Janet Planet collaborates with John Harmon in Ava: A Jazz Opera
Ava: A Jazz Opera will be performed on stage at the historic Thrasher Opera House in downtown Green Lake, on Saturday, August 25 at 7:30 p.m. The two-act opera features jazz vocalist Janet Planet, accompanied by the operaís composer, pianist John Harmon.
The opera is the story of a young, gifted performerís rapid rise to stardom at a time when radio was king. In the story, the death of a very young child precipitates Ava's (Planet) downward slide, causing her to anesthetize herself against the pain that overwhelms her. What follows is the tragic story of her free fall into the demonized world of addiction. Pianist "Trigger" Trufant (Harmon), her friend and mentor, rescues Ava from the vortex of self-destruction, helping her back to a life of deeper meaning.
The opera, a new project for Planet and Harmon, is far from being their first collaboration.
Harmon, a critically acclaimed composer/pianist has shared the stage with Planet, a highly praised jazz vocalist, for over 20 years, having written and arranged many of Planet's most successful recordings. It was Harmonís desire to find the perfect avenue to highlight Planetís versatility as a premiere jazz vocalist that brought them to this latest endeavor.
Planet, although known across the country and world for her warm and stylish interpretations of the Great American Songbook and jazz music, also teaches voice privately, conducts numerous music clinics, and is on the staff of the Tritone Jazz Camp. In addition, this multi-faceted powerhouse of talent runs Stellar Sound Productions, a recording label she co-founded in 1995 that consistently earns praise from reviewers for both exceptional artistic content and high production values.
With 23 recordings in her discography to date, Planet has performed with legends such as Jackie and Roy, George Benson, and her mentor Nancy King. She has shared the stage with many other accomplished jazz artists including Ellis Marsalis, Marian McPartland and Gene Bertoncini who claims, "When Janet sings, you hear and feel the deepest message of any lyric. With her warmth and clarity and impeccable taste, she sings the most tender ballads, to joyful, swinging jazz and blues repertoire; great musicianship and always moving, a singer's singer". It was with this same understanding of Planetís level of virtuosity that brought good friend, John Harmon, to create Ava: A Jazz Opera.
Harmon founded and directed the Department of Jazz Studies at Lawrence from 1970-74. The Oshkosh native earned an esteemed JAZZIZ magazine award in 1998 for his composition "Soliloquy" and a Wisconsin Artist Fellowship in 2001 and also co-founded the Jazz nonet Matrix in 1974.
With over 200 compositions, including 100 choral pieces, and several solo and collaborative albums to his credit, John Harmon now composes, performs and records original music all over the globe, working with some of the world's most acclaimed musicians.
Supported by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, with additional sponsorship by ChiroPlus, Yeomans-Edinger Chiropractic Center, Quandt Chiropractic, Wepner Chiropractic and Jerry & Lynn Grout, tickets are now available for $19 at Thrasher office, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake State Bank (Green Lake); Ripon Drug and Pick Ďn Save (Ripon); and Twister (Princeton); Berlin Chamber of Commerce or call (920)294-4279. For more information or to order tickets online, visit www.thrasheroperahouse.com.