I Give You My Home

A Chamber Opera by Beth Wiemann

Beth Wiemann composer

Guerilla Opera

Release Date: March 10, 2023
Catalog #: NV6513
Format: Digital
21st Century
Opera
Percussion
Saxophone
Voice

I GIVE YOU MY HOME is a site-specific chamber opera inspired by Rose Standish Nichols and the Nichols House Museum in Boston MA that premiered June 3, 2022. This elegant new opera paints a portrait of Rose, a professional Bostonian woman, and highlights her professional work as a landscape architect as well as her efforts to affect change through activism in the Women’s Peace Movement and Women’s Suffrage. Soprano Aliana de la Guardia portrays Rose in this opera, and is joined by saxophonist Philipp A. Stäudlin and percussionist Mike Williams.

Listen

Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Scene 1 Beth Wiemann Guerilla Opera | Aliana de la Guardia, soprano; Philipp A. Stäudlin, saxophone; Mike Williams, percussion 5:09
02 Scene 2 Beth Wiemann Guerilla Opera | Aliana de la Guardia, soprano; Philipp A. Stäudlin, saxophone; Mike Williams, percussion 4:35
03 Scene 3 Beth Wiemann Guerilla Opera | Aliana de la Guardia, soprano; Philipp A. Stäudlin, saxophone; Mike Williams, percussion 7:31
04 Scene 4 Beth Wiemann Guerilla Opera | Aliana de la Guardia, soprano; Philipp A. Stäudlin, saxophone; Mike Williams, percussion 4:54
05 Scene 5 Beth Wiemann Guerilla Opera | Aliana de la Guardia, soprano; Philipp A. Stäudlin, saxophone; Mike Williams, percussion 9:47
06 Scene 6 Beth Wiemann Guerilla Opera | Aliana de la Guardia, soprano; Philipp A. Stäudlin, saxophone; Mike Williams, percussion 3:42

Recorded March 4 & 5, 2022 at the University of Maine in Orono ME
Recording Producers Beth Wiemann, Aliana de la Guardia, Mike Williams
Recording Session Engineer, Editing, and Mixing Joel Gordon

Cover Photograph Jeffrey Means

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Danielle Sullivan

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland

Artist Information

Guerilla Opera

Ensemble

Guerilla Opera is one of Boston’s most exciting young companies creating brave new works. Founded in 2007, the ensemble has accumulated a repertoire of 40 new works, which continues to grow, by the most exciting composers of our generation. In daring performances, they have garnered a national reputation for innovative contemporary opera, with the Boston Globe raving that “radical exploration remains the cornerstone of everything it does.”

Aliana de la Guardia

Soprano

The Arts Fuse lauds de la Guardia’s sound as “lovely, natural” and “as clear and powerful as grain alcohol.” As an active soprano vocalist, Aliana de la Guardia has garnered acclaim for her “dazzling flights of virtuosity” (Gramophone) in “vocally fearless” performances that are “fizzing with theatrical commitment” (The Boston Globe). A graduate of the Boston Conservatory and consummate interpreter of new classical concert repertoire, she has enjoyed collaborations with many ensembles featuring today’s most eminent composers including “Scenes from a Novel” and “Kafka Fragments” with violinist Gabriela Diaz by György Kurtág, “Aspen Suite” by Salvatore Sciarrino,“Nenia: the Death of Orpheus” by Harrison Birtwistle conducted by Jeffery Means, and the world premiere of “Earth Songs” by Ronald Perrera with New England Philharmonic, among others.

Beth Wiemann

Beth Wiemann

Composer

Beth Wiemann was raised in Burlington VT, studied composition and clarinet at Oberlin College and received her Ph.D. in composition from Princeton University. Her works have been performed nationally and internationally by the ensembles Continuum, Transient Canvas, Earplay, Guerilla Opera, and others.  Her compositions have won awards from the Orvis Foundation, Copland House, the Colorado New Music Festival, New York Treble Singers, and regional arts councils. She teaches clarinet, composition, and music theory at the University of Maine. 

Mike Williams

ensemble director, percussion

Hailed by The Boston Globe as “one of the city’s best percussionists,” Mike Williams has performed throughout North America and Europe and is a regular performer in Boston. An advocate for contemporary music, he is a founding member of Guerilla Opera and served as its artistic director for 11 seasons. Williams has worked with many of the leading composers of our time including Pierluigi Billone, Philippe Leroux, Salvatore Sciarrino, Gunther Schuller, Roger Reynolds and Michael Finnissy, and he has been involved in numerous recordings on labels such as Cantaloupe, BMOP/sound, Albany, and Northwest Classics. He was a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center and has performed at festivals including the Festival de Mexico, Gaudeamus Music Week, Festival Internacional Cervantino, Monadnock Music, New Hampshire Music Festival, and SICPP at New England Conservatory. Williams studied at Boston Conservatory, winning top prize in the concerto competition, and the Amsterdam Conservatory during which time he regularly performed with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra under Peter Eötvös. Williams is on the music theory faculty at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Philipp A. Stäudlin

saxophone

Philipp Stäudlin is an award-winning virtuoso saxophonist who has performed hundreds of concerts throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. His characteristic tonal qualities, deep sense of phrasing, and superb technical skills make him one of the most unique voices in today’s classical saxophone world.

A native of Friedrichshafen, Germany, Stäudlin has appeared as a soloist with the Sinfonieorchester Basel, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), Sound Icon ensemble, White Rabbit Ensemble (former ensemble-in-residence at Harvard University), NiederrheinischeSinfoniker, Callithumpian Consort, BielefelderPhilharmoniker, Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Tufts University Orchestra, Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the Providence Singers. He has also performed with the Harvard Group for New Music, EQ ensemble, ECCE ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Steamboat Switzerland, Dinosaur Annex, Ensemble White Rabbit, Ludovico Ensemble, IGNM Basel, Alea III, Back Bay Chorale, and many others.

A graduate of Musikhochschule Basel, Stäudlin received a Soloist Diploma, having studied with Marcus Weiss and Iwan Roth. He was awarded a full scholarship two years in a row from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to study with Kenneth Radnofsky at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, where he received an Artist Diploma as well as the Victor Rosenbaum Medal.

Notes

Scene 1
Rose welcomes guests to her Sunday salon and prepares to make a special announcement as she describes the house and the art within it for new guests.

Scene 2
Rose recalls her childhood in boarding schools in both New England and Paris, France, and her formative education.

Scene 3
Rose reflects on her artistic journey. Inspired by her “Uncle Gus” (Augustus Saint-Gaudens), she explores the artistic outlets that led her to landscape design.

Scene 4
Rose muses on the importance of symmetry and order in landscape design, and how these qualities act as a metaphor for designing a life.

Scene 5
Rose recalls her years of work advocating for Women’s Suffrage, for peace during the first and second World Wars, as well as women’s roles in those wars.

Scene 6
Rose makes her special announcement to her guests: she will make her house a museum that is open to people always.

I first went to the Nichols House Museum about 5 years ago mainly out of curiosity, as it wasn’t a familiar pretend-you’re-a-tourist place in Boston for me. Having taken the museum tour, and then followed up with reading about Rose Standish Nichols online, I became convinced that her story would make a good monodrama, particularly if it could be set in her actual home on Beacon Hill. The fact that Guerilla Opera also saw this possibility gave me the amazing opportunity to write the work you’ll hear in this recording.

One of the things that impressed me about Rose Nichols is that, despite being hemmed in by expectations coming from living during a very specific historical period, she went after things with great passion and intent – which made writing music for her a lot of fun. She was someone that wanted to experience the whole world, while also having the chance to have her own spotlight in her home, her family, and in her weekly salons. I think she was a big character, with staying power.

Writing for Guerilla Opera’s core group, musicians that have worked together for a long time in many out-of-the-ordinary situations, was a joy. I believe that workshopping the piece over several years during the pandemic strengthened the portrayal of Rose exponentially. The premiere production at the Nichols Museum gave this intimate piece a great send-off into the world, and now this recording continues the journey. I’d like to thank Linda Marshall, Barbara Callahan, and Laura Cunningham of the Nichols House Museum for their help with finding writings about Rose along with her family letters. I especially want to thank Aliana de la Guardia for taking this piece on for Guerilla Opera and for herself.

— Beth Wiemann

Rarely in opera do we have an opportunity to highlight the efforts and passions of a true-life, local woman from Boston. Any woman can relate to Rose’s struggles. The story of her successes and failures is compelling in profoundly personal ways and inspires questions about the definition of success in society then and now.

When we immerse audiences in new works of whatever medium, it is with the intention that powerful art should cultivate empathy, especially when telling compelling stories of the unsung. This opera does not simply tell the story of this overlooked local figure, it re-imagines and uplifts her story with the otherworldly drama of opera theater. Audiences loved the intimacy of the live site-specific production and felt empathy and connection to Rose’s life and the hurdles she had to face. The film takes the story to another level through magical realism and the cinematic landscapes of New England. This studio album inspires the imagination and transports you to a lush green land of apple trees, peonies, roses, dalias, symmetry, and activism with intimacy and heart.

— Aliana de la Guardia

The development and recording of I Give You My Home were supported by a Live Arts Boston grant award from The Boston Foundation and their partners the Barr Foundation and Dunamis Boston, a CIP Projects grant award from Mass Cultural Council, and the University of Maine, Orono, with further assistance from our partners at the Nichols House Museum and from the The Switchboard artist residency program in Haverhill MA.