Following is a selection of works available for performance. If you are looking for something you do not see here, please drop me a line via the contact form.
COMPANIONSHIP | Music and Libretto by Rachel J. Peters
Recovering from a nervous breakdown, aspiring baker Leslie Sinclair finally reaches the end of her obsessive quest to bake the perfect baguette when the 207,345th one suddenly comes to life. Companionship mirrors our contemporary world, where what we consume becomes all-consuming. Adapted from the short story by Arthur Phillips.
CAST: 7 adult principals and children’s chorus
INSTRUMENTATION: 1.0.1 (doubling t.sax).1/0.0.1.0/pft- perc (1)/184.108.40.206.1 (doubling elec.bass)
DURATION: 1 hour 20 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: Fort Worth Opera, Spring 2019.
ROOTABAGA COUNTRY | Music and Libretto by Rachel J. Peters
Gimme the Ax takes his two children, Please Gimme and Ax Me No Questions, to the whimsical-but-not-magical Rootabaga Country to learn more about the mother they never knew. In the process, they learn that families come in all shapes and sizes. Adapted from the book Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg.
CAST: 1 adult tenor, 1 adult bass-baritone, and a large children’s ensemble playing 17 other roles and chorus
INSTRUMENTATION: 220.127.116.11/0.1.1.0/pft-harp (doubling gtr.)-perc (1)/18.104.22.168.1
DURATION: 1 hour 10 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: Sarasota Youth Opera, Fall 2017.
THE WILD BEAST OF THE BUNGALOW | Music by Rachel J. Peters, Libretto by Royce Vavrek
This triptych of short chamber operas (Mermaid in the Jar, Prairie Dogs, and Fine and Dandy) takes place entirely within an eleven-year-old Girl’s bedroom. Over the course of a few days, a mermaid, a family of stuffed prairie dogs, and singing groups of chicken pox and shingles force her to confront what it means to care for others and be cared for herself.
CAST: 1 coloratura soprano plus eight additional principals playing multiple roles
INSTRUMENTATION: 1.0.1 (doubling BCl.).1.bar.sax/0.0.1.0/pft-perc (1)-harp-ukulele (doubling banjo)/22.214.171.124.1 or piano/vocal
DURATION: 2 hours
WORLD PREMIERE: Upcoming, Oberlin Conservatory, Winter 2020.
NO LADIES IN THE LADY’S BOOK | Music by Lisa DeSpain, Libretto by Rachel J. Peters
A short comic opera inspired by an article from Godey’s Lady’s Book declaring “This great work [The Transcontinental Railroad] was begun, carried on and completed by men only.” Godey is visited by an onslaught of unsung female inventors who contributed to the success of the railroad intent on righting the history book.
CAST: Soprano, Mezzo, Tenor, Baritone
INSTRUMENTATION: piano, clarinet, and violin
DURATION: 15 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: Utah Opera, Spring 2019
STEVE | Music and Libretto by Rachel J. Peters
Ann attends her synagogue’s singles mixer. The only man there is the reincarnation of her dead mutt, Steve. Adapted from the play by Liz Bartucci.
CAST: Lyric soprano, Tenor
INSTRUMENTATION: 0.0.1.0/0.0.0.0/pft.perc (1)/126.96.36.199.0
DURATION: 10 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: Boston Opera Collaborative, Fall 2018.
PIE, PITH, AND PALETTE | Music by Marvin J. Carlton, Libretto by Rachel J. Peters
A man goes on a suburban safari to obtain his favorite pie before the shop closes for the night.
CAST: 1 tenor, 1 baritone, 2 female voices
DURATION: 7 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: The Atlanta Opera 24-Hour Opera Project, Spring 2016.
MONKEY DO | Music and Libretto by Rachel J. Peters
A brief allegory sung by the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil monkeys.
CAST: 1 soprano, 1 mezzo-soprano, 1 baritone
INSTRUMENTATION: a cappella voices
DURATION: 45 seconds
WORLD PREMIERE: World Premiere, Rhymes With Opera, 2013
TOMATO RED | Music, Lyrics, and Book by Rachel J. Peters
A whirlwind history of the tomato’s arrival and presence in the United States.
CAST: 8 singers
DURATION: 18 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: UC Irvine, 2013
OCTOPUS HEART | Music, Lyrics, and Book by Rachel J. Peters
After a trauma, 13-year-old Laur finds herself at the intersection of church and state deep in the heart of Texas.
CAST: 8 singers
DURATION: 28 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: NYU Steinhardt, 2014
WRITE LEFT | Music, by Rachel J. Peters, Lyrics and Book by John Walch
A woman’s meditation on being born with two left hands.
CAST: 2 women, 1 man
DURATION: 10 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, 2012
ETHEL SMYTH PLAYS GOLF IN LIMBO | Music and Text by Rachel J. Peters
Inspired by composer, suffragist, and avid golfer Ethel Smyth’s memoirs and critics’ reviews of her work, this concert mini-monodrama imagines her playing golf in the afterlife, surrounded by her dogs. She recounts her own experience, noting what has unfortunately remained the same in the years since her death.
DURATION: 10 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: FETA Foundation Acoustica21 series, Spring 2016
IF YOU CAN PROVE THAT I SHOULD SET YOU FREE | Music by Rachel J. Peters, Texts by Alice Duer Miller and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Settings of suffrage-era satirist Alice Duer Miller’s poems are framed by underscored excerpts from Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “We Are All Bound Up Together” speech.
VOICES: Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, and five non-singing narrators
INSTRUMENTATION: 1.1.a.sax.bari.sax.1.1/188.8.131.52/synth.perc (1)/184.108.40.206.1
DURATION: 14 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire, Spring 2019
FRONDS: THE WISDOM OF FANNY FERN | Music by Rachel J. Peters, Texts by Fanny Fern
Mini-song cycle using excerpts from Fanny Fern’s humor columns.
VOICES: Dramatic Soprano
DURATION: ca. 6 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: The Walt Whitman Project, 2013
JACK’S VOCABULARY | Music by Rachel J. Peters, Texts by Jack Kelly
Settings of six of my cousin Jack’s second and third grade English homework assignments for vocal sextet.
VOICES: Soprano, Mezzo, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass
DURATION: ca. 10 minutes
WORLD PREMIERE: SPASM, The Hartt School of Music, 2011
MISCELLANEOUS ART SONGS AND CABARET SONGS
(Music and lyrics are by me unless otherwise indicated.)
First Class (music by Martin Hennessy)
I Have Songs
Music for a While (text by John Dryden)
Barrel and Suspenders Time (music by Martin Hennessy)
Moon and Planet
Sigh No More (text by William Shakespeare)
Spam I Am
Stay a Nerd (Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson)
Swim with Sharks (Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson)
Tearing St. Vincent’s Down
What Remains of Beautiful
Baby in a Jar (lyrics by Robert Maddock)
Monkey Cowboys (with piano and fiddle) (Lyrics by Royce Vavrek)
Piccolo Mondo (music by Sam Davis)
Santa Ain’t Black
A Commuter’s Request
A White Man (Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson)
Geology (music by Martin Hennessy)
The Story of Ned and June (music by Martin Hennessy)
This Dog (lyrics by Michael R. Jackson)