AOP Awarded OPERA America grant to develop mobile app

May 7, 2013

AOP’S “HAVE A VOICE” APP TO ENGAGE PERFORMING ARTS AUDIENCES THROUGH TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM

Brooklyn, NY— AOP (American Opera Projects) is awarded a grant of $12,600 in the first year of OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. This new grant program supports the efforts of North American opera companies to build informed, enthusiastic audiences for opera through innovative marketing projects. AOP is one of 13 organizations in the U.S. and Canada to receive funding totaling $300,000. A record-setting 67 applications totaling nearly $2 million in requests were received by OPERA America, demonstrating how vital audience development programs are to opera organizations today.

apps imageThe award will support AOP in the creation of a mobile application, currently entitled “Have a Voice,” to engage and expand opera audiences. By utilizing technology to foster feedback and discourse, the new platform aims to attract a technologically savvy audience while providing useful feedback to creative artists. “Have A Voice,” will be created as a cross-platform application that will allow an audience to share feedback at an event while simultaneously sharing content on the producer’s website and popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. An achievement rewards program will encourage users to remain active in the system in order to achieve virtual and/or physical rewards and prizes (for example: virtual badges, merchant discounts, tickets to participating partner events, etc.).

AOP will partner with other performing arts organizations during the initial year of the application (BETA phase) to provide input and test its effectiveness in anticipation of a public launch in 2014. Current organizations participating are Mark Morris Dance Group, Theatre For a New Audience, Irondale Ensemble Project, and The Brick (Brooklyn, NY), HERE Arts Center (New York, NY), Opera On Tap (based in New York, NY with 12 national chapters), Opera Memphis (Memphis, TN), and UrbanArias (Arlington, VA). AOP’s goal is to share the “Have a Voice” brand with a wide range of performing arts companies so as to encourage the participation, attendance, and rewards amongst an ever-increasing network, while specifically enhancing awareness of the creative profile of opera.

As the national nonprofit service organization, OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. “As entertainment options continue to grow, opera companies face increased competition for audiences,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The Building Opera Audiences grant program provides funding to experiment with innovative projects that help engage new and retain current audiences, ensuring that opera and opera companies continue to flourish.”

Each funded project will be documented and evaluated throughout its lifespan. The results will be shared with the opera field, so that other organizations can learn from and replicate projects in their communities.

The idea for the app came from AOP Producing Director Matt Gray with the goal to better gather audience feedback that is at the core of AOP’s mission to develop and produce new works. “Our audiences are wonderfully unique. They love witnessing every step of the creative process. But getting them to comfortably express their thoughts about what they had experienced was a challenge. Comment cards, online polls, blog posts, Q&A sessions with the creators – each has its advantages and disadvantages. Putting the ability to respond in the format of their choice – written, video, audio, multiple choice – at the event itself while an audience’s ideas are still fresh, we had always known was going to be the key. Only now has the technology caught up to make that happen. It was OPERA America’s desire to attract new audiences that made us think beyond just using the app as a private tool for ourselves and share it with a network of performing arts companies, and ultimately our various audiences.”

The complete list of organizations receiving Building Opera Audiences grants is: American Opera Projects (Brooklyn, NY), Arizona Opera (Phoenix, AZ), Florentine Opera Company (Milwaukee, WI), Los Angeles Opera, Madison Opera, Opera on the James (Lynchburg, VA), Opera Memphis, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera, Seattle Opera, Syracuse Opera and Vancouver Opera.

The Building Opera Audiences grant program is made possible through the generosity of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.


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!


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