Patra Workshop

Patra Workshop to debut New York this September

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.

Image result for patraopera,com

Patra Workshop

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.

PATRA News!!!
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.
Patraopera.com
This setting on Schroon Lake, NY gave birth to many new works by great theatrical and operatic writers. Also, the chosen singers are engaged by American and European opera companies in this setting.

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.
CONTACT: Sharon Ohrenstein at 941-724-1199 or slohrenstein@gmail.com. only about the above events.  THANK YOU!
Image result for patraopera.com
Our masthead for the opera used with permission of the art gallery: From Cairo with Love. located, in Cairo Egypt and its creator,  Kadir.
PATRA
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

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Traditional employment

Traditional Employment Includes Types of People and Places

Traditional Employment includes types of people and places.  Any new year is a time for reflection: What happened or didn’t happen last year? What might happen this year? Since this new year  (2019) is about to begin, I thought I’d reflect on previous jobs. I seem to have a predilection for working with: (1) Successful older people. (2) Spectacular older places.   By traditional I refer to: (1) Great places built over 100 years ago. Or, (2) Successful men who, at the time,  were old enough to be my grandfather or possibly great-grandfather at the time of employment.

Traditional Employment by Rubinoff and His Violin

I learned the musical craft of arranging and accompanying from Rubinoff. He conducted the Paramount Theater in New York and Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. What a perfectionist!  After working for 8 hours during the day, at night he’d change his mind. The next day we did a different 16 bars.  Dave’s Stradivarius violin was purchased for $100,000.00 in 1929.  He made about $500,000.00 annually in the 1930′ by conducting and performing. It seemed like the “His Violin” was his marriage contract with music.

Traditional employment
A young Rubinoff in this picture. I worked with him when he was in his 70’s and 80’s. I was hardly 20 at first.   On the poster you’ll find my name.

Traditional Employment at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House

For better than 15 summer seasons I played piano for shows at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House in Deposit, New York. The resort was born in 1869. What a wonderful time our family had.  Our children literally grew up in the Catskills at Scott’s.   Playing many shows as well as our own  (with wife, Sharon) were part of my duties. Most recently, the cast of The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselle got to experience the same resort.

Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", speaks in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics' Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Half of this year’s series (2019) were filmed on beautiful Oquaga Lake.

To the right, Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, speaks in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss | Invision/AP)

What fun on those unforgettable summer nights of dancing, singing and shows! Its natural beauty is haunting.

Scott’s Oquaga Lake House, Inc

 Is Traditional Employment Also in our Future?

My wife and I wrote a new opera comique entitled Patra. It certainly is quite traditional. Our models were Bizet’s Carmen and Bernstein’s West Side Story. We will have a full production workshop in New York at Schroon Lake scheduled for September 2019. This will be with the Seagle Music Colony. The Colony is under the artistic direction of Darren Woods and The American Center for New Works Development. Schroon Lake has quite a cultural history. Here is an internal link to this Schroon Lake’s glorious past. It inspired me to write a poem. Share if you wish.

 

Amphitheatre in the Woods at Schroon Lake Park – DSO Works

Traditional employment
Patra’s premiere will also be by Schroon Lake. This picture was from Shakespeare in the Woods at the North end.

Conclusion

What’s the best way to acquire rewarding and long term employment?

  1. Work hard at mastery of your talent or craft.
  2. Then, work with a well establish person, group of people or company.
  3. Happy New Year!

 

Catskill Resort Celebration

Catskill Resort Celebration- my Home Away from Home

Catskill Resort Celebration- my Home Away from Home. The Catskill Mountain Resorts are coming back. It’s possibly starting with Scott’s Oquaga Lake House. I was the Scott’s piano player for some 15 years. Oh boy, are the Catskills coming back! They have just been the background for a wagon load full of prestigious top entertainment industry awards. Some of the list is below, in blue. Immediately below is the Catskill Mountain movie trail from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Catskill Resort Celebration at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House

Als0, below the picture is link to a special interview with one of the stars:  Rachel Brosnahan chats with Jimmy Fallon about the latest season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She talks about  years ago Scott’s turned down the filming of Dirty Dancing. The clip at Scotts, relatively new posts, have 75,00 views.

Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", speaks in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics' Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Photo of Rachel Brosnahan, winner of the award for best actress in a comedy series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”.

Above, Rachel is speaking in the press room at the 23rd annual Critics’ Choice Awards. It is at the Barker Hangar.  Date is Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. Location is Santa Monica, Calif. (Jordan Strauss | Invision/AP)

More Catskill resort Celebration

https://www.facebook.com/
MaiselTV/videos/565286673939175/

 

Preview YouTube video Rachel Brosnahan Drops Hints About Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Rachel Brosnahan Drops Hints About Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

 

Yes miracles still happen.  Just when everybody is ready to give the resort up, this happens. Scott’s will be featured in quite a number of episodes this coming year. I have been the piano player at Scott’s Oquaga Lake House over a span of some 15 years. Hard times hit the resort. Bus loads of people from Ontario, Canada stopped coming. This was due to higher taxes and added health insurance costs on group bus tours. A high percentage of their business was Canadian. In addition to to regular fair, Canadians loved the wilderness and seemingly magical feeling of this pristine, clear  lake.

More Catskill Resort Celebration

Here is one of my my contributions to Scott’s Oquaga Lake House: As Rubinoff and His Violin’s arranger and accompanist for over 15 years, I brought Rubinoff to the resort.  This was in 1984. At age 86 David Rubinoff also performed miracles. This youtube video is the only complete 44 minute+ concert of his in existence.He took America by storm in the 1930’s.  Please also enjoy this rare Scott’s video as I (David Ohrenstein) accompany this “legendary” violinist. He plays his Strad. It belonged to the Czars of Russia.

Lost Concert “Rubinoff and His Violin” on Oquaga Lake, 1984 – YouTube

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jujqLu-jrN8

 

Jun 22, 2015 – Uploaded by Lesley & Ohrenstein

In one of the final years of his life, renowned violinist Dave Rubinoff plays theStradivarius violin for an …

Extremely Humble King of Early American Music

Forgiving Audience for Rubinoff and His Violin

 


Some of the Awards for this “Marvelous” series:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Awards Peabody Awards

Peabody Award
2018 · Amazon Studios


Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan


Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
2018 · Alex Borstein


Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series
2018


Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series
2018 · Cindy Tolan, Meredith Tucker, Jeanie Bacharach


Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan


Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
2018


Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan


TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy
2018 · Rachel Brosnahan


Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Comedy Series
2018

Last, but not least for my wife, Sharon, and myself. We wrote an opera comique entitled Patra. It will be showcased on Schroon lake in New York state this coming September  of2019. The American Center for New Works Development is sponsoring it under the auspices of the Seagle Music Colony. More details on our website.  DSOworks.com.  Patra has a banner heading. Exact date to be announced shortly. Don’t miss this event!

new artistic cycle forecasted by Rossini

New Artistic Cycle as per Rossini in 1868

New Artistic Cycle as per Rossini in 1868.  His words apply to now. I  thus begin this blog with the quote by opera composer, G.Rossini.  It is from his  letter dated June 21, 1868. It states: ” Delight must be the basis and aim of this art. Simple melody-clear rhythm.” My source is Serious Music-and All That Jazz. It was written by Henry Pleasants. He contributed articles on European musical events to The New York Times. He also wrote regularly for Opera Quarterly.  He alsowas London editor for the magazine Stereo Review. He also was the London music critic for the International Herald Tribune.

Pleasants contributed articles on European musical events to The New York Times. He wrote regularly for Opera Quarterly.   In addition, he was London editor for the magazine Stereo Review.  For 30 years, beginning in 1967, was the London music critic for the International Herald Tribune.

I, blogger, David, just gave a concert at under the sponsorship of the Ted Lewis Museum. I am also a composer of opera. My book writer and lyricist is my wife, Sharon. Our opera, to be announced, uses melody in a big way. Rhythm, of course, must always be solid . However, in our opera it will take a back seat to memorable melodies.

