Rachel J. Peters

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Biography

(She/Her) Composer/librettist Rachel J. Peters writes operas that sound like musicals and musicals that sound like operas.
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Experience

Seattle Opera

2024 - 2024
Seattle, WA

Rootabaga Country

2024 - 2024
Seattle Opera's Youth Opera Project will perform Rootabaga Country in March 2024.
Kansas City, MO

Composer/Librettist

2022 - 2024
Composer/Librettist of Sketchbook for Ollie, the company's first children's opera commission for its Opera Unlocked program. The opera will tour again in January-February 2024.

OPERA America

2022 - 2023
New York, NY

Female Composer Discovery Grant Recipient

2022 - 2023
Awarded for Manor of Speaking with librettist Kevin Thomas Townley, Jr.

On Site Opera

2021 - 2022
New York, NY

Composer/Librettist

2021 - 2022
Writer of Lesson Plan, which premiered on Zoom and later premiered in a live version at the Caramoor Festival.

Opera Kansas

2020 - 2021

Librettist

2020 - 2021
Co-author of Staggerwing with composer Lisa DeSpain. The commission was the winner of the Zepick Modern Opera Competition.
Cleveland, OH

Librettist

2020 - 2022
Co-author of Men I'm Not Married To with composer Lisa DeSpain. Adapted from the short story by Dorothy Parker.

Utah Opera

2018 - 2019
Salt Lake City, UT

Librettist

2018 - 2019
Co-Author of No Ladies in the Lady's Book with composer Lisa DeSpain,, commissioned and premiered by Utah Opera in 2019 . The work was subsequently published by E.C. Schirmer.
Jamaica Plain, MA

Composer/Librettist

2018 - 2018
Composer/Librettist of STEVE, commissioned and premiered in Boston Opera Collaborative's Opera Bites program, Fall 2018.

Fort Worth Opera

2018 - 2019
Fort Worth, TX

Composer/Librettist

2018 - 2019
Composer/librettist of Companionship, featured in excerpt in FWO's Frontiers program in 2018 and premiered by the company in its entirety in 2019.

Sarasota Opera

2016 - 2017
Sarasota, FL

Composer/Librettist

2016 - 2017
Composer/librettist of Rootabaga Country, premiered and commissioned with Sarasota Youth Opera. Commissioning competition winner.

Schedule

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Biography

Rachel J. Peters

Composer/librettist Rachel J. Peters (she/her, b. 1977) writes all manner of works for the stage. Her operas include Lesson Plan (On Site Opera), Companionship (Virginia Arts Festival, Fort Worth Opera), Rootabaga Country (Sarasota Opera), Sketchbook for Ollie (Lyric Opera of Kansas City)The Wild Beast of the Bungalow with Royce Vavrek (Oberlin Conservatory); No Ladies in the Lady’s Book (Utah Opera; published by E.C. Schirmer), Staggerwing (Opera Kansas), and Men I’m Not Married To (Cleveland Opera Theater) with Lisa DeSpain; Steve (Boston Opera Collaborative), Everything Comes to a Head with Margi Preus and Jean Sramek (Lyric Opera of the North/Decameron Opera Coalition), Pie, Pith, and Palette with Marvin J. Carlton (The Atlanta Opera). She has the distinct honor of writing the only opera score containing a barfing cat ever performed (so far, at least) at Caramoor. In progress is Welcome to the Madness (complete with live horse) with Leanna Kirchoff for Opera Steamboat, among many others.

Rachel’s musicals include Only Children with Michael R. Jackson (NYU Tisch, Lincoln Center Directors Lab), Tiny Feats of Cowardice with Susan Bernfield (NYC Fringe Festival), Write Left with John Walch (Playwrights Horizons Theatre School), Tomato Red (UC Irvine), and Octopus Heart (NYU Steinhardt). Her score for Danielle Durchslag’s film musical, Good Shabbos, is currently in development. Scores for plays include the critically acclaimed Stretch (a fantasia) (New Georges) and Tania in the Getaway Van (Flea Theater) by Susan Bernfield, Transatlantic by John Walch (Arkansas Rep), The Bacchae (Asolo Rep Conservatory), and several works by Stan Richardson. 

Her concert mini-monodrama, Ethel Smyth Plays Golf in Limbo, written for Albatross Duo, was performed at Semperoper Dresden and continues to enjoy performances all over the US. Other concert works include If You Can Prove That I Should Set You Free (Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire), Jack's Vocabulary (Hartt SPASM), I Live Here (Galapagos Art Space), Canon I (Two Sides Sounding), And Then (BayPath College), and Fronds: The Wisdom of Fanny Fern (Walt Whitman Project). Rachel’s extensive catalogue of art songs and cabaret songs has been performed at Lincoln Center, Second Stage, National Opera Center, Symphony Space, National Sawdust, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, and cabarets and theatres nationwide. Rachel is a contributor to the new generation of The AIDS Quilt Songbook and to Michael R. Jackson’s Dirty Laundry and Zachary James’s CALL OUT albums.

Rachel has held residencies as composer and/or librettist at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Yaddo, Brush Creek Arts, Millay Arts, and Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat. She has received Anna Sosenko Assist Trust and multiple ASCAPlus awards. OPERA America awarded her a Female Composers Discovery Grant to write Manor of Speaking with Kevin Thomas Townley, Jr., the first wholly original work for Stephanie Blythe’s alter ego, Blythely Oratonio; other such grants were awarded to Sarasota Opera for Rootabaga Country and to Rachel’s collaborator Leanna Kirchoff for their opera Friday After Friday. Rachel is a proud alumna of New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, The American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice, and the John Duffy Institute for New Opera. She holds a double B.A. summa cum laude from Brandeis University and an MFA from New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. She serves on the Opera Committee of the Dramatists Guild and is a member of the inaugural Jewish Composers Working Group under the auspices of The Neighborhood: An Urban Center for Jewish Life.

Rachel originally hails from St. Louis and has settled in Brooklyn, a borough with an exceptionally high concentration of opera composers.

For professional inquiries, contact Mark Orsini at Bret Adams Ltd: morsini@bretadamsltd.net 

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