AOP C&V Alums: Proving that “music career” is not an oxymoron

March 27, 2014

Perla. Vrebalov. Redler & Cooper. Karlsson.

What do these five names all have in common? (Well, besides making great names for law firms, super-spies, or swanky bars.)

Answer: They all participated in AOP’s Composers & the Voice! Our C&V artists are everywhere, utilizing the irreplaceable skills they learned during C&V’s one-year intensive in how to write for the operatic voice.

To name a few (or rather, several):

Jack Perla’s (C&V ‘07-08) new opera Jonah and the Whale premiered at LA Opera this past weekend, and this Friday Alexandra Vrebalov (C&V ’02-03) kicks off Kronos Quartet’s 40th Anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall.

C&V alums Mikael Karlsson, Sara Cooper, and Zach Redler failed to win any medals at Sochi this year and will have to be satisfied with their music prizes.

C&V alums Mikael Karlsson, Sara Cooper, and Zach Redler failed to win any medals at Sochi this year and will have to be satisfied with their music prizes.

Zach Redler and Sara Cooper were awarded the 2014 Jonathan Larson Grant while their fellow C&V ‘11-12 alum Mikael Karlsson picked up the Wladimir and Rhoda Lakond Prize from The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Rounding out C&V ’11-12 is Ronnie Reshef, who won the Yardena Alotin Composition Competition for her 2010 piece Suicide (after Grosz), and Robert Paterson, whose robot-opera The Companion is debuting at Roulette this April…not to be confused with Rachel Peters’ baguette-opera Companionship, which just finished at the Manhattan School of Music, and has a reading at the John Duffy Composers Institute this May. Ronnie and Rob also turn up at Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers festival with two C&V-developed works, also in May.

An early AOP workshop of The Summer King, held on a sidewalk in Brooklyn. Daniel Sonenberg's opera has its concert premiere in May.

An early AOP workshop of The Summer King, held on a sidewalk in Brooklyn. Daniel Sonenberg’s opera has its concert premiere in May. Indoors, even! Progress!

And in case your May isn’t busy enough, Daniel Sonenberg’s (C&V ’02-03) The Summer King gets its world premiere at Portland Ovations. In late April, Hannah Lash’s (C&V ’05-06) This Ease premieres with the LA Chamber Orchestra.

Last month, Andrew Staniland (C&V ’07-08) won the 2014 Harry Freedman Recording Award. In the past year, Gregory Spears’s (C&V ’07-08) opera Paul’s Case has had three different runs (Pittsburgh Opera, PROTOTYPE, and Urban Arias). Stefan Weisman’s (C&V ’03-04) family opera The Scarlet Ibis is slated for PROTOTYPE 2015.

The latest group of composers who will be filling up your concert calendar. Photo by Ted Gorodetzky.

The latest group of composers who will be filling up your concert calendar. Photo by Ted Gorodetzky.

From this year’s class of super-composers, Gity Razaz was awarded the 2013 Jerome Fund Prize for her concert length vocal piece Abraham in Flames/Elegies of the Earth, which will be presented by VisionIntoArt at The Stone this May. Guy Barash released his debut album Facts About Water on innova recordings. Joseph Rubinstein will have select choral pieces available through See-A-Dot Music Publishing in the coming months.

Not to mention that Jason Kim (C&V ’13-14 librettist) was hired to write for HBO’s Girls, and Daniel Felsenfeld (C&V ’06-07) has worked with everyone from writers Robert Coover, Will Eno, and Wesley Stace to hip-hoppers Jay-Z and The Roots…with those trail-blazing ladies Nora and Alice thrown in there for good measure.

This is just a fraction of our alums’ successes. And that’s not even counting the dozens of operas and concerts that our Resident Singers appear in every month! (Trust us, that would be one crazy calendar.)

This is the future of new music. You heard it here first, and here’s where you can hear it next.

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Virgin Mothers and Sex Robots Perform Operas at Brooklyn’s Roulette

March 20, 2014

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American Opera Projects (AOP) in partnership with American Modern Ensemble (AME) and presented by Ear Heart Music (EHM), performs “The Wanton Sublime & The Companion”, a pair of one-act chamber operas, on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 8:00 PM, at Roulette (509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY). Tickets: $20 general; $15 members/seniors. Roulette.org

The Wanton Sublime, from composer Tarik O’Regan, librettist Anna Rabinowitz and commissioned by AOP,  explores the human and mythic aspects of the Virgin Mary. In this one-act monodrama for mezzo-soprano and amplified chamber ensemble, Mary struggles to retain her flesh and blood identity in the face of external forces intent on symbolizing her as the ideal woman. Featuring mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn under the direction of Mallory Catlett. This 30 minute monodrama is being developed through the AOP First Chance program and was last seen at Opera New Jersey in 2012.

Says Anna Rabinowitz, “The Virgin Mary comes down to us through western cultural history as the eternal feminine, exemplar of woman as gentle and compliant. The vehicle through which she has been known may be theology, but, as the dominant female in our culture, many of the characteristics of her womanhood are today in conflict with powerful social and political issues of gender. In The Wanton Sublime, Mary is a woman who, in the face of the destiny presented to her, occupies an interior world rife with questions rather than received answers. She is troubled, anxious, ambiguous, aware of her rights or lack thereof.”

In The Companion, a futuristic one-act opera by composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote, people live with biomorphic androids that cook, clean, and make love on demand. Maya is not completely satisfied with her model so she calls in tech-support worker Dax. But can Maya handle Joe 2.0? Featuring soprano Nancy Allen Lundy, tenor Brandon Snook, and baritone Kyle Guglielmo under the direction of Walker Lewis. The 35 minute opera is the second act of an Il trittico-style evening called Three Way. Both The Companion and its preceding act Safe Word were developed during Robert Paterson’s 2011-12 fellowship in AOP’s Composers & the Voice program.

