Austin Opera continues its long-standing commitment to American and English-language opera with Carlisle Floyd’s operatic rendition of John Steinbeck’s iconic novella, Of Mice and Men, foundational support provided by the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation.
Based on John Steinbeck’s novella “Of Mice and Men,” this riveting American opera is a faithful retelling of one of America’s most celebrated works of literature. Carlisle Floyd vividly captures the lives of the characters, the feel of the era, the bunkhouse, the depressed economy, and Lennie’s tragic story.
Stage director Kristine McIntyre, known for her visually stunning and emotionally rich productions, has directed more than 50 operas throughout the United States at The Metropolitan Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Arizona Opera, Dallas Opera, and many others. McIntyre’s “canny ability to meld visual and musical elements” will seamlessly allow Floyd’s score and libretto full voice to clearly communicate the work’s central theme — that personal relationship, however tenuous, is far superior to solitary existence.
Of Mice and Men is an important work of theater, literature, film and, of course, opera. Its plea for compassion and hope is as timely now as when John Steinbeck wrote the novella on which the opera is based. Visit our OF MICE AND MEN – COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS page for a complete list of Austin Opera educational activities surrounding this iconic work in partnership with local cultural organizations including the University of Texas Humanities Institute, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD, Austin Public Library Foundation, and the Paramount Theatre. Each partner event will provide a different perspective on Steinbeck’s classic work, and explore its relevance today.
Of Mice and Men features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.
An Opera in three acts, sung in English with lyrics projected above the stage.
Learn more about the artists, production team, and the synopsis.
By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. publisher and copyright owner.
Watch as Stage Director Kristine McIntyre describes her experience with new American Opera and directing Of Mice & Men. Austin Opera is proud to welcome back Ms. McIntyre to the Long Center stage, where she will no doubt bring Of Mice and Men and it’s rich history to a dramatic and beautiful crescendo.
Lennie Small – Corey Bix*
George Milton – Matthew Burns
Curley – Ryan MacPherson*
Curley’s Wife – Julia Taylor*
Candy – Thomas Hammons
Slim – Andrew Lovato*
Carlson – Brent Turner*
A Ballad Singer – Daniel Shirley*
* Austin Opera debut
Composer: Carlisle Floyd | Libretto: Carlisle Floyd | Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Kristine McIntyre | Chorus Master: Julian Reed | Scenic Designer: Vicki Davis | Costume Designer: Susan Memmott Allred | Lighting Designer: Nicholas Cavallaro
More about our Principal Artists:
Corey Bix, tenor singing Lennie Small- praised for his “clear sense of drama and self-possession, exhibiting sturdy, unwavering control, flinty resonance and confident high notes” Bix makes his Austin Opera debut in this familiar role, as he recently completed Of Mice and Men with the Tulsa Opera. Future engagements include his debut with Virginia Opera as Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, and a return to San Francisco Opera for Augustin Moser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Last season, he sang Sir Edgar Aubry in Der Vampyr with New Orleans Opera, returned to The Glimmerglass Festival for Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos as well as to the role of Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Arizona Opera.
Mr. Bix is the 2008 winner of the Robert Lauch Memorial Grant from the Wagner Society of New York and the 2007 winner of the George London/Kirsten Flagstad Award for a singer with potential for a Wagnerian career as well as the foundation’s prestigious Vienna Prize. Additionally, he has been a prizewinner in both the New England and Southeast regions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is a former member of the apprentice programs of the Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera and earned a Master of Music from New England Conservatory and his Bachelor of Music from Simpson College.
Tulsa Opera, Of Mice and Men – “[Bix] conveys this character’s vulnerability in the way he can send high notes floating, in the bright openness of the duet extolling how he and George will “live off the fat of the land,” in the way he transitions from mournful to panicked in the aria that follows his accidental killing of Curley’s Wife.” -James D. Watts, Jr., Tulsa World
American Symphony Orchestra, Notre Dame – “Corey Bix, whose sturdy tenor immediately took on a correspondingly brighter coloration when Esmeralda appeared, revealed an impressive range — a baritonal strength in his lower register, plus ringing, sweet-spot high notes in the love music.” -Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News
Matthew Burns, bass-baritone singing George Milton- Declared as “having a beautiful bass-baritone voice” by the New York Times, Matthew Burns is a dynamic performer known for his unique portrayals of opera’s most acclaimed bass-baritone roles spanning the repertoire from dramatic roles to buffo roles, and everything in between. Last season, Mr. Burns delighted audiences in the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni. He will also appear as Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Fargo Moorehead Opera, he will perform in Wuthering Heights at Florentine Opera, and sing Rambaldo in La rondine at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In concert, he’ll sing the baritone solo in Händel’s Messiah with Rhode Island Philharmonic and appear in American Opera Projects’ Composers & The Voice series.
Mr. Burns is recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant for Singers from the Shoshana Foundation and a 2006 Richard Gold Career Grant from New York City Opera, presented to an artist whose performance demonstrates great promise in the opera world. He is featured as the bass soloist on a recording of Kirke Mecham’s The King’s Contest with the Commonwealth Singers of Richmond, Virginia.
Utah Opera, Of Mice and Men: “Bass-baritone Matthew Burns gives the opera its moral center with his portrayal of George. He sings with power and assurance from the top to the bottom of his vocal range, and he invests the character with intelligence and integrity while traversing an equally impressive emotional range.” –Catherine Reese Newton, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Le nozze di Figaro, Virginia Opera: “Matthew Burns’ Figaro retains the former barber’s sunny character and adaptable wit, lightening even the heaviest scenes he blunders into…. Better yet, Mr. Burns’ flexible bass-baritone seems to wrap itself deftly around the mood of each scene as he alternates moments of great vocal bravado to mocking bars of falsetto when he’s joking about one of the female character’s latest moves.” –Washington Times
Ryan MacPherson, tenor singing Curley- MacPherson, one of the most highly sought tenors of his generation, is well known for his captivating stage presence, as well as his expertise in modern and contemporary music. His 2014-15 season engagements included a return to Portland Opera as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, singing Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance for Pensacola Opera. He makes his company and role debut as Gérald in Lakmé with Baltimore Opera and Delaware Concert Opera, followed by a return to Colorado’s Central City Opera as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. This year’s concerts include performances with the Delaware Symphony, the Cleveland Pops, and Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra.
Recent highlights include Alfred in his Virginia Opera debut; a return to Long Beach Opera and his Chicago Opera Theater debut as Roderick Usher in their co-production of Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher; his debut in the United Kingdom as Wilhelm in Ambroise Thomas’ Mignon; Alfred (Fledermaus) with Opera Memphis, Alfredo (La Traviata) Opera Santa Barbara and Opera Tampa; Curley in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men in a return to Utah Opera. His contributions to New York City Opera, which include Così fan tutte, Vanessa, Little Women and the world premier of Haroun and the Sea of Stories, were recognized when he received the Richard F. Gold Career Award.
Portland Opera, Turn of the Screw – “Ryan MacPherson’s pure, yearning tenor brings a much-needed sensuality to the role of Peter Quint, and it’s a pleasure to hear. He especially shines on the melismatas in Act I, when he calls out to Miles.” -John Minervini, Willamette Weekly
Pensacola Opera, The Pirates of Penzance – “Ryan MacPherson plays opposite Mabel as Frederick, that ever-so-earnest ‘Slave of Duty.’ He has the tenor voice and frightfully sincere demeanor to more than make this character work. He and [Mabel] shine brightly on the duet ‘Stay, Frederick, Stay’ … I did not want them to stop singing!” –Andy Metzger, Pensacola News Journal
Julia Taylor, soprano singing Curley’s Wife – Taylor, was recognized as Best Singer of 2014 by the Austin Critics’ Table Awards for her role as Mimi in La Femme Boheme™. She will reprise the role of Mimi in an all-female cast with the LOLA Opera Company during the 2015-16 season. In addition, she will perform as soprano soloist with the Miró Quartet in Ginastera’s String Quartet No.3 and as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah in Guatemala City. In addition, she will sing the role of the Beatrice with the University of Texas’ Butler Opera Center in a production of Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers.
Past performance credits include Cinderella in Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Micaela in an adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen with the LOLA Opera Company, Cabaret de Carmen, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflote, Giannetta in Gianni Schicchi, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Josephine in HMS Pinafore.
Ms. Taylor has twice been a regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She holds a BM in vocal performance from Baylor University and an MM in vocal performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“As Mimi, Julia Taylor sang with beautiful tone and expression…”- Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, austin360
“Julia Taylor as waitress Micaela has a gift of a comic look, and played it perfectly. She too had some evocative singing in the most delicate of sections.”- Luke Quinton, austin360
Of Mice and Men is based on John Steinbeck’s tragic tale of two migrant ranch workers in pursuit of a simple dream: to own a small house and farm of their own.
George and his traveling companion Lennie, who has the physique and strength of a giant, a child’s mind, and a love for soft things he can stroke and pet, have constant problems with their employers, as Lennie unknowingly creates difficulties for George and himself. George is frequently exasperated, but forgives Lennie and is sustained by their dream.
Hired by contentious ranch-owner Curley, who is frequently at jealous odds with his wife, George and Lennie are joined in their plans for a home by the old ranch hand Candy, whose savings bring them near their goal. Suddenly, however, they lose all prospects: Curley’s wife invites Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but when he does not stop she begins to scream in terror. Fearing he will get into trouble again, Lennie tries to stifle her screams and unwittingly kills her. George, while placating Lennie with thoughts of their long-held dreams, shoots his friend to save him from a brutal lynching.
For Season Ticket renewals, please contact Patron Services Manager, Dianne Van Hulle, at 512.610.7684.