projects

 LIBRETTI    LUCY     (JOHN GLOVER)                                                                                                      American Opera Projects (workshop, 2010) | Nautilus Music-Theatre (workshop, 2010) | Milwaukee Opera Theatre (premiere, 2014) | Urban Arias (2017) |  New Focus Records  (2017)   A chamber opera inspired by the true story of a psychotherapist who raised a chimpanzee daughter.  "It’s a resonant story, with a (not surprisingly) tragic end, and    Lucy ...tells it beautifully in ways that keep the big questions—and poignant emotions—front and center" (MilwaukeeMag).   "Lucy the chimpanzee's life makes for compelling art"  ( Washington Post ).  "That such an unusual story should end up being so moving is a compliment to everyone involved " ( Textura ).      NATURAL SYSTEMS (JOHN GLOVER)   New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall (2013 | San Francisco Conservatory's BluePrint Series (chamber version, 2014)  A dramatic song cycle inspired by the life and work of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. “Mr. Glover’s vivid score ranges from energetic swirls to a gentle, enigmatic conclusion as the protagonist muses about his boyhood: “And so I learned to hold names in my head, long after the flower had collapsed in my sweaty grasp” (New York Times).      ODYSSEY   (BEN MOORE)   The Glimmerglass Festival (2015, 2018) | The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Young People’s Chorus of New York City (2017) | Minnesota Opera (2018) | Seattle Opera (2019)  A youth opera based on Homer’s epic . “… with an ebullient, lyrical score by Ben Moore and a witty, tightly-rhymed libretto by Kelley Rourke,    [Odyssey]    is more than just an opera for young audiences. In fact, it’s an opera for all ages…Rourke’s   winking libretto includes plenty of clever rhymes and wordplay and manages to be hip without trying too hard ” (Opera News).      ROBIN HOOD (BEN MOORE)   The Glimmerglass Festival (2017) | Seattle Opera in collaboration with Seattle Public Theatre (2018) | Houston Grand Opera (2018)  When the law of the land is corrupt, what’s an honest citizen to do? In the absence of the King, the Sheriff has seized the country’s assets for himself and his cronies. Robin Hood is the unlikely leader of a band of ordinary folks doing their best to survive in the forest until just rule returns to the land.      WILDE TALES   (LAURA KARPMAN)   The Glimmerglass Festival (2016)   "'Wilde Tales,' by composer Laura Karpman and librettist Kelley Rourke, a charming mashup of Oscar Wilde’s stories 'The Happy Prince' and 'The Remarkable Rocket,' was sophisticated yet tailored to the talents of its performers."  (Wall Street Journal)     SINGING TRANSLATIONS  ARIADNE IN NAXOS (RICHARD STRAUSS)  The Glimmerglass Festival (2014) | Festival Opera (2015) | Austin Opera (2018)   "Kelley Rourke’s contemporary English translation for the Prologue and comic scenes, with references to things such as production standards on the Jersey Shore, adds to the high spirits." (Financial Times)       THE BARBER OF SEVILLE (GIOACHINO ROSSINI)  Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (2015) | Welsh National Opera (2016)   "A new English translation by Kelly Rourke, combined with some inspired stage direction by Michael Shell and the spirited conducting of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra by Ryan McAdams, makes this Barber a fresh, razor-sharp interpretation...Rourke’s new translation was commissioned by OTSL for its 40th anniversary, and the result is smart, savvy, silly and successful." (Ladue News)  “I’ve genuinely never heard an audience laughing so much in an opera buffa. Kelley Rourke’s brisk and irreverent new English translation had a lot to do with that." (Birmingham Mail.)     CINDERELLA (GIOACHINO ROSSINI)  The Atlanta Opera (2017)  A modern, hour-long adaptation of Rossini's beloved  La Cenerentola , adapted for six soloists and no chorus.                                                                                                                                             THE ELIXIR OF LOVE (GAETANO DONIZETTI)  English National Opera (2010, 2011) | Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (2014) | Scottish Opera (2016)   "Much of the credit...should go to Kelley Rourke's crackingly witty translation. For sure, it takes as many liberties as it fires off rhyming couplets but it does so with irresistible silliness." (The Independent)      THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST (PUCCINI)  English National Opera (2014) | Apotheosis Opera (NYC, 2016)   "How brilliantly, too, Kelley Rourke’s English translation brings the Wild West to life. It is almost like having John Wayne and Gary Cooper on stage." (Financial Times)       GUNS N' ROSENKAVALIER (VARIOUS)  Milwaukee Opera Theatre (2013) | The Glimmerglass Festival (2013) | Mill City Opera (2014) | New York City's Rockwood Music Hall (2015)  New English lyrics for songs by Schumann, Schubert, Strauss and other dead composers, performed alongside and in combination with songs by Kate Bush, Pat Benatar, Gnarls Barkley and more. Arrangements by John Glover and Andrew Wilkowske.     KING FOR A DAY (GIUSEPPE VERDI)  The Glimmerglass Festival (2013)   "Ms. Rourke’s clever, quirky libretto, easy to follow and hard to resist, tidies up some of the original opera’s messy bits." (The New York Times)      LOST LUGGAGE (GIOACHINO ROSSINI)  The Glimmerglass Festival (2016)     THE SECRET GARDENER (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)  On Site Opera at West Side Community Garden, NYC (2017) and Caramoor (2018) | The Atlanta Opera at Atlanta Botanical Gardens (2017)   "Rourke’s version is a total romp — pure springtime entertainment" (ArtsATL).       "Kelley Rourke’s clever English translation...boiled the work down to its essence" (Wall Street Journal).      THE MAGIC FLUTE (4) (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)  The Glimmerglass Festival (2015) | Southern Methodist University (2016)   "This is Ms. Rourke’s fourth English translation of “The Magic Flute,” and while I can’t speak for the others, it is a winner: colloquial and entertaining in spoken passages, and remarkably well wedded to the music and versification in arias." (The New York Times)       THE MAGIC FLUTE (3) (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)  Washington National Opera (2014)   "They were aided by an English translation of the libretto by the company’s dramaturge, Kelley Rourke, that often had the audience laughing at actual jokes rather than the hoary gag lines so common in opera 'updatings.'" (The Washington Post)      THE MAGIC FLUTE (2) (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)  Boston Lyric Opera (2013)   "Mozart’s opera sounds incredibly fresh in this ingenious reimagining, delivering its potent mix of jovial humor and nuggets of wisdom with a renewed vitality, and a surprising up-to-date relevance." (MIT's The Tech)      PAGLIACCI (RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO)  The In Series, Washington, DC (2010)    An English & Italian version of the opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo, set in modern-day Little Italy.     SUPERTITLES  Translation/adaptation of more than 75 opera libretti, transmitted live at companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Glimmerglass Festival, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Philadelphia, The Miller Theater, Chicago Opera Theater, Portland Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Virginia Opera, Atlanta Opera, Austin Opera, Arizona Opera, Maryland Opera Studio, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and Hawaii Opera Theatre.  Click here  for complete list of titles available for rental.