Brandon Snook performs an aria from The Companion. Composers & the Voice 2012.

Says David Cote, “The Companion is the second act of an opera triptych about sexuality and power called Three Way. Clearly The Companion is science fiction, but who doubts that society is headed this way? In the piece, I wanted to tell a funny yet strange story about obsession, detachment and projection. Technology enables Maya’s quest for perfect love, even as it reflects the absurdity of that quest back at her. Dax knows how robots work, but people are a dark mystery. Joe has amazing perceptual and cognitive powers, but he lacks emotional integration. Whether that makes him more human or less is an open question.”

These semi-staged premieres, featuring the American Modern Ensemble with Tyson Deaton, conductor, will be presented with an intermission. The author A.M. Homes, best known for her novel The End of Alice and her memoir, The Mistress’s Daughter, moderates a mid-concert discussion with fellow Yaddo artists Mallory Catlett, Walker Lewis, Tarik O’Regan, Robert Paterson, and Anna Rabinowitz, as well as David Cote.

READ THE COMPLETE PRESS RELEASE

For press inquiries: Sarah Baird Knight | sarah@dotdotdotmusic.net | t. 718/344-3690 | www.dotdotdotmusic.net


AOP First Chance previews new opera “COMPANIONSHIP” at Manhattan School of Music and Cornelia Street Café

March 5, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Matt Gray, AOP Producing Director, 718-398-4024, mgray@operaprojects.org

Peters Rachel2Composer Rachel Peters; photo by Luke Redmond

EXCERPTS BY COMPOSER RACHEL PETERS FEATURES STUDENT CAST, ARTIST DISCUSSION

BROOKLYN, NY, 3/5/2014 – On March 16 at 2:30PM, American Opera Projects (AOP) First Chance, public presentations of operas-in-progress, returns to the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) for their annual Opera Index series “New American Opera Previews, From Page to Stage” with scenes from Companionship, a new opera by composer Rachel Peters. Tickets for the MSM performance at Greenfield Hall (120 Claremont Ave., NYC 10027) are $20 ($15 advance, $10 Student/senior) and available by calling 212-706-9550. On March 24 at 8:30PM, an encore concert presentation will be held at Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia Street, New York, NYC 10014) as part of the “Otherwise Unsung” series featuring creators of new music-theatre joining forces to deliver contemporary arias and scenes. Tickets for the Cornelia Street Café performance are $10.00 cover plus $10.00 minimum and available by calling 212-989-9319.

Adapted from the short story by Arthur Phillips, Companionship is a dark comedy about a troubled baker on an “all-consuming” quest to create the perfect baguette when the 207,345th loaf comes to life. Directed by Lemuel Wade (AOP’s recent Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom), the excerpts will feature performances by MSM student singers Noragh Devlin, Lesley Dolman, Stephanie Jabre, Matilyn Obregón, and Xiaoming Tian, with Scott Rednour on piano. A talkback with the artists, hosted by former WQXR host Midge Woolsey, will follow the March 16 performance.

Companionship was developed by Ms. Peters in AOP’s Composers & the Voice (C&V) composer training program in 2011-2012 and will be AOP’s 10th collaboration with MSM’s Opera Studies department (Gordon Ostrowski, Asst. Dean) and New American Opera Previews, From Page to Stage. Previous C&V works at MSM have included Jack Perla’s Love/Hate (2012 premiere, ODC Theater with San Francisco Opera), Gregory Spears’ Paul’s Case (world premiere, UrbanArias (2013) and PROTOtype Festival (Jan 2014)), and Daniel Sonenberg’s The Summer King (concert premiere, PortlandOvations, May 2014).

In September C&V fellows will present an operatic concert of “Six Scenes” at AOP’s home base in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. One of these C&V-developed opera scenes will be selected to be performed at MSM for the March 2015 “Page to Stage” series. C&V Voice is made possible in part by a generous multi-year award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Victor Herbert Foundation in Memory of Lois C. Schwartz.

Rachel Peters’ operas include The Wild Beast of the Bungalow (Hartford Opera Theater, upcoming workshop with Center for Contemporary Opera), and Monkey Do (Rhymes With Opera). Musicals include Only Children (NYU Tisch Mainstage, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Dixon Place), Tiny Feats of Cowardice (Adirondack Theatre Festival, HERE), Write Left (Playwrights Horizons Theatre School), Tomato Red (UC Irvine), Octopus Heart (NYU Steinhardt), f2m, and Public Domain. More info at www.racheljpeters.com.

About American Opera Projects (AOP)

At the forefront of the contemporary opera movement for a quarter-century, AOP creates, develops and presents opera and music theatre projects collaborating with young, rising and established artists in the field. AOP has produced over 20 world premieres including most recently Lera Auerbach’s The Blind, a co-production with Lincoln Center Festival 2013 and Phil Kline’s Out Cold (2012) at BAM. AOP-developed premieres include Stephen Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon at New York City Opera (2011), Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness at London’s Royal Opera House (2011), Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls at Fort Worth Opera (2010), This Is the Rill Speaking at Opera Memphis (2013). Upcoming: AOP-commissioned The Wanton Sublime and The Companion at Roulette (April 2014) and As One at BAM, September 2014. http://www.operaprojects.org

© Copyright 2014 American Opera Projects, Inc. All rights reserved.


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