“Paul’s Case” goes to Los Angeles

April 29, 2010

American Opera Projects is extremely proud to announce that excerpts from Paul’s Case have been selected to appear in OPERA America’s New Works Sampler 2010!!

OPERA America conference bannerAOP is thrilled to have been chosen once again for this honor; Opera companies nationwide submit their pieces to the conference, and Paul’s Case joins an already impressive lineup of performances.  OPERA America is working with the Los Angeles Opera and their Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program to produce a compilation concert of new operatic works, dubbed the New Works Sampler. This exciting production will take place as part of OPERA America’s Opera Conference 2010: New Realities/New Strategies on June 11,2010.  Gregory Spears, composer of Paul’s Case, will also be making the journey to LA to represent his composition on the West Coast.

Stay tuned for a cast list as singers are auditioned!


Opera Grows in Brooklyn is the place to see “the next great masterwork by the next great composer”

April 21, 2010
AbSynth at Opera Grows in Brooklyn

AbSynth at Opera Grows in Brooklyn

Friday April 16, 2010, proved to be a memorable evening of three exciting new operatic works, performed within an equally modern and unique theater space.  American Opera Projects in conjunction with Opera on Tap produced a trio of contemporary opera compositions.

The triple lineup included a futuristic opera in one act entitled Absynth, a collection of songs by composer Tom Cipullo and Margot Alone in the Light, an operatic work that takes place on Venus.  Audience members watched the show from circular seating in the house, surrounded by black pools of water and dim, colored lighting. The almost alien ambiance of Galapagos contributed to the futuristic performances of both Absynth and Margot Alone in the Light, while creating an interesting backdrop for Cipullo’s songs about love and regret.

The iconoclastic reviewers over at Parterre Box were in the audience and noted:

Galapagos was quite an interesting place to see an event like this. I personally think this type of venue is a great place for workshopping new works; those in the audience were young and seemingly very supportive of the performances…

What I kept thinking about though, was the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the ’60s, where visionaries like Philip Glass would play in spacious lofts simply because they could. While Galapagos is definitely a money making venture, I think this is as close as the opera world will get to that type of experimental sharing as was seen all those years ago… I would certainly go again to a presentation like this. You never really know if you’ll be there for the premiere of the next great masterwork by the next great composer, and if you aren’t, well, the beer is still cold.

more…

In reply, a blogger named Will also remarked:

…the atmosphere you describe at Galapagos is virtually identical to the way audiences experienced the plays of Shakespeare, and the operas of Cavalli, Handel, Gluck and Rossini when they were new.

The production began with AOP’s Absynth, commissioned, conceived and performed by mezzo- soprano Abigail Fischer.  The futuristic piece combined electronics and vocals to tell the story of a machine that becomes a woman and wishes to return to her original state of being.  Absynth includes compositions by Nico Muhly, Kevin McFarland, Florent Ghys, Caleb Burhans and AOP’s “Composers and the Voice” composers Stephen Andrew Taylor and Andrew Staniland.  The work at large was directed by American Opera Projects Producing Director Matt Gray and also featured actors Mateo Moreno, Erin Posanti, and Craig Kelton Peterson.

“Dreams of Pure Spirit: Songs of Tom Cipullo” rounded out the program as the second performance of the evening.  Cipullo served both as composer and pianist for the compilation, accompanying alternating performers Tory Browers (Soprano), Rebecca Jo Loeb (Mezzo) and Michael Anthony McGee (Baritone).  The songs ranged from humorous commentaries on New York City, to melancholy expressions of love and regret.  Cipullo’s range of emotion was well received by Paterre Box critic Valmont who commented, “His songs can weave several different moods into the same line, and the writing is lyrical and beautiful. He does excel at quirky humor and chooses wonderful texts for this purpose…”

“Opera Grows in Brooklyn” ended with C&V composer Clint Borzoni’s mini-opera Margot in the Light. The text for this opera, written by librettist Emily Conbere, is based on Ray Bradbury short story about the inhabitants of Venus who only see sunlight once in seven years.  Margot in the Light follows the plight of native Earthling Margot, who moves to Venus but still remembers the sun.  The title role of Margot was sung by soprano Martha Guth to positive reviews.  Valmont says of her voice, “Her lyric soprano is easily produced and with great beauty”.  Supporting cast members included Alteouise deVaughn, Lisa Williamson, Kimberly Sogioka and Dennis Blackwell.


