In Real Life

In Real Life

*NOTE: ticket sales for this performance close at 3PM on the day of the show.*

Opera Memphis is excited to announce performances of In Real Life, a collection of operatic monologues for soprano, baritone, and chamber orchestra by composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote. Performances will be held on Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at the Clark Opera Memphis Center at 8pm. Each performance will feature preshow entertainment in the parking lot and audiences are encouraged to "tailgate" before the show!

In Real Life features twelve characters, all struggling to find love in the digital age. Four singers, each playing three of the characters, explore the humor, heartbreak, and complexity of modern online dating, culminating in an "Extraordinary" face-to-face meeting.


Funny, sad, and full of hope, In Real Life is the perfect way to reconnect to the joy of live performance and the power of the human voice.


"In Real Life came along at the perfect time, when we were looking for pieces that we could perform with the singers socially distanced," said OM General Director Ned Canty. "Every one of these characters is yearning for the sort of 'in real life' connection we all have been missing this past year. I couldn't imagine a more perfect piece to perform as we begin our return to live, indoor productions."

Award-winning composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote, who previously collaborated on a trio of one-act operas entitled Three Way, will join Opera Memphis for this production. 

Performances of In Real Life will feature members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in an intimate chamber ensemble. Opera Memphis favorites Jake Stamatis, Marcus King, and Tracy Thomas will be joined by soprano Tess Altiveros making her company debut. Conductor Steven Osgood (Metropolitan Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company) returns to Memphis where he previously conducted Die Fledermaus, The Rape of Lucretia, Bon Appetit, and Glory Denied. 

Tickets for In Real Life are available for purchase now!

Masks will be required at all times inside the venue, including the duration of the show. Seating is limited and will be assigned based on the date of purchase and the size of the party.


Creative Team

Robert Paterson, composer

Described by the press as “a modern-day master” ( and the “highlight of the program” (The New York Times), Robert Paterson has won numerous awards for his music in virtually every classical genre. The Classical Recording Foundation at Carnegie’s Weill Hall named Paterson Composer of The Year in 2011, and his music has been on the Grammy ballot for the past six seasons. His works have appeared on National Public Radio’s Best of the Year lists for classical music and regularly appear on radio playlists across the United States. Paterson’s music has been performed by over one hundred outstanding ensembles, including Nashville Opera (for the world premiere of Three Way with a libretto by David Cote), Opera Orlando, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, and the Buffalo Philharmonic. Recent commissions include Ghost Theater for the Albany Symphony and the first ever commission for the New York Choral Consortium’s annual “Big Sing” event. Paterson’s awards include the A.I. duPont Composer’s Award from the Delaware Symphony, a three-year Music Alive grant from the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA, and an American Composers Forum commission through the Jerome Composers Commissioning Program. He resides in New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife, Victoria, and son, Dylan, and together he and his wife co-direct Mostly Modern Projects, a non-profit that focuses on performing and recording music by living composers.




David Cote, librettist

Lyricist and librettist David Cote’s other premieres this season include Cocoa Cantata (composed by Robert Paterson), a new version of Bach’s Coffee Cantata, and a micro-opera with Nkeiru Okoye called 600 Square Feet. His operas include Blind Injustice with Scott Davenport Richards (Cincinnati Opera), Three Way with Paterson (Nashville Opera and BAM), The Scarlet Ibis with Stefan Weisman (Prototype and Chicago Opera Theater), and We’ve Got Our Eye on You with Okoye (SUNY New Paltz). Plays include Otherland, the solo drama Saint Joe, and a collection of satirical shorts called Fear of Art. The live recording of Blind Injustice was recently released by Naxos, and In Real Life will be released later this year. Cote also wrote the text for Okoye’s Black Lives Matter piece for baritone and orchestra, Invitation to a Die-In. Choral works with Paterson, Did You Hear? and Snow Day, were sung by Musica Sacra and conducted by Kent Tritle on Eternal Reflections (American Modern Recordings). AMR also recorded and released the cast album of Three Way. Cote was the longest serving theater editor and chief drama critic of Time Out New York. His reporting and reviews appear in 4 Columns, Observer, and American Theatre. He’s the author of popular books about the hit Broadway musicals Wicked, Jersey Boys, and Spring Awakening.





