American Opera Projects is featured in a two-page profile in the latest edition of Opera News. The Dec 2008 article by Barry Singer describes how “in trying economic times for the arts, American Opera Projects commits itself to the trickiest of all ventures — creating new operas and selling them to the public.”
Making new operas is an uneasy enterprise. No one — not the composers and librettists on the front lines, not the administrators and funders who succor them behind the scenes — really has a firm grasp on this business. New operas today demand musical savvy, dramaturgical savvy and marketing savvy in almost equal measure. They require audience analysis, along with readings and workshops — but in what proportions, and at what cost? In our slippery cultural epoch, it is especially hard to say.
For all that, American Opera Projects soldiers on. From a small warren of offices in a modest landmark building in Fort Greene, on the ever-gentrifying fringes of Brooklyn — a spot about as far from the vast stage of the Metropolitan Opera as one can get in New York City and still be within the five boroughs’ confines — American Opera Projects grapples with the job of generating new American operas, one by one.