The following are comments recorded after The National Opera Associations's program New American Opera Previews about the work-in-process opera entitled Gertrude Stein Invents A Jump Early On. The presentation took place March 10, 2002, at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Comments include:
"'There was there there.' I felt your opera was story-driven and music supported. That your voices, especially 'Gertrude,' were very good. I felt your use of language was much better than most American opera I have seen but perhaps because Gertrude Stein permits the repetition that in other operas seems inane or because of your skill. I think that the presentation as excerpted would benefit from a narrator - but it was over too soon and I wanted more. So maybe that's more than you wanted to know...but I wish you all the best and hope to see a full version when you're ready to present it. Oh, and on the panel, I thought you seemed to have a great, realistic collaborative relationship with your composer." Howard L. Weinberg, Priority Productions, Inc.
Immediately after the performance, the following comments were collected or told to the librettist Karren Alenier:
Now I am eager to read Gertrude Stein!
I am deeply moved by the words of your opera and the circumstances of Gertrude Stein's life. [comment from a psychologist]
Iam impressed by the clarity and connection between characters who were unafraid to be strong striving women. The music and text were very compatible and the performer singer actors were vital and energized by the material. Of the three operaspresented, yours was the most experimental. [comment from an NYC dramaturg]
It was hard to put things in perspective regarding the treatment of Stein but I welcome the opportunity to read the libretto and to attend another workshop. I also realize the need in opera to compress information has to be considered in judging this work. [comment from a nationally known Gertrude Stein scholar]
I loved the way the quartet was posed as the performance began and the interactions between Gertrude and Alice. I was however distracted by the way Stephanie Tennill played Alice. Nevertheless the overall visual picture, including the Master of Libretto standing with the large gong, was impressive and memorable juxtaposed on the stage of Manhattan School of Music Hubbard Recital Hall which includes a large pipe organ.
I am so excited by the wit of this piece. CouldnŐt you consider working on another opera featuring Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre? [comment from a visual artist]
Comment sheets were handed out before the performances began.The audience was urged to provide their reactions. The greater majority of the audience was senior citizens. The main advertising done was announcements on WQXR, New York's classical music station, and the three theater groups were given fliers.
"The Gertrude Stein opera music is wonderfully upbeat. Ann Hoyt's singing really puts flesh on the words. Stefanie Tennill's voice was wonderful, however, it was hard to understand what she was emoting during the performance. The quartet chorus really added dimension to the performance."
"These opinions come from someone whose taste is firmly rooted in the 19th Century. I find 20th-21st Century music to be un-tuneful, except perhaps Gershwin and Sondheim. That being said, I loved the performances [and] superb singing... I did like the jazzy score of Banfield, the brief mother-daughter duet in "Lost Childhood," and the quartet and love duet in "Summer."... "I'd prefer to see ["Summer"] as a play. I didn't feel the music advancing the story or adding anything."
"Wonderful performances and discussion! Today machines have so distorted our senses, that art is now vital for people to become in tune with the Earth/colors/sounds that heal and expand us. Please continue to create, explore, and collaborate with your operas. They (we as artists) are the hope of the world!" Julia Foote, artist
"I am extremely impressed with this event and feel very priviledged to have been in the audience...I am a classical singer and know that the world of music is not that small. I know a lot o people (performers and listeners) who would have loved to be here todayif only they had known about it." Mary Calandrillo
"I arrived here today quite by accident. I had no idea that programs like this extisted! You definitely need more extensive publicity..."