The Summer King, Judgment of Midas, and Paul’s Case to be featured in the Spring

October 29, 2013
The Summer King, Judgment of Midas, and Paul's Case

The Summer King, Judgment of Midas, and Paul’s Case

OPERA America will be presenting The Summer King and Judgment of Midas as part of their New Works Forum, a series of showcases of works-in-progress and recent premieres. Now in its third year, the New Works Forum will take place January 12-15, 2014 in the Audition Recital Hall at the National Opera Center in New York City. Panel discussions will accompany performances and explore the developmental process.

The Summer King (music by Daniel Sonenberg, libretto by Sonenberg & Daniel Nester) covers the legacy of Negro League baseball player Josh Gibson. Dubbed “the black Babe Ruth”, Gibson was the second Negro League player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The opera explores the racial tensions surrounding black-owned teams and delves into the stadium culture of the 1930s. The Summer King will have its world premiere with Portland Ovations in May 2014.

Judgment of Midas (music by Kamran Ince, libretto by Miriam Seidel) takes as its starting point a series of mythical musical contests said to have taken place on Mount Tmolus, Turkey. Witnessed by King Midas, the contests pit the gods Pan and Apollo against each other in a struggle between ‘street’ music and ‘high’ music. Judgment of Midas had its world premiere in Milwaukee with Present Music in April, 2013.

The 2014 New Works Forum has been scheduled to coincide with PROTOTYPE Festival, presented by HERE and Beth Morrison Projects. Paul’s Case (music by Gregory Spears, libretto by Spears and Kathryn Walat), will be among the works featured at PROTOTYPE. Originating from AOP’s Composers and the Voice program, the opera follows the story of Paul, a high school dandy living in turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh who runs away to revel in the luxuries of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Performances at the New Works Forum are only open to OPERA America members. Previous AOP operas featured at the forum include Heart of Darkness, The Golden Gate, and Wolf-in-Skins. PROTOTYPE Festival is open to the public.


Meet the Cast You WON’T See at THE BLIND

June 26, 2013


Curious about who you’ll be hearing at AOP and Lincoln Center Festival’s co-production of The Blind from July 9-14? While their vocal talent goes without saying, we think they’re a pretty good-lookin’ cast to boot…browse the list below, or jump to a name using one of the following quick-links!

BLIND WOMEN
Yulia Van Doren
Sarah Brailey
Faith Sherman
Barbara Rearick
Nicole Mitchell
Rosalie Sullivan

BLIND MEN
Dominic Armstrong
John McVeigh
Kyle Pfortmiller
David Schmidt
Branch Fields
Liam Moran

Dominic Armstrong (Tenor) was heard during the 2012-13 season with the New York City Opera as Prologue and Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and made debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and at Carnegie Hall as Steve in Prévin’s A Streetcar Named Desire. He has also recently sung Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki with Chicago Opera Theatre, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Memphis Opera, and Remendado in Carmen at the Castleton Festival. He has also sung Flavio in Norma and Borsa in Rigoletto with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the title role of La Clemenza di Tito at Chicago Opera Theatre, Parpignol in La Bohème at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Reverend Horace Adams in Peter Grimes and  Heinrich in Tannhaüser in Turin, Count Almaviva in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at the Wexford Festival, the title role of Candide and as Ulisse in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria at the Wolf Trap Opera, and Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore in Hong Kong. He was Grand Finalist in the 2008 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  AOP credits include Composers and the Voice resident ensemble (2013-2014).

Sarah Brailey (Soprano) is sought-after in a broad and varied repertoire that ranges from the baroque to the present day. Recent highlights include solo performances at Alice Tully Hall in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with the American Classical Orchestra and Handel’s Messiah with the Trinity Choir and Trinity Baroque Orchestra. She has also recently sung Bach’s St. John Passion with the Boulder Bach Festival and his St. Matthew Passion at Trinity Wall Street. Highlights of next season include a tour with experimental a cappella vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and appearances with composer/performer John Zorn in New York City, England’s Huddersfield Festival, and Australia’s Adelaide Festival. AOP credits include The Scarlet Ibis.

Branch Fields (Bass) has performed with a number of opera companies in the U.S., including the Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Carolina, Michigan Opera Theatre, Utah Opera, and Opera San Jose. He has also been heard in concert, with the Munich Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and American Symphony Orchestra. He recently sang Emile de Becque in South Pacific with the Utah Festival Opera and at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Highlights of his 2012-13 season include Don Alfonso in Cosí fan tutte, King Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette in Bozeman, Montana; a benefit performance for the Open Heart Foundation of Tim Janis’ The Christmas Rose at Carnegie Hall; Sarastro in The Magic Flute for Opera on the James in Lynchburg, Virginia; and Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust in Fort Collins. AOP credits include Paul’s Case.

John McVeigh (Tenor) is heard during the 2013-14 season as Pang in Turandot with Hawaii Opera Theatre and returns to Houston Grand Opera for productions of Carmen and Das Rheingold. Recent operatic appearances include Goro in Madama Butterfly with PORTopera; Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette with Opera Colorado; Acis in Acis and Galatea at the Macau International Music Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, and Detroit Oratorio Society; Emilio in Handel’s Partenope at Glimmerglass Opera and New York City Opera; Pang with Arizona Opera; Lurcanio in Ariodante at New York City Opera and Houston Grand Opera; and productions of Das Rheingold, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Billy Budd at the Metropolitan Opera. Recent concert engagements include Haydn’s Creation with the Portland Symphony; Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Winston Salem Symphony, and Charlotte Symphony Orchestra; Acis with Amsterdam’s Concert Radio Kamer Filharmonie; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Dallas Symphony; Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Memphis Symphony; and Handel’s L’allegro at the Kennedy Center with the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Nicole Mitchell (Mezzo-soprano) is a native of Brooklyn and has performed regularly with AOP and The Walt Whitman Project promoting the works of New York composers, including Gilda Lyons’ Songs from the F Train cycle at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall. She has also sung Tituba in Robert Ward’s The Crucible with New York City Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Piedmont Opera. In 2008, while a Tanglewood Vocal Fellow (2008), she sang in Kurt Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Earlier this year she was heard in recital at Brooklyn Navy Yard Center’s BLDG 92 Museum. AOP credits include Songs from the F Train and This Is the Rill Speaking.

Liam Moran (Bass) was heard this season at Opera Omaha as Dr. Grenvil in La Traviata, Annapolis Opera as Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Kentucky Opera as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and at New York’s St. Thomas Church and Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in Handel’s Messiah. During the 2013-14 season he will sing Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and Gualtiero in I Puritani with Boston Lyric Opera and the Mozart Requiem with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

 

 

Kyle Pfortmiller (Baritone) made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Marquis d’Obigny in a new production of La Traviata in 2010, and has also recently sung Papageno in The Magic Flute with Opera Carolina, and Valentin in Faust, Fred/Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate, and Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady with Utah Festival Opera and Music Theater. Next season he returns to the Met for Andrea Chénier and the company premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys. AOP credits include Brahms, Barber, and John Adams with the String Orchestra of Brooklyn.

Rearick Barbara smBarbara Rearick (Mezzo-Soprano) has sung with the orchestras of Houston, Baltimore, Hallé, and Berlin’s Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester (with whom she recorded Kurt Weill’s The Eternal Road). In 2011 she sang Mark Anthony Turnage’s Twice Through the Heart for the Chicago Symphony’s MusicNow series. She is a founding member of the Britten-Pears Ensemble, a London-based chamber group specializing in contemporary works. With the late Richard Rodney Bennett, she gave recitals at festivals and venues throughout the US and UK including Wigmore Hall and at the Aldeburgh Festival. She has also appeared on BBC World Service Radio, WQXR, and NPR and is on the voice faculty at Princeton University.

Schmidt DavidDavid Schmidt (Baritone) has performed a broad range of opera, concert, and musical theater on stages throughout the US and Italy. He joined the Metropolitan Opera Chorus this past summer for performances of Parsifal and Götterdämmerung. At Italy’s Spoleto Festival, he sang the premiere performance of an aria composed for a new production of The Telephone directed by composer Gian Carlo Menotti. He has also sung with the Nashville Opera, Anchorage Opera, Opera Memphis, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Des Moines Metro Opera, Missouri Symphony, and National Opera Company. AOP credits include OPERAtion Brooklyn and The Scarlet Ibis.

Faith Sherman (Mezzo-soprano) made her European debut at the English National Opera as the Pilgrim in Kaijia Saariaho’s L’amour de loin, and has also sung Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony at the Aspen Music Festival, Concepcion in L’heure espagnole at Oper Frankfurt; Beatrice in Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict at Houston Grand Opera, and in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Rappahannock County at Virginia Opera. She is an alumna of the Juilliard School and Houston Grand Opera Studio Program.

Sullivan, RosalieRosalie Sullivan (Mezzo-soprano) has performed with AOP, Opera Orchestra of New York, Central City Opera, Opera Omaha, and as soloist at Carnegie Hall with MidAmerica Productions. Recent appearances include Phil Kline and Jim Jarmusch’s Tesla in New York with American Contemporary Music Ensemble, David Jackson’s staged song cycle Model Love, and works by Paul Moravec, Mark Adamo, Martin Hennessy, Stephen Paulus, and Gerald Busby. Operatic highlights include Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito, Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte, Carmen and Mercedes in Carmen, and Zenobia in Radamisto. She has been a recipient of honors and awards from the Santa Fe Opera, the Merola Opera Board, Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, and the A E Ventures Foundation. AOP credits include Love/Hate, Patience & Sarah, and Model Love.

Yulia Van Doren (Soprano) has recently sung with the Nashville Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and City of London Sinfonia. She has also sung Monsigny’s  Le roi et le fermier at Opera de Versailles, Lincoln Center, and Washington’s Kennedy Center, Scarlatti’s Tigrane at Opera de Nice, and made her Carnegie Hall debut in a new work by Angel Lam. A specialist in baroque repertoire she has sung at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Ravinia Festival, and Tanglewood Festival (Handel’s Orlando with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra); Kennedy Center (Charpentier’s Actéon with Opera Lafayette); Macao International Music Festival (Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Berlin’s Akademie für Alte Musik); and Houston and Baltimore Symphonies (Handel’s Messiah). She made her debut at Amsterdam’s Concertgebou with Radio Kamer Filharmonie as Galatea in Acis and Galatea and has sung Belinda in multiple tours of Dido and Aeneas (choreographed and directed by Mark Morris) and St. Teresa in Morris’ production of Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


Millay Poetry Inspires June AOP Premiere

May 3, 2013

poster for Sympony Space

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.


Two World Premieres and many, many raves

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.

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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!


2013 Lincoln Center Festival to Feature AOP Premiere

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


MIDAS composer strikes gold with Arts and Letters Award

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.


AOP Makes the NYTimes “Best Of” list for the 2nd Year in a Row with OUT COLD

December 17, 2012

Theo Bleckmann and ACME. Photo: Rahav Segev

“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.


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