice Afire heartily approves. Rita has done it the right way, i.e. with professional theater people, director Arthur Masella and writer Kico Gonzalez-Risso.


November 8, 2012
The Actors' Guild, NYC
November 15, 2012
Boston Conservatory
November 18, 2012
The Arts and Letters Club, Toronto


Monday, July 23, 2012

New York Musical Theatre Festival

Last week here in New York I had the good fortune to attend Requiem for a Lost Girl, a musical theatre piece with music by my friend Marcel Bergmann. Last January Marcel and I collaborated with Marcel's partner Elizabeth and visual artist Ronald Hurwitz on a production of my own multi-media piece The Art of Love for 2 pianos and actor at Merkin Hall. Requiem was a part of the
2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival.
So what was Requiem for a Lost Girl - originally produced in Calgary - about? A publicity blurb: "Exploring themes of of poverty, mental illness and addiction, this strikingly original chamber musical unfolds as a memorial service for a young woman. Requiem was created and is performed in partnership with a chorus of men, women and children who know the experience of homelessness..."

On the face of it, not too promising? Too depressing? Wrong! I was entertained and enthralled for 90 + minutes, not least by Marcel's music (He also served as conductor and keyboard player at the NY performance). A few particulars I would like to single out:

  • Marcel suited his music to the material. Sometimes gritty, sometimes poignant, sometimes rhythmic and driving, it always had a certain disciplined simplicity. 
  • There were 2 keyboards used in the chamber ensemble, a grand piano and a synthesizer. Marcel exploited the possibilities of this combination.
  • There was a choir, used at just the right moments.
So how does one get a production into the Festival and what does the Festival do for the production?
  • One submits a score and $75 and hopes for the best. There are many submissions.
  • The Festival "smooths out the bumps" of producing in NYC but doesn't actually financially support its productions.
Here are some useful links:
Give it a try. Do let me know if this blog has been useful.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paris Theatre / for Young and Old

If you want to know whats happening in Paris, check out "L'officiel des spectacles", available at Paris news stands or at (for the youth theatre).
While we were there, just a couple of weeks ago, we saw a wonderful show for ages 3 and up and another for adults. Both were great. And we were astonished at just how many live theatre offerings there were for children.

Something remarkable: the show for children 3 and up was not only quite sophisticated but also ran for an hour without a break! The young children in the audience remained attentive throughout the show. Does the average French child have a longer attention span than the average North American child? Or is it that North American presenters, eternally eyeing the box office, play down to children?

La Femme du Boulanger by Marcel Pagnol was the adult show we attended. Two hours without a break! Same question about North American adults. Maybe the French are just more highly evolved or maybe it's the government subsidies?

Regarding musical presentations in Paris: Mozart, Brahms, and the usual suspects were everywhere.
Contemporary wise, New York has Paris beat to hell. Maybe it's the lack of government subsidies?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Au Lapin Rouge / At the Agile Rabbit

In June in Paris we attended that most venerable of Parisian cabarets, Au Lapin Rouge, in the heart of Montmartre.
The evening started as if we were in our neighborhood pub, but with a table of rowdy singers occupying a table at the center of the room. The order of the evening was French songs of all types, sing-alongs to begin with. As the evening wore on, we were treated to various soloists, one with a guitar, one with an accordion, all superb. There were perhaps 10 performers in a rather smallish room, seating maybe 35 people, not including the performers, cheek to jowl. At $20 a head and a minimum of one drink each, how did they do this every night? Government subsidies?

Or is this like New York, where performers pay or play for nothing, just to have a famous venue included in their resumes? Likely it's government subsidies. There are also a plethora of book shops in Paris, the result of government price controls on electronic versions of books and government subsidies for book shop start-ups. Result - real class. Perhaps capitalism and culture, even at the cabaret level, don't mix very well.

