New Scenes Workshop

A collaboration with the Cleveland Composers' Guild 

Fynes Hall

Saturday, February 9, 8:00pm, 2019

This continuing collaboration with the Cleveland Composers' Guild 

will present a “New Scenes Workshop" featuring selections and scenes from new operas by four Cleveland Composers' Guild members performed in a reading with piano accompaniment.


Composers will provide insight before the performance and 

audience members will have the opportunity to engage with the performers and the composers in post-performance talk back sessions to discuss the pieces from the workshop performance.

Featuring Scenes from:​

The White Trout: Margi Griebling-Haigh, composer

The Divorce Box: Ryan Charles Ramer, composer

Little White Hen: Jeffrey Quick, composer

The Only Jealousy of Emer: Robert Rollin, composer


Don't miss your opportunity to experience these exciting scenes!

About the Cleveland Composer's Guild 

The Cleveland Composers’ Guild, Northeast Ohio’s New Music Collective, is one of the nation’s oldest new music organizations, and has had over 200 composer members over its fifty-year history. Over the past half-century, the CCG has built an enviable record of supporting new music, with recordings on the CRI, Crystal, Advent, and Capstone labels, and publication series from Ludwig and Galaxy.  There are currently 50 professional composers in the Guild and each concert features a wide range of musical styles. In recent years the Guild has collaborated with the Cleveland Ballet, the Poets and Writer’s League of Greater Cleveland (now called The Lit), the Rocky River Chamber Music Society, and with various local artists to create multi-disciplinary concerts that engage with the arts in a new way. website:

Dean Buck, conductor

Megan Thompson, coordinator

Tatiana Loisha, pianist

Featuring vocal soloists:

Rachel Copeland, soprano

Rachel Glenn, soprano 

Gillian Hollis, soprano

Elizabeth Frey, mezzo-soprano

Brian Skoog, tenor

Dylan Glenn, baritone

The White Trout: Margi Griebling-Haigh       

Gillian Hollis, Soprano

About the Opera:

The White Trout – a legend of Cong [story told by Samuel Lover, as collected by William Butler Yeats] (2012) was commissioned by Peter Gallagher specifically for the 2013 International Society of Bassists Convention at the Eastman School of Music.  I chose to set an Irish folk tale to music in deference to Mr. Gallagher’s heritage, and then began the search for something appropriately short, simple, dramatic, and humorous.  I found that many Irish folk tales are dark, complicated, and somewhat bizarre, lending themselves more to opera (!), perhaps, than to recital-weight chamber compositions, but this little tale appealed to me because of its clearly defined characters, visual imagery, wit, and brevity. Piccolo (usually used in its low range to mimic a penny whistle) and harp were chosen for their Irishness; they make a wonderful foil to the heaviness of the double bass and power of the piano.  The soprano obbligato simply adds to the drama of the whole composition, filled with love-lorn sighing and a single scream.  The sung text, completely devoid of any deep content, is simply a listing of Gælic terms of endearment, such as “darling”, “treasure”, “sweetheart”, “my love”, etc., and is only used to lend an authenticity of sound.  The narration is to be delivered in Irish dialect, exactly as interpreted and written by Yeats in his collections of Irish folk tales.

About the Composer

The music of Margi Griebling-Haigh has been characterized as haunting, charismatic, yearning, wistful, lyrical, colorful, and insoucient! She is concerned with conveying emotions and moods, but firmly believes in the powers of memorable melodies and rhythms and strong formal structure.  Her catalogue includes numerous songs and chamber music compositions, piano solo pieces, orchestral works, opera, and dramatic works.  Ms. Griebling-Haigh has been Composer-in-Residence at the Kent/Blossom Music Festival since 2011. In addition to numerous performances by northeast Ohio’s fine freelance musicians, she has received commissions from Cleveland Orchestra Principal Hornist Richard King, Assistant Principal Bassoonist Barrick Stees, Trumpeter Jack Sutte, and (deceased) Principal Oboist John Mack, and has had her works performed by over 40 current and former members of the orchestra.  Four scenes from her opera The Higgler (2017) have been given concert presentations by the Cleveland Opera Theater. Other commissions have come from four-time Grammy winner Thom Moore, Vandoren USA, organist Karel Paukert, the Schenectady Symphony, the Cleveland and Kulas Foundations, The Cleveland Institute of Music Cello Ensemble, and the Greater Akron Musical Association, among many others.  Upcoming performances include Alegrías for chamber orchestra in a collaborative presentation by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony with Steven C. Smith conducting and Verb Ballets. Her music is published by Jeanné Inc.; Trevco Inc., and her own company, Musicalligraphics.

The Divorce Box: Ryan Charles Ramer
music: Ryan Charles Ramer 
libretto: Ryan Charles Ramer, Christopher Lee Richards, Liz Huff


Diane, Rachel E. Copeland

Valyrie, Elizabeth Frey

Mark, Brian Skoog

Will, Dylan Glenn


About the Opera

There are several reasons how The Divorce Box and its themes are important to the opera scene today. The same-sex relationship gives voice to the contemporary issues of gay marriage—and moreover, gay divorce. This show is an essential step for equal representation in the theater world, and helps to validate the fact that homosexual partnerships face the same triumphs and turmoil as their straight counterparts. It is immeasurably influential for gay men to see aspects of their own life presented on stage with talent, consideration, dignity, and artfulness.


This opera also portrays the modern-day issue of texting as a vehicle of communication. Texts are sung by the sender as they send them, and they appear randomly peppered throughout scenes. This gives a fresh perspective on how characters can be involved in a scene without actually being present in the room.  Caps-lock, emojis, and trendy sayings make this component of the opera funny, appealing to young audiences, and creates an atmosphere of being "woke" and engaged in today's social media society.


Summary: Will and Mark are spending their last night in bed together before ending their 7 year relationship. What appears on the surface to be an amical break-up quickly devolves into a knock-down/drag-out battle over who keeps the Christmas ornaments. As they argue, their female besties are texting them non-stop as they fish for news about how things are going.



Will and Mark get married, and everything is joyous. In the last 10 seconds, though, there is a 7 year lapse of time wherein they become disgusted with each other.


Scene 1 - Besties Texting

Consists of Will and Mark finishing up packing up boxes while Diane and Valyrie barrage them with texts. This sets up Diane as "Team Mark" and Valyrie as "Team Will".  Lights up over a nearly empty bedroom littered with packed boxes. Mark is looking through the boxes and labelling them with a marker. He writes either "Mark" or "Will" on the boxes. Will is sentimentally going through a box of things on the other side of the room. Their cell phones sit on downstage on one of the boxes.


Scenes 2 - 4 - Christmas Ornaments – Fight – Family

Finds Mark and Will fighting as per usual. They start by arguing over who keeps the Christmas ornaments, and they quickly devolve into petty bickering.


Scene 5 - We Are But Dust

Is an aria about the end of their relationship, and hints at shared memories of Will spending time with Mark and his family for Christmas times and vacations.

Scene 6 - If We Were Dead

Ends the texting portion of the show as Mark and Will go to bed and let Diane and Valyrie know that they are putting their phones on silent for the night.


Scene 7 - Upon the Non-Happening of an Anniversary

Mark waits for Will to fall asleep and carefully crawls out of bed. He arranges Will's boxes in a row, writes a message on the boxes, and then sneaks out of the room with the box of Christmas ornaments. Will wakes up confronted with his worst nightmare-- an empty bed, and an indentation in his ex-husband's pillow as a reminder of what has come to pass.



Will gets out of bed and notices Mark wrote "HAPPY DIVORCE" in large letters, spanning several boxes.  WILL walks over to a very large, empty box for a Xerox machine labelled "WEDDING STUFF."  He steps in and curls up inside.


About the Composer

Ryan Charles Ramer is a Cleveland-based composer, playwright, director, producer, and private teacher.  He studied music composition at Eastern Michigan University, Baldwin Wallace College, and privately with Emmy Award winning composer, David Gooding.  Ramer's works have been premiered by the NY Treble Singers, The Cleveland Guitarist’s Guild, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society, and the distinguished Almeda Trio.  His work has also been featured at the International Music Festival at Kearney, NE, at the Musique en Ecrins in Vallouise, France, and at the Hannah Theater in Cleveland's Playhouse Square.  Recordings of his compositions have received radio play on WCLV's program of new music, 'Ideastream'.  He is currently working on publishing a large volume of his piano works in Braille, funded by a generous grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

The Only Jealousy of Emer: Robert Rollin

Dylan Glenn, baritone


About the Opera

The piece was composed for Cornell University Theater which gave it

several performances.  It is based on William Butler Yeats’ “The Only Jealousy of Emer.” which draws from the story of Cú Chulainn in Irish Mythology.

Dylan Glenn, baritone


Cú Chulainn, a warrior from Irish mythology who served under the rule of King Conchubar, mistakes his son and slays him and is then overwhelmed by guilt.  When informed of the truth, Cú Chulainn, mad with despair, runs out to fight the sea. In the portion of the mythology titled "The Only Jealousy of Emer," Cú Chulainn is thrown up out of the sea as an image of his own self.  Emer, Cú Chulainn’s wife, saves him from Fand, wife of Manannán mac Lir, the king of the great sea, and the power of the sea by renouncing forever any claim or hope for Cú Chulainn’s love.  Though Cú Chulainn had many lovers, Emer's only jealousy came when he was entranced into love with Fand.  Emer decided to kill her rival, but when she saw the strength of Fand's love for Cú Chulainn she decided to give him up to her. Fand, touched by Emer's magnanimity, decided to return to her own husband. Manannán shook his cloak between Cú Chulainn and Fand, ensuring the two would never meet again, and Cú Chulainn and Emer drank a potion to wipe the whole affair from their memories.


