The Summer King, Judgment of Midas, and Paul’s Case to be featured in the Spring

October 29, 2013
The Summer King, Judgment of Midas, and Paul's Case

The Summer King, Judgment of Midas, and Paul’s Case

OPERA America will be presenting The Summer King and Judgment of Midas as part of their New Works Forum, a series of showcases of works-in-progress and recent premieres. Now in its third year, the New Works Forum will take place January 12-15, 2014 in the Audition Recital Hall at the National Opera Center in New York City. Panel discussions will accompany performances and explore the developmental process.

The Summer King (music by Daniel Sonenberg, libretto by Sonenberg & Daniel Nester) covers the legacy of Negro League baseball player Josh Gibson. Dubbed “the black Babe Ruth”, Gibson was the second Negro League player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The opera explores the racial tensions surrounding black-owned teams and delves into the stadium culture of the 1930s. The Summer King will have its world premiere with Portland Ovations in May 2014.

Judgment of Midas (music by Kamran Ince, libretto by Miriam Seidel) takes as its starting point a series of mythical musical contests said to have taken place on Mount Tmolus, Turkey. Witnessed by King Midas, the contests pit the gods Pan and Apollo against each other in a struggle between ‘street’ music and ‘high’ music. Judgment of Midas had its world premiere in Milwaukee with Present Music in April, 2013.

The 2014 New Works Forum has been scheduled to coincide with PROTOTYPE Festival, presented by HERE and Beth Morrison Projects. Paul’s Case (music by Gregory Spears, libretto by Spears and Kathryn Walat), will be among the works featured at PROTOTYPE. Originating from AOP’s Composers and the Voice program, the opera follows the story of Paul, a high school dandy living in turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh who runs away to revel in the luxuries of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Performances at the New Works Forum are only open to OPERA America members. Previous AOP operas featured at the forum include Heart of Darkness, The Golden Gate, and Wolf-in-Skins. PROTOTYPE Festival is open to the public.

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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!


MIDAS composer strikes gold with Arts and Letters Award

March 7, 2013

Last Friday, The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced  AOP composer Kamran Ince  (pictured) as one of four composers who will receive a $7500 Arts and Letters Award in Music, which honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice.  Each will receive an additional $7500 toward the recording of one work.  The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members:  Ezra Laderman (chairman), Samuel Adler, David Del Tredici, John Harbison, Tania Leon, Fred Lerdahl, and Joan Tower.   The awards will be presented at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May.  Candidates for music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy.

From the Academy’s press release:

The energy and rawness of Turkish and Balkan music, the spirituality of Byzantium and Ottoman music, the tradition of European art music and the extravert and popular qualities of the American psyche are the basis of Kamran Ince’s sound world. These ingredients happily breathe in cohesion as they spin the linear and vertical contrasts so essential to his works. Ince is Professor of Composition at University of Memphis and at MIAM, Istanbul Technical University. His prizes include the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lili Boulanger Prize. Five recent Naxos CD’s are devoted to his music.

Present Music and Milwaukee Opera Theatre will premiere his opera, Judgment of Midas, in April, 2013.  Judgment of Midas was developed in American Opera Projects‘ First Chance program with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


New Ince CDs Released On Naxos

September 8, 2010

Kamran Ince

Kamran Ince, the composer of AOP’s upcoming concert in Turkey of Judgment of Midas, had three new CDs released digitally on Naxos this past month, with a fourth making its debut in October.

(Reviews excerpted from Tom Strini’s “About This Recording” on Naxos.)

Music for a Lost Earth, with the Istanbul Modern Music Ensemble

“Imagine travelling through a desert, all sand and stars and moon on a still night. And there, without explanation or context, stands a chair, placed just so on the sand. Thus the ordinary becomes an object of mystery and contemplation. Kamran’s lonely little chords are like that chair—utterly familiar, utterly strange, utterly ambiguous, and somehow poignant. They prompt a small, unidentifiable heartache. Something is present, but someone is missing.” To continue reading, click here.

