words by Billy Aronson
music & orchestration by Kitty Brazelton
commissioned and developed by American Opera Projects

July 4th. A park in Anytown, USA. An INTERGALLACTIC TOCQUEVILLE (IT)--
a space creature who looks quite human except for her antennas--
has been sent to figure out why
the inhabitants of this particular part of the globe
send those colored lights into the sky...
July 2002 performance

Outdoor performance of Fireworks July 2, 2002, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn. Produced by American Opera Projects
in association with Fort Greene Park Conservancy and the City of New York, Parks and Recreation.

June 26, 2003, 8pm
Fort Greene Park


  • NERD (baritone)
  • ACTOR (tenor)
  • SINGLE MOM (alto)
  • REBELLIOUS DAUGHTER (mezzo-soprano)


soprano range: Bb below mid-C to Eb above staff (2 1/2 octaves)

description: coloratura soprano with substantive chest, rhythmic and pitch accuracy, wide dynamic range (strong arresting solo to quiet descant backup), stamina, flexible imaginative style & extended technique for occasional effect.

mezzo-soprano range: G below mid-C to A above staff (just over 2 octaves)

description: mezzo-soprano with strong rhythmic and pitch accuracy, pop and jazz styles (scat, swing, hip-hop, current pop female vocalist), good chest, use of head/chest crack in the pop style, not a blended operatic range; should be a feisty, energetic soloist but able to blend chorally when necessary.

contralto range: D below mid-C to F# at top of staff (just over 2 octaves)

description: deep contralto with substantive low chest but sweet high head range which contrasts as in pop or old style rock'n'roll, rhythmic and pitch accuracy, ability to blend chorally.

tenor range: Bb below C (below mid-C) to C# above C above mid-C (2 1/4 octaves)

description: possibly operatic or bel canto tenor but should have the ability to drop into pop style smoothly, rhythmic accuracy, pitch accuracy for part-singing, lots of personality, vocal color and charisma as a soloist.

baritone range: F below C (below mid-C) to Ab above mid-C (2 1/4 octaves)

description: pop/folk baritone in the tradition of wordy American male balladeers such as Bob Dylan, must be rhythmically accurate, pop-style falsetto for effect, rich bluesy (or r&b) baritone for solo, pitch accuracy and ability to blend for part-singing.

bass range: D below C (below mid-C) to F# above mid-C with an optional (soft) lower extension down to Bb 2 octaves below mid-C (2 2/3 octaves)

description: wide-ranging bass capable of virtuosic melismas, rhythmic accuracy and comfortable in Latin pop styles such as merengu‘ and tango, pitch accuracy and ability to blend for part-singing.

July 2, 2002

American Opera Projects

Conducted by Wendy Cavett
Directed by Grethe Barrett Holby
Music by Kitty Brazelton
Libretto by Billy Aronson

a 1-hour presentation outdoors in the park with 6 gorgeous singers and 5 fabulous musicians

The story of a space traveler who discovers why
Americans shoot colored lights into the sky
every Fourth of July

Ann Hoyt (soprano)
Isabel Leonard (mezzo-soprano)
Crystal Williams (alto)
Michael Lee (tenor)
Scott Pattison (baritone)
Ivan Thomas (bass)

Antoine Silverman (violin, electric guitar)
Anja Wood (cello)
Bruce Williamson (clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto & bari sax)
Greg Landes (marimba, vibes, drum kit, congas & more)
Jason DeBord (keyboard)

Stage manager Nate Merchant
Sets & Costumes by Kelly Hanson
sound design by Manu Corazzini
lighting by Randy Glickman

Presented by American Opera Projects & the Family Opera Initiative in cooperation with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Fort Greene Park Conservancy Made possible in part by the New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA) and the Jaffe Family Foundation.

for more info about the opera, call AOP @ 718-398-4024 or goto:


    • clarinet (Bb)
    • bass clarinet
    • alto saxophone
    • baritone saxophone
    • flute
    • maracas
    • violin
    • electric guitar w/ distortion pedal so sound be "clean" or "dirty"
  • CELLO:
    • cello, w/ distortion pedal so sound be "clean" or "dirty"
    • marimba
    • vibes, (mallet kat acceptable)
    • drum kit (2 crashes, ride, hi-hat, snare, 2 rack toms, floor tom, kick drum, cowbell)
    • congas (placed near kick drum)
    • shakers.
    • Also, near marimba:
      • small"ha" crash cymbal by low end of mallet keyboard
      • 2 skinhead drums (which echo conga or bongo timbre) mounted above middle
      • set of cowbells & metal objects by high end of mallet keyboard.
  • SYNTHESIZER KEYBOARD: with ability for quick single-stroke change between patches which should be as follows:
    1. string section
    2. harpsichord
    3. harpsichord w/ string chase (strings have slow attack and sound only when key is held down)
    4. a split keyboard where right hand plays an ocarina or flute sound and left hand plays an electric bass sound -8va.


Near the end of the opera, having observed five earthlings in their personal quests for dates, mates, and art, IT processes the info and draws a conclusion.

  • IT - Ann Hoyt, soprano
  • piano - Steve Osgood, Music Director


listen to piano-vocal excerpt of Scene 19

pdf score

as you follow excerpt from orchestrated score


Earlier, IT observes an ACTOR who has been hired to do the Independence Day play, but is plotting an overthrow of his own.

  • ACTOR - D. Michael Heath, tenor
  • IT - Ann Hoyt, soprano
  • piano - Steve Osgood, Music Director


listen to piano-vocal excerpt of Scene 4

pdf score

as you follow excerpt from orchestrated score


IT listens to the lament of a SINGLE MOM who's proud of her independence, but yearning for a little more union.

  • MOM - Kitty Brazelton, rock alto
  • piano - Steve Osgood, Music Director


listen to piano-vocal excerpt of Scene 10

pdf score

as you follow excerpt from orchestrated score