Steven osgood, conductor

Steven Osgood recently completed his fifth season as General and Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Opera Company. During the COVID-19 impacted 2020-2021 season, Mr. Osgood’s original engagements include conducting further performances of Intimate Apparel by Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage, based on her play of the same name, at Lincoln Center Theatre (postponed), and he leads a workshop reading of a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera. Original engagements during Steve’s COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season began with a
collaboration with Rice University, conducting Taking Up Serpents and Proving Up (performed). He joined the Prototype Festival for the world premiere of Blood Moon (performed), and at Lincoln Center Theatre, he conducted the world premiere of Intimate Apparel (show run interrupted and postponed). In recent seasons Steve conducted the world premieres of Breaking the Waves at Opera Philadelphia, JFK at Fort Worth Opera, The Scarlet Ibis, Thumbprint, and Sumeida’s Song for the PROTOTYPE Festival, as well as Missy Mazzoli’s Song From the Uproar with Beth Morrison Projects. He conducted the US stage premiere of Monteverdi’s Orfeo in Ottorino Respighi’s realization for Chautauqua Opera, and he was the 2017 Conductor Mentor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative, conducting the premieres of Adam, Lifeboat, and What Gets Kept. Other notable productions include the critically acclaimed world premiere of Xenakis’s Oresteia at the Miller Theater, Tan Dun’s Marco Polo with De Nederlandse Opera, La traviata and La bohème with Edmonton Opera, Three Decembers at Atlanta Opera, and Dead Man Walking at Lyric Opera of Kansas City.





Meet the Cast 

Tess Altiveros, soprano

Hailed by ​Opera News​ for "a ripe, sensual lyric soprano", Tess Altiveros’s work has been described as a “tour de force" by the Pioneer Press and “particularly soulful” by the L.A. Times. Known for her versatility, recent credits span repertoire from the 17th century to the 21st, including ​The Falling and the Rising​ (Seattle Opera),​ Le Nozze di Figaro​ (Kentucky Opera), ​Die Zauberflote ​(Pacific Symphony), ​West Side Story​ (Boulder Philharmonic & Central City Opera), the West Coast tour of Monteverdi’s ​L’Orfeo ​under Maestro Stephen Stubbs (Pacific MusicWorks), ​St Matthew Passion ​(fully staged with the Colorado Symphony), and the world premiere of Muehleisen’s ​Borders ​at Carnegie Hall. Upcoming engagements include ​L’Elisir d’Amore ​(Seattle Opera), ​The Falling and the Rising ​(Opera on the James), ​Mozart C Minor Mass ​(Seattle Pro Musica), ​Wayward Sisters ​(Pacific MusicWorks), and ​Rodas Recordada (Music of Remembrance).​ A​ native Seattleite, Ms. Altiveros has been a regular anthem singer for the Seattle Mariners for over a decade.







Marcus King, baritone

Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Marcus King has always been musically gifted. In 2013, he made his European debut in Norfolk, England as Demetrius in the Yorke Trust Opera production of Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2014, he rejoined the company as Ubalde in Gluck’s Armide. He has been a young artist for the Utah Festival Opera as well as The Charlottesville Opera, formally known as Ash Lawn Opera. Roles with Opera Memphis have included Mr. Gobineau in The Medium, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Vernon in Blue Viola, Samuel in Pirates of Penzance, Joe Harland in Later the Same Evening, and Erminio in The Triumph of Honor. This 2020/2021 season he will be company artist for Moon River Opera, Savannah GA. He will also join the cast of the Magic Flute as Papageno for The Lighthouse Opera’s 2021/22 season.







Jake Stamatis, baritone

Jake Stamatis, born and raised in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, has performed a variety of roles on the operatic stage. His quick, kind, and loveable demeanor has charmed audiences in such roles as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, Schaunard in La Bohème, and Frosch in Die Fledermaus where he “never sang a note yet stole the third act with his hilarious delivery of lines” (Lee Shephard, the Broome County Arts Council). As an Opera Memphis Handorf Company Artist, Jake appeared as Betto in Gianni Schicchi and Guglielmo in Cosí fan tutte (cancelled due to COVID19) and was a pioneering member of the celebrated Sing2Me program. He received his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Susquehanna University and his master’s degree from Binghamton University.








Tracy Thomas, soprano

Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Voice, University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance (previously at University of North Carolina at Pembroke). More than 20 national and international tours spanning a 43 year career as a singer/actor/musician, most recently Once (Baruska, Production Musical Supervisor, 2019), Chicago (Company Manager, 2020) and The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess/Elsa understudy, int’l), Fiddler on the Roof (Associate Music Director, nat’l); Regional credits: leading/supporting roles in Once, Next To Normal, West Side Story, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Joseph...Dreamcoat, Company, Fiddler on the Roof; Leading opera/oratorio roles in Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Brahms’ Requiem, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Mozart's Mass in C (Lincoln Center debut).





Tickets for In Real Life are available for purchase now!