LIBRETTI

LUCY  (JOHN GLOVER)                                                                                                   

American Opera Projects (workshop, 2010) | Nautilus Music-Theatre (workshop, 2010) | Milwaukee Opera Theatre (premiere, 2014) | Urban Arias (2017) | New Focus Records (2017) 

A chamber opera inspired by the true story of a psychotherapist who raised a chimpanzee daughter. "It’s a resonant story, with a (not surprisingly) tragic end, and Lucy...tells it beautifully in ways that keep the big questions—and poignant emotions—front and center" (MilwaukeeMag). "Lucy the chimpanzee's life makes for compelling art" (Washington Post). "That such an unusual story should end up being so moving is a compliment to everyone involved" (Textura).

 

NATURAL SYSTEMS (JOHN GLOVER)

New York Youth Symphony at Carnegie Hall (2013 | San Francisco Conservatory's BluePrint Series (chamber version, 2014)

A dramatic song cycle inspired by the life and work of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist. “Mr. Glover’s vivid score ranges from energetic swirls to a gentle, enigmatic conclusion as the protagonist muses about his boyhood: “And so I learned to hold names in my head, long after the flower had collapsed in my sweaty grasp” (New York Times).

 

ODYSSEY (BEN MOORE)

The Glimmerglass Festival (2015, 2018) | The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Young People’s Chorus of New York City (2017) | Minnesota Opera (2018) | Seattle Opera (2019)

A youth opera based on Homer’s epic. “… with an ebullient, lyrical score by Ben Moore and a witty, tightly-rhymed libretto by Kelley Rourke, [Odyssey] is more than just an opera for young audiences. In fact, it’s an opera for all ages…Rourke’s winking libretto includes plenty of clever rhymes and wordplay and manages to be hip without trying too hard” (Opera News).

 

ROBIN HOOD (BEN MOORE)

The Glimmerglass Festival (2017) | Seattle Opera in collaboration with Seattle Public Theatre (2018) | Houston Grand Opera (2018)

When the law of the land is corrupt, what’s an honest citizen to do? In the absence of the King, the Sheriff has seized the country’s assets for himself and his cronies. Robin Hood is the unlikely leader of a band of ordinary folks doing their best to survive in the forest until just rule returns to the land.

