Texas Tech University

Texas Tech School of Music Premieres New Opera

James Hodgins

September 10, 2015

“Breath of Life” tells the story of a Texas heart surgeon.

WHAT: The Texas Tech University School of Music presents the world premiere of “Breath of Life,” a new opera by J. Todd Frazier. “Breath of Life” was conceived by Frazier in response to watching his father, Dr. O. H. Frazier, perform a heart transplant procedure at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. Informing the central themes of the work were interviews and conversations with Frazier and the recipient, Rev. Robert Browne. Inspired by real events, people and situations, the work responds to aspects of the procedure that defy science, challenge spiritual views and require “leaps of faith” from all involved.

The opera is open to the public and admission is free.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 17) and Friday (Sept. 18)

WHERE: Hemmle Recital Hall at the Texas Tech School of Music

WHO: The principal cast includes

  • Doctor: Gregory Brookes, Texas Tech assistant professor of voice
  • Patient: Gerald Dolter, director of Texas Tech music theatre
  • Patient's wife: Rebecca Wascoe, Texas Tech assistant professor of voice,
  • Donor: Desiree Soto
  • Donor's mother: Quinn Patrick Ankrum, Texas Tech assistant professor of voice
  • Priest: Gustavo Steiner Neves
  • Resident physician: Leslie Ratner

The stage director is Gerald Dolter, and the conductor is Benjamin Hawkinson.

Jefferson Todd Frazier is a composer, nonprofit arts leader and sixth-generation Texan. He is the director of Houston Methodist Hospital's Center for Performing Arts Medicine, founder and first executive director of the American Festival for the Arts, co-founder of Houston Arts Partners and the former executive director of Young Audiences of Houston. He received his undergraduate and graduate training from The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and The Juilliard School in New York City.

He has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Global Alliance for Arts and Healthcare, and serves as a director of the Texas Lyceum. He is a member of the Eastman School of Music's National Council, the City of Houston's Arts and Cultural Plan Advisory Committee, University of Texas Butler School of Music's Directors Council and U.S.-Japan Foundation's Leadership Program. On the occasion of the Juilliard School's 100th anniversary in 2006, Frazier was recognized as one of 100 distinguished alumni and profiled in the Juilliard Journal's “A Quiet Revolution: Juilliard Alumni and The Transformation of Education in America Through the Arts.”

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CONTACT: Gerald Dolter, director, music theatre program, School of Music, Texas Tech University, (806) 834-7191 or gerald.dolter@ttu.edu.