A Floating Opera: Music Professor Part of Trio Behind Opera About Toxic Waterway

“Black mustard” is what people call the thick oil that is often visible — particularly at sunset — on the surface of Newtown Creek, which borders Queens and Brooklyn in New York City. The estimated 30 million gallons of oil is one of many toxins in the creek, an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. This would seem an unlikely place to not only inspire, but to also be the venue, for an opera, but it is. The opera "Newtown Odyssey," by UC Davis professor Kurt Rohde, visual artist Marie Lorenz and writer Dana Spiotta, is being premiered this weekend.

New Choir Director Joins Music Department

Nicolás Alberto Dosman has joined the UC Davis Department of Music as director of choirs and assistant professor of teaching. He will lead the Concert Choir, a large mixed ensemble, and the Chamber Singers, a select ensemble of 16 to 24 students. He will lead his first concert at UC Davis on Dec. 8.

Remembering Music Professor Emeritus Albert McNeil

Albert J. McNeil, UC Davis professor emeritus of the Department of Music and an original faculty member and chair of the Department of African American and African Studies, died on Nov. 29. He was 102. At UC Davis from 1969 to 1990, McNeil transformed the University Chorus from an occasional course to a full public performance group and also created the Chamber Singers.

Uncharted Territory

The culmination of two or more years and a lifetime of experience and exploration by UC Davis students, “The Arts & Humanities Graduate Exhibition” offers new ways to understand the world, ourselves and the issues we face. We spent time with three students from art studio, music and design to learn about their journeys of creating works that are in the exhibition.

Eating and Drinking and Singing

When he was a college student, Pierpaolo Polzonetti was hired by an opera-loving cookbook author to research composer Giuseppe Verdi’s favorite recipes. There weren’t any, but it led Polzonetti to a fascination with what he dubs “gastronomic signs” in opera. Many years later, the result is the recently published book Feasting and Fasting in Opera: From Renaissance Banquets to the Callas Diet by Polzonetti, the Jan and Beta Popper Professor of Music at UC Davis.

A Musical Journey Through the Arboretum

A moving musical work with contributions from UC Davis music and Native American studies students will explore California’s complicated relationship with water, drawing on Native origin stories in which water is an important player. It will be performed in several locations in the UC Davis Arboretum along Putah Creek.