I highly recommend an evening at Au Lapin Rouge next time you are in Paris.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pit Stop Players and Political Correctness

On Monday I heard the Pit Stop Players at the Demenna Center . This is a new place with a number of halls.  "Conveniently located in midtown Manhattan at 450 West 37th St. The DiMenna Center for Classical Music provides state-of-the-art rehearsal and recording space for musicians and ensembles ranging in size from soloist to full orchestra and chorus."

Led by Joshua Rosenblum the Pit Stop Players are a group of moonlighting Broadway musicians. The New York Times said "Led by conductor-composer Joshua Rosenblum, the ensemble is comprised of some of New York’s top free-lance musicians, commonly regarded as the best instrumentalists in the world. With its unique mission, exciting repertoire, and broad appeal, the Pit Stop Players have already taken their place at the cutting edge of New York’s cultural landscape."

I have the good fortune to be have been asked to compose a piece for the Pit Stop Players, to be performed in late October, just before the US election. So what am I working on? It's a piece called Hard Right, for chamber orchestra and "politician". I propose to write music for a right wing campaign speech, using some of the outrageous statements made by the US Republican presidential candidates.

Please, someone dissuade me! Compositionally speaking, I must have some sort of death wish. Classical music circles definitely cannot abide anything in the least bit controversial, unless it happened 200 years ago, or more.

Case in point, a piece of mine called Tales of the Netsilik for narrator and orchestra and based on tales of the Inuit. Samples: and
Seemed innocent enough to me. Wrong! Turns out it cannot be played in the United States. A text that finds value in the religious system and values of a non-Christian culture is a no-no. The very poems I used, unbeknownst to me at the time, had been used in a program to educate US children about the values of other cultures. When  the good Christian people here found out about what their children were being taught, horrified, they closed down the whole thing.

It's enough to make the blood boil. Perhaps boiling blood = inspiration. I think I'll continue working on Hard Right. Maybe make it into a whole cabaret show.

What do you think? Bigotry can be inspirational. Perhaps there are some things actually worth fighting for - or against.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finnish Accordion Fantastico

This past Thursday I heard the extraordinary Finnish accordion player-composer Veli Kujala at the Scandanavia House 58 Park Ave. Playing solo, Veli played an assortment of pieces, old and new, on the first half. The second half was devoted to his own music, in this case a theatrical piece complete with electronics and light changes and 1/4 tones. Yes, although his button accordion appears more or less normal, it will play 1/4 tones - something that Veli exploited to great effect.
Tango Dreams, my own piece for accordion and string trio, peaked Veli's interest. I'm sending it off to Finland where Veli teaches at the Sibelius Academy. I'll also include the parts for Serenity for accordion and clarinet. Thanks to the support of Joseph Petric in Toronto, I seem to have written a considerable amount for accordion, including my arrangement of all 6 movements of Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin for accordion, violin, cello, and oboe as well as a raft of tango arrangements for accordion with string trio and baritone for my show, Close Embrace.

Here's Tango Dreams as a ballet:

And some of Close Embrace (an accordion spectacular):

And a couple of MP3's from Tombeau de Couperin, as played by Quarteto Gelato:

Accordionists of the world, where are you? Ask me for these pieces. I would be happy to send them.

By the way, The Scandanavia House is a nice hall, about 200 seats, a fair sized stage, and lighting possibilities. Although it specializes in Scandanavian music, there are other types of music presented here. Rental?

Accordionists! Email me!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Winnipeg Symphony Success

Sunday April 29 The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Motus O Dance Theatre performed
Circus Terrifico for 2300 engaged and entertained and smiling patrons. That's what I'm told by
Tanya Derksen, WSO Director of Education, and Richard Lee, conductor, and Motus O.

I wasn't able to attend this premiere of the live orchestra version of Circus Terrifico. After spending a year orchestrating my own piece, Circus Music (originally for Brass Band), and re-orchestrating 30 minutes worth of Tchaikovsky ballet excerpts, I sat at home, nervous. The WSO did the show on one rehearsal from virgin parts. Wow! There were no rehearsal destroying mistakes and the show went off gloriously. Wow!

Now for the tough part - selling the show to other orchestras. Yes, tough! We have already contacted 85 orchestras, both with a mailed promo package and a phone call and a second email. (Including my own former orchestra, The Toronto Symphony) One would think that having a successful orchestra family show would be enough. It isn't. And no one seems to have much of an answer toward making it any easier.

Come on orchestra folks. Buy this show! It's exactly what I have been told is needed. You say you want new audiences. You say you need something to make money and yet be of high quality. Here it is.
Yes, I know it hasn't won a contest and it is not being plugged by Columbia Artists. Take a risk that's no risk. Circus Terrifico is a winner!

Advice? Suggestions? Criticism? All are welcome

Friday, March 30, 2012

New York's Other Opera Companies

How many opera companies are there in New York, other than the Met and the New York City Opera? Lots. There's Chelsea Opera, Gotham Opera, Opera Company of Brooklyn. There's Pocket Opera of New York and more. Last night I attended The Center for Contemporary Opera's production of Big Jim and the Small Investors by Eric Salzman, at the Flea Theater in Greenwich Village.
The Center for Contemporary Opera, of which Eric Salzman is the Artistic Director, has been around for a while. Pocket of New York is relatively new. They both follow the traditional formula for organizing and structuring a music theater company, i.e. they are both corporations with a board of directors, with a artistic and management team, and with a long list of contributors. And yet, the Salzman opera began rehearsals only 5 days before the show and included a last minute replacement for accompanist. It was opera in concert. Done well but done at the last minute with minimal rehearsal. They didn't get into the theater until the day of the performance.

I wonder if all the work required to put together an organization like this is really worth it, artistically speaking. Maybe I'm just jealous. But I think I like the Phil Glass model better. Phil drove a cab and was a professional handy man before he became so famous. He used he money he garnered from his non-musical activities to finance his musical activities and made it big-time after renting out the Metropolitan Opera. Amazing! The reward was that he maintained his independence. No board to please. No collaborators to mollify. Of course, when Phil Glass started writing in the "minimalist" style he figured no one would support it financially anyway. So why bother.

I find myself somewhat in Phil's position. I'm told that Voice Afire's operas aren't operas. I must be doing the right thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Butterfly's Trouble Promo Video

Butterfly's Trouble Promotional Video

What's needed for a Promo Video? I've been told by various Arts Management people that Presenters would like to see what they will be getting if they should book your show. That means that fancy camera angles are likely out, as are fancy just about anything.
But, wait a minute. In actuality the camera always lies in one way or another. So it's a tough call.
For instance, on seeing my static and somewhat blurry video of Butterfly's Trouble being performed at the 45th Street Theatre, Robert Baird of BAM! Baird Artists Management told me that Presenters might take the image of a small black box theater to mean that the show would work only in a small black box theater. From the video, these same Presenters might conclude that this was something suitable for only a high brow audience.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Please take a look at my new Butterfly's Trouble Promotional Video and tell me your conclusions. Where does the show belong, vis a vis theater and audience?

Thanks. Oh yes, below is a code that the Technorati website needs to recognize this blog so that people like me, trying to bang some sense and imagination into the dull and unimaginative heads (Robert Baird says it, Not me. :), bless his helpful hyde), can obtain some needed info.



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Advice for getting On in Off-Broadway

Last week we met with Michael Roderick of Small Pond Entertainment. We were looking for help and advice regarding shows like our upcoming Circus Terrifico, to be premiered in its live orchestra version by the Winnipeg Symphony in April.

For a price, Michael provides advice for making it big (or little) in the world of theatrical production.

Michael was kind enough to give us more than an hour gratis. Here are some of the things he suggested:

  • Come up with a written plan that includes objectives and a networking strategy
  • Networking is all important and that means meeting people in person. A friend of a friend of a friend, etc. may be the way to go. 
  • The Internet represents a lot of people shouting to be heard. It can be useful but only if it leads finally to a personal contact
  • The artist, i.e. the creative person, is spreading himself (herself) too thin by trying to produce his (her) own work. 
  • Off-Broadway shows (as opposed to off-off Broadway) typically cost into the hundreds of thousands, and more. Some of this is to be laid at the feet of unions requiring guaranteed wages (even if the show closes early) and some at the feet of Off-Broadway theaters, which require high rental fees and guarantees. 
  • There are indeed wealthy people out there who are bored with their normal routine and might drop money on something they find different and interesting
  • Build relationships. For instance, if you want to tour, build a relationship with a touring company and let them do the touring
  • Periodically check the effectiveness of your plan. If it is not effective, change it.
  • If you are really doing something outside the box, create your own box or niche.
  • Be careful about the messages you send out. Often, unwittingly, you will be sending out negative vibes or sending out messages that don't require an answer
  • And this, possibly most important of all: be of use to the person with whom you want to network. At least initially it's about them and not about you
  • Often it's in the very last minutes of a conversation that anything is said about your own project. Encourage your networkee to talk about their own interests. So definitely research what those interests are.
From my own rather long experience in this business, this is all very sound advice. It is also very tough advice to put into practice, very tricky. If you can afford Michael and want to put on a Broadway show, it might be a good idea to have a seasoned hand to help navigate the tricky and dangerous waters of the Broadway theatrical world.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tango Dreams = a composer's dream

Here's something to keep warm the heart of a composer and keep the creative juices flowing: David Earle of Dancetheatre David Earle has created a ballet based on Tango Dreams, my composition for string trio and accordion. And it is a wonder to behold How did this happen? Before I explain, please have a look at the ballet on another wonderful concept = Youtube.
Truth is, in all happenings there is a chain of causation. I believe this because I need to believe it. I need to believe that my efforts vis a vis getting my music out there and performed have had a result.
Here's the chain of causation:

  • I meet Joseph Petric, accordionist extraordinaire. How? I don't remember exactly. Probably after a concert.
  • Joseph, who somehow knows my music and is a proseiitizer for the accordion, asks me to write a piece. I write Serenity for accordion and clarinet - a great piece (I think) - which he performs in England. 
  • On the basis of this (I suppose) Joseph asks me to compose a piece for accordion and string trio - since he is performing with the Adaskin Trio.
  • I compose Tango Dreams, since I have become enthralled with tango dancing - but that's another story.
  • About 15 years later I decide that, having composed a number of theater pieces which are undeservedly ( I believe) languishing after one or two performances, that I should take matters into my own hands.
  • I found a music theater company called Voice Afire Pocket Opera and Cabaret and pay substantial money to attend Ontario Contact - and later, APAP, Chamber Music America, etc.
  • David Earle of Dancetheatre David Earle had never heard of me till I attended Ontario Contact.  I was trying to sell The Pocket Madama Butterfly aka Butterfly's Trouble as well as a few other productions, but not specifically Tango Dreams.
  • At Ontario Contact Dancetheatre David Earle has a booth. 
  • Since nobody - and I do mean nobody - seemed at all interested in my particular booth at Ontario Contact, I began wandering and in the course of my wandering chatted with the people manning David Earle's booth. Not David himself, mind you. One person, whose name I am embarrassed to say I no longer remember, is particularly encouraging.
  • I send the score of Tango Dreams to my personal contact at Dancetheatre David Earle
  • About 3 years later voila! There is a Tango Dreams ballet.
Life is about human contacts. Comments? 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rave Review for Butterfly's Trouble

Having just put on 2 different productions in NYC, I have not had the energy to look for any reviews.
Low and behold, a rave review on Theatre Mania!
And now the cat's out of the bag - Butterfly's Trouble is about revolution. From the review: "...while the plot still evokes tears it seems a bit shallow and faded these days. This new version by Ray Luedeke  breathes new life into the Puccini work as a real piece of theater, and may mark the direction for opera to take as a living art form in the coming century."

The reviewer divined my perspective and my purpose exactly. I could care less about saving or  resuscitating the body of repertoire commonly associated with opera: Verdi, Mozart, Wagner, et al. As theatre, they stopped working long ago. Rather I'm interested in the use of music to enhance and support the drama. As a composer, I am interested in the possibilities of the genre called opera and not in the repertoire commonly called opera. 

