Hermitage Artist Retreat and American Opera Projects award Opera Genesis fellowships for 2017-18 season

November 16, 2017

 

The second Opera Genesis Fellowships to composer Joseph Rubinstein and librettist Jason Kim will support the creation of a new opera “Legendary”

Composer Joseph N. Rubinstein and librettist Jason Kim at a 2015 American Opera Projects workshop of their opera Legendary. Photo by Steven Pisano.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, FL and New York City’s American Opera Projects (AOP) announce the second Opera Genesis Fellowships to composer Joseph N. Rubinstein and librettist Jason Kim.

The award includes a six-week Hermitage residency, in which these two artists will work on their new opera Legendary, about the drag balls of the 1980s in New York City. The Opera Genesis Fellowship awards are presented annually to artists who have completed training in AOP’s Composer & the Voice (C&V) training program which helps to develop contemporary American opera.

The first fellowships were awarded to the creative team of Mikael Karlsson and co-librettist and visual designer Elle Kunnos de Voss along with co-librettist Kathryn Walat. Their opera, The Echo Drift, on which they worked during their time at the Hermitage, will premiere at the Prototype Festival in January at Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York City.

Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers remarked that “seeing the program come into being with the announcement of the first recipients was very exciting. We exist to inspire and assist artists in the creation of new work. AOP takes it to the next level so that the work can be presented to the public. We are now seeing the fruition of the first fellowship with the world premiere of The Echo Drift, and are eagerly looking forward to welcoming Joe and Jason.”

Charles Jarden, General Director of American Opera Projects, noted, “seeing how much the development of The Echo Drift benefited from the creators’ time at the Hermitage makes me eager to see what new ideas will be sparked when Joe and Jason find their way there this coming year. With so much faith in these two creative artists, AOP is now in the early stages of negotiation about where Legendary will be brought to its full production in an upcoming season.”

American Opera Projects’ Composers & the Voice is a two-year fellowship for composers and librettists which provides experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and opera stage. This free training includes a year of working with the company’s resident ensemble of singers and artistic team, followed by a year of continued promotion and development through AOP and its strategic partnerships. Launched in 2002, C&V has fostered the development of sixty-three composers & librettists. Alumni works that went through AOP’s opera development program and continued to a world premiere include Love/Hate (ODC/San Francisco Opera 2012, Jack Perla), Paul’s Case (UrbanArias 2013, Gregory Spears), and The Scarlet Ibis (Prototype 2015, Stefan Weisman). AOP’s C&V program is generously supported by a multi-year award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

 

ABOUT THE NEW FELLOWS

Joseph N. Rubinstein grew up in Newport News, VA and currently lives in New York City. Joseph’s music is often concerned with dramatic narrative and character, and has been presented by Fort Worth Opera Festival, The Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater, Triad: The Boston Choral Collective, American Opera Projects, The Holy Cross Chamber Singers, The Secret Opera, bass-baritone Matthew Burns at the Spoleto Festival USA, Boston Metro Opera, C4, the Society for New Music, and the Young New Yorker’s Chorus, among others. Recent performances include scenes from Legendary in a 2017 workshop by American Opera Projects, scenes from Legendary on Fort Worth Opera Festival’s 2016 “Frontiers” program, the premiere of “Birthday Song” on Sparks and Wiry Cries inaugural songSLAM, and a new choral work as part of Novi Cantori’s 2017 Composers Forum.  In 2016, he was a fellow in New Dramatists’ Composer-Librettist Studio.  Select works are published by See-A-Dot Music and recorded on 4Tay Records.  He studied music at Columbia University (BA) and The Juilliard School (MM).

Jason Kim is a Korean-born dramatist based in New York City. His immersive musical KPOP recently completed a critically acclaimed sold-out run at Ars Nova Theater. His play The Model American opened the Nikos Stage at the 2017 Williamstown Theatre Festival. His work has been presented at Ma-Yi, Keen Company, Naked Angels, The Flea, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington National Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Manhattan School of Music, Spoleto Festival, Opera America, and others. He is an IFP—Marcie Bloom Fellow in Film, a Screenwriters Colony Fellow, a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans, and a Librettist Fellow in American Opera Project’s Composers & The Voice. He is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and Ars Nova’s Uncharted. He is currently LCT3’s Resident Writer. In television, he has written for HBO’s Girls and Fox’s Gracepoint and has adapted The Middlesteins for Showtime. He is also a Consulting Producer for Love on Netflix. BA Columbia University, MFA New School for Drama. www.waytooserious.com

