Patra Workshop to debut in New York. Patra is the shorter name for Cleopatra. Queen of Egypt, she was one of the most famous women in history. Her full name was Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator (69 BC – 12 August 30 BC). She was the last of the Pharaohs set up in Egypt by Alexander the Great. By descent, she was a Macedonian Princess. It will appear off book in the workshop. Our singers will literally be top notch. My wife, Sharon is the librettist and a co-composer of Patra. . I, husband David, am also a composer. Before going to NY, it will have a staged concert presentation. This will be in Sarasota Fl at the newly built Sarasota Westcoast Black Theater. Our casts in both NY and Fla are busy rehearsing. Here’s the gist:
Cleopatra had stopped the onslaught of two invading Roman generals through love. She thus neutralized the worst effects of their invasions by marrying the generals. Patra had children with each. They were, first, Julius Caesar and later Marc Antony.
Enter Octavian, a third Roman invader. She almost stops his aggression through love. In order to save her children, she follows the way of the warrior: An honorable death. If she she married Octavian and moved to Rome, both her and her children would have been seen as a threat to the Roman triumvirate. Our opera features Patra and Octavian’s encounter. In the opera she convinces him to become Augustus Caesar- 1st emperor of Rome Later, as a result, he honors her by placing a statue of her in the Temple of Venus in Rome. The statue was displayed exemplifying her as the good mother.
Patra has memorable melodies, Latin rhythms and most important – a gripping story. Sample our music on Patraopera.com.
See PATRA in Sarasota before it goes to New York !!
Presented in Sarasota for One Night Only
Before heading to New York in September, our new opera PATRA will be presented as a concert reading in Sarasota. The complete opera will be presented on Fri. July 19 at the new Westcoast Black Theatre at 6:30 pm.
The New York Workshop
PATRA has been selected for a fully-staged professional workshop in upstate New York at the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake. The American Center for New Works Development at Seagle has work shopped pieces by many award-winning writers like Stephen Schwartz, Mark Adamo, Kevin Putts and more.
Patra Workshop – the Story
PATRA is loosely based on Cleopatra’s final days. When the villainous Octavian dangles a marriage proposal before Cleopatra, she hopes to secure a future for herself and her children. Yet, things do not go as he planned. Cleopatra’s love challenges Octavian and transforms him into a new man. PATRA has five singing roles. Our great Sarasota cast is listed below.
Writer, co-composer, librettist states: “When I began the eleven month rewrite of our more tragic Octavian & Cleopatra, I wanted to lighten the work and give it a popular bent. I cut two singing roles and added a dancer. Then, I infused comedy, lively dance rhythms, a small amount of spoken dialogue and a surprise at every turn. Most of all, I showcased the singer. I did something rather unusual in any musical or opera I created numerous dramatic moments where the instrumental accompaniment is silent. Only singing voices are heard.”
PATRA is an opera comique: It uses techniques from Bizet’s Carmen and Bernstein’s The West Side Story. .
Patra Concert Presentation
The WBTT concert has a $20 suggested donation ticket price to be paid at the door. For an advance reserved seat visit GoFundMe.com/PatraOpera, make a donation and in the notes write WBTT ticket. Westcoast Black Theatre is located at 1012 N Orange Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Libretto by Sharon Ohrenstein
Music by David Ohrenstein and Sharon Ohrenstein
Our terrific Sarasota CAST
Kathryn Parks as Cleopatra, Joseph Ryan as Octavian, Carole Cornman as Iras, Robyn Rocklein as Charmian, and Baron Garriott as Marcellus. Pianist Teresa O’Connell will accompany the shows.
Dancer Vanessa Russo, currently based in Sarasota, has been hired for the New York Patra workshop workshop. Only singers will be performing in Sarasota.
