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Feb. 26: Carnegie Mellon Music Faculty Member Efraín Amaya Celebrates CD Release of Two Chamber Operas


Kristi Ries                          

Eric Sloss

Carnegie Mellon Music Faculty Member Efraín Amaya
Celebrates CD Release of Two Chamber Operas

CDPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's School of Music Artist Lecturer Efraín Amaya will celebrate his recently released CD of two chamber operas, "Phantasmagorilla? No! Phantasmagoria" and "Clepsydra," from 4 to 8 p.m., Sunday March 1 at Borders East Side, 5986 Penn Circle South.
The event includes a CD signing and special performances by operatic singers Jeanne Wentworth and Douglas Ahlstedt, associate professor of voice at Carnegie Mellon, as well as members of the Point Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble founded and directed by Amaya.
The CD features recordings of the world premieres of Amaya's two recent operas. "Phantasmagorilla? No! Phantasmagoria" is a children's opera with Latin American flare and a twist of hip-hop and reggae. Amaya's wife and artist, Susana Amundaraín, wrote the opera's libretto, the words paired with music to bring the story to life. The opera tells the story of Bernard, a boy who with his mother, father and sister, attends an opera titled "The Ghosts of the Opera." When the boy, bored by the performance, drifts into a nap he dreams of strange and wondrous things intimately submerged in the music that plays while he sleeps. Amaya's son, Amadis, plays the role of Bernard.
"These two operas were truly family affairs. I've been very lucky that I have found a great collaborator in my wife as a librettist and set designer," Amaya said. "I also never expected that my son would end up singing in one of them." Adding to the family production, Amaya's stepdaughter also worked on the video installation component of the "Clepsydra" performance.
Amundaraín describes "Clepsydra: An Operatic Installation with 13 Performers," who she co-wrote with poet Carol Ciavonne, as an "exploration of time through the synchronization of sound and visual arts." The opera premiered as part of Pittsburgh's "First Night" celebration in 1999, when it was presented as a collaborative multimedia performance combining music, painting, writing, video and theatre.
Amaya's compositions have been performed at major international festivals, such as the Seattle Symphony's Viva la Musica Festival and the Annual National Flute Association Conventions. Recording engineers on the CD were Harold Walls (Phantasmagorilla) and Riccardo Schulz (Clepsydra) with mastering by Schulz. The CD, produced by Albany Records, was released Feb. 1 and is available for purchase at most major online retailers. For more information, visit


Pictured above is the cover art for Efraín Amaya’s CD by Susana Amundaraín.