My song cycle How Poems Are Made will be performed in New York by Fresh Squeezed Opera in the fall, date TBA.
Our new two-act opera Prospero’s Island will premiere March 25 at Herbst Theater in SF, fully staged and with a fabulous cast, and now we are happy to announce that San Francisco Girls Chorus will participate as the island’s penguins.
On June 10 Ninth Planet offered a concert in the chapel of the Unitarian-Universalist Church at Franklin and Geary, SF which will include the premiere of my Eastbound Passenger. July 16 at 3 pm, Palo Alto Arts Center Auditorium, Menlo Brass performed my brass quintet October on a concert of NACUSA.
On May 30 (Memorial Day) Sonic Harvest presented the premiere of From Spell to Trance for soprano and piano as well as excerpts from Prospero’s Island.
In October 2019 Sonic Harvest presented the premiere of my Thinking Thoughts for violin and piano as well as excerpts from an opera-in-progress Jackie at Vassar. Thinking Thoughts was chosen for performance in the 2020 national convention of NACUSA (National Association of Composers USA). Cancelled due to COVID-19 the convention was rescheduled as a virtual event in April 2021 which included a performance of Thinking Thoughts. And in June 2021 Soliloquy for viola solo was performed by Lucia Kobza in “Solo But Not Alone,” a virtual concert produced by the SF chapter of NACUSA.
Chanticleer includes my “Nude Descending a Staircase” (1980) in their 40th-anniversary retrospective CD, Then And There Here And Now. I am honored. Since then–before and after Covid–“Nude” and “The Illusion of Eternity” were given live performances by Chanticleer at San Francisco Conservatory.
In February 2019 there were three performances of my opera Howards End, America on a libretto by Claudia Stevens after E. M. Forster. A co-production by Earplay and RealOpera.
Soprano Tonia D’Amelio with clarinetist Peter Josheff and pianist Karen Rosenak premiered my Psalm, Lament and Aubade in Berkeley October 14, 2018.
Convergence_Ensemble presented my song cycle November Gold with D’Anna Fortunata, mezzo soprano and Rachel Goodwin, piano, at Saint Augustine and Saint Martin, Roxbury, MA, May 6, 2018.
The University of Tennessee Opera Theatre produced Middlemarch in Spring at the Bijoux Theater in Knoxville–four performances April 13, 14 and 15, 2018.
On November 5 at the Berkeley Piano Club, Jeffrey Sykes and I premiered November Gold, my cycle of seven songs for baritone and piano on poems of Robert Francis On the same occasion–Sonic Harvest 17– Emily Onderdonk performed my Soliloquy for viola solo.
Charlottesville Opera gave the East Coast Premiere of Middlemarch in Spring March 23 and 24, 2017 at the Paramount Theater, Charlottesville, VA, in collaboration with Virginia’s Festival of the Book. Excerpts from this fine production can be seen here.
In February West Edge Opera presented a portion of our opera-in-progress Howards End, America in their new Snapshots program with Jonathan Khuner conducting and a fine cast. San Francisco Classical Voice referred to it as a “strong show” with “plenty of drama.” Read the full review here.
MIddlemarch in Spring was given Honorable Mention in The American Prize, category opera/theater/film, professional.
Sunday afternoon November 20 Composers, Inc. presented my Stories Wind Told to Grass at Piedmont Piano Company in downtown Oakland, with the same stellar performers who premiered the work: mezzo soprano Christine Abraham, flutist Tod Brody, cellist Jean-Michel Fonteneau, and pianist Jeffrey Sykes.
Circe’s Pigs, my one-act opera on a libretto by Claudia Stevens, premiered October 16, 2017 on Sonic Harvest at the Hillside Club in Berkeley. Christine Abraham and Michael Orlinsky appeared as Circe and Ulysses in an updated comic rendition of a story from the Odyssey.
Kissing Marfa, my new comic opera in one scene on a libretto by Claudia Stevens, was premiered at California State University, East Bay, May 25, 2016.
The premiere production of Middlemarch in Spring, my chamber opera on a libretto by Claudia Stevens after the novel by George Eliot, was presented in March at Z Space, San Francisco by Composers, Inc. It was named one of the TOP TEN OPERATIC EVENTS OF 2015 by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Encyclopedia Brittanica named it among the most newsworthy new musical works world-wide in its 2015 Year-In-Review. Scroll down in “Classical” to read the entry.
See more reviews here.
Read a glowing five-star review by Janos Gereben in the San Francisco Examiner titled “A rare triumph for a new opera.”
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman writes, “…this two-act chamber work is such a light-hearted and buoyant creation that it’s hard not to walk away feeling that all’s right with the world…. Shearer’s score — tuneful, elegant and canny in its creation of musical character — furthers that notion. Working with striking concision, the composer helps us hear the inner nature of each of the characters, from Casaubon’s granitic self-regard to Celia’s charmingly bubbled-headed cheeriness.” Read the full review here.
And in SFist Reviews, Cedric Westphal considers Middlemarch in Spring “…masterly written, the back and forth between the singer and stage and the musicians’ interjection effortlessly natural… we wish it a similar trajectories (sic) as Mark Adamo’s Little Women.” For more reviews as well as photos and more, visit middlemarchinspring.com
The Dawn Makers, my one-act opera by on a libretto by Claudia Stevens which premiered in 2009 in San Francisco, was selected as a finalist in the Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition, 2014-2016 competition cycle.