Check out the internal link right below. I worked with Rubinoff for 15 years. Rubinoff and His Violin made up to $500,000.00 yearly in the 1930’s. His secret was playing beautiful melody  better than anyone else.  Yes, “There’s gold in them thar hills”

Ted Lewis Museum Paves the Way for Melody’s Big Return – DSO Works

 

Henry Pleasants
American music critic Henry Pleasants.jpg
BornMay 12, 1910
Wayne, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 4, 2000 (aged 89)
London, England
NationalityAmerican, British
OccupationSpymusic critic

Henry Pleasants (May 12, 1910 – January 4, 2000) was an American music critic and intelligence officer.

New Artistic Cycle Foreshadowed in Another Quote

Pleasants relates a 2nd applicable quote. Joseph Addison wrote the following the The Spectator. It is dated April 3, 1711: ...Taste is not to conform to the art, but art to the taste. The public is longing for what is beautiful. As stated in the lyrics found in the musical ‘ Ain’t Misbehavin:

Find out what they like, and how they like it, and let him have it just that way
Give them what they want, and when they want it, without a single word to say

Three cheers for melody!

Writing operas has hassles

Writing Operas- Hassles Even for Mozart

Writing Operas- Hassles Even for Mozart. Writing an opera is difficult. Writing an outstanding opera is more difficult. Finding a good composer/ librettist combination is rare. Raising funds for the work is  is extremely difficult. Procuring a venue  for a production of a new opera is a a huge task. That is why perpetual old opera war horses will continue to be the mainstay of traditional, established opera houses. Aspiring composers of opera face at least one to all of these hurdles. That certainly was true for Mozart. Mozart had the contacts. He had the admiration of wealthy royalty. His problem, at least at first, was finding a good librettist with which he could collaborate.

Writing operas has hassles even for Mozart

I’m lucky enough. to own the book pictured on the right. It is autographed by Victor Borge. The inspiration for this blog came from his book. Royalty in Europe fostered opera. Mozart was quite a charmer in this regard.  As a young boy, he was fussed over by every emperor he met and kissed by their empress wives. He even proposed to Marie Antoinette. This was after she straightened him out from a skid on the palace floor.

So how does a child charm, royalty? Mozart used the technique of novelty. He would play the pianoforte using one finger on each hand. He would cover the piano keyboard with a napkin and perform. He would ask his royal backers to hum a tune. They he make an entire sonata on the “hum”. He would freely improvise variations on a theme. Yet even with the royal support of limitless funding, there were problems. You still needed a good libretto.

Here is an example of Mozart’s libretto problems: He wrote an opera for La Finta Semplice. It’s about a Hungarian captain whose sister makes love to his girlfriend’s brother. As a result, the girlfriend’s maid can marry the captain’s valet. This needs to happen without the captain’s girlfriend’s other brother finding out. As crazy as this is, it still made it to the stage. Today, I think that a rich person can buy their way to a full production. But, odds of overall success are even more remote.

Writing Operas – Mozart – the “Graveyard Key” in his Opera Don Giovanni – DSO Works

The feature picture of the ghosts of Caesar and Anthony in the above internal link is from our new opera. It is now called, Patra. It was called Octavian and Cleopatra. Another name it went by was The Cup of Cleopatra. Now, the opera is  undergoing a major rewrite. This is no small task.  However, I do have one great advantage: Everyday I have breakfast with my librettist. She is my wife, Sharon.  Everything is coming together for a workshop in upstate New York 2019. We are looking for backers.  Click on the picture below to sample some of the earlier productions. They might pique you interest.  Contact shlesley@aol.com if you are interested in assisting.

Writing operas, My wife, Sharon Lesley, plays Cleopatra. Robbie May plays Octavian. Photo taken in the  Sarasota Player’s Theater presentation.
writing operas
This book is entertaining and informative.