Orchestral & Operatic


Grand Variations (2012) 
for large orchestra
duration: 10.5 min.


Nothing in the Nothingness (2016)
for bass, actor, and small ensemble
Libretto, John Grimmett
Music, Daniel Zajicek
duration: 30 min.

During his visit to the beach, a man is pulled underwater in a strong undertow, and after twelve minutes without oxygen, he never regains consciousness. Nothing in the Nothingness is an operatic monologue that explores what it means to be alive and functioning in a vegetative state when consciousness is not possible.

Portrait – TV – Man (2010) 
for Lyric Baritone and small chamber ensemble
Revised in 2016 for Soprano and two Baritones
Libretto by Sebastian Zaberca
duration: 20 min.

Portrait · TV · Man
Libretto by Sebastian Zaberca
Music by Daniel Zajicek
First performance: Houston, TX – 20 March 2011

Portrait [an Italian Duke] Baritone
TV [a television announcer] Baritone
Businessman [a Wallstreet broker] Baritone
Setting: The businessman’s apartment.


Noises emanate from a busy street; a staged drama is situated before an audience. The TV runs down the headlines, and, as if afraid of silence, the Portrait begins to sing. Prompted by a stagehand, the TV becomes aware of the audience and beckons them, while the Portrait laments his counterfeit existence. The TV’s yearning unites with the Portrait’s lament and they sing together. The outside storm intrudes.

United in the same space, the TV and Portrait decide to make conversation. Neither is truly happy, yet they believe their mode of existence is better than the other’s. Eventually they sing a duet in which they argue over which of their forms is more real. The Businessman enters wet from the rain.

The TV relays the current state of the market. Depressed, the Businessman sings. A loud phone call awakes the sleeping Portrait. Henceforth, the Por- trait becomes obsessed with the likeness of the Businessman to his brother Mario. Once again the TV reads through the headlines, there is another phone call, and the Portrait convinces the TV of the shared likeness of the Businessman to his brother. Yet all the while, nobody is watching them, so they sing about it in a brief trio. Distraught, the Businessman fixes a drink and sits on the sofa.

The TV dreams of life outside his box.

Additional Credits:

Video Artist: Daniel Zajicek

Producer: Daniel Zajicek

Baritone: David Smith

Conductor: Karl Blench

Stage Director: John Grimmett

Sound Engineer: Chapman Welch

Set Designer: Ayn Morgan

Puppet Designer: Camella Clements

Ensemble: Kevin Judge (bassoon), Natalie Parker (clarinet), Anna Marie Reader (cello), Andrew Schneider (piano), Natalie Zeldin (flute)

Puppeteer: Steve Bachicha

Sound/Video Operator: Hsiao-Lan Wang

Artistic Advisors: Kurt Stallmann & Art Gottschalk

Vocal Advisor: Mark Whatley

Staging Advisor: Andrew Zukoski, Andres Janacua,

Libretto Proofreader: Jeff Kuntz

Hospitality coordinator: Laura Nolte


One Reply to “Orchestral & Operatic”

Comments are closed.