Lemuel Wade (1974-2014)

January 5, 2015

Lemuel WadeAll of us here at AOP are mourning the passing of talented artist and dear friend Lemuel Wade who lost his sudden battle with cancer on December 22. Lem directed the sold-out AOP hit Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, which premiered in February 2014 in Brooklyn. Along with Tubman, Lem’s AOP projects included the concert version of Daniel Sonenberg’s The Summer King in Portland, Maine, Companionship and Dreaming of Wonderland at Manhattan School of Music, and numerous in-house workshops. He was laid to rest among family and friends in his native Chicago.

We are humbly moved that Lem’s family has selected AOP as one of the 3 charities for those interested in making contributions in Lem’s memory.


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.


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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