May 3, 2013
New York, NY– AOP (American Opera Projects), The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society, ClaverackLanding, and Symphony Space co-present a world premiere performance of Beauty Intolerable, a collection of love songs composed by Sheila Silver based on the poetry of iconoclast and libertine Edna St. Vincent Millay and performed by a trio of operatic chanteuses. The songs are accompanied with poetry recitations by actresses Tyne Daly (June 8) and Tandy Cronyn (June 13). The song cycle will be presented on June 8 at 6 PM at First Presbyterian Church: 4th & Warren Streets, Hudson, NY 12534. A Manhattan premiere follows on June 13 at 7:30 PM at Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space. Tickets will be available through the venues’ websites. A limited number of tickets to the Symphony Space performance which include VIP seating and a reception with the artists are available for $75 at AOP’s website.
The concert will feature soprano Lauren Flanigan (La Scala, Santa Fe, Metropolitan and New York City Operas), mezzo-soprano Deanne Meek (Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, Metropolitan Opera), and soprano Risa Renae Harman (New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera), with Kelly Horsted and Christopher Cooley on piano. Each performance is accompanied with poetry recitations by guest actresses Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey and Judging Amy), and Tandy Cronyn (Once Upon a Time in America and The Story Lady).
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950) was an American lyrical poet and playwright known for her sensual poetic depictions of her love affairs. Receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Frost Medal for her lifetime contribution to American poetry, her work championed feminist activism. Born in Rockland, Maine, Millay moved to New York City, living a vibrant life with fellow writers in Greenwich Village. The New York Times described her as “an idol of the younger generation during the glorious early days of Greenwich Village [...] One of the greatest American poets of her time.” Beauty Intolerable has been developed in collaboration with the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society.
May 2, 2013
April has been busy and gratifying for AOP and we are just about a third of the way through our 25th year (stay tuned for announcements about anniversary events). Just as we finished up workshops for our upcoming July premiere of The Blind at Lincoln Center Festival, two AOP-developed works received their world premieres at regional opera companies. Even better, they are resounding successes. AOP develops new work and partners with companies across the country because of leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and many generous individuals.
Present Music and Milwaukee Opera Theater co-produced Judgment of Midas on April 12 & 13. The extravagant, Turkish influenced music by composer Kamran Ince supplies “an orgiastic climax as crazed and hair-raising as anything I’ve heard in all of opera” (ThirdCoastDaily.com). It is a large scale comedy with six principles and a small chorus.
UrbanArias began two week premiere run of a chamber opera, Paul’s Case, at Artisphere in Arlington, VA (Washington, DC) on April 20. Based on a story by Willa Cather, Paul’s Case is
“…an arresting little piece that communicates its haunting story with clarity and a sense of inevitability.” (The Washington Post)
“Composer Gregory Spears combines minimalism, baroque gestures, and extended vocal techniques into a distinctive and pungent musical language . . . the overall pacing is taut, the nine-piece orchestration vivid and the denouement appropriately wrenching.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“The words ‘world premiere’ don’t always translate to ‘Must-See,’ but in the case of Paul’s Case… they’re synonymous.” (DC Metro Theater Arts)
“…the piece is nearly ready to claim a place in the chamber opera repertoire – thanks to a long-haul development process for which American Opera Projects deserves much credit.” (Arts Journal)
READ THE FULL REVIEWS FOR PAUL’S CASE
Visit AOP First Chance to follow the next round of operas on their way to premiere productions!
March 27, 2013
Composer Lera Auerbach
New York, NY, March 27, 2013 — Nigel Redden, Director of Lincoln Center Festival, today announced the 2013 Festival’s line-up, which includes the latest AOP Premiere – The Blind, an a capella opera by the prolific Russian-born, New York-based composer, Lera Auerbach, featuring a new staging by John La Bouchardière (The Full Monteverdi, Lincoln Center Festival 2007). The opera is based on an early surrealist play by Maurice Maeterlinck about a group of sightless people who have been abandoned on a desolate island. There will be six performances in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse from July 9-14, 2013. The one-hour production will be conducted by Julian Wachner. The Lincoln Center Festival press release describes the co-production:
Following the sell-out success of his project The Full Monteverdi performed by I Fagiolini during Lincoln Center Festival 2007, British director John La Bouchardière returns to the Festival to direct a new and radical re-imagining of Lera Auerbach’s 2001 a cappella opera The Blind, freely-adapted from the controversial Symbolist play by Maurice Maeterlinck.