“Opera Grows in Brooklyn” will return to Galapagos on Friday, July 16.


The Honor! The Honor! Heart of Darkness heads for a World Premiere

April 21, 2010

Heart of Darkness world premiere logoGet your rivets ready to take your steamer upriver – the Thames, that is.

AOP is very excited to announce that Heart of Darkness will make its World Premiere in 2011 at the Royal Opera House 2 in London, England!  AOP’s Heart of Darkness is a one act chamber opera composed by Tarik O’Regan, based on Joseph Conrad’s much beloved novel of the same name. Heart of Darkness has been developed since 2006 at American Opera Projects with further development in partnership with OperaGenesis & Opera East Productions in England.

The production of Heart of Darkness also boasts an impressive roster of artists and musicians.  The libretto was created by British artist Tom Phillips, and the London premiere will be directed by the acclaimed Edward Dick.   Maestro Oliver Gooch will conduct Britten Sinfonia in the debut performance.

Audiences will have a chance to preview some of the music of Heart of Darkness in an exclusive piano/vocal reading on April 22, 2010. A performance will be held at 7p.m. on 22 Mansfield Street in London as part of The Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust concert series. The vocalist line-up for the evening features a stellar cast of singers (also conducted by Oliver Gooch) including;

-Soprano Jeanine De Bique as Woman of the River
-Mezzo-soprano Miranda Westcott as the Fiancé
-Tenor Philip Sheffield as Marlow
-Tenor Darren Abrahams as Harlequin
-Tenor Steven Ebel as the Boat Director
-Baritone Alex Ashworth as the Manager
-Baritone Ronan Collett as the Boilmaker
-Bass James Gower as Kurtz

Visit www.operaprojects.org/heart_of_darkness for further updates on the world premiere.


Felsenfeld gives a rebel yell to classical music on the NYTimes blog

April 8, 2010

Daniel Felsenfeld

Daniel Felsenfeld

Composers & the Voice alum and man of many talents Daniel Felsenfeld revealed his rebel background and its influence on his composing in a recent essay on the New York Times Opinionator blog.

At 17, rebellion was of course a staple in my life. The smartest kids I knew took the route of dolling themselves up in anti-establishment finery — goth, punk, straight edge — forming bands, going to clubs in Los Angeles, spouting manifestos.  I had auditioned this mode, joining a band (whose name escapes me) and, in one of my great (mercifully unphotographed) late high school moments, taking a long, throbbing solo at a school assembly on one of those bygone over-the-shoulder keyboards.

It seems implausible now, but the “something really wild” Mike held was not goth, metal, or punk.  It was a neatly hand-labeled tape of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  He put it on, and I listened.  I think it was then I actually heard music for the first time.

Read Danny’s full story here…


Listen to AOP and 400 years of opera on Symphony Space Live

April 8, 2010

Symphony Space orchestra

Symphony Space‘s streaming music site is offering audiences a chance to revisit their Wall to Wall Opera festival from 2007 that

explored the world of Western opera over the past 400 years, from Baroque to contemporary. Highlights of the day included a Master Class in bel canto with legendary soprano, Renata Scotto; the “Opera Matinee” featuring the New York City Opera Orchestra conducted by Gerald Steichen; performances by members of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artists Program; scenes from American operas performed by Encompass New Opera Theatre, new operas performed by Center for Contemporary Opera, Music-Theatre Group and American Opera Projects…

AOP’s contribution to this tour of opera history was scenes from Tarik O’Regan‘s Heart of Darkness conducted by Steven Osgood. You can hear this excerpt from Heart of Darkness, which will have its world premiere at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio in 2011, along with the other Wall to Wall performances throughout the month here at Symphony Space Live.


Opera Chic: Before Night Falls one of the top 5 to see

April 7, 2010
Before Night Falls

Before Night Falls

The upcoming world premiere of Jorge Martín‘s opera Before Night Falls continues be all the buzz for the Spring opera season. Just last month the AOP-developed opera was called a “must-see” event by Travel and Leisure and now the notorious Opera Chic has told W magazine that it is her pick for one of “the top five productions that will be in American and European opera houses from now to the beginning of summer.”

Everything’s better in Texas, especially an opera spin-off of Reinaldo Arenas’s autobiography Before Night Falls.

We couldn’t agree more. Find out the rest of her list here…


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