Check out the "updates" tab for behind-the-scenes videos and other goodies. We'll keep adding more as the campaign progresses!
WE DID IT!
"Once I Was" has well exceeded its funding goal! Thank you so much to everyone who donated and spread the word. We raised over $6800, including offline donations. Thanks to all your help, this CD will be incredible!
Every penny raised above our $5000 goal will be used for:
- CD upgrades - color booklet and other extras
- A music video (see Nicole Cabell's "Kid in the Park" video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW0ATcBtAeE for an example)
- More live performances of "Once I Was"!
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT?
I'm Stacey Tappan, and I've been a professional operatic soprano since 2000. You can hear me on the CD and DVD of Houston Grand Opera's Little Women and on the DVD of Los Angeles Opera's The Birds, and I've sung at opera houses all over the world, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco, Glyndebourne, Lille, Dijon, and Bangkok.
I'm raising funds to record and and release my debut solo album, a studio-recorded CD of the songs from my theatrical concert "Once I Was."
"Once I Was" is a compilation of songs written by my favorite composer, Ricky Ian Gordon. I arranged and staged these songs to tell the life story of a girl, growing to womanhood, who finds meaning and solace through music. Ricky himself played piano in the concert and on the recording.
This project is a labor of love for both Ricky and me: a celebration of the beautiful emotion of his songs, and a demonstration of our shared belief that singing is also storytelling.
Be a part of this very special and meaningful project and help fund my first solo recording!
Support me and deduct it from your taxes! See below for more information.
THE STORY BEHIND "ONCE I WAS"
Years ago, when I was in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's young artist program, I met the composer Ricky Ian Gordon during rehearsals of our workshop production of his opera, Morning Star.
One day, between rehearsals, we got together in a practice room and read through some of his songs.
It was magical.
Both Ricky and I were struck by how those songs fit my voice as if they had been written for me. I fell in love with their sincere vulnerability and Ricky's expressive playing. We both agreed we had to perform them together someday.
Years later, I asked him to play a recital of his songs with me, and he generously agreed. For this project I created "Once I Was," arranging his songs to tell a story about growth, love, death, and moving on, and how music helps us through it all.
These songs were so vibrant and emotional, and the story was so compelling, I didn't want to perform a static, traditional recital where the singer stands still in the crook of the piano. So I staged it with director Amy Hutchison, using simple props and costume pieces, to create a theatrical evening of music. We first performed "Once I Was" in 2011 at the Chicago Cultural Center, with clarinetist Patrick Rehker.
"The collaboration of Stacey Tappan and Ricky Ian Gordon in Once I Was produced one of the most outstanding musical events of the Chicago season. Technically masterful and exquisitely expressive, the duo's artistry memorably illuminated some of the finest American art songs of recent years. This program eminently deserves to be heard in major venues nationwide and to be preserved on disc."
- Roger Pines, dramaturg, Lyric Opera of Chicago
The recording will preserve this very special collaboration, make it available to a wider audience, and help us promote the recital for future performances across the country.
Some of the songs in this show have never been recorded before and some have brand new arrangements. Complete texts of the songs, which include poems by E. E. Cummings, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes, and Ricky himself, will be included in the liner notes.
The recording was made March 23-24, 2012, at Blue Griffin studios in Lansing, Michigan, with Caroline Hartig as our guest clarinetist, and is currently being edited.
WHO ARE WE?
Soprano Stacey Tappan has been drawn to dramatically exciting modern works since her professional debut with Houston Grand Opera as Beth in Adamo's Little Women, later released on CD and DVD. Her other successes in contemporary music include Esa-Pekka Salonen's Wing on Wing (Los Angeles Philharmonic); the Thai opera Madana (world premiere, Bangkok); Leone's The Leader (Chicago's Goodman Theatre); Britten's Albert Herring, Krenek's Secret Kingdom, and Braunfels' The Birds (Los Angeles Opera); and LaChiusa's Lovers and Friends and Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage (Lyric Opera of Chicago). She has also won acclaim onstage in musicals and operettas such as The Pirates of Penzance (Michigan Opera Theater), Kiss Me Kate and The Merry Widow (Light Opera Works in Evanston), and Die Fledermaus (Glyndebourne Festival Opera). Other operatic credits include Ring cycles in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; Rigoletto in Lille and Dijon; and Falstaff in Chicago.
Composer/Pianist Ricky Ian Gordon's music was described in The New York Times as "bursting effervescence infusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high-end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim... It's caviar for a world gorging on pizza." His compositions include the operas Rappahannock County, The Grapes of Wrath, and Tibetan Book of the Dead; dramatic song cycles Only Heaven, Orpheus and Euridice, Green Sneakers and Autumn Valentine; musicals My Life with Albertine, Dream True, and Sycamore Trees; and song recordings "Bright Eyed Joy," "and flowers pick themselves," "A Horse with Wings," and "Bric-A-Brac." Among Gordon's current composition projects are an opera commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera; the opera The Garden of the Finzi-Continis; and a sung monologue, "Night Flight To San Francisco," for soprano Renée Fleming, using Harper's final monologue from Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize winning play, "Angels In America."
THE STORY OF "ONCE I WAS"
The show opens with a little girl entering through the audience, playing with a red balloon ("I am Cherry Alive"). She sings about her rivalry with her sister and her joy in playing by herself ("The Special Picnic" "Afternoon on a Hill"), and as she grows into adolescence, she looks forward to the day when how she looks won't be so important - it will simply be enough that she can sing ("My Sister's New Red Hat"). On the brink of adulthood, she feels the need to leave the home she has outgrown ("Wild Swans").
