Hoiby: Two One-Act Operas

Kathryn Cowdrick (mezzo-soprano), Kate Hannigan (soprano), Jordan Wilson (baritone), Julia Cramer (soprano), Lauren Iezzi (soprano), Joey Wilgenbusch (tenor), Brent Arnold (vocals), Eastman Opera Theatre Orchestra, Benton Hess (conductor)

Catalog #: TROY1028
Release Date: May 1, 2008
Format: Digital

Two one-act operas by the incomparable Lee Hoiby: Bon Appétit! was written for Jean Stapleton in her late career with music draped over the words and gestures of Julia Child, the mother-of-all foodies. This is the Rill Speaking, with libretto by Mark Shulgasser, is based on a seminal early work by playwright Lanford Wilson, first produced in 1965. It is of the genre of plotless, multivocal evocations of the 20th century small town. Into this theme Wilson introduced that of the birth of the writer, and his short play observes the seed of creativity. Hoiby's musical setting is water to that seed, bringing forth new branches, leaves and berries.


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Track Listing

Title Composer Performer
Bon Appétit! Lee Hoiby Kathryn Cowdrick, Eastman Opera Theatre, Benton Hess, conductor
This Is the Rill Speaking Lee Hoiby Julia Cramer, Jordan Wilson, Kate Hannigan, Brent Arnold, Lauren Iezzi, Joey Wilgenbusch, Eastman Opera Theatre, Benton Hess, conductor


  • "Lee Hoiby is a master of text setting for clarity and meaning....[His] music is wonderfully evocative and set with his usually fine craftsmanship."

    – American Record Guide

  • Like [Julia] Child's whipped egg whites, Bon Appetit! may be light and frothy, but it's the result of a master's sure touch...Hoiby's writing for voice and orchestra moves with surprising ease between urban swagger and country languor."

    – Opera News

  • "It's encouraging to see how young American vocalists instinctively understand the drama in musical theater nowadays, a legacy from our popular musicals that is working its way into operatic practice. And of course, this is also a tribute to the composer's writing for the voice. Bravo to all."

    – Fanfare

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