Mark Adamo's recent premieres include Little Women, his first opera, which he composed to his own libretto after the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Upon its premiere in March 1998 by the Opera Studio of Houston Grand Opera, General Director David Gockley pronounced it "destined to be an American classic," and scheduled Little Women for a mainstage revival of 10 performances in March 2000 -- making it the first of HGO's twenty-some commissions to be so revived. G. Schirmer published the opera in May 1998; National Public Radio broadcast the recording of the premiere the following September; new productions have since been mounted by the Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City, Central City Opera (Colorado) and the Ash Lawn-Highland Summer Festival (Virginia) and new productions are planned by Glimmerglass Opera and Indiana University in 2002. In addition, Opera Pacific revived the HGO production in May of 2001 and Opera Omaha, Minnesota Opera, and Opera in the Ozarks (Arkansas) all plan production revivals in 2002. The national television premiere of Little Women took place on August 29, 2001 on PBS's Great Performances (a co-production between Houston Grand Opera and Thirteen/WNET New York), and the world premiere recording of the HGO production was released on Ondine on August 28, 2001. At Mr. Gockley's request, Adamo is currently developing two new operas for HGO over the next six seasons.
Adamo's Alcott Portraits, an orchestral revisitation of Little Women, was introduced in March 1999 by Eclipse, the chamber orchestra affiliated with the National Symphony Orchestra, of which he was composer-in-residence. Led by Sylvia Alimena, Eclipse commissioned and premiered in March 1995 Adamo's first extended orchestral work: the 40-minute Late Victorians, for singer, speaker, soloists, and orchestra, which interweaves a memoir by essayist Richard Rodriguez with the poetry of Emily Dickinson to create an AIDS memorial. Jonathan Sheffer and Eos Ensemble introduced two movements of Late Victorians to New York in May of 1996, in a benefit concert at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Sheffer also commissioned and introduced to New York Avow, a miniature (10-minute) chamber opera, on a concert of six such works with Eos Orchestra in April of 1999.
Adamo's recent choral work includes The Poet Speaks of Praising, for men's chorus and piano, commissioned by the GALA V Festival; Pied Beauty, for unaccompanied SATB chorus, commissioned by the Washington Singers; and Three Appalachian Folk Tunes, for soprano and unaccompanied SATB chorus, commissioned by the Congressional Chorus of the United States and recently broadcast by BBC. Kerry Krebill and the Alexandria Choral Society, with guest soprano Sharon Christman, introduced both No. 10/Supreme Virtue, a setting for double SATB choir of verses from the Tao Te Ching, and QWERTYUIOP, a Dadaist comedy on typewriter lessons for SATB choir and mad soprano, in May of 1999. The 1999-2000 season saw new works for Chanticleer and the premiere of Cantate Domino for the Choral Arts Society of Washington.
Mr. Adamo began his education at New York University, where he received the Paulette Goddard Remarque Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate achievement in playwriting. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music Degree cum laude in composition in 1990 from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he was awarded the Theodore Presser prize for outstanding undergraduate achievement in composition. He was recently appointed Composer-in-Residence for the New York City Opera. He has annotated programs for Stagebill, the Freer Gallery of Art, and most recently for BMG Classics; and his criticism and interviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Stagebill,Opera News, the Star-Ledger, and most recently, the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. In his spare time, he also wrote the lyrics to John Corigliano's first cabaret song Dodecaphonia (or, They Call Her Twelve-Tone Rose) which William Bolcom and Joan Morris performed at the New York Festival of Song.
His newest opera Lysistrata will be premiered in March 2005 at the Houston Grand Opera.