AOP REVIEWS: “Remarkable series” Opera Grows in Brooklyn “an open-minded night of musical experimentation”

July 14, 2010

Galapagos Art Space was the place to be for another night of drinks and drama at Opera Grows in Brooklyn, the hit series from AOP and Opera on Tap.

Just look at what the blogs had to say…

Nicole Mitchell at Opera Grows in Brooklyn

Nicole Mitchell sings "Songs from Hood to Riches"

Parterrebox:

“…it seems clear that the Brooklyn hipster is destined to be the next audience for opera.”

“…once again some amazing surprises were presented by this rag-tag bunch of very experimental artists.”

“…the old and new guard of opera viewers mingled in an open-minded night of musical experimentation.”

Read full review

Opera Insider:

“I for one do not intend to miss another installment of this remarkable series!!! … the eclectic and sometimes challenging musical offerings [are] beautifully framed by the contemporary space and the relaxed, social atmosphere.”

Read full review

Adrienne Danrich performs the Calamus Songs

Adrienne Danrich

The July 9 show kicked off with the rousing set Brooklyn Poets – Past and Present, a combination of songs from AOP and the Walt Whitman Project’s Calamus Songs (Daniel Felsenfeld, Andrew Staniland) and “Songs from Hood to Riches” (Gilda Lyons). Soprano Adrienne Danrich and cellist Hamilton Berry drew thunderous applause for the Whitman settings and mezzo Nicole Mitchell continued her dramatic interpretations of Lyons’s songs based on the poetry of Brooklyn children featuring longtime AOP artist Kelly Horsted on the piano.

Ross Benoliel and Indre Viskontas get busy in the "Chamber"

Ross Benoliel and Indre Viskontas get busy in the "Chamber"

The night continued with singer/songwriter Corey Dargel’s Removable Parts, a disturbing and touching series of portraits about voluntary amputees featuring the incredible piano stylings of Kathleen Supové. Soprano Indre Viskontas and baritone Ross Benoliel brought sexy back with The Bloody Chamber by Daniel Felsenfeld, a new opera being developed by the former C&V composer (prolific, ain’t he?) and staged by the Vineyard Theater’s Sarah Stern.

Opera Grows in Brooklyn will return to Galapagos in 2010 on October 15 and December 10 with all new cutting edge scenes and songs. Mark your calendars now!


Anne Midgette blogs about current state of American opera

July 8, 2010

Anne Midgette, well-known blogger and columnist for The Washington Post, has recently completed a two-part exposé on the state of American opera today.  Citing numerous recent productions across the country, including AOP-developed projects Democracy and Before Night Falls, Midgette described the myriad changes the opera world appears to be undergoing.

American opera is at a crossroads. A production of a new work at a large house costs millions of dollars — hundreds of thousands in commissioning fees alone. It’s a lot to spend on something geared toward the tastes of a narrow target audience, for which there is no mass demand, at a time of shrinking budgets. … The continuing spate of new works shows that the field is at least poking at the idea of creativity, and audiences, however gingerly, are starting to go along with it. The field’s next challenge is to find better ways to reward the good.

– Anne Midgette, “Is Anybody Listening?”, The Washington Post

AOP takes pride in being at the forefront of this movement towards new American opera. To read the full blogs, start with part one, “Is anybody listening? American opera faces crossroads as audiences for performing arts slide”, then proceed to part two, “New American operas are going the way of smaller venues, on smaller scales”.

Certainly a lot of food for thought. Enjoy!


“The Golden Gate” launches web site

July 1, 2010

AOP is excited to announce that the website of one of its current projects, The Golden Gate, has just gone public! There’s a ton of content on the site to enjoy, including information about the piece itself, bios of its creators (composer Conrad Cummings and Vikram Seth, who wrote the novel-in-verse from which the libretto is based), and lots of great videos from the latest workshop of the piece.

Click here to check it all out!

Congratulations to Conrad, Vikram, and the entire The Golden Gate team for putting together such great material. Special thanks to Susan Shaw and Kurt Hoss for designing the website!


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