About the Composer

In addition to being Professor Emeritus of Music and former Chair of Composition at the Dana School of Music, Youngstown State, Robert Rollin has lectured as a guest composer at universities and festivals in the United States, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico, France, and Canada, Scotland, and at The New Zealand National Young Composers Workshop.  Rollin received his education from the Juilliard School of Music, City College of New York, Cornell University, and the Musikhochschule Hambourg, studying under Mark Brunswick, Ravi Shankar, Robert Palmer, Karel Husa, Elliot Carter, and György Ligeti.  He has been recognized with ASCAP awards consecutively for over three decades, and has held many important awards, post-doctoral fellowships, and grants, including the Ohio Governor’s Award for Creative Excellence.  Rollin’s works are published and commercially recorded, have been performed/broadcast on six continents, and have been used as required jury pieces in U.S.A., France, and South Africa.  His publishers include Subito Press/Seesaw Music Corporation, Acoma/Nambe Editions, E.C. Schirmer, and Bourne Music Publishers.  He has served as Associate Editor of Ex tempore, a theoretical journal, and has authored numerous articles for international journals.  An active pianist, he is founder and coordinator of the New Music Guild, Inc. Festival, and conductor of the Festival Chamber Orchestra, a professional group.  Rollin’s premieres and guest residencies have taken him to New York, Cleveland, Quebec City, Zurich, Guadalajara, Aberdeen, Kiev, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Grahamstown (South Africa).

The Little White Hen: Jeffery Quick

Little White Hen, Rachel Glenn

Pig, Elizabeth Frey


About the Opera

The Little White Hen – a tragicomic fable-opera in one act for children and childlike adults.                                      



The story is the familiar children’s tale of the hen who bakes bread, adapted to correspond to reality in a modern social democracy. The Hen awakens from a dream of animals growing grain, becoming self-sufficient, and baking bread (aria: “I had such a lovely dream”). She immediately seeks to make it a reality. She encounters the Donkey, singing about how hard his life is. (aria: “A donkey’s life is a hard life.”) He refuses to help her.  After trying to push a plow herself, she walks away and encounters the Rooster, whom she is immediately romantically attracted to. He sings about how wonderful he is (aria: “Ki-kiri-ki! Look at me!). The Hen asks for his help; he rejects her request on the grounds that bread is an unnatural and unhealthy diet for fowl (aria: “No, no! Unnatural!”).  She plants a small plot of wheat herself, then asks for help in harvesting it. The two animals refuse. She begins to harvest the wheat; a storm threatens, and she loses some. She threshes and grinds the grain and decides to invite the other two animals to bake bread. They refuse, the Rooster in a way that makes it clear to the Hen that she has no prospects with him. 

As she sits sadly, the Pig enters and proclaims that the reason she got no help is that “boys are all selfish”. She sings a paean to female separatism (aria: “Woman be wise!”), almost convincing the Hen. But then she too refuses to help. The Hen renounces romance and animal aid, (aria: “No one sees my dream”) then bakes the bread.  The other animals smell the cooling bread, and choose the Rooster to be their agent to wheedle some bread from the Hen, who refuses. They sing (trio: “We need to feed”) to convince her to share. When this doesn’t work, the Rooster leads them in an assault on her coop.  While they help themselves to the bread, the Hen raves at them (aria: “Stealing isn’t sharing”). When they have eaten the bread, the Donkey opines that what would taste good right now is a comforting bowl of chicken soup. They chase the Hen offstage, and the piano describes the Hen’s demise in onomatopoeic fashion.


About the Composer

Jeffrey Quick was born in Cass City, Michigan in 1956, and began composing at age 11. He received a Bachelor’s degree in music history in 1978 from the University of Michigan, where he studied composition with William Bolcom and Leslie Bassett, and a Master of Music degree in composition from Cleveland State University in 1991, where he studied with Bain Murray, Rudolph Bubalo and Edwin London. His works are print-published by Hoyt Editions, the American Recorder Society,  Lorenz, and CanticaNOVA. Chamber works can be downloaded from and choral works are available at He is assistant music librarian at Case Western Reserve University, and is a member and past chairman of the Cleveland Composers Guild. He has been a paid church chorister for about twenty-five years, and currently directs the Gregorian Schola at St. Sebastian Parish in Akron.  A resident of Northeast Ohio since 1986, he lives in a small town on six acres with his wife Rusty and assorted livestock.  Further information on his works can be found at

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