Background for the Patra Workshop: About Ohrenstein and Ohrenstein
Musical theater writers and performers, Sharon and David Ohrenstein have performed internationally from Canada to Honduras. Their musicals, Octavian and Cleopatra, Our Golda, and Elizabeth of Russia have been produced in Florida and New York to remarkable reviews. Sharon was honored to be chosen an Amazing Woman of the Suncoast by ABC 7. David’s chamber compositions for wind ensembles and larger works for concert band have had world premieres in New York, Ontario, Ohio and Florida. David just finished his tenth season at the Gasparilla Inn where he plays for U.S. presidents and other dignitaries. For more information visit Patraopera.com. Here is an internal link to a ballet I, David, wrote: Zodiac Dance Demonstrates Extremes from Ballet to Modern
Steady Eddie Had the Gift of Rhythm. I always seem to have had the best of luck in mentors. Maestro Edmund DeMattia was up there with the best. He recently passed away. I miss him. I’ve always excelled as a composer and am a fairly good pianist. Ed communicated how I could steady my rhythm in performance.
“Steady Eddie” was a Great Musical Innovator of the American Military
The idea for a “National Concert Band” began in 1973. Discussions were held among retired and former members of the four major military service bands in the Washington, DC area. The organization’s two main purposes were: (1) To provide a way for area military musicians to continue to play after retirement. (2) To preserve the concert band tradition of music in the United States. Ed also happened to be one of the founding members of the American Concert Band Association (ACB). The National Concert Band became a member of this professional organization. This was in no small part due to Ed. Because of him, those who retired from military service could continue their music in the National Concert Band .
One of Ed’s last concerts was with my wife and myself. Wife, mezzo soprano Sharon Ohrenstein, is also a composer, lyricist and arranger.
Sharon and I shared in co-composing. We worked together on a couple of military marches for Memorial Day. Link is below to our live performance of “Glory and Honor”. We even had Civil War Re-enactors firing their muskets during the concert on conductor’s cue!
Finally, what I am most proud of in the realm of the American military march. I worked with “Rubinoff and His Violin.” This was over a 15 year span. I was his arranger and accompanist. The American March King “-John Philip Sousa” gave Rubinoff’s career a big boost: He procured a continuous stipend from the State Department for bringing fine music to children in the public schools.
If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with friends. We can all be proud of our wonderful traditions!
Banned Music in Old Russia is Featured Our Operetta. Wife Sharon and myself (David) wrote a musical. Once titled Elizabeth of Russia.Half Peasant – Half Royal is the new name. We had a marvelous costumed staged reading in Sarasota Florida at the Players Theater. Below are YouTube videos: The entire cast sings the Drinking Song (since,more universal lyrics have been penned). In 1740, ethnic Russian music was banned from court. As an act of rebellion against the ruling regime, Elizabeth brings in the following entertainment: The Dance of the Cossacks – performed by principle dancers from the Sarasota Ballet. And, Dance of The Russian Peasant played on a Stradivarius flown in from Houston. The link below has composer Rubinoff and his Violin playing that piece. Sharon wrote the book and lyrics. I wrote the music. It is copyrighted.
Lesley and Ohrenstein’s Elizabeth of Russia follows in the tradition of the great Broadway hits South Pacific …
But first, with regards to the featured medallion picture: This medallion is dated and signed on the back by Gregory Musikiiskii, the first Russian painter of portrait miniatures. It can be compared to an earlier enamel painting of Peter the Great with his family, now in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, executed by the same artists in 1717. Here, the Russian emperor is depicted together with his wife Catherine, his three daughters Anna, Elizabeth (the future empress and subject of our musical. She is reclining on her mother.) and Natalia, and his grandson Peter (the future Peter II). Musikiiskii was transferred from the Moscow Kremlin Armory to St. Petersburg to work for the court of Peter the Great, the founder of modern Russia.
What About the Banned Music in Old Russia?
Our new title unravels and hopefully will solve the problems we had with our production. Elizabeth of Russia, in fact, was half peasant and half royal. She fell in love with a peasant. He was reputed to have one of the most magnificent singing voices in Russia at the time. Unfortunately, the combination of the two together made them 3/4 peasant and 1/4 royal. So what was the problem with Russian secular music?
Early czars considered secular music to be a highly suspicious activity. Weapons could easily be hidden in instrumental cases.
Thus, no musical instruments of any sort were allowed in church or at court.
They instructed peasants to stop singing folk songs. Common people, of course, are the source of folk songs.
Troubadours (travelling minstrel singers) were forbidden in old Russia. The czars worried that they would sing seditious songs.