Scored for 12 unaccompanied voices, The Blind chronicles a group of sightless people abandoned on a desolate island as they await the return of the religious leader who led them from their home so they could feel the last rays of sunlight before winter. The audience will be immersed into complete darkness to experience the sensory world of the story. The cast includes: Dominic Armstrong, Sarah Brailey, Yulia Van Doren, Branch Fields, John McVeigh, Nicole Mitchell, Liam Moran, Kyle Pfortmiller, Barbara Rearick, David Schmidt, Faith Sherman, and Rosalie Sullivan. It is performed in English.
The Blind will be AOP’s fourth premiere at The Lincoln Center Festival following Hildegurls Electric Ordo Virtutum (1998), Patience & Sarah (1998), and Tone Test (2004). The Festival runs from July 6 through 28, 2013. Single tickets go on sale on April 8 for the festival, which will unfold in six venues on and off the Lincoln Center campus. There will be a total of 62 performances by artists and ensembles from ten countries.
More on The Blind here
March 7, 2013
Last Friday, The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced AOP composer Kamran Ince (pictured) as one of four composers who will receive a $7500 Arts and Letters Award in Music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice. Each will receive an additional $7500 toward the recording of one work. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Ezra Laderman (chairman), Samuel Adler, David Del Tredici, John Harbison, Tania Leon, Fred Lerdahl, and Joan Tower. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May. Candidates for music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy.
From the Academy’s press release:
The energy and rawness of Turkish and Balkan music, the spirituality of Byzantium and Ottoman music, the tradition of European art music and the extravert and popular qualities of the American psyche are the basis of Kamran Ince’s sound world. These ingredients happily breathe in cohesion as they spin the linear and vertical contrasts so essential to his works. Ince is Professor of Composition at University of Memphis and at MIAM, Istanbul Technical University. His prizes include the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lili Boulanger Prize. Five recent Naxos CD’s are devoted to his music.
Present Music and Milwaukee Opera Theatre will premiere his opera, Judgment of Midas, in April, 2013. Judgment of Midas was developed in American Opera Projects‘ First Chance program with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
December 17, 2012
“Out Cold” continues to gather great reviews and is now showing up on some best of the year lists!
The New York Times‘s Vivien Schweitzer named Out Cold one of six “performances that have stuck with me through the year” :
“…the vocalist Theo Bleckmann offered a vivid portrayal of the lovelorn protagonist of “Out Cold,” Phil Kline’s alluring new monodrama, which received its premiere there in October with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. Mr. Bleckmann proved equally arresting in an arrangement of Mr. Kline’s “Zippo Songs.” FULL ARTICLE
Out Cold was also one of the top five best of 2012 in WQXR‘s year-end round up:
“In the BAM world premiere of Kline’s Schubert-meets-Sinatra song cycle, Bleckmann conjured Buster Keaton’s melancholy and Fred Astaire’s grace, transforming a black-box theater with a few café tables into a world as vast as a lover’s hopes and as stifling as regret. Directed by Emma Griffin and backed by the splendid American Contemporary Music Ensemble, he sang with sweetness, clarity, and self-lacerating woe. His performance of Kline’s Zippo Songs, a post-modern classic, was no less shattering. DVD, please, and soon.” FULL ARTICLE
And The Brooklyn Rail weighed in by choosing us as one of the best in this year’s BAM NextWave Festival:
“…a wonderful evening of music from Phil Kline with singer Theo Bleckmann, Kline’s great “Three Rumsfeld Songs” and “Zippo Songs” and a new set, “Out Cold,” all either written or orchestrated for ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. From the moment Bleckmann, in a suit, stood on top of a television and sang, “As we know, there are known knowns,” the whole performance, with smart staging from Emma Griffin, was as gripping and entertaining as a thriller. Kline’s music and original lyrics for “Out Cold” combine the aesthetic profundity of the art song with the succinct clarity of pop music, and the social and political message is more powerful for his light touch.” FULL ARTICLE
For a complete list of reviews for our Out Cold/Zippo Songs performance at BAM this past October, visit the OUT COLD page on the AOP website.