Various Artists | Wired for Love

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Classical: Opera Avant Garde: Modern Composition Moods: Type: Vocal
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Wired for Love

by Various Artists

A sci-fi romantic comedy opera that began with deceitful emails between a Nigerian scammer and a young British man, whose far-fetched avatars—a Zimbabwean farmer and a Vegas supermodel—would end up falling in love and setting everything right.
Genre: Classical: Opera
Release Date: 

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1. Overture Morgann Davis, Daniel O'Dea, James Held, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams & Peter Gruett
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6:36 $0.99
2. Some Kind of Hell Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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3:35 $0.99
3. My Name Is Bako Ndiovu Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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6:08 $0.99
4. Yet Another Scammer Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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3:10 $0.99
5. Hitch and Free Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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4:52 $0.99
6. You Really Do Sound Like a Wonder Caring Man Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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3:06 $0.99
7. I Believe Is My Prayer Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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3:03 $0.99
8. You Have Me Very Excited/I Appreciate You Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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4:35 $0.99
9. Hello Ethel Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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1:01 $0.99
10. You Have a Lovely Voice Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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2:44 $0.99
11. Come to Las Vegas With Me Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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1:03 $0.99
12. How to Proof My Love's Not Fake? Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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6:07 $0.99
13. Please Call Me Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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1:20 $0.99
14. Serpent! Viper! Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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4:41 $0.99
15. I Have a Cold Morgann Davis, James Held, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett & Daniel O'Dea
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0:44 $0.99
16. Where the Rivers Meet Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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4:11 $0.99
17. Amsterdam Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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3:47 $0.99
18. The Last Call Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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9:26 album only
19. Conclusion Morgann Davis, Rosemary Brumbelow, Kostas Tiliakos, Ian Disjardin, Susan Gaeddert, Chris Van Hof, Peiyun Lee, Andrew Waid, Emily Gruselle, Jennifer Sams, Peter Gruett, Daniel O'Dea & James Held
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3:01 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
From a review by John W. Barker, music critic at "Isthmus" and "Well-tempered Ear":
(Originally published on Well-tempered Ear, 1/23/2012)

As readers of The Ear have already been informed, it is a one-act chamber opera, running about 70 minutes and is Hui’s dissertation project for his doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. It calls for four singers, and a pit orchestra of nine players (a string quartet with flutes, oboe/English horn, clarinets, trombone, percussion and piano).

To recap previous information, it has a libretto written jointly by Hui with Lisa Kundrat (below). In rhymed verse, it traces the confrontation made to a Nigerian scammer, who uses a male alias on the Internet, by a British counter-scammer, who uses a female alias. The two electronic “dummies” begin to take on independent characters of their own, fall genuinely in love, betray their creators, and escape to independent existence.

It is, in a sense, a piece of sci-fi satire. But it did remind me just a little of Menotti’s little comic one-act opera, “The Telephone,” which spoofed the intrusion of a modern gadget into real life circumstances. Menotti (below) also captured a lot of American colloquial English, in the way Hui and Kundrat mocked the pseudo-pigeon-English of those Nigerian scam e-mails we all seem to receive.

I was also alert to possible influences on Hui’s musical style. As he promised, he composes in an eclectic mode, reflecting and synthesizing a number of idioms.

There was jazz, and Broadway, but also conventional opera–complete with a witty quotation of the “Tristan chord.” The instrumentation at times reminded me of the “Histoire du Soldat” by Stravinsky (below top) while the overture carried for me some of the episodic writing techniques of Virgil Thomson (below bottom, with his librettist Gertrude Stein).

But Hui is his own man. His handling of the instruments is thoroughly confident, and I even wonder if he might consider fleshing out the score for a fuller orchestra. Above all, while he certainly does not attempt traditional “bel canto” vocalism, he can write genuinely idiomatic vocal lines.

There are several full-scale arias, amid a lot of “parlando” writing. And the most brilliant touch is an ensemble epilogue, a kind of Baroque operatic “coro,” offering moralizing sentiments in an echoing the final ensemble to Mozart‘s “Don Giovanni,” but cast in the form of a kind of post-Renaissance madrigal.

Hui has admitted, after all, that he is very much influenced by early musical styles. And all the music in this work is sustained in a very accomplished contrapuntal texture.

Hui was fortunate in his performers, certainly so with the instrumentalists.

Of his four singers (below, all from the UW School of Music), baritone James Held (below, far left) was solid as the British counter-scammer–bringing a fine touch of humor to his acting. The role of the Nigerian scammer was written for a countertenor, of all things, and the very promising (undergraduate) Peter Gruett (below, far right) invested his part with an appropriately bizarre quality.

Particularly outstanding, however, were the two avatars. Daniel O’Dea as the imaginary Zimbabwean frontman offered a lovely tenor voice and some quite emotionally moving expressiveness. Soprano Jennifer Sams, a familiar singer to Madison audiences, not only brought off her role as the Britisher’s phony American avatar (can you forget a name like “Ethel Wormvarnish”?) with versatility and flair but also contributed the clever stage direction.

A further plaudit goes to to Chelsie Propst for contributing imaginative surtitles, set in different type-faces to fit different characters, notably helpful in duets and ensembles.

In sum, this is a witty and enjoyable stage piece, and the audience of which I was a member just loved it. It is worth experiencing again, I think, so it is good news that Hui plans to record it soon.

Above all, “Wired for Love” is a demonstration of the very impressive dimension of Jerry Hui as a composer, amid all his other enterprises. I have already compared him to the late Steve Jobs for his boundless energy and diversely imaginative productivity.

But dare we wonder if he is perhaps also another Leonard Bernstein in the making? Time will tell. But this production is certainly a tantalizing hint. Watch for future developments …


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