About the Hermitage Artist Retreat

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL.  It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

About American Opera Projects

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 been a producer on over 30 world premieres, including Kaminsky/Reed/Campbell’s As One (BAM 2014), Lera Auerbach’s The Blind (Lincoln Center Festival 2013), Davis/Pelsue’s Hagoromo (BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival), a dance opera starring Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, and Paterson/Cote’s Three Way (Nashville Opera and BAM 2017).  www.aopopera.org

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

Hermitage Contact: Lisa Rubinstein, lisa@LDRcreative.com or 941-587-3396

Press material is available at: http://aopopera.org/press

 

 

Advertisements

INSIDE Composers & the Voice – January 13th, Part I

February 5, 2014
cv-logo-500 Joe Rubinstein

Composers & the Voice 2013-2014, Joseph Rubinstein

If you ever felt like being a composer was hard, well…it isn’t easy to be an actor either. This was one of the main points demonstrated by the most recent “Composers & the Voice” workshop, in which our trusty acting coach and guide-to-the-stage Pat Diamond led us on an intense exploration of the basics of bringing a character to life. We threw beanbags, created an imaginary Central Park Lake, and talked about mermaids – in my experience, not things you do in your typical new music workshop.

Patrick Diamond

Patrick Diamond

In the previous session, Pat assigned each participant one of three short plays. I was given one of two characters in John Patrick Shanley‘s “A Lonely Impulse of Delight” – the story of a fraught male friendship set in present day New York City. Pat told me to read through it and answer a few questions about my character. The evening began with a general discussion of these questions: who our characters are, where they are, and what they are doing in the scene. From there, things got more subtle – Pat began asking us what our characters most desired, what they were most afraid of, and other personal questions that, if I were my character, I would probably find both hard to answer and even a little forward! Over the course of the evening, however, it became clear just how essential addressing these questions were in order for an actor to create a believable character on stage.

Jason Kim

Jason Kim

Pat had the insight (playful instinct? dark impulse?) to pair me with my writing partner, Jason Kim. Jason and I are old friends from college, so portraying a psychologically complex situation in which two childhood friends reach a critical place in their adult relationship felt somewhat intense. Jason and I were brought to the stage and the remainder of the session was spent on our scene. We began by reading the scene sitting in two chairs, with the stricture that we had to deliver our lines while maintaining eye contact with each other. If eye contact was broken, we had to start again. The challenge with doing this is that I felt I was reading my lines in a stilted or deliberate way. I felt I had to “bring” more to the text emotionally than I could when I had to read and look up. This, it turned out, was exactly what Pat was hoping to address. He was trying to demonstrate that you don’t “bring” emotion to a set of lines when you read them; you use them as an exchange of emotional energy while keeping the backstory of the characters in mind.  The backstory – who your character is, what their relationships are like – determines the particular inflection and type of response. Your job as an actor is to make that backstory a “real” part of how you exchange energy with another character. To further illustrate this point, Pat had us read our lines while throwing a beanbag back and forth at the moments when emotional energy would transfer from one character to another.

After throwing the beanbags, Pat had us “create” the setting in which our scene takes place. We didn’t have props or scenery so this was a mental realization. Still, like the backstory of the characters, it had to feel “real” for it to be convincing. Delineating the boundaries of a “real” Central Park Lake – complete with a swamp, sidewalk, rocky outcropping, and other landscape features – is difficult in a brightly lit, rectangular room filled with chairs and outfitted with wood paneling.  Jason and I did our best, but eventually Pat helped us out by showing us print-outs of pictures he had found online that he felt evoked the particular “look” of our scene.  After browsing through the pictures – showing Central Park at night, moonlight on water, and even pictures of the mermaid that Jason’s character is in love with in the play – the other teams were exhorted to go and find pictures to “build” their own scenes themselves. Based on what I picked up on from the other composers, there should be some pretty entertaining pictures next time we meet – I believe that one play has various Greek gods making mischief on the New York City subway.

– Joe Rubinstein


%d bloggers like this: