UVA Music alumnus to perform pastiche opera Rest in Pieces at Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts

Written by Chuanyuan Liu

University of Virginia alumnus Chuanyuan Liu will be starring in Bard College Conservatory of Music’s pastiche opera production, titled Rest in Pieces. Conceived and directed by internationally famous mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and cabaret director John Jarboe, 14 beloved opera characters gather together at a funeral for a mutual friend, and find themselves forging a new, self-determined path that guides them to a realization of their dreams, relationships, and truths- all within the larger than life world of opera.

“What is wonderful about Rest in Pieces has been the process of creating this work as a group. 14 singers choosing 5 operas, choosing the music, then building scenes to tell a new, compelling story—all with the aim of creating performance and writing skill sets in an entirely new way. It is truly an extraordinary undertaking,” said Blythe, the Vocal Arts Program (VAP) artistic director. “Audiences can expect to see and hear characters and music that they already know and love, but they will experience them set free in an entirely new, self-determined world.”

In the production, countertenor Chuanyuan Liu will take the role of Mercedes, originally in Carmen, and develop Mercedes’s relationship with herself and the people around her. This innovative opera production will be produced in the acoustically perfect Sosnoff Theater at Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts (designed by internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry) on March 6th at 7:30 PM and March 8th at 3:00 PM.

About Liu

During his time at University of Virginia, Liu studied with Professor Brenda Patterson, who fostered in him a love for opera, art song, and performing on stage. A Miller Arts Scholar, Liu was in the Performance Concentration Program and Distinguished Major Program of the McIntire Department of Music, and regularly performed with the University Singers and Chamber Singers as ensemble member and soloist. Liu was a recipient of the University Award for Project in the Arts and Brander Wyatt Morrison Prize. In the summer of 2018, he received a Grant from the Miller Arts Scholars Committee, enabling him to attend training programs at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA, and Arezzo Music Festival with the Oberlin Conservatory in Arezzo, Italy. He was the first student countertenor to perform a recital in Old Cabell Hall, and after he was accepted into the Bard College Conservatory of Music, he became the first countertenor in the conservatory’s history, pursuing his master’s of music degree in vocal arts. He has recently been seen as Damon in Handel’s Acis and Galatea with the Broad Street Orchestra; soloist’s in renowned composer Joan Tower’s concert Music Alive!; and is set to appear as the alto soloist in Bach’s Magnificat, performing with The Orchestra Now. For more information on Liu and his upcoming engagements, please visit www.liuchuanyuan.com.

About the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music

Designed by internationally acclaimed soprano Dawn Upshaw and her longtime collaborator Kayo Iwama, the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music is a two-year master’s of music degree program in which students learn to overcome the practical and artistic challenges posed to young artists in the modern world. The program balances a respect for established repertory and expressive techniques with the flexibility and curiosity needed to keep abreast of evolving musical ideas. Following a unique, performance-intensive curriculum, students take courses on poetry, acting, language translation for singers, diction, movement for singers, new music, vocal ensemble, and concert curating. Since the fall of 2019, newly appointed Artistic Director Stephanie Blythe has brought to the VAP new ideas and fresh energy, helping the young artists to be the best version of themselves. Notable alumni of the Vocal Arts Program have included soprano Julia Bullock (recently featured in Opera News), Melissa Wegner (associate director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions), and baritone Matthew Morris (associate artistic director of SongFest at the Colburn School).


For more information about the opera, and to purchase tickets in advance, please visit www.fishercenter.bard.edu or call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu