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

 

 

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Announcing the winners of the 2017-19 Composers & the Voice fellowships!

July 20, 2017

AOP (American Opera Projects) and Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood have selected six composers and three librettists to receive fellowships for its upcoming ninth season of Composers & the Voice. The 2017-2019 season will train, and present new works from, composers Matthew Browne, Scott Ordway, Frances Pollock, Pamela Stein LyndeAmber Vistein, and Alex Weiser and librettists Laura Barati, Kim Davies, and Sokunthary Svay. The primary focus of Composers & the Voice is to give emerging composers and librettists experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage.

 

“The philosophy of Composers & the Voice since its beginning has been that by immersing composers and librettists in hands-on work with skilled singers and music directors, we empower them to create groundbreaking works that are true to each of their artistic languages,” says Osgood.  “Composers rarely have the opportunity to work with opera singers during their training, and C&V was designed to address this void. I could not be prouder of the commissions and premieres that have flowed to the alumni of C&V.”

The fellows were chosen from an extensive pool of applicants by a panel made up of C&V and AOP staff and professional artists that included Osgood, AOP General Director Charles Jarden, AOP Producing Director/C&V Head of Drama Matt Gray, C&V Head of Music Mila Henry, librettist Sara Cooper, singer Amy van Roekel, and composers Conrad Cummings, Jeremy Gill, Jennifer Griffith, Laura Kaminsky, Kristin Kuster, and Gregory Spears.

The Composers & the Voice fellowships include a year of working with the company’s Resident Ensemble of Singers and Artistic Team, over 45 hours of “Skill-Building Sessions” of acting courses with director Mary Birnbaum (Die Zauberflöte at Juilliard), theatrical improvisation led by Terry Greiss (Co-Founder, Ensemble Actor, Executive Director of Irondale Ensemble Project), and libretto development with Libretto Writing Instructor Mark Campbell (Silent Night, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, As One), and two public concerts of new works. This is followed by a year of continued promotion and development through AOP and its strategic partnerships.

Composers Ricky Ian Gordon (27, The Grapes of Wrath), David T. Little (Dog Days, JFK), Missy Mazzoli (Breaking the Waves, Songs From the Uproar), Tobias Picker (An American Tragedy, Emmeline), Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell), and Gregory Spears (Fellow Travelers, Paul’s Case), and librettists Gene Scheer (Cold Mountain, Moby Dick) and Royce Vavrek (Dog Days, JFK) will serve as the upcoming season’s “Artistic Chairs,” each of whom are assigned a fellow, providing one-on-one artistic advice and career guidance.

Support for AOP’s Composers & the Voice program is provided in part by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Bios of C&V fellows, singers, instructors, and music directors available at www.aopopera.org/composers_voice/2017-19.html

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AOP to present the complete video of the 2014 world premiere of As One for one week

June 21, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2017

TO CELEBRATE LGBTQ PRIDE, AMERICAN OPERA PROJECTS PRESENTS THE COMPLETE VIDEO OF THE 2014 WORLD PREMIERE OF AS ONE – “A TRANSGENDER STORY WITH POWER, PASSION”

The popular chamber opera by Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell, and Kimberly Reed will be screened to the public June 23-30 on the AOP website.

Premiere production at BAM features mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone Kelly Markgraf sharing the role of the transgender protagonist.

 

BROOKLYN, NYIn celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, American Opera Projects (AOP) will make available to the public the video of their 2014 World Premiere production of the opera As One from June 23-30, 2017 on the AOP website at www.aopopera.org/AsOne/worldpremiere.  As One, with music and concept by Laura Kaminsky, an original libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, and film by Ms. Reed chronicles the experiences of a transgender person with empathy and wit as she emerges into harmony with the world around her.

As One has become one of the most produced contemporary American operas written in the past 50 years with eight new productions around the country (and one in Berlin, Germany) in the three years since its premiere and at least eight more scheduled for the 2017-18 season, including San Diego Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre.

AOP developed and commissioned the one-act chamber opera specifically for internationally-acclaimed singers (and real-life husband and wife) Kelly Markgraf, baritone, and Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, who shared the role of the protagonist Hannah in the world premiere production at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), directed by Ken Cazan, conducted by Steven Osgood, and featuring the Utah-based Fry Street Quartet. The production design by David Jacques includes film by Kimberly Reed, director of the award-winning documentary, Prodigal Sons. Costume design was by Sara Jean Tosetti.

