The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: You can help commission a new cyber-opera for little money

August 8, 2011
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By Jacob Stockinger

A friend and fan of the blog recently wrote me an e-mail I have included below.

The friend and fan is Jerry Hui (below), an extremely talented Madison man, and an award-winning University of Wisconsin School of Music graduate. He composes and conducts; he performs early music as a singer and directs the Early Music group Eliza’s Toyes; he directs and sings contemporary in NEW MUSE (New Music Everywhere); and he teaches (Gregorian chant) at the UW-Madison this fall.

Here is a link to his website with details about the opera:

As you can read below, his latest project is an original comic cyber-opera to be given its world premiere in Madison, Wisconsin. This opera project will also be his dissertation for his Doctor of Music degree at the UW-Madison, and he is financing it through an innovative way via new media — which, coincidentally, is also the subject of the opera. (Don’t you the love the postmodern circulartity of stories within stories!)

Normally we think of opera as a very expensive art form. And normally we also think it takes a lot of money to commission an original work of art. But neither proposition holds true in this case.

So here is the letter with my hope that you,  like I, will contribute something to make this worthwhile project happen—and to ensure the success of this populist way of commissioning art — which also tells you what exactly what you will get in return for your modest donation. So make whatever contribution you can, and help spread the word to make this event happen. Hui is a can-do kind of guy.

Plus, after all: This is locally made original opera — your chance to be a “locovore” of art, theater and music!

Dear Jacob,

Would you be interested in helping me make an original opera come to live, all by local effort?

The story of my comic opera “Wired For Love” is based on true on-line correspondences between a Nigerian scammer and a British “anti-scammer,” each through his own imaginary avatar–which soon, in a sci-fi fashion, gains its consciousness, and decides to break free from its creator’s business of deceit.

Naturally, the two avatars — a white Zimbabwean farmer (the Nigerian‘s avatar) and a female underwear supermodel who has her own exotic snake dance show in Vegas (the British guy’s avatar) — fall in love, and decide to run off together into the cyberspace sunset.

My production project will feature a list of local talents in the cast, the pit orchestra, and videographers. Most people involved — singers and musicians in particular — have already signed on. All we need now is some solid financial support!

I’ve been raising money over Kickstarter since two weeks ago. Here is a link:

On this page, you can read more on the project, and watch a very dorky video in which Jennifer Sams (soprano, below) and I introduced the opera, over some sample music from the work.

So far, we have reached almost 20 percent of the goal, but we have quite some ways to go before September 5, when the pledge drive closes.

If you like the story, want to see the opera happen, and/or want to support a 100 percent local production, it’d be great if you can help financially, or let your friends know!

There are rewards, ranging from MP3 downloads and live performance tickets to stage props and artisan hand-bound score by yours truly.

Feel free to ask me any questions if you are interested in finding out more about the opera, the project or anything else.

Thank you very much in advance for your help!


Jerry Hui


Posted in Classical music

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