famous brand music  Clark Suprynowicz

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"Chrysalis" unfolds in a series of neatly contained vignettes that shuttle Ellen between bedroom, boardroom, barroom and shrink's office. The pacing of the action is fluent and assured, thanks largely to the virtuosity of Suprynowicz's music. An early scene in the therapist's office, for instance, beautifully captures the rhythmic hesitancy and sudden conversational flurries of a psychiatric session, while Suprynowicz's delicately etched tonal harmonies convey the emotional undertow of the dialogue. There are larger structures as well that tie the piece together. One elemental melody, cast in different guises, does multiple duty for Ellen's rapturous mirror gazing, for the chattering of her customer base, and for the
tinny shriek of her phone. And when Suprynowicz goes all out with lyrical, melodic writing, the effect is ravishing. The final duet for Ellen and Nelle -- a sinuous weave of arching phrases and piquant dissonances -- is all the more astounding for being so morally unsettling.

Joshua Kosman SF Chronicle April 28, 2006


Tiny, gutsy Berkeley Opera served up another world premiere Saturday night, an impressive, truly new opera, Clark Suprynowicz's Chrysalis ... Chrysalis is an important event, signaling the arrival of a new, fresh, authentic voice.

Janos Gereben
SF Classical Voice
April 22, 2006

Clark Suprynowicz's new opus -- unveiled April 22 at the Julia Morgan Theater -- is a remarkable, arresting chamber opera for two lead women, two supporting males, and a chorus of eight. Its salient asset is the composer's superb understanding of and sympathy for the female voice, with glorious vocalise for mezzo and soprano, as well as in interwoven duets alluring enough to send shivers down your spine.

Paul Hertelendy artssf.com
April 23 - 30, 2006


John O'Keefe's libretto is wonderfully operatic, a modern Gothic tale of frantic industry and repressed passion ... Wonderful melodic intervals and tunes that are every bit the refreshing airs of true opera, not academic echoing of famous arias ...The singers' excellence extends to their acting, Baggott driven yet more and more haunted as executive Ellen, and Breckenridge pert and insouciant, more kid sister than evil twin.

Ken Bullock Berkeley Daily Planet
April 25, 2006


IS CLARK SUPRYNOWICZ ahead of his time? With his latest work, "Chrysalis," the Berkeley-based composer may have written the first opera about cosmetic surgery and genetic manipulation. The subject is ripe for exploration, Suprynowicz noted in an early morning interview last week. "I came to opera late," says Suprynowicz, who grew up in Connecticut, went to college in Massachusetts and came to the West Coast 25 years ago as a jazz bassist. He has spent most of his professional life as a jazz man, performing and recording with artists including John Zorn, Max Roach and Tom Waits. "When people think of new music, it's usually something disjointed and relentlessly dissonant," he says. "New music has this agenda, to be in some way challenging and original. But it's not challenging, and most of it is just sort of generic. In my mind, the most original thing you can do these days is write music that people actually enjoy."

Unfortunately, he says, a lot of audiences -- especially younger ones -- share his view. "I've talked to many people who feel the same way," he says. "They don't like opera, and I think that's a great place to start. If you start breaking down their misconceptions -- the Bugs Bunny cartoons that show fat ladies breaking chandeliers -- they start to see that opera is a story told through songs. And most people are really up for a riveting story and great songs." Suprynowicz says he kept these things in mind as he was composing the score for "Chrysalis." "I tried to write an opera that people would enjoy, even if they think they don't like opera," he says. "And John has done a great job of telling the story. To us, the great works are the ones that sort of fold it all in -- there are parts that are funny, and stuff that's harrowing. I think this piece does that. It's not afraid to be in earnest, and it's not afraid to make a fool of itself. John is a very brave writer that way, and I've tried to do that with the music as well."

GEORGIA ROWE: CLASSICAL NOTES Contra Costa Times April 20, 2006


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