Mr. Amaya’s Phantasmagorilla? No! Phantasmagoria is a children’s opera featuring Latin American influences, along with some hip-hop and reggae connotations. It was premiered and commissioned by Gateway to the Arts and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh on February 24, 2007. The Point Chamber Orchestra performed under the baton of Mr. Amaya, with a libretto by his wife, artist Susana Amundaraín. "I really wanted to do something with a real experience: something that kids could identify with and that families could identify with," she says.
The opera tells the story of Bernard, a boy who attends an opera called The Ghosts of the Opera with his mother, father and sister. Bernard would rather be anywhere but there, and soon enough, he falls asleep and dreams of many strange and wondrous things – some thoughts lingering in his subconscious mind, some suggested by the opera’s title, and all intricately tied to the beautiful music of the orchestra that plays while he sleeps. “With drama and dreaminess, the opera is perfect for children,” says Jonathan Eaton, artistic director for Opera Theater of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Amaya’s opera Clepsydra: An Operatic Installation with 13 Performers, “is an exploration of time through the synchronization of sound and visual arts” says Susana Amundaraín, who co-wrote the lyrics with poet Carol Ciavonne. It was premiered as part of the "First Night" celebrations in Pittsburgh in 1999, as a collaborative multimedia performance which combined music, painting, writing, video, and theatre, sponsored by the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Debra Abell, MD & Edward Abell, MD and the Heinz Endowment.
The original musical score was performed by 11 musicians and two operatic vocalists. Performance soloists are mezzo soprano Jeanne Wentworth, who performs regularly with the Dayton Opera, and tenor Douglas Ahlstedt, who has sung 189 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Wentworth's awards include the Liederkranz Vocal Competition and being selected a Metropolitan Opera National Finalist. Ahlstedt, who has performed internationally as a leading tenor in the world's great opera houses and concert halls, is the only American tenor featured in a leading role in the CD set "James Levine 25th Anniversary Collection" of notable scenes from 25 seasons of Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts.
CD release sponsors: Gateway to the Arts, LaFi Publishers, Ltd., Clara Inés Amaya, Fundación Aguaclara, Producciones Artísticas 10-25, Dr. George D’Angelo, Ivette Rauff, Susana Amundaraín.