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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
The Filthy Habit
Peter Hilliard
Peter Hilliard (composer, ASCAP) studied voice with John Shirley-Quirk at the Peabody Conservatory, composition with David Conte and Orchestration with Conrad Susa at the San Francisco Conservatory, and received an MFA in Graduate Musical Theatre Writing at NYU. His choral music has been performed all over the U.S. and by the Berlin Cathedral Choir on their tour of the U.S., and he won the Grand Prize in the 2005 Young New Yorkers Chorus Composition Competition. His 'Song for Saint Cecilia's Day' (SSATB) was recently selected for a reading session by Matthew Glandorf and the Philadelphia Choral Arts Society sponsored by the American Composers Forum. Peter has music-directed extensively on both coasts and Off-Broadway. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife Allison, and their children, Elizabeth, Nicholas, and Jonathan.
Matt Boresi
Matt Boresi holds an MFA from the NYU Musical Theatre Writing Program and is currently a Theatre Instructor at North Central College in Naperville, IL. He received the Max Dreyfus Award from the ASCAP foundation and is an Illinois Lincoln Laureate. Boresi was an outreach librettist for City Center/Encores!, a contributing lyricist for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, and his new singing translation of "Quando M'en Vo'" was featured in Bronx Opera's production of La Boheme. Boresi is an acting and writing instructor for the North Central College Musical Theatre Workshop, the Music Institute of Chicago, and has conducted Master Classes and lectures at the Northwestern University School of Music, the Midwest Young Artists Summer Program, Columbia College, and Self-Employment in the Arts. Matt gives his popular speeches on Time and Career Management to artists across the country and coaches audition technique privately in Chicago with his wife, Northwestern University professor Melissa Foster-Boresi.
http://www.thefilthyhabit.blogspot.com/
February 22, 2004
Manhattan Opera Theatre
A comic intermezzo in the spirit of Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, The Filthy Habit updates the story of Wolf-Ferarri's Il Segreto di Susanna for modern times. Set in Manhattan in the summer of 2003, Habit tells the story of a newlywed couple's struggle with Mayor Bloomberg's new smoking ban. The Filthy Habit was first created as a companion to Trouble in Tahiti (1951) by Leonard Bernstein.

Synopsis:
A trio of hip Greenwich Villagers introduce us to Susan, a newlywed and a sneaky smoker. Her new husband Gil, though sweet, is an ardent health nut, and she must hide her smoking from him. However, when Mayor Bloomberg bans smoking from all bars and restaurants, as well as offices and public buildings, Susan brings her habit home, and has a clandestine puff in their apartment as she rants against the fugitive lifestyle of smokers in New York City.

Gil comes home early from the gym, extolling the virtues of clean living. When Susan runs off to the showers to get the smoky smell out of her clothes and hair, Gil's bloodhound nose catches a whiff of her cigarette, and blind to idea that his wife might smoke, he assumes the worst - that she is having an affair with a smoker, who must have just left the apartment. Gil ponders what kind of man might be seeing his wife… perhaps a rebellious youth, a swarthy European, or maybe a cowboy from "Flavor Country"? (Each incarnation is represented by a mute dancer seducing Susan in pantomime.) Gil runs out of the house, hysterical with jealousy and grief.

Finding herself alone, Susan lights up again, and again indulges in her secret affair with nicotine. (also represented by the dancer.) Gil bursts in and finds her smoking, and Susan admits to him that, just as he has his exercise and health regiment to call his own, smoking is the pastime that keeps her at peace with herself. Gil agrees to be less obsessive in his fitness pursuits, if she will phase out her smoking. She agrees, and they race off to the bedroom to do what newlyweds do.

As the trio sings a welcome to their new honest relationship, Susan runs out and hides her last pack of cigarettes where she might retrieve them later.
Susan (Soprano)
Gil (Baritone)
Trio:
Mezzo-Soprano
Tenor
Baritone
00:36
Not Available
2 flutes, 1 Oboe, 1 English Horn, 1 Clarinet, 1 Bass Clarinet, 1 Bassoon, 2 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 1 Trombone, 1 Tuba, 1 Percussionist, 1 Piano, 2 Violins, 1 Viola, 1 cello, 1 contrabass
The Smoking Man (Dancer)
Like its companion piece Trouble in Tahiti, the music of The Filthy Habit is heavily infused with elements of American Jazz and Blues. There is also an element of 1940s noir film scoring that permeates the harmonic language of the piece. The trio sings close harmony reminiscent of the Hi-Los and similar groups from the 1950s. The role of Susan requires a classically trained voice with the diction and acting ability of a musical theatre performer, and the role of Gil is similarly challenging to the singing actor. The Filthy Habit is an audience pleaser that is also musically sophisticated and multi-layered.
Petter Hilliard and Matt Boresi
info@hilliardandboresi.com
http://www.hilliardandboresi.com/

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
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