Jen, the beautiful and neglected wife of self-indulgent fashion photographer Jack, meets lonely bartender Pete at a New Year's Eve party. That fateful encounter throws all three lives into turmoil, as the passion, anguish, and rage borne of a tumultuous love triangle are expressed in song. "The Release," with its haunting melodies and urgent lyrics, immerse listeners into this raw world of emotions. At the same time, its premise leaves the audience with the debate: who's to blame?
"... a beautifully told story; the music lyrical and quixotic as it builds. And exquisitely sorrowful in moments of high dudgeon ..." Eric A. Carlson, The Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper, January 18-24, 2001
Lynn R. Shurtleff (Conductor). Maestro Shurtleff is well known in the San Francisco area and throughout many parts of the world as a conductor, composer, and educator. Professor Shurtleff spent more than 30 years at Santa Clara University. Composer of more than 200 works, he is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a Ferdinand Grossman Fellowship for study of conducting in Vienna, Austria, and a grant from the Barlow Foundation for Musical Composition for his ballet "Laugh, Clown!" that was presented in cities throughout Poland and the former Soviet Union. The Santa Clara University Orchestra featured one of his early works for symphony orchestra, "Spectrum." The Santa Clara Chorale premiered two of his later works, "Four Prairie Scenes," and "Voices of Peace." A more recent composition is "The Charlie Brown Suite for Orchestra and Jazz Trio." Under his direction the choir committed itself to the presentation of the great masterworks and the fostering and commissioning of new choral works. He retired in 2001 after serving as musical director and conductor of the Santa Clara Chorale for more than 29 years, Professor Shurtleff conducted major choral and orchestral performances throughout the United States and in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In a concert tour, the Chorale presented performances in Vienna, Prague and Salzburg, including a concert in the world famous Musikverien Hall in Vienna, accompanied by the Vienna Mozart Orchestra. Under his leadership, the Chorale performed in New York's Carnegie Hall, in Tchaikovsky Hall and Shostakovitch Hall in Russia, and the Opera House in Tel Aviv.
Meghan McCormick (Jen) studied under the instruction of Jean Wright, Dr. Goleke at University of Puget Sound, Janeanne Houston at Pacific Lutheran University, and Nancy Wait-Kromm at Santa Clara University. McCormick has enjoyed being on the stage since age eight, performing many roles from American Musical repertoire, which include Sandy in "Grease," the title role in "Cinderella" and Minnie Fay in "Hello Dolly." Her operatic appearances have been in Mozart's "Bastien and Bastienne," Humperdink's "Hansel and Gretel," and the role of First Tailor in Douglas Moore's "The Emperor's New Clothes."
Andy Roberson (Pete) studied voice with Ms. Lilliane Cromer and theater at Santa Clara University and was a member of the Santa Clara University Concert Choir. He portrayed Al Deluca in "A Chorus Line" and Lucian in the American debut of Pope John Paul II's play "Our God's Brother." He was also seen as the Witch in Humperdink's opera, "Hansel and Gretel," utilizing his falsetto capabilities.
Pat Leveque (Jack) graduated from Santa Clara University earning degrees in Theater and Music. He also studied at American Conservatory Theater (ACT), American Musical Theater of San Jose (AMT), the Marin Shakespeare Company, and studied voice under the direction of Mr. Leroy Kromm. Some of his favorite roles include Che in "Evita," Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," Freddy Einsford Hill in "My Fair Lady," Septimus Hodge in Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia," and The Father in Humperdink's Opera "Hansel and Gretel."