She falls in love for the first time ("Joy"), but the man she loves abandons her ("Run Away"), and in a trio of Dorothy Parker songs ("Threnody", "The Satin Dress", "The Red Dress") she must heal her broken heart and find a way back to herself again.
She meets the love of her life, represented by the clarinet ("Recuerdo", "Song") and sings the praises of love in its everyday simplicity ("Ordinary Guy").
In the second half comes the growing realization that things will not always stay as they are ("Poem (Lana Turner Has Collapsed)", "The More Loving One", "Otherwise") and she faces the illness and death of her beloved ("We Will Always Walk Together", "Old-Fashioned Song"). She is overwhelmed by her grief, but gradually comes to peace with living and keeping his memory alive ("What The Living Do").
Her story complete, the singer steps out of character and reflects on how singing has helped her through her life ("Once I Was"). Finally she invites the audience to join her in returning to her childhood joy ("who knows if the moon's a balloon").
In an encore, the singer offers to safeguard the audience's dreams ("Poor Girl's Ruination/Dream Keeper").
The clarinet, whose part was composed especially for this show, represents the man the singer falls in love with, whose death she experiences during the course of the story. His "voice" returns again at the end, to lead her back towards finding meaning in the music that has helped her through her entire life.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
Our $5000 goal will cover the costs of recording, mixing and editing, printing, promotion, and distribution costs for a 300-CD run, travel expenses to the recording session, the fee for the clarinetist, and the 6% Fractured Atlas fiscal sponsorship fee. Ricky has graciously and generously donated his time and skills for this recording.
Any money we raise above our goal will go towards extras in CD production (full-color booklets, more CDs), promoting this recital for future live performances, making a music video of one of the songs from the album, and rewarding Amy Hutchison for her generous donation of time and energy in directing, promoting, and helping us find the heart of this show.
WANT TO SEE WHERE THE MONEY GOES?
$90 will pay for an hour of studio time or mixing/editing time. We're aiming at 12 hours max of studio time and 10 hours max of mixing, editing, and mastering.
$300 will pay for our clarinetist, or travel for Stacey or Ricky.
$360 will pay for our video above.
$1423 will cover the entire cost of printing, and distribution of 300 CDs with a 12-page booklet, including shipping and tax.
$354 above our goal will pay for a full-color 12 page booklet for 300 CDs, instead of black and white printing on the inside.
HOW DOES FRACTURED ATLAS FISCAL SPONSORSHIP WORK?
"Once I Was" is fiscally sponsored through Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. All donations on this IndieGoGo campaign are paid to Fractured Atlas and kept in a restricted fund for this project, and are then paid out for project related expenses. This allows you to make tax-deductible donations. Read more about Fractured Atlas' fiscal sponsorship program here.
IS MY DONATION TAX-DEDUCTIBLE?
Any donations above the value of the perks you receive in exchange for your contribution (CDs, posters, etc.) are tax-deductible. If you don't want any perks, your entire donation is tax-deductible. After you make your donation, you will receive a tax receipt.
The donation amounts listed for each perk are the minimum donation amount. You can always donate more for a particular perk to get the extra tax deduction.
SO TELL ME ABOUT THESE PERKS!
All donations, no matter what size, are helpful and deeply appreciated, and every donor will be thanked with a personal note.
DOWNLOAD: Some of you prefer your music in intangible form. I'll send you a link and a password to download the album.
CD: It's what we're all here for, after all. A brand spanking new copy, shipped to you.
POSTERS: An 11x17 print of the concert poster on high-quality glossy cardstock, art by Duncan Hannah.
THANKS ON THE CD! All donors who give $75 or more will be thanked by name as sponsors in the CD booklet.
LESSONS: A special private voice lesson with me. Learn breath support, easy production of sound, and effective interpretation, applicable to any style of singing, either in person (in the Chicago area) or via Skype. Or just spend an hour gossiping about Placido Domingo. Additional lessons can be added on for $100 per lesson minimum donation. A great gift! Check out my teaching website.
SINGING TELEGRAM: Want to wish someone a happy birthday, wedding, anniversary, or just send a special message with the sort of emotion only an opera singer can deliver? I will visit them in person (in the Chicago area), by phone, or on Skype, to sing a special a cappella musical message, to be decided with you.
CONCERT: A 45-minute house concert, program to be decided with you, sung by me with an accompanist at your home. (Piano required, Chicago area or area near where I'm performing only, or elsewhere with added travel/accomodation cost)
"ONCE I WAS" COMPLETE SHOW IN YOUR HOME! Be our angel by funding the entire recording, and Ricky has generously agreed to perform "Once I Was" with me as a private concert for you and your friends, in your own (piano-equipped) home, at a time to be arranged. (above contribution plus travel and accommodation cost).
HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?
Spread the word and keep spreading it! This is a huge thing you can do to help. The more people who donate, even a little, the better! Pass on the link to this site and tell your friends about the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media takes your fancy.
If you have a craft or skill, you can donate an object or service that I can offer as a perk in my campaign, to encourage donations. (Objects may be tax-deductible, services are not. Contact me to discuss it.)
If you have experience in graphic design, press releases, fundraising, or music publication and distribution, you can also offer advice or help. These donations are not tax-deductible, but very helpful! Other useful donations: housing and frequent flier miles for traveling to house concerts, rehearsal space. These donations are not tax-deductible, but very helpful! If you have an idea for something you'd like to offer the campaign, contact me to discuss it.
Feel free to write me at email@example.com with any questions, and thank you for your interest and support!
Producer and soprano