Night Caps Experience

Ever wonder what it takes to create an opera from scratch?

Bet you have no idea how much work goes into making an Opera Theater production!  And that’s why we’re here — to take you on a tour of Night Caps, our world premiere mini-opera series.  The production is constantly evolving, so check back for updates!  Enjoy the ride…

Oh, and read a synopsis and check out a preview of Night Caps


Summer 2011

Night Caps begins somewhere in the mind of our fearless leader, Artistic Director Jonathan Eaton.  How it gets there, we don’t know and we’re not about to ask.  Hotel bedrooms, hilarious misunderstandings, steamy affairs—let’s leave it at that.

Fall 2011

Jonathan tells his late-night opera idea to Rob Handel, Head of Dramatic Writing at Carnegie Mellon University.  And Rob gets excited and jumps on board.  He starts crafting a series of short stories that take place in different rooms of the same hotel.

Sneak Peek: Read the libretto (in its 5th revision!)

Winter 2011

After much to-ing and fro-ing, the libretto is finally ready to go.  Jonathan decides it would be fun to have a different composer for each mini-opera.  So he goes out and gets these guys:

daronhagenDaron Aric Hagen, internationally acclaimed operatic and symphonic composer. In the 2012-2013 season, Daron’s operas will be performed in Austin, Chicago, Como (Italy), Lexington, New York City, San Francisco, Sarasota, and Sondrio (Italy).

Ask Daron: “Where do you get your ideas?
Sneak Peek:Watch a video interview with Daron about the creation of his Night Cap




gildalyonsGilda Lyons, composer, vocalist, and visual artist. Gilda combines elements of renaissance, neo-baroque, spectral, folk, agitprop Music Theater, and extended vocalism to create works of uncompromising emotional honesty and melodic beauty. Her composition has been described as “hair-raising, yet elegant” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel].





rogerzahabRoger Zahab, Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh. Roger is a multi-faceted composer, violinist, conductor, and teacher. His compositions have been recorded by Albany Records and are available on iTunes.

Ask Roger: “How did you start writing your Night Cap?
Sneak Peek: Watch as Roger’s handwritten melodies evolve into a full score.




ericmoeEric Moe, Professor of Composition at the University of Pittsburgh. Eric has received composition grants from Meet-the-Composer USA, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Barlow Endowment, among others. His music has been characterized as “maximal minimalism” and “of winning exuberance”.





dwaynefultonDwayne Fulton, Minister of Music and Fine Arts at Mt. Ararat. Dwayne is an accomplished pianist, spanning classical, jazz, gospel, rhythm & blues, pop, rap, rock and folk music. He is also the founder and chief executive of Kingdom People Productions, Inc., a company that produces music CDs.





albertodemestresAlberto Garcia Demestres, composer and pianist. Alberto studied composition with Josep Soler, was mentored by Luciano Berio, and has attended courses given by Luigi Nono, Helmut Lachemann, Luis de Pablo, and Guy Revel. His catalogue consists of over a hundred published compositions; seventeen compact discs of his operas, soundtracks, and chamber pieces have been released.




Winter 2012

Music for each Night Caps episode is still being written, but Jonathan already has to start thinking about who will perform in them.  He and Craig Priebe, Director of Opera Theater’s Young Artist Program have been auditioning singers around the country for months.  Now they have to pick who comes to Pittsburgh…but that’s a whole separate story!

Spring 2012

Whew—after an exhausting round of auditions (you’d be tired if you just listened to 288 singers!), Jon and Craig have cast each Night Cap with some of the nation’s best young talent. Composers have turned in their finished scores, with the notable exception of Dwayne Fulton. His Bridal Suite is a gospel-opera, and he plans to teach the singers by rote. Yep, his cast won’t be working from sheet music, they’ll be memorizing everything by repetition.

Summer 2012


And now…the moment we’ve all been waiting for!



Here's an excerpt from Daron Hagen's George Washington Suite (compare this to the very first clip at the top of the page!):