.Gabriel (pronounced "dot Gabriel") is an opera in two acts (to be performed continuously) written by American composer Robert J. Bradshaw. The libretto, also by Bradshaw, was inspired by the composer's online experiences with social networking websites, instant messaging, chat rooms and email correspondence. The opera was commissioned by the Australian Trumpet Guild for performance at the 35th Annual Conference of the International Trumpet Guild, 2010, Sydney, Australia. Also in 2010, the composition was awarded an American Music Center Composer Assistance Program Grant and was named winner of a 2009 Boston Metro Opera Mainstage Award.
About the opera
Program notes (included in the published score) state:
.Gabriel is an allegory for society’s increasing perception of connection to the world through the Internet, while in fact separating ourselves from physical interaction. The false perception of safety and protection (and ultimate isolation) of electronic relationships at times promotes posting statements or images people would never consider saying (or doing) in person. Although Principal interacts with the other members of the cast, they never come in contact with each other. A scrim represents the physical barrier (the computer screen) that separates Principal from the living world around her."
.Gabriel is a composition where the trumpet performs as one of the main characters, interacting on stage with the vocalists. The three vocal roles represent different aspects of social interaction. "Principal represents society's dependency on the Internet, computers and electronic communication." She lives alone and is consumed by her need to be "connected". There are also two minor male roles that act as Principal's memories. One is the positive spirit of social relationships and the other is the actual situations where social interaction is required.
.Gabriel was premiered at the Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music (July 8, 2010). The two principal roles were performed by Joshua Clarke (Yamaha Performing Artist and Principal Trumpet of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra) and Jane Parkin (Opera Australia Artist and member of the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Program) In March 2010, scenes from the opera sung by Tina Milhorn Stallard, who sang Principal in the premiere recording, had been previewed at the Palm Beach Atlantic University New Music Festival.
.Gabriel was first staged in America on February 25 & 26, 2011 by the Boston Metro Opera. The performances took place at Hope Central Church in the historic Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. These performances were announced on December 1, 2009 when the opera won a BMO Mainstage Award.
.Gabriel was recorded by the Palmetto Camerata at the University of South Carolina (January 5–7, 2010) and released by Beauport Classical (BC41009) on CD in 2010. The recording features Tina Milhorn Stallard (soprano) and James Ackley (trumpet) performing the principal roles.