“Let’s Talk!” is a short (15 minute) chamber opera for soprano and piano, designed to

open a vocal recital or concert. The singer arrives late at her own recital, and in so

doing develops a rapport with her audience, explaining both the challenges and

opportunities facing an opera singer advancing her career. It’s funny, but touching.

If you want to read the libretto, you may click the link above to a pdf of the score.

In 2010 soprano Dr. Liana Valente, an excellent and industrious soprano who is also an advocate

for contemporary vocal music, commissioned me to compose a short chamber opera to open

her recitals. Her initial idea was to have the singer arrive late to her own recital, and hopefully

fool the audience into believing this was really the case. So the accompanist stalls for time until

the soprano shows up, playing some particularly ludicrous music. The singer then arrives, both

apologizing and offering an explanation (complete with local references that the singer may

insert), with a mixture of speaking and singing. Dr. Valente chose four representative arias from

the operatic and vocal literature to be part of the opera. I arranged and adapted these excerpts,

creating new words to go with the music, that simultaneously are her own commentary on them.

The singer then sings a simple, at first unaccompanied aria. In it she explains that her desire to

become a star is now tempered with the realization that the sky is full of billions of stars, and that

therefore we are all “stars”. Her goal now is more to give other people enjoyment by sharing her

talents with them, thus giving her a true sense of identity and importance. So whether you’re a

soprano, or whether you’re not, this is a valuable message to share with anyone, even when it’s

with one’s self.

                                                            --William Vollinger

performed by

Liana Valente, soprano;

Sara Bong, piano

at Vox Novus Concert

Jan Hus Church NYC

November 17, 2013