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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    School of Music professor shares opera with UA

    As depressing as the current musical climate can be, the good news is that Wildcats can always count on our own School of Music to come through in the clutch — this time with a home grown opera.

    Wednesday night at Crowder Hall, Daniel Asia, a School of Music professor and opera composer, and Paul Pines, the author of the opera’s libretto, gave a talk regarding the completion of their opera The Tin Angel. By Asia’s count, the work has been at least 10 years in the making.

    “Paul Pines and I have known each other for 35 years and my relationship with him has been a wonderful one, personally and creatively,” Asia explained.

    Outside of The Tin Angel, the prolific Asia says he has crafted at least six song cycles inspired by Pines’ poetry. Given their history of collaboration, it was only a matter of time before the two tackled something as prestigious as an opera.

    As Asia explained, “One day I just told Paul that we should write an opera together, and he was immediately interested. It just took off from there.”

    According to Asia, the process of writing the music for the opera was organic from that point onward.

    Described on the opera’s official website as a “murder mystery set in a threshold world of sublime music,” The Tin Angel is unique for its assimilation of several traditions of music. Asia characterizes the sound of The Tin Angel as both “idiomatic” of his composing style and “American,” due to its incorporation of rhythms found in jazz and pop music.

    However, Asia is quick to point out that there is not a lot of jazz in the opera. Rather, it stays true to operatic themes like love and redemption in addition to exploring what Asia calls “the mystery of music.”

    Asia admits that the most challenging part of working on The Tin Angel has been finding someone to produce it.

    “We have had significant bites from various opera companies, but each time it has been very ephemeral,” Asia said. “At first I didn’t want to write it without commission, but as time went on I pieced it together and it turned out very well. Now I have a fully formed opera and no one to produce it.”

    As exciting as it is to have an original opera from the university’s own School of Music, the future of The Tin Angel now rests upon Asia and Pines’ ability to make the opera known, hence their event at Crowder Hall.

    “The plan is just to keep knocking on doors,” Asia said. “The opera world is very different from the instrumental world.”

    For more information on The Tin Angel and Professor Asia, visit

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