Alive & Kicking: Empty the House

About Alive & Kicking

CS Music has partnered with Jessica Fishenfeld to spotlight her creative efforts to make opera more accessible for a new generation of music lovers.
This light-hearted series gives you a short introduction to an exciting new American Opera each month, in under 5 minutes! The series highlights operas relevant to our modern times, and connects up-and-coming composers with the modern American public they’re writing for. As opera has entered into the fast-paced modern world, these American works are much more accessible and relatable, leaving behind airs of elitism from centuries’ past. Written in English and drawing on modern topics and ideas, American Opera is intended to be enjoyed and understood by people of all ages, colors, cultures, shapes, and sizes!
Alive & Kicking is here to show you that opera is a growing and changing art form, and its creators are telling your stories!

Episode 6: “Empty the House”

For this episode, we dug up some family skeletons because we all know that the Hallmark version of the holidays is not accurate for most. While home for the holidays one year, composer Rene Orth found herself pondering the complicated nature of family dynamics, and felt inspired to use this as a premise for her next opera, Empty the House. Librettist Mark Campbell ran with the idea and fleshed out a situation involving a family of intricate characters, whose actions and reactions are not fully comprehensible until the end. Orth then cleverly utilized her training in electronic sound design to further finesse and differentiate these characters, thus competing the dramatic world and soundscape for Empty the House.

You can also check out Episode 1Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 5!

CS Music Staff

CS Music is THE community for singers, teachers, and pianists. CS began in 1986 with the first issue of The New York Opera Newsletter and later to the award-winning magazine Classical Singer. Since 2003 CS has expanded to included articles, audition listings, and events for both classical and musical theatre singers worldwide! Free online articles and listings are available at