Monthly Archives: November 2013

Grammy time? Classical meets Bluegrass

Keep your fingers crossed–the studio album was submitted for consideration for a Grammy–a long shot for sure, but I like the image in my head of the reaction of the screening panel sitting in a room and the coordinator saying “next we will hear Cavaleria Rusticana; then, Pagliacci; then, A Roadkill Opera.”

Come to think of it, A Roadkill Opera could pair up nicely with Cavaleria Rusticana–cowboy coffee to shake up the usual “ham and eggs” opera pair (for an explanation, see Fred Plotkin’s article at!/story/152640-ham-and-eggs-take-holiday-opera/).

When he was in town at a Gaithersburg Book Festival event, perennial Grammy Award-winner Ricky Skaggs was kind enough to wish me “Good luck with the Grammy entry” in his book, Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music. I gave him A Roadkill Opera on CD and a copy of If You See Roadkill, Think Opera. DJ and I thoroughly enjoyed his book talk and his performance, and we are both enjoying his book, as well.

still life Photo from Aug 14, 2013 --Ricky Skaggs at Gaithersburg Book Festival "To Stephan, Good luck with the Grammy entry, Ricky Skaggs"
Still life photo from Aug 14, 2013: Ricky Skaggs at the Gaithersburg Book Festival  wrote “To Stephan, Good luck with the Grammy entry, Ricky Skaggs”
Stephan Alexander Parker with Ricky Skaggs at the Gaithersburg Book Festival
Stephan Alexander Parker with Ricky Skaggs at the Gaithersburg Book Festival event. 

Acoustic music and great musicianship are two things I never get tired of.  And, it seems, bluegrass, too. It was heartening to hear from Ricky that, like all artists I have talked to, he had to take “straight” jobs to make ends meet. His tale of his job at a power plant outside Washington DC is a howler.

Speaking of great bluegrass musicians, Grammy Award nominated Matt Flinner showed an early interest in the sheet music for A Roadkill Opera when we caught the Matt Flinner Trio in concert at Dornan’s in Moose, Wyoming. DJ used to bartend there.

Photo from Feb 5, 2013--Matt Flinner Trio on the stage at Dornan's Bar in Moose, Wyoming
February 5, 2013–Matt Flinner Trio on the stage at Dornan’s Bar in Moose, Wyoming, with local guests

Both DJ and I were particularly taken with the performance of “Winter Wheat,” which is available as a track on the Matt Flinner trio album Winter Harvest . The album is product of the “Music du Jour” project that Flinner, (mandolin), Ross Martin (guitar), and Eric Thorin (bass) started in 2006. Each member of the trio writes one new tune a day when on tour, and they play all three that night. Talk about talent! They all sight-read that well and that quickly, on top of their superb musicianship.

Between sets, I chatted with Flinner and found that his work with the Modern Mandolin Quartet on the Grammy-nominated Americana album is comprised largely of string quartets and piano preludes from the likes of Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and Philip Glass, arranged for (what else) mandolin. Hey Matt, you might want to consider doing the Overture from A Roadkill Opera…


A Roadkill Opera studio recording now available for previews and downloads on CD Baby

Good news for opera buffs everywhere: the studio recording of A Roadkill Opera is now available through CD Baby, which will extend the distribution reach of the recorded music world-wide.

This comedic opera is a perfect opera audition piece for artists who want to stand out. The 9 minute overture allows a chamber orchestra to really shine, while the soprano roles feature glorious runs.

Performers who enjoy what they hear will want to order sheet music, which is already broadly available.  Books of parts for wind instruments and timpani and strings are designed to be cut apart for distribution to the orchestra. The piano/vocal score is perfect for rehearsals or classroom use.  Enjoy this hilarious romp through classical music with action set in 1988–the whole shebang runs 59 minutes, with a 9-minute overture (no singing) plus 12 songs.

Music from 1804. Action set in 1988. A new opera (in just 59 minutes, in English). The story of the hour before the lights go up on opening night for a comedy improv troupe in Jackson Hole, Wyoming–the Roadkill On A Stick Frozen Foods Theatre Company.

Album Notes
Based (loosely) on a true story from a fast-developing tourist town, this original English libretto by Parker is set to music by Ferdinando Paer (Napoleon’s maître de chapelle).The action takes place on Independence Day weekend in 1988—exactly 25 years prior to the CD release.

In June 2012 A Roadkill Opera was workshopped in Crystal City, Virginia, by Jeffrey Dokken at Artomatic, the Washington area’s largest free creative arts event. Dokken is best known as music director and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Arlington, Virginia. Maestro Dokken reassembled most of the workshop’s chamber orchestra and singers over the next year for a series of recording sessions in Maryland.

The cast for the recording includes Laura Wehrmeyer (Holly), soprano; Andrew Webster (Eddie), baritone; David Timpane (Stephan), bass; Krista Monique McClellan (Debby), soprano; and Jeffrey Dokken (Dave), tenor.

The orchestra for the recording includes Martine Micozzi, flute; Jeannine Altavilla, clarinet; Sarah Robinson, bassoon; Michael Thompson, trumpet; Jeffrey Dokken, timpani; Frank Peracchia, violin I; Ian Ross, violin II; Val Rauch, viola; Kathy Augustine and Natalie Spehar, cello; and Stephan Alexander Parker on hammer, 2×4, and cymbal.

A Roadkill Opera was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Blue House Productions by Audio Engineer Jeff Gruber.

The CD, piano/vocal score, and sheet music for string instruments for A Roadkill Opera are available in Gaithersburg, Maryland, at Lashof Violins. CDs and books are available through numerous online entities, including, CreateSpace, and Barnes & Noble.

Music from the studio recording was previewed at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in May 2013.

A Roadkill Opera
“the underground opera sensation”