Although James Kuslan’s conservatory training was theatrical (M.F.A., Yale School of Drama; B.A., cum laude, University of Pennsylvania), he has expressed his passion for opera and the singing voice in consultancy to the German classical music recording giant, Deutsche Grammophon, for which he served as a voice scout, compilation producer of vocal CDs, copy and headline writer and writer of corporate communications. His essays on Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale are included in the booklets that accompany the DVDs of the Metropolitan Opera’s most recent productions of those operas, both starring Anna Netrebko. As a writer of liner notes, his credits include the London label’s 20 CD collection, Opera Made Easy, featuring the artistry of Luciano Pavarotti as well as for other best-selling releases, including those on the Philips ( Mozart for Your Mind ) and Sonoris labels. (Sonoris is the private imprint of the Chief Sound Engineer of Carnegie Hall.)
A frequent lecturer on topics operatic as well as a voice-over artist, Kuslan also assumes the mantle of Master of Ceremonies for concerts of classical music, doing so for the American tenor, Roberto Iarussi (www.robertoiarussi.com) and others. Kuslan’s original English language dialogue for Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus has been performed in the U.S., and other of his works for the stage have been performed in New York at the Grove Street Playhouse, the John Houseman Theater, Theatre Matrix, by the Juilliard affiliated The Acting Company and on the Dramatists’ Series at the Yale Club. An early version of his play, Pas de Deux, came to the attention of John Houseman, who, praising his work for its “originality and quality,” nominated him for a Rockefeller Award. Mr. Houseman brought Kuslan’s work to the attention of director Michael Kahn, who told the writer that his mastery of repartée style was unmatched by any American playwright of whom he was aware, including Philip Barry. Recently Kuslan contributed dialogue to a documentary detailing the creation of composer Sarah Meneely Kyder’s oratorio, Letters From Italy, 1944 narrated by Meryl Streep. He makes his first appearance in Opera News, the internationally disseminated magazine of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, with an article on the legendary operatic stage director, Tito Capobianco, in the December 2015 issue.