And so I reworked Puccini. I fixed the dramaturgical problems that were capable of being fixed. Through the use of a chamber group (carefully orchestrated) and of spoken dialogue, I made sure that the drama and all the nuances of the drama (in English) could be understood. 

Not 15 minutes from my NYC apartment is the Metropolitan Opera. For me, this particular emporer has no clothes. The Met has a budget that runs in the hundreds of millions, while mine is simply in the hundreds. Nevertheless, watch out, Metropolitan Opera!

(Proviso! Friend Bob, don't take offence. I'm sure your job is secure, and I do dearly love those Met tickets you sometimes have for me.)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Art of Love / Beware of Friends

The Bergmann Piano Duo is absolutely wonderful! Musically and personally. Do check out the selections from their Merkin Hall show:
The Art of Love / Into the Labyrinth with visuals by Ron Hurwitz happens about 3 minutes into the  video. I've had both positive feedback and negative feedback from friends regarding the combination of music, words, and video. Myself, I think that one needs a different mental perspective in order to accept the almost equal importance of the 3 elements.

Beware of the advice of friends. Witness Anton Bruckner's Symphony #7. This hour++ work includes exactly one crash of the cymbals. It occurs in the middle of the opus, by which time the cymbals player has likely fallen asleep. This one note for cymbals was added by Bruckner on the advice of friends. How un-necessary, not to say expensive.  At each performance, the weary string players, who have millions of notes, must be beside themselves with envy - if they are even aware of that one cymbal crash.

So, please send your opinions - but beware! I am leary of repeating Bruckner's mistake.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Butterfly's Trouble on the road

Great show! Wonderful twist on Madama Butterfly! That's the feedback from the off-off Broadway premiere of Butterfly's Trouble at the 45th Street Theatre. See for yourself:
OK, the video is slightly out of focus - I accidently hit the wrong button on my camcorder. Still, it seems like the perfect show for touring. Essentially, it's Madama Butterfly with an interesting, creative twist and for only 7 performers.

Attending the show, we had at least a couple of representatives from each of the three major arts presenters organizations holding conferences in New York that week, APAP and ISPA and CMA. After the show I had people lining up to tell me how much they enjoyed it.

So why are we still not signed up for a tour? I need feedback. Here are a few possibilities:
  • It's great, but it will never sell in Peoria
  • The word adaptation is box office poison
  • The word opera is box office poison
  • It's too long (2 hours)
  • It's too expensive (No it isn't)
  • It has an unhappy ending (suicide)
  • It has an unhappy beginning (suicide)
  • B. F. Pinkerton is not a nice man
  • Cho-Cho-San is not a good mother (She tells her son that she is killing herself "for his sake")
Am I giving up? No way! Why?
  • I'm a stubborn German? (actually half Austrian)
  • I have money to burn?
Real reasons:
  • Good music (even Puccini) is worth fighting for
  • I believe in the concept of music theatre embodied (or invented) in Butterfly's Trouble
I will consider all advice, commentary, and criticism (both constrictive and destructive)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Butterfly's Trouble tonight and tomorrow in NYC

As happens with shows such as ours, they keep getting better and better. Hope you can attend.
Butterfly's Trouble tonight at 8:00 at the 45th Street Theatre NYC. And by the way, Art of Love at Merkin Hall last night with the Bergmann Piano Duo was fabulous.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Bergmann Piano Duo and the Art of Love

Tomorrow Jan. 9 at 8 PM the Bergmann Piano Duo and actor Charles Murray will perform The Art of Love / Into the Labyrinth at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Pardon me if this composer beats his own drum, but it is not to be missed. The Bergmanns are absolutely great and my music, thanks to them and to Charles Murray, is serious where it should be serious and funny where it should be funny and sexy where it should be sexy. Don't miss it!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Butterfly's Trouble opening night on Broadway

