This year’s four NEA Opera Honorees have been announced: they are composers Philip Glass and David DiChiera, soprano Martina Arroyo, and conductor Eve Queler.
Renowned minimalist composer Philip Glass has given the opera world many compositions including an operatic version of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and Satyagraha, a poignant tale based on the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi.
After receiving a Masters in Composition from the University of California, Los Angeles, David DiChiera went on to study in Italy with a Fullbright Scholarship. DiChiera has composed several works including operatic versions of Rumpelstiltskin and, more recently, Cyrano de Bergerac. In 1971, DiChiera founded the Michigan Opera Theatre. He has served as Artistic Director of the Dayton Opera Company and of the Music Hall Center for Performing Arts. He has also severed as General Director of Opera Pacific.
American spinto soprano Martina Arroyo was one of the world’s leading opera singers from the 1960s to the 1980s. Although she mostly concentrated on the soprano roles of Verdi and Puccini, she also successfully sang many operas written by Wagner, Mozart, and Strauss. Some of her most popular roles included Stantuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and the title roles of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Verdi’s Aida. Her career lasted for nearly 30 years and, since retirement, she has greatly assisted many young singers. During her career, Arroyo also appeared on The Johnny Carson Show and on an episode of The Odd Couple.
Eve Queler, founder and Artistic Director of the Opera Orchestra of New York, has conducted many performances of operatic standards such as Puccini’s La Boheme, Delibes’ Lakme, and Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. She has also done much to promote sadly neglected operas such as Rossini’s Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra, and many Slavic operas such as Dvorak’s Rusalka, Janacek’s Jenufa, and Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa. Queler has conducted over 100 performances at Carnegie Hall.
Previous NEA Opera Honorees include soprano Leontyne Price and composer Carlisle Floyd.
Classical music fans everywhere congratulate the four worthy honorees who will equally divide $100,000.
Naxos’ “The A to Z of Opera”