Hammers and Whistlers, with the Present Music Ensemble

“The stream-of-consciousness whirl, built around a surreal poem by İzzeddin Çalışlar, includes jangle and clatter and avian chirping, iron-foundry pounding, bedlams of overlapping melodies and all manner of alarms and cries. Calm, quiet choral chants butt against crashing gongs and blasting brass…” To continue reading, click here.

Symphony No. 5, “Galatasaray,” with the Bilkent Symphony

“In the third movement, a swaggering advance in 3/4 time underpins building pre-match excitement, anticipated in sung dialogue between tenor and boy soprano…With its soloists and chorus and reverent and rousing words and music, the Symphony No. 5 is like an oratorio devoted to a soccer team.” To continue reading, click here.

The CDs can also be downloaded through Amazon by searching for “Kamran Ince” on their website.

Galatasaray will be released in hard copy in April 2011 and Hammers and Whistlers will have a limited hard copy release in a few months.  The fourth CD, Constantinople, will be released in hard copy in July 2011.


Gold Streak for “Judgment of Midas”

May 4, 2010

Midas and Apollo

King Midas listens to the music of the god Apollo

American Opera Projects’ opera-in-progress, Judgment of Midas, has just added Berkeley Opera as another development partner!  In addition to this new promising partnership, AOP has also been invited to Ankara, Turkey for the orchestra concert of  Judgment of Midas!  The invitation was extended to AOP by the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, who will be performing the opera’s orchestration  in January of 2011.  Judgment of Midas is the result of a successful collaboration between composer Kamran Ince and librettist Miriam Seidel.  The opera depicts the musical competition of rivals Apollo (the maker of the god’s music) and Pan (maker of “street” music) on Mount Tmolus in Sardis, Turkey.  The opera’s dramatic appeal and Mediterranean setting made it the perfect work to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Sardis/Lydia excavations, scheduled for production in 2010.  If that isn’t enough excitement for one show, Judgment of Midas has also attracted the interest of NAXOS, who would like to commission a recording of the work within the next few seasons!  J. David Jackson (conductor of Simon Boccanegra at the Met this year) and Jonathan Khuner (fresh from a run as prompter for “Lulu” at the Met) will make a great addition to the Midas team as music directors.

Judgment of Midas made its NYC debut at OPERA America’s Trustee Board dinner on February 20. To read more about this star-studded event, read our past news page here.


AOP Brings the Music to OPERA America Dinner

February 26, 2010

J. David Jackson (far left) conducts (l. to r.) Richard Bernstein, Nicole Mitchell, Matt Morgan, Sarah Moulton, Heather Meyers, and Sarah Nelson Craft in scenes from Kamrain Ince's JUDGMENT OF MIDAS

On February 20, AOP had the exclusive honor of providing a selection of its works as the musical entertainment for OPERA America‘s annual National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards Dinner. The notables from the opera world were regaled by a performance of Songs from the F Train and excerpts from Kamran Ince’s opera-in-progress Judgment of Midas. The event was held at the University Club in Midtown Manhattan.

Mezzo-soprano Nicole Mitchell sang Gilda Lyons‘ trio of “Songs From the F Train” at the top of the evening with Thomas Bagwell accompanying on piano. A co-commission from AOP, Fort Greene Park Conservancy and The Walt Whitman Project, “Songs from the F Train” is a setting of poems by three Brooklyn students between the ages of 9 and 12. Since its premiere last summer at the Make Music NY festival, it has been programmed on numerous occasions throughout the city.

Kamran Ince

To finish the evening, Turkish-American composer Kamran Ince was on hand to debut new music from his developing opera Judgment of Midas with authentic Turkish instruments providing the gateway into the setting of this ancient Greek myth set in the composer’s ancestral homeland.  Met Opera Maestro J. David Jackson, accompanied by fellow music director Jonathan Khuner, conducted Met baritone Richard Bernstein as Apollo in his musical duel with NYCO tenor Matt Morgan‘s forest god Pan.  Nicole Mitchell, Sarah Nelson Craft, Sarah Moulton, and Heather Meyer also sang the evening to a close.


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