Frank Farris (Juan Regaro) has sung in the San Francisco Bay Area on stage and in concert for more than seventeen years. He has portrayed on stage almost all of the lovable but dim leading tenors in the Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire. Other operatic roles include Count Almaviva in "Barber of Seville" and Eisenstein in "Die Fledermaus" with companies such as Livermore Valley Opera, Fresno Lyric Opera, West Bay Opera and Donald Pippin's Pocket Opera. No stranger to modern opera, Farris has sung two world premieres, as Arthur Dimmesdale in "The Scarlet Letter" with Berkeley Contemporary Opera, and in the pivotal role of Dick in Brian Holmes' opera "Fun with Dick and Jane" at San Jose State University. In concert performances, he has appeared as soloist with the Peninsula Women's Chorus, the Skyline College Concert Choir, and the Santa Clara University Orchestra. In 1992, Sigma Alpha Iota, the international professional music fraternity, initiated Farris as a Friend of the Arts.
Linus Lau (Music Composer) is a great enthusiast of American operas and musicals. In his music, he shows influence from many traditional and popular musical idioms, but specifically cites Prokofiev and Menotti as his primary stylistic influences as well as the operatic work of Henry Mollicone. His opera "The Release" was composed in 1999. He studied under the tutelage of the composers Robert A. Rios, Nancy Bloomer-Deussen and Lynn R. Shurtleff at Santa Clara University. His compositional output includes "Suite for Flute, Bass and Clarinet," "Piano Sextet," as well as "Mass," and "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra" with Hans Boepple as soloist. His published compositions and arrangements include the complete score to "Aargh!", "The Adventures of Danny and the Pirates," a children's musical written by Elizabeth Helman, and selections for the animated film score "The Hero of Paris Valley," for Shakesparrot Records. Lau is also an independent filmmaker and attended the University of Southern California's Film School. He was selected as finalist in the Marco Island Film Festival for his short film "Stand Up."
Daniel Lee (Libretto Composer) is a graduate of Santa Clara University and attended University of Southern California's Film School. He is an eclectic writer and artist whose projects range from poetry and film to visual art and music. He is a recognized member of California's poetry scene. His written and spoken word have earned him several awards, including first place in the Silicon Valley Poetry Slam, which placed him in the finals for the 1999 National Slam in Chicago. He has toured with the Silicon Valley Poetry Team, and his interest in the avant-garde has led Lee, along with a close friend to form the performance art duo Lamentation. Lee is also the director of several independent films, among them "Lost Angeles" and his adaptation of "Gilgamesh," which won second place in the 2001 Spindletop Film Festival in Texas. His short film "Little Red Riding Hood" is being considered for distribution. He credits as his primary creative influences the artist Laurie Anderson, author Herman Melville, composer Phillip Glass, filmmaker David Lynch as well as the poets Pablo Neruda and Henry Rollins. "The Release" represents the first opera libretto he has written, as well as one of the most profoundly personal projects he has ever undertaken.
Musicians for the live premiere and the recording studio team include Lynn R. Shurtleff (Conductor), Amanda Gooding (violoncello), Meredith Shull (flute), Linus Lau (piano), Hide Hattori (contrabass), Leticia Lau (clarinet), and Randel Chow (electric bass).
Engineered by: Gradie O'Neal - Tiki Studios, San Jose, CA
Mastered by: George Horn - Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA
"The Release" is a musical drama in one act and seven scenes. It includes 20 tracks with ten stand-alone compositions. The CD Booklet contains pictures and bios of the principal actors, conductor, and composers, and also pictures of scenes from the live performance premiere. It also contains credits for the premiere and for recording studio activities. The enhanced CD contains a printable PDF file of the libretto for "The Release."
Randel Chow and Dennis Mahdik produced the CD in 2002. Andrew Kingman Music Publishing provided composition licenses for this album to Adelayne Records, divisions of The Franchesa Group, Inc., www.franchesa.com.
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3. God I love you so
5. Would you care for a drink, Ma'am?
6. Tell me your name...
7. The Drinking Song
8. Jen's Seduction
9. I did not know what heaven was
10. Jennifer, are you in here, darling?
11. Jen, there you are!
13. As much as it hurts...
14. Praying Song I
16. Praying Song II
18. Hold it right there!