 

WILDE TALES (LAURA KARPMAN)

The Glimmerglass Festival (2016)

"'Wilde Tales,' by composer Laura Karpman and librettist Kelley Rourke, a charming mashup of Oscar Wilde’s stories 'The Happy Prince' and 'The Remarkable Rocket,' was sophisticated yet tailored to the talents of its performers." (Wall Street Journal)

 

SINGING TRANSLATIONS

ARIADNE IN NAXOS (RICHARD STRAUSS)

The Glimmerglass Festival (2014) | Festival Opera (2015) | Austin Opera (2018)

"Kelley Rourke’s contemporary English translation for the Prologue and comic scenes, with references to things such as production standards on the Jersey Shore, adds to the high spirits." (Financial Times) 

 

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE (GIOACHINO ROSSINI)

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (2015) | Welsh National Opera (2016)

"A new English translation by Kelly Rourke, combined with some inspired stage direction by Michael Shell and the spirited conducting of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra by Ryan McAdams, makes this Barber a fresh, razor-sharp interpretation...Rourke’s new translation was commissioned by OTSL for its 40th anniversary, and the result is smart, savvy, silly and successful." (Ladue News) “I’ve genuinely never heard an audience laughing so much in an opera buffa. Kelley Rourke’s brisk and irreverent new English translation had a lot to do with that." (Birmingham Mail.)

 

CINDERELLA (GIOACHINO ROSSINI)

The Atlanta Opera (2017)

A modern, hour-long adaptation of Rossini's beloved La Cenerentola, adapted for six soloists and no chorus.

                                                                                                                                   

THE ELIXIR OF LOVE (GAETANO DONIZETTI)

English National Opera (2010, 2011) | Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (2014) | Scottish Opera (2016)

"Much of the credit...should go to Kelley Rourke's crackingly witty translation. For sure, it takes as many liberties as it fires off rhyming couplets but it does so with irresistible silliness." (The Independent)

 

THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST (PUCCINI)

English National Opera (2014) | Apotheosis Opera (NYC, 2016)

"How brilliantly, too, Kelley Rourke’s English translation brings the Wild West to life. It is almost like having John Wayne and Gary Cooper on stage." (Financial Times) 

 

GUNS N' ROSENKAVALIER (VARIOUS)

Milwaukee Opera Theatre (2013) | The Glimmerglass Festival (2013) | Mill City Opera (2014) | New York City's Rockwood Music Hall (2015)

New English lyrics for songs by Schumann, Schubert, Strauss and other dead composers, performed alongside and in combination with songs by Kate Bush, Pat Benatar, Gnarls Barkley and more. Arrangements by John Glover and Andrew Wilkowske.

 

KING FOR A DAY (GIUSEPPE VERDI)

The Glimmerglass Festival (2013)

"Ms. Rourke’s clever, quirky libretto, easy to follow and hard to resist, tidies up some of the original opera’s messy bits." (The New York Times)

 

LOST LUGGAGE (GIOACHINO ROSSINI)

The Glimmerglass Festival (2016)

 

THE SECRET GARDENER (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)

On Site Opera at West Side Community Garden, NYC (2017) and Caramoor (2018) | The Atlanta Opera at Atlanta Botanical Gardens (2017)

"Rourke’s version is a total romp — pure springtime entertainment" (ArtsATL). 

"Kelley Rourke’s clever English translation...boiled the work down to its essence" (Wall Street Journal).

 

THE MAGIC FLUTE (4) (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)

The Glimmerglass Festival (2015) | Southern Methodist University (2016)

"This is Ms. Rourke’s fourth English translation of “The Magic Flute,” and while I can’t speak for the others, it is a winner: colloquial and entertaining in spoken passages, and remarkably well wedded to the music and versification in arias." (The New York Times) 

 

THE MAGIC FLUTE (3) (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)

Washington National Opera (2014)

"They were aided by an English translation of the libretto by the company’s dramaturge, Kelley Rourke, that often had the audience laughing at actual jokes rather than the hoary gag lines so common in opera 'updatings.'" (The Washington Post)

 

THE MAGIC FLUTE (2) (WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART)

Boston Lyric Opera (2013)

"Mozart’s opera sounds incredibly fresh in this ingenious reimagining, delivering its potent mix of jovial humor and nuggets of wisdom with a renewed vitality, and a surprising up-to-date relevance." (MIT's The Tech)

 

PAGLIACCI (RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO)

The In Series, Washington, DC (2010)  

An English & Italian version of the opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo, set in modern-day Little Italy.

 

SUPERTITLES

Translation/adaptation of more than 75 opera libretti, transmitted live at companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Glimmerglass Festival, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Philadelphia, The Miller Theater, Chicago Opera Theater, Portland Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Virginia Opera, Atlanta Opera, Austin Opera, Arizona Opera, Maryland Opera Studio, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and Hawaii Opera Theatre. Click here for complete list of titles available for rental.