A new baseball opera in one act by USC professor revisits the curse of the Boston Red Socks
Dr. Richard Maltz, professor of music at the University of South Carolina Aiken, has written a one-act baseball opera that will entertain the entire family. “Bambino” will be performed in both Aiken and Columbia, SC.
Bambino revisits the relentless and terrible calamities inflicted on the Boston Red Sox players individually and on the team as a whole for 86 years. The accounts of these misfortunes play out against the backdrop of Fenway Park's Green Monster, guidance and warnings from the spectral, baseball legend Babe Ruth, and finally, the ultimate fate of one fictional player, Buck George.
Bambino will be presented in Aiken on May 3, 4 and 5 at the Etherredge Center’s theater. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and military, and $5 for students. For tickets to the Aiken shows please call (803) 641-3305. On May 3, Dr. Maltz presents a pre-concert talk in the Etherredge Center’s Room 125.
Bambino will be presented by Opera at USC on May 10, 11 and 12 at Drayton Hall on the USC campus in Columbia. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and military, and $5 for students. For tickets to the Columbia shows, call (803) 777-5369.
Guest artist John Dooley from Pittsburgh joins the cast as Buck. As an outstanding crossover singer whose musical theater talents equal his flair for opera, Dooley’s singing was recently hailed by the Wall Street Journal as a warm, supple baritone. On the operatic side of his career, he has been heard as Lysander in Michael Ching’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Ashmodeus in Jonathan Dove’s “Tobias and the Angel,” Frontino in Rossini’s “L’Equivoco stravagante,” Papageno in “Die Zauberflöte,” Guglielmo in “Cosi fan tutte” and Leporello in “Don Giovanni,” among others. He has sung with Opera on the James, Central City Opera, Portland Opera, Tulsa Opera, Amarillo Opera, Opera Delaware, Opera Memphis, Opera Saratoga, Opera Vivente and Connecticut Early Music Festival.
Kevin Eckard as Babe Ruth, bass-baritone, currently teaches voice and directs the opera program at the University of Central Oklahoma’s School of Music. Dr. Eckard is a native of South Carolina and received his DMA from the University of South Carolina and his Masters of Music from Indiana University. He has performed frequently throughout the U.S., in Italy, Austria and Great Britain and has performed as a soloist with The Messiah Festival in Lindsborg, Kansas, the International Choir Festival in Chester, England, the Indianapolis Opera, Tulsa Opera, Denver Opera, Wichita Opera, Colorado Symphony and National Repertory Orchestra, among others. Eckard has been the featured soloist in productions of Mozart’s Requiem, Brahms Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Dr. Eckard is a regional finalist and a two-time winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s South Carolina District competition and has won the Margerite Elfe Erckmann award for vocal performance.
Kelsey Harrison as Molly, Buck's girlfriend, is a mezzo-soprano originally from Charlotte, N.C. She is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and studied under Dr. Tina Milhorn Stallard. In the fall of 2012, she studied under Julie Davies at the Staatstheater Darmstadt, Germany. Upon her return, Kelsey joined Opera Carolina to finish out their season in the ensembles of “The Magic Flute” and “The Pearl Fishers.” Roles with Opera at USC include Cherubino in “Le nozze di Figaro,” Dorothée in “Cendrillon,” and Mrs. Nolan in “The Medium.” This fall, Kelsey will begin graduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Bradley Williams.
Both composers and conductors praise Maltz’s works. Donald Portnoy, conductor, said, “Richard Maltz is a very prolific composer, and I have enjoyed working with him and having the opportunity to conduct many of his compositions." Composer Robert Ward says, “Richard Maltz's music is direct and communicative. His craftsmanship is such as to enable him to accomplish any creative project he undertakes skillfully. He has a melodic gift and makes the most of it."
This project is funded by the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of S.C.
In addition, grant support helps fund these presentations. Support from these organizations is greatly appreciated: USC, USC School of Music, Opera at USC, USC Aiken, USC Aiken Pacer Club, FBN Productions, Inc., the SC Arts Commission and the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties.
Composer: Richard Maltz
Conductor: Scott Weiss
Director/Producer: Ellen Douglas Schlaefer
Musical Director: Lynn Kompass
Set and lighting designer: Chet Longley
Costume designer: Alexis Doktor
About the composer
Richard (Dick) Maltz, a native of Randolph, Massachusetts, studied composition with Dick Goodwin, Thomas Clark, Robert Ward and Ben Johnston. Maltz's compositions have been commissioned and performed by numerous orchestras, chamber ensembles, ballet companies, religious organizations and high schools including Aiken Regional Chamber Orchestra, Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet, Assembly Saxophone Quartet and the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, among others. Maltz has acted as guest composer at the USC Conductors Institute, the Lowcountry Heritage Society and the North Carolina Contemporary Arts Festival at Wesleyan University.
About the conductor
Scott Weiss directs USC bands and is the Sarah Bolick Smith distinguished professor of music. He conducts the USC Wind Ensemble and teaches and administers the graduate wind-conducting program. He has commissioned and recorded dozens of works by today's leading composers and has a series of critically acclaimed compact discs on the Naxos label featuring music by American composers. His 2011 recording of the Symphony No. 4 by Morton Gould was heralded by ArkivMusic as “its best performance on record,” and a new disc with the USC Wind Ensemble and featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein was released internationally in February 2013.