Thus, for the ruling elite, the act of Elizabeth falling in love with “lowborn peasant singer” was unacceptable.
In violation of the above, a case enclosed an authentic Stradivarius violin is brought and is played on stage at a court party. It has the official crest of the Russian empire. It is set with diamonds and rubies. The theatrical audience went wild with excitement. How did we come by it? I worked with Rubinoff and His Violin. His widow, Dame Darlene Rubinoff, flew the violin from Houston. It was the Stradivarius that had previously belonged to Czar Nicholas II. Now for the first time, enjoy Rubinoff himself playing his featured violin solo, Dance of the Russian Peasant. Pictures in this youtube background highlight both his life and his friendship with Sharon and myself. Feel free to share this special post with with friends. We are looking to do a full production.
Travel Golden Roads With Our New Musical. The featured picture is a reference to Sharon and myself. We are called “The Ohs.” This is short for Ohrenstein. Famed artist, Harold Weiner, drew this for us as a thank you for a charity event that we did for the Sarasota Music Archives.
Meir’s GOLDEN ROADS: A One Woman Musical About Golda Meir. This original musical was written by the performers: Sharon Lesley Ohrenstein, singer, actor, librettist; and David Ohrenstein, pianist- composer. Broadway director, Carlo Thomas, gave the one woman show a wonderful, big time, New York, aura. From Golda’s dream to its realization, Sharon plays multiple characters. Her characters include:
Blume (Golda’s mother).
Morris (her husband)
Her sister, Sheyna
Zion (a spirit character)
Numerous other male and female characters
OUR MUSICAL OFFERS THE FOLLOWING
The musical will work in any sized theater.
It can also be booked for a limited run or as a special event. For example, for a fund raiser, luncheon or after dinner show.
The musical has several length options
The set is simple and basic. L & O have both portable Yamaha piano and sound.
For more information or price quote: email – email@example.com
We are all on a pilgramage as we travel the Golden Roads. We all seek the precious jewels of happiness, peace and plenty found on this road. Learn about this one woman born into poverty and persecution. Through her own will power and hard work she overcame these hardships.
Travel Golden Roads With Golda Meir
Our Golden Roads symbolizes the journey some must take to find a better future. Golda’s was quite dramatic:
As a child, Golda was nearly trampled to death by stampeding Cossacks riding horses. Her passion became having a safe home.
Be entertained by the beautiful voice of Sharon Lesley and piano artistry of David. Enjoy the beautiful melodies that punctuate the show. Be enthralled about with the story how one woman’s courage and determination helped to rebuild a nation for millions.
Our New York veteran director is Carlo Thomas. He has received positive reviews from Hal Prince, Irving Lowens of the Washington Star, and Werner Vollmann of the Associated Press in Vienna. As a bass, he has appeared in many operas, including Rigoletto, La Traviata, and The Queen of Spades. He has sung on opera stages in Italy. He personally worked with Broadway composers Timothy Gray and Hugh Martin. Carlo has helped to shape our show and provided exciting projections.
Travel Golden Roads and Make Money
This one woman show, featuring Sharon, is a money maker. Call or contact DSOworks@gmail.com today to arrange for your special afternoon or evening with Golden Roads. It was SRO as Golda opened the 2017 Sarasolo Festival held at Sarasota’s Crocker Memorial Church. Don’t be shy! Please share with friends.
Disappearing Mailboxes Out- Dates a Work of Art. Famed cartoonist, Harold Winer, created a number of illustrations for us. They were a thank you present. At one time he was associated with the Sarasota Music Archives. My wife Sharon, and myself, do musical charity work. The Sarasota Music Archives was one of the beneficiaries. It has one of the finest collections of sheet music in the country. As a thank you, Harold Winer gave us a number of art works. The Ohs is short for our last name, Ohrenstein.
Mail boxes have pretty much disappeared; yet, Sharon and I are still performing. We have started to write our own. I have always been a composer. Sharon writes the lyrics and book. Most recently, we wrote Golden Roads. It was the opening show for the Sarasolo festival. Carlo Thomas is our director. We thank him for his help. He guided our rehearsals. Also, he provided about 2 dozen artistically made posters. During the course of the presentation, Sharon co-ordinates the dialogue with the pictures. Our show sold out, SRO. On the positive side, the mail is still there. Only, it is called e-mail. Speaking of which, please feel free to share this e-mail with friends. Let’s have many new shows of all typesthat can offer us rides on Golden Roads.
Concertizing Duo Returns to the Concert Stage After Raising a Family. Husband-wife team David and Sharon Ohrenstein comprise the team. Sharon Ohrenstein’s musical aptitude includes:
Arranging for for multiple instruments. Most recently she arranged a new wind quintet. She has arranged for concert band and orchestra. Husband, David, composes the music. Enjoy their new patriotic march entitled Glory and Honor. Instrumental parts are available through DSOworks.com. Below, it is performed by the Sarasota Concert Band.
Concertizing Duo Returns With a New Musical Called Golden Roads
Our new one woman musical opened the Sarasolo festival. The musical is about the early life of Golda Meir. The story is about achieving your dream. This takes incredible sacrifice and hard work. However, once you’ve realized your dream,the even harder work just begins. Golden Roads is New York bound. We will shortly set up its dates at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. Also, appointments have been set for a number summer musical camps in both New York and Pennsylvania. Other locations are considering the musical. The part of Golda is sung and acted by book writer-lyricist wife, Sharon. Composer,David, will play the piano. They hope to set the precedent for others. Our wonderful director is New York stage veteran and renowned international opera singer, Carlo Thomas. Thanks to him, our show now has exciting and relevant graphics and projections. It can be booked as a special event. Or, it can have a run at a theater. With our Finale music program, we can arrange for alto or soprano using any key. The music, however, is still challenging with a wide vocal range.
Another Concertizing Duo Returns That this Duo Got to Enjoy
I’m closing the blog with the following excerpt from Wikipedia. We had the pleasure of hearing Alan and Marilyn Bergman perform a concert of their own works of Michel Legrand the University of Miami. As a husband-wife team, they have definitely been inspiring to us. And yes, its possible to raise a family and have a career in the arts. The kids love it!
Musical Undercurrents Are About to Surface. The following sequence attaches itself to musical styles:
A style begins with the 1st generation.
The 2nd generation literally buries the style of the 1st. It has a new concept for music.
The 3rd generation of style buries the 2nd. It then resurrects the ideas from the 1st.
Here’s how it has worked in our western music history. Let’s begin with the Baroque Era:
J.S, Bach culminated the Baroque Era of counterpoint. It transitioned to a simpler style around 1750.
The Rococo era and early classical were the next musical trends. They used a melody and accompaniment approach. Simplicity was preferred.
The Romantic Era came with Beethoven’s middle and later works. This was after 1800. Bach, counterpoint and complexity came back into vogue.
Baroque Musical Undercurrents Resurfaced Romantic Era
In music, the BACH motif is the motif, a succession of notes important or characteristic to a piece, B flat, A, C, B natural. In German musical nomenclature, in which the note B natural is written as H and the B flat as B, it forms Johann Sebastian Bach‘s family name. One of the most frequently occurring examples of a musical cryptogram, the motif has been used by countless composers, especially after the Bach Revival in the first half of the 19th century.
How Do the Musical Undercurrents Apply to Today?
Either rap, puck and rock and roll have have been in the forefront of popular music from Elvis in the 50’s to the present time. This is about 65 years. It has outlasted the earlier Rococo and early classical styles of European western music. Inevitably, music with strong melody, like in the 1930’s, will resurface as a main thrust. Rhythm, of course, always must be there, regardless of style. Our new musical, Golden Roads, is avant guard in this respect. Yes, it also has the element of counterpoint. I say, welcome to another return of the Romantic Era.
Public Premiere of Golden Roads Musical of Golda Meir. The word is out. Ticket sales are brisk. Everyone thinks we have a hit on our hands. This musical is happy, uplifting and meant to inspire. Also, this musical has elements of the beautiful music of the 1930’s. Likeearly 1930’s hit, Stardust, by Hoagy Carmichael, melody is of primary importance. David composes from the standpoint of melody, unlike many of today’s composers. Melody should be held as sacred. Rhythm is also enjoyable. However, in composition, it should be at the service of melody. Since age 11, that has been David’s style of composition. All have their own Golden Roads that lead to fulfillment of personal wishes and dreams. The formula is in the musical.
So, What is So Special About This Public Premiere?
We have a wonderful director, Carlo Thomas. “He went on to a career which included Opera (City Opera, Canadian Opera, Berlin Opera, The Spoleto Music Festival, where he was directed by Gian Carlo Menotti), Broadway (1776, Phantom of the Opera), Concert (soloist at Radio City Music Hall), Recording with the Fred Waring band – and anything that required music. With his life partner Timothy Gray (who with Hugh Martin wrote the score for the musical High Spirits – based on the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit, and many more), Carlo was enmeshed in the theater scene. Listen to this extraordinary man tell the charming, funny and sometimes outrageous stories of a life and career dedicated to the making of beautiful music. 11-24-14 Audio Interview.”
Carlo introduced us to the use of musical motifs. We use them extensively in Golden Roads. The piano becomes a surrogate actor by using musical comments on stage. The technique was used extensively in The Phantom of the Opera. What a learning experience this was for us. We are honored to work with this man.
Sharon Ohrenstein (book and lyrics) performs multiple characters as Golda takes her extraordinary journey from Pinsk to Prime Minster of Israel. Her true love and spirit guide, Zion, follows her every move. Nobody Can Tell Me, I Do, We Have Returned,My Heart Is Always Home (composer: David Ohrenstein) are a few of the songs.
St, Armands Christmas Walk Music By David and Sharon Ohrenstein. Ah, Sarasota, Florida! A cultural capitol of the Deep South. December is a most busy month for entertainment. St Armands Circle is one of the finest tourist attractions in the country. On the Circle, the official beginning of Christmas is the evening of Friday Dec. 2 this year.
ST. ARMANDS FEATURES TOP SARASOTA ENTERTAINMENT GROUPS FROM DUOS TO FULL ORCHESTRAS
Enjoy this youtube presentation of Sharon singing a great Christmas classic, Ave Maria, by Schubert. Since her appearance as guest artist with the entire North Port concert band, she has been called on to sing Ave Maria for many special events and occasions. Watch the youtube to see theNorth Port audience go wild with enthusiasm. The crowd calls her out with a standing ovation. Incidentally, the original words were part of an English poem called “The Lady of the Lake” . They were written in 1810 by Sir Walter Scott. The music was composed by Franz Schubert in 1825 as part of his Opus 52, a setting of seven songs from Walter Scott‘s popular epic poem The Lady of the Lake, loosely translated into German. In Sharon’s rendition, even big, strong, men broke down in tears.
Music has opened doors worldwide for Sharon and David. Sharon is also a lyricist and play writer. David is also a composer. Most recently they have been chosen to have their musical, Golden Roads, presented for the Sarasolo Festival. They also have a scheduled appearance at the Long Boat Key Learning Center. Check events page on DSOworks.com. David is also scheduled to begin his 8th season entertaining in Boca Grande. He is proud to play on the rebuilt, vintage, Steinway Grand at the Gasparilla Inn. In the meanwhile, see you on the Circle. Happiest of Holidays!
Holiday Music Live With The Ohs: David and Sharon. Sample this rare combination on youtube. Enjoy the Ohrensteins this holiday season. On the sample, they have a double audience. The entire North Port Concert Band is seated behind them. A packed concert hall is out in front. Sharon sings the classic Mel Torme and Robert Wells The Christmas Song. David plays a hot boogie-woogie beat as the backdrop. For their encore it’s White Christmas by Irving Berlin.
Book your date as soon as possible. Starting around December 20, David begins his 8th year at the Gasparilla Inn on the isle of Boca Grande. That gig keeps him occupied six nights a week until the beginning of April. Among the diners are former American presidents and heads of state from around the world. Harrison Ford and Barbara Streisand are counted among the hotel guests. Sharon will begin another season as a top rated instructor with Road Scholar. She teaches theater, film and opera, The fun thing is she takes groups to live events in all three types of classes in the one of the cultural capitals of the South- Sarasota, Florida.