I'm so pleased! Butterfly's Trouble is listed in Time Out New York under Theater off-off-Broadway (not under opera and not under classical music) and under Best Bets. Reason 1: I want to appeal to a general theater audience. Reason 2: Butterfly's Trouble is something new - not quite opera and not quite musical theater. It uses music and the voice to enhance a drama. We have wonderful singers, but this is not really about their wonderful voices, but rather about a total theater experience.
Facebook Friends, do come to our show:

1. Butterfly's Trouble at the 45th Street Theatre 354 W 45th St.
Puccini’s masterpiece, Madama Butterfly, is transformed from grand opera to intimate music-theatre:Blending Puccini's opera with David Belasco's play, Madame Butterfly.
 Ray Luedeke's English Language adaptation uses just 2 singers, one actor, and four instrumentalists  to stunning effect.
    • Sat., Jan. 7, 8:00
    • Sun, Jan. 8, 2:00
    • Tuesday, Jan. 10, 8:00
    • Wed., Jan. 11, 2:00 & 8:00
    • Thurs., Jan. 12, 8:00
    • Fri., Jan. 13, 8:00
Order tickets at:
    • or Tel 866-811-4111

2. The Art of Love / Into the Labyrinth at Merkin Concert Hall 129 W 67th St.
a world premiere multi-media event featuring Ray Luedeke's original, virtuosic score for two pianos, Ronald Hurwitz's riveting visuals, shot in Paris, and a text adapted from a manual banned for two thousand years, Ovid's the Art of Love. The performers are the internationally famous Bergmann Piano Duo and actor Charles Murray And more - a first half featuring music for two pianos by Ligeti, Bolcom, and Bergmann.
    • Monday, Jan. 9 at 8:00 PM
Order Tickets at:
Tel 212-501-3300

For more information visit:

Happy New Year,

Ray & Dulce

Ray Luedeke
Voice Afire Pocket Opera and Cabaret
tel 646-370-4802
cell 646-639-4216

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Butterfly's Competition

Be warned! Butterfly's Trouble has competition - on the same Broadway block and around the corner.
Better buy a ticket before Jan. 7 and before you are tempted.
First temptation is (or was) Harry Potter (actually, Daniel Radcliife) starring in How To Succeed in Business - only a half block away. For the moment, Harry is out of town. Whew!
Then there is Daniel Rickman in Seminar - same street, different block!
And gentlemen please avoid this (around the corner):
Luckily for our Jan. 9 show, The Art of Love, at Merkin Hall on 67th St., the only competition is at Lincoln Center, just around the corner.

Should we have booked The Art of Love at The Gentlemen's Club?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Opening Night and E Blasts

This Saturday, Jan. 7 at 8 PM is opening night (runs Jan. 7-13) for Butterfly's Trouble at the 45th Street Theatre. This coming Monday, Jan. 9 at 8 PM is opening (and closing) night for The Art of Love at Merkin Concert Hall.

My director, Heidi Lauren Duke, says to me, "Are you doing E blasts?" I say, "Isn't that Spam?"
She says, "Try Constant Contact".

Here's the dilemma: Everybody zaps Email without opening it. To get around this problem, we have Facebook and Linkedin, etc. But for these sites, spam is a horrific crime, punishable by ostracism.
OK But how do I let people know that I have shows that they really should see/hear?

True confessions: I have turned into an E blaster. And I use enticing titles.
For instance I used the title "Trouble at ISPA (ISPA is International Society for the Performing Arts, holding a conference here in NYC next week and of course, Trouble refers to Butterfly's Trouble, my show.

Clever, Eh? Ha, Ha, right? Wrong! The title (heading) got some of the ISPA people to actually take a look at the email. Boy were they pissed - tricked into opening an email announcing an event they should attend - they are arts presenters, after all. There were angry messages to the president of ISPA. And I have been warned - but with a smile - the President understood my little joke.

So next title is "Butterfly's at ISPA".  What do you think?

By the way, for tickets to Butterfly's Trouble and to The Art of Love try my website:

Consider yourself E blasted!