Reviewing the world premiere, The New York Times said, “As One forces you to think, simultaneously challenging preconceptions and inspiring empathy.” Subsequent productions earned the opera additional critical praise: “The real secret of the opera’s success… is that under everything lays a winning coming-of-age story. … By moving beyond the daily news, As One approaches admirable universality.” (The Los Angeles Times); “a transgender story with power, passion … beautiful lyrical moments… as uplifting as any operatic ending could be.” (Seattle Times); “A thoughtful and substantial piece as well as that rarest of operatic commodities — a story that lends itself to dramatization in music.” (The Washington Post); “As One is the hottest title in opera right now … An accomplished bit of art-making, with considerable entertainment value, that thrusts itself smack into the current political and social discourse.” (The Denver Post)

In addition to As One, Brooklyn-based opera producer American Opera Projects has developed and produced numerous LGBTQ-themed works including the 1998 Lincoln Center Festival world premiere of Patience & Sarah by Paula Kimper and Wende Person, one of the first operas about a gay relationship.

“While AOP’s roster of LGBTQ operas is growing, clearly in our era there is still significant progress to be made,” says AOP Producing Director Matt Gray. “Opera has unfortunately been late to embrace contemporary works, especially ones that address current events and lifestyles. But it is encouraging to see that more and more opera companies recognize the need to present stories that reflect contemporary issues and portray a diversity of characters.” In recent years, audiences have seen successful premieres of LGBTQ-themed operas such as Paul’s Case, Before Night Falls, and A Letter to East 11th Street – all having received development in AOP’s First Chance program – as well as Fellow Travelers, Three Decembers, Brokeback Mountain, Prince of Players, Champion, and Angels in America. Gray continues, “For us to empathize with the struggles of others there can be no art form where their stories are not told. AOP holds as a goal that a proliferation of these stories will allow opera audiences to recognize that the conflicts and lives of every person are relatable. And that the discovery of those inherent, relatable truths of our unified humanity makes enlightening, and exciting, entertainment.”

For more information about transgender issues please visit the GLAAD WEBSITE.

AS ONE photo 3 by Ken Howard for AOP

Baritone Kelly Markgraf (left) and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke shared the role of the transgender protagonist Hannah in the 2014 world premiere of As One, an opera by Laura Kaminsky, Kimberly Reed, and Mark Campbell. Photo by Ken Howard.

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PRESS CONTACT:  Matthew Gray, AOP Producing Director, 718-398-4024, mgray@operaprojects.org

AOP Awards Seven Fellowships for Year of Free Training in Opera Composition

July 17, 2013

FELLOWSHIP MENTORS INCLUDE MARK CAMPBELL, DARON HAGEN, JAKE HEGGIE, LIBBY LARSEN, JOHN MUSTO, TOBIAS PICKER, STEPHEN SCHWARTZ

BROOKLYN, NY – AOP (American Opera Projects) announces six composers and a librettist for its seventh season of Composers & the Voice. Chosen by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood, the 2013-2014 season will include composers Guy Barash, Avner Finberg, Jeremy Gill, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Gity Razaz, Joseph Rubinstein and librettist Jason Kim. The primary focus of Composers & the Voice is to give emerging composers and librettists experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage.

The composers and librettists will begin their year-long fellowship in September, working with the company’s Resident Ensemble of Singers – sopranos Deborah Lifton and Kristin Sampson, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, tenor Dominic Armstrong, baritone Jorell Williams, and bass-baritone Matthew Burns – an Artistic Team of music directors, guest composers, and instructors in drama and improv. All sessions will be in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, home of AOP.

The fellowship includes one-on-one interaction with the Artistic Chairs of Composers & the Voice, a group of established professional artists from the worlds of opera and music theatre. This year’s Artistic Chairs are librettist Mark Campbell (Silent Night, Later the Same Evening), composers Daron Hagen (Amelia, Shining Brow), Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking), John Musto (The Inspector, Later the Same Evening), Tobias Picker (American Tragedy, Dolores Claiborne), Libby Larsen (Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus, Picnic), and composer-librettist Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Séance on a Wet Afternoon). Past chairs include Kaija Saariaho, Tan Dun, John Corigliano, and Lee Hoiby.

Steven Osgood advises composer Hannah Lash in a previous season of Composers & the Voice.

Steven Osgood advises composer Hannah Lash in a previous season of Composers & the Voice.

At the end of the program, AOP will present the results of the participants’ work in public performances – First Glimpse, a concert of songs in Spring 2014, and Six Scenes, an evening of short opera scenes in Fall 2014. One of these operas-in-progress will be selected to receive a staged reading at Manhattan School of Music in Spring 2015.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation continues its support of AOP’s Composers & the Voice program through 2014 as part of a two hundred thousand ($200,000) multi-year grant award, which also covers artistic personnel and other program activities. The Victor Herbert Foundation has established a new position this year, and will sponsor one fellow’s expenses for travel and costs of preparing and producing scenes outside C&V program activities in 2014. The selected fellow will hold The Victor Herbert Foundation Composers & The Voice Chair, created in memory of longtime opera supporter and former AOP board member, Lois C. Schwartz.

Previous fellows in the Composers & the Voice program have gone on to receive numerous awards, commissions, and premieres, including Jack Perla (Love/Hate, San Francisco Opera, 2012), Gregory Spears (Paul’s Case, UrbanArias, 2013, Prototype Festival (NYC) and Pittsburgh Opera, 2014), Stefan Weisman (Darkling, AOP commission, NYC, 2006), Hannah Lash (Aspen Music Festival), Daniel Felsenfeld (Nora, In the Great Outdoors, AOP commission, NYC, 2011), Daniel Sonenberg (The Summer King, Fort Worth Opera Frontiers, 2013), Aleksandra Vrebalov (Mileva, Serbian National Theater), and Vivian Fung (2013 Juno Award “Classical Composition of the Year”). A complete list of alumni can be found at AOP’s website, operaprojects.org/composers_voice.htm.

BIOS

C&V FELLOWS

Barash, Guy_by Glenn CornettGuy Barash is a composer of modern music. His compositions include symphonic, chamber, vocal and electroacoustic works. He has written an extensive body of work that incorporates text in various settings and arrangements. Born and raised in Israel, Barash completed his B.A. in music from the University of Haifa. He holds a master’s degree in music composition from NYU.  Guy Barash’s collaboration with American author Nick Flynn on Proteus, a chamber oratorio based on Flynn’s second memoir The Ticking Is The Bomb, had its world premiere at Galapagos Art Space in 2010. Blind Huber for two singers and chamber ensemble based on the eponymous book of poems by Flynn was premiered fall 2011 at Greenwich House. Barash’s recent collaborations have been with a wide array of artists on multidisciplinary projects.  In 2012 Guy was composer-in-residence at Turtle Bay Music School as a recipient of Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Award. guybarash.com

Finberg, Avner_hsAvner Finberg is an Israeli composer and violinist currently residing in the United States. His music has been performed in the United States and abroad by orchestras and ensembles including the Mannes Orchestra, Meitar Ensemble, and the Manhattan School of Music Philharmonia.  Mr. Finberg’s piece Kinah for chamber ensemble will represent Israel in the upcoming ISCM New Music Days 2013 in Vienna this November. Mr. Finberg earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance at the Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance, and holds a master’s degree in composition from Mannes College. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Mr. Finberg has studied composition with Menahem Zur and Ari Ben-Shabtai in Israel, and with Robert Cuckson, Susan Botti and Samuel Adler in the United States. Avner Finberg is a member of ASCAP and the Israeli Composer’s Guild. avnerfinbergmusic.com

Gill, Jeremy_hsRecent premieres by composer Jeremy Gill include Before the Wresting Tides, a piano concerto/choral work commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club and premiered by the Mendelssohn Club, Rubinstein Prize-winning pianist Ching-Yun Hu, and the Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra; Capriccio, an hour-long string quartet commissioned by Chamber Music America for the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet; and Diario dun Camiño for solo guitar, commissioned and premiered by Peter Fletcher. Upcoming commissioned works include an oboe concerto for Dallas Symphony principal Erin Hannigan and a clarinet concerto for Christopher Grymes and the Harrisburg Symphony.  Active as a conductor and pianist, Jeremy has conducted 35 world premieres featuring artists such as Lucy Shelton, Eric Owens, and Evan Hughes, and has accompanied flutist Mimi Stillman and baritone Jonathan Hays in recitals throughout the country. In 2012, University of Rochester Press published A Dance of Polar Opposites by George Rochberg, which Jeremy edited and for which he wrote the introduction. jeremytgill.com

Kim Jason 115Jason Kim is a Korean-born dramatist based in Brooklyn, New York.  His plays include New America (Naked Angels 1st Mondays), Normal, Father School, and A Modern Feeling (New School for Drama).  His screenplay Auto is currently in development with producer Kishori Rajan at Line x Line Productions (May in the Summer, Four, Gimme the Loot).  Teleplays include Epidemic and FLOTUS.  Jason is the recipient of the Marcie Bloom Fellowship in Film and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.  MFA New School for Drama, BA Columbia University.

Pinto-Correia, Andreia_hsAndreia Pinto-Correia’s recent honors include commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, Boston Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, American Composers Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center, Minnesota University, and National Bank of Portugal/Culturgest. Other highlights include an Alpert Award in the Arts/Ucross Foundation Residency Prize, a New Music USA/Music Alive composer residency with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, and the European Premiere of her Tríptico with the Gulbenkian Foundation Orchestra under Joana Carneiro.  Born in Portugal, Andreia Pinto-Correia began her studies in her native Lisbon at the Academia de Amadores de Música. She received her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Bob Brookmeyer and Michael Gandolfi. She was a fellow of the Minnesota Composer Institute, Tanglewood and Aspen Festivals, and received residencies from MacDowell Colony, Sacatar and Valparaíso Foundations. andreiapintocorreia.com

Razaz, Gity_hsGity Razaz’s music ranges from concert solo pieces to large symphonic works. She is an active collaborator involved in projects across disciplines from modern dance to electro-acoustic soundscapes.  Gity’s music has been commissioned and performed by the renowned Italian Plurimo ensemble and Agimus Venezia, the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, The Amsterdam Cello Biennale, The Albany Symphony Orchestra, Metropolis Ensemble, The Juilliard Symphony Orchestra, The Sirius String Quartet, The National Ballet School of Canada, and Arte Symphonie among others. Her compositions have earned numerous national and international awards and special recognition namely from ASCAP (2009- 2012), the Libby Larsen Prize in Search for New Music Competition, The Palmer Dixon Award for the outstanding composition of the year (2010, 2012), the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, the Brian Israel Composition Prize (2007, 2008), and the Margaret Blackburn Composition Competition (2007). Her upcoming projects include a ballet commissioned by the National Ballet School of Canada and a vocal work sponsored by VIA (VisionIntoArt) for their inaugural festival in 2014. gityrazaz.com

Rubinstein, Joseph_hsJoseph N. Rubinstein grew up in Newport News, VA and currently resides in New York City. Joseph’s music is particularly concerned with dramatic narrative and storytelling, and is defined by vivid musical characterizations and striking juxtapositions. His pieces have been performed by groups and individuals including the Society for New Music, tenor Gregory Wiest, Boston Metro Opera, organist Benjamin Sheen, the Norfolk Contemporary Music Ensemble, The Columbia University Bach Society, WorldMuse, C4, the Young New Yorker’s Chorus, DETOUR New Music, and the International Vocal Arts Workshop in Croatia.  He has received degrees from Columbia University, where he studied with Joseph Dubiel and Sebastian Currier, and The Juilliard School, where he worked with Robert Beaser.  Joseph’s works have received recognition from ASCAP, the Society for New Music, and the Schola Cantorum on Hudson, among other organizations.  He is also active as a tenor in the New York City area. josephnrubinstein.com

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

osgood, stevenDuring his tenure as Artistic Director of American Opera Projects (2001 to 2008), Steven Osgood created Composers & the Voice, and conducted the world premieres of Paula Kimper and Wende Persons’ Patience & Sarah at the Lincoln Center Festival, and Janice Hamer and Mary Azrael’s Lost Childhood at the International Vocal Arts Institute (Tel Aviv). He has also conducted premieres by Jonathan Sheffer (Blood on the Dining Room Floor), Tan Dun (Peony Pavilion), Xenakis (Oresteia), Missy Mazzoli (Song from the Uproar), Mohammed Fairouz (Sumeida’s Song), and Daron Hagen (Little Nemo in Slumberland). He has served on the Music Staff of the Metropolitan Opera since 2006.  Recent productions include Opera Memphis’ Midtown Opera Festival, Hawaii Opera Theater’s Tosca, and Chautauqua Opera’s Peter Grimes. srosgood.com

 

MUSIC DIRECTORS

Henry, Mila-Headshot-1Mila Henry is a New York-based pianist who specializes in contemporary opera, musical theater, and chamber music.  She is Resident Music Director with American Opera Projects, and has worked with OPERA America, Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, Gotham Chamber Opera, American Lyric Theater, and Center City Opera Theater.  A sought-after collaborator, she has teamed with composers Libby Larsen, Anthony Davis, Mark Adamo, Conrad Cummings, Missy Mazzoli, Mohammed Fairouz, Tarik O’Regan, Paola Prestini, Douglas Cuomo, and Daniel Felsenfeld, and has performed in the PROTOTYPE, Make Music New York, BEAT, New York Children’s Theater, Philadelphia Fringe, Queens New Music, and InsightALT festivals.  Recent and current projects include The Blind with Lincoln Center Festival (Assistant Conductor), the chamber music series Atmospheric Shift: Music of the Elements with new music ensemble Two Sides Sounding, and Kamala Sankaram’s music-theater work Thumbprint with PROTOTYPE.  Mila holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and Elizabethtown College.  She lives in Brooklyn.  milahenry.com

Horsted, Kelly hsPianist Kelly Horsted, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, enjoys an active career in NYC as an accompanist, music director and vocal coach specializing in new opera, art song, and role preparation. An enthusiast of new music, Kelly begins a fourth season as a co-music director for the Composers and the Voice series at American Opera Projects in Fall 2013. Kelly’s other AOP projects have included Shiela Silver’s Beauty Intolerable, Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness, Paula Kimper’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey as well as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Hershel Garfein, directed by Mark Morris. Kelly prepared the cast of Patience and Sarah for Lincoln Center Festival premiere. Kelly has collaborated with Center for Contemporary Opera’s Atelier Series, Chelsea Opera, Remarkable Theater Brigade, Opera Company of Brooklyn, Urban Arias, New Jersey Opera Theater, Friends and Enemies of New Music and at NYU’s Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Program. Kelly has taught at Hunter College, Mannes College of Music, and Operaworks. Kelly is currently a faculty member at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT. KellyHorsted.com

wickscharity 010Pianist Charity Wicks is a highly versatile musician who is at ease with a wide range of repertory, from piano solo and chamber music to contemporary opera and musical theater.  Charity has been involved with American Opera Projects throughout the last five years as a pianist and music director for a number of projects, including Semmelweis by Ray Lustig and The Golden Gate by Conrad Cummings, as well as the workshops of Stephen Schwartz’s opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon. She also was the Associate Conductor for the world premiere of Schwartz’s opera in Santa Barbara.  Charity has also worked on several Broadway musicals, including Wicked, Nice Work if You Can Get It, In the Heights, and Spring Awakening, as well as the national tours of Billy Elliot and Spring Awakening.  She holds a BM and MM from Temple University, and a DMA from The Manhattan School of Music.


ACTING INSTRUCTOR

Pat DiamondPatrick Diamond has participated in over twenty American and World premieres of both operas and plays. Collaborations: playwrights A. Rey Pamatmat (A Spare me, Thunder Above/ Deeps Below), Eric Sanders (Oblivia),  Kathryn Walat, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (The Mystery Plays, Bloody Mary); composers Gregory Spears (Paul’s Case), and Ellen Lundquist with Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer (drömseminarium); and ensemble Sybarite 5 (The Dido Project an installation of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas).  Pat was also director of the major American revivals of Moniuszko’s Halka and Wolf-Ferrari’s Le donne curiose.  Established repertoire: works by Shakespeare, Britten, Calderón, Mozart, Puccini, Janáček, Mayakovsky, and Verdi.  Companies: 2G, Working Man’s Clothes, Wolf Trap, American Opera Projects, Aspen Music Festival, as well as opera companies regionally and in France and Sweden.  Pat teaches Acting at Manhattan School of Music and runs the Yale Summer Acting Conservatory. patrickdiamond.com

IMPROV INSTRUCTOR

Terry Greiss is the co-founder, ensembleGreiss, Terry_hs actor, and executive director of NYC’s Irondale Ensemble Project. He has performed in over forty roles with the company, and is a co-creator of most of Irondale’s original works and education programs. He has conducted hundreds of workshops in public schools, prisons, theaters, professional training programs and community venues. He has been part of three Russian-American collaborations with the International Classic Center of St. Petersburg. Terry was the Founding President of the Network of Ensemble Theaters, a national consortium of artist-driven permanent theater ensembles. In April 2008 he was invited by the US Embassy to lecture and teach in Moscow and Yaroslavl and at the Golden Mask Festival. In addition to his work at Irondale, he has taught at the New School, the University of Wisconsin Drama Center and has performed at the Manhattan Theater Club. He is a graduate of the NYC High School for the Performing Arts and Sarah Lawrence College.

RESIDENT SINGERS

Lifton, Deborah_hsDeborah Lifton’s (soprano) performances include Sally Follet in William Mayer’s A Death in the Family at the Avignon Opera, and Millicent in the world premiere of Dellaira’s The Secret Agent at the Szeged National Theater, in Avignon, and at New York’s Merkin Hall. Other operatic appearances include both Susanna and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Beth in Little Women, Ellie in Showboat, Elisa in Il Re Pastore, and Catherine in A Death in the Family, as well as title roles in Bastien und Bastienne, L’enfant et les sortileges, and Armida. Ms. Lifton has appeared with the Center for Contemporary Opera, American Opera Projects, Mercury Opera Rochester, The Natchez Opera Festival, The Ash Lawn-Highland Festival, The Aspen Music Festival, The Bronx Opera Company, the Kitchen Theater and Opera Moderne.  She holds music degrees from the University of Michigan and the Manhattan School of Music. She has taught at New York University, Mannes College of Music (prep division) Syracuse University, Cornell University and Ithaca College.  She is currently a faculty member at Western Connecticut State University, Purchase College, Ithaca College New York City Center and Summer Music Academy. deborahlifton.instantencore.com

Sampson, Kristin_HeadshotcolorKristin Sampson (soprano) opened Dicapo Opera Theatre’s 30th anniversary season as Tosca, later appearing as Violetta. During the 2010-11 season, Ms. Sampson was Annina in Menotti’s The Saint of Bleecker Street, and covered the role of Beatrice in A View from the Bridge. Her performances as Masha in Thomas Pasatieri’s The Seagull both in New York and in Szeged, Hungary were televised internationally on Mezzo/Duna television. In the 2009-2010 season she made her debut as Nedda in Pagliacci and also received the Best Female Performer Award for the Mezzo Television Opera Competition (Armel Opera Competition) for her performance in the title role of Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. She has done title roles of Tosca, Adriana Lecouvreur, Emmeline and Šárka, Nedda (Pagliacci), Beatrice (A View from the bridge), Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Juliette (Romeo et Juliette), Suzanne (Thérèse Raquin), Hanna Glawari (The Merry Widow), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Mimì & Musetta (La bohème), and Pamina in (Die Zauberflöte). This season Ms. Sampson makes her debut with the Opera Society of Hong Kong performing Nedda and in April, Ms. Sampson will revisit Nedda in a New York touring production with National Lyric Theatre. Upcoming in the 2013-2014 season, Ms. Sampson will return to Szeged, Hungary to perform the title roles in Tosca and Madame Butterfly. kristinsampson.com

SONY DSCRachel Calloway (mezzo-soprano) recently made her Latin American debut at the Festival Internacional Cervantino alongside the Amernet String Quartet and sang the world premiere of Gabriela Frank’s Santos.  This past season she created the title role in the first staged production of Mohammed Fairouz’s Sumedia’s Song and returned to France for performances of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.  She also appeared in a portrait concert of Oliver Knussen at Miller Theater and with Alarm Will Sound singing Donnacha Dennehy’s The Hunger in New York and St. Louis.  This summer she makes her Lincoln Center Festival debut in Monkey Opera: Journey to the West and will also appear at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival singing works by Brahms and George Crumb.  Ms. Calloway was a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts and has also received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council and first prize in the Arts Recognition and Talent Search sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts as well as two Central City Opera Young Artist Awards.  As winner of the Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition, she performed Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony.  Ms. Calloway holds degrees from the Juilliard School (BM) and Manhattan School of Music (MM) and maintains an active teaching studio. rachelcalloway.com 

Armstrong, Dominic_hsIn 2012-2013, Dominic Armstrong (tenor) returned to New York City Opera to sing Prologue and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw, followed by his debuts with Carnegie Hall and Lyric Opera of Chicago, as Steve in Andre Prévin’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Recently in Chicago Opera Theatre’s Moscow, Cheryomushki, Mr. Armstrong’s 2011-2012 season also included his Memphis Opera debut as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and a return to Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival to cover Don José and perform the role of Le Remendado in Carmen. Mr. Armstrong has also performed with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, as Flavio in Norma and Borsa in Rigoletto; Chicago Opera Theatre, in the title role in La Clemenza di Tito; Deutsche Oper Berlin, as Parpignol in La Bohème, Opera Regio Torino, as the Gran Sacerdote in Idomeneo, Reverend Horace Adams in Peter Grimes, and Heinrich der Schreiber in Tannhaüser; Wexford Festival Opera, for Count Almaviva in Ghosts of Versailles; Wolf Trap Opera, as Candide in Candide and as Ulisse in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria; and Musica Viva Hong Kong for Nemorino in L’Elisir d’amoredominicarmstrong.com

williams, jorrell2013Jorell Williams (baritone) 2013 season begins as Nurse/Lawyer in the world-premiere of Anthony Davis’ opera Lear on the Second Floor at the Conrad Prebys Music Center in San Diego, Maximilian in Candide with Amarillo Opera, Buddenbrooks Buff in ​​Mozart’s​ Impressario with Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with the Martina Arroyo Foundation’s Prelude to Performance, Frederick Douglass in Paula Kimper’s Truth with the New York International Fringe Festival, Wynton Marsalis’ U.S. tour of Abyssinian Mass with Chorale LeChateau and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Omaha Symphony.   Recent engagements include various performances with American Opera Projects, recording Celebrating the American Spirit​ with Essential Voices USA for National Public Radio, and a vocal fellowship at the Steans Music Institute ​with the Ravinia Festival.  Recently, he performed as soloist in the European premiere of Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass at the ​Barbican during the​ 2012 Olympics in London. He also had the honor to perform under the leadership of Damien Sneed with the Chorale Le Chateau of New York in “A Celebration of America” at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater on the occasion of the first Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama.  Jorell is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. jorellmwilliams.com

Burns, Matt_hs1Matthew Burns’ (bass-baritone) 2012-13 engagements include soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra;  Messiah with Richmond Symphony; Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass and Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass with New York’s New Choral Society; Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Dayton Opera; the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro in a return to Virginia Opera; his debut with Palm Beach Opera as Alidoro in La Cenerentola, and with Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Hubicka and Otec in Smetana’s The Kiss. Recent successes include the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Southwest; Kuno in Der Freischutz with Macau International Music Festival; the Poet in Glass’ Orphée with Virginia Opera; George in Of Mice and Men with Utah Opera; Messiah with Dallas Symphony; and Monterone in Rigoletto, also Manager in The Mighty Casey with Lake George Opera. He has sung many roles in many seasons with New York City Opera.

 

ARTISTIC CHAIRS

Mark CampbellMark Campbell has collaborated with many leading composers of this generation, including Mark Adamo, William Bolcom, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jake Heggie, Martin Hennessy, Paul Moravec, John Musto, Kevin Puts, Richard Peaslee and Michael Torke. His most successful operas include Volpone, Later the Same Evening, Bastianello/Lucrezia, Rappahannock County, and Silent Night. Most recently, Silent Night was honored with the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Volpone received a 2010 Grammy® nomination for best Classical Recording. He also received the first Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two RIchard Rodgers Awards and a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship. As a lyricist, Mark penned all of the lyrics for Songs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle with music by 18 composers including Jake Heggie and Duncan Sheik. Other musicals for which he has written lyrics include: And the Curtain Rises, The Audience, Splendora, Akin, and Light Shall Lift Them. Recordings of Mark’s works include the Grammy®-nominated Volpone, (Wolf Trap Recordings), Later the Same Evening (Albany Records), Bastianello/Lucrezia (Bridge Classical) and Songs from an Unmade Bed (Sh-k-Boom Records). Songs from an Unmade Bed and Silent Night are also published by Bill Holab Music. markcampbellwords.com

Hagen DaronAll eight of Daron Hagen’s major operas are currently in production or revival somewhere in the U.S., Europe, or Asia. His orchestral, chamber, and song catalogues are frequently programmed internationally. Mr. Hagen’s activities include stage direction, conducting; and engagements as a collaborative pianist, artistic director, writer, and librettist. He has collaborated with distinguished musicians such as Leonard Bernstein, JoAnn Falletta, Gary Graffman, Nathan Gunn, Jaime Laredo, David Alan Miller, Sharon Robinson, Gerard Schwarz, Leonard Slatkin, and Robert Spano, among others. His work has been widely commissioned and performed by most of North America’s major musical institutions, and numerous institutions abroad, including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Seattle Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Curtis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Swan (UK), Seattle Opera, Opera Theater of Ireland, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), and Royal Albert Hall.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, he has taught at Bard College, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Princeton Atelier, and fulfilled numerous composer-in-residencies around the U.S. A complete list of Mr. Hagen’s works may be found at his website daronhagen.com.

Composer of OperasJake Heggie is the American composer of the operas Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking, Three Decembers, To Hell and Back, For a Look or a Touch, Another Sunrise, and At the Statue of Venus. He has also composed more than 250 songs, as well as concerti, chamber music, choral and orchestral works. His songs, song cycles and operas are championed internationally by some of the most celebrated singers of our time, including Isabel Bayrakdarian, Stephen Costello, Joyce DiDonato, Nathan Gunn, Susan Graham, Ben Heppner, Jonathan Lemalu, Jay Hunter Morris, Patti LuPone, Robert Orth, Kiri Te Kanawa, Morgan Smith, Frederica von Stade, Talise Trevigne, and Bryn Terfel, to name a few. The operas — most of them created with the distinguished writers Terrence McNally and Gene Scheer — have been produced internationally on five continents. Since its San Francisco premiere in 2000, Dead Man Walking has received more than 200 international performances. Moby-Dick will be telecast on Great Performances in the fall of 2013 and is set to receive its East Coast premiere in February 2014 by the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Since its 2010 world premiere at The Dallas Opera, Moby-Dick has also been produced by San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, State Opera of South Australia, and Calgary Opera. jakeheggie.com

Libby LarsenLibby Larsen is one of America’s most performed living composers.   She has created a catalogue of over 500 works spanning virtually  every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, including over fifty CDs of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory. As a vigorous, articulate advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composer’s Forum, which has become an invaluable aid for composers in a transitional time for American arts. A former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Colorado Symphony. libbylarsen.com

Musto JohnJohn Musto‘s playing is featured in song recitals, chamber music, concertos, and solo works. He has seen the production of four new operas, all with libretti by Mark Campbell. Volpone, was commissioned and presented by Wolf Trap Opera in 2004, and again in a new production in 2007. The recording of this production was nominated for a 2010 Grammy award.  In November of 2007, Later the Same Evening was given at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the University of Maryland Opera Theater, December 2008 at the Manhattan School of Music and at Glimmerglass Festival in July 2011.  Bastianello, (paired with William Bolcom’s Lucrezia) was commissioned to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the New York Festival of Song, presented in three New York performances and in a second production in the summer of 2008 at the Moab Music Festival in Utah.  The most recent, The Inspector, had its premiere at Wolf Trap Opera in April 2011, and was presented at Boston Lyric Opera in April of 2012.  He has been composer-in-residence at the Mannes College of Music, a visiting professor at Brooklyn College, and is a frequent guest lecturer at the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music. johnmusto.com

picker tobias2005Tobias Picker has had works commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the Helsinki Philharmonic. His first opera, Emmeline, saw its premiere at the Santa Fe Opera in 1996, and his fourth opera, An American Tragedy, was commissioned by and premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005. His adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox was commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Opera, and his Thérèse Raquin was commissioned by The Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, and Opera de Montreal.  Mr. Picker has received numerous awards and prizes, including a Charles Ives Scholarship as well as a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and was elected in 2012 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has served as composer-in-residence of the Houston Symphony, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and the Pacific Music Festival. Picker’s symphonic music has been commissioned and performed by the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Picker is currently completing his fifth opera, Dolores Claiborne, set to premiere at San Francisco Opera on September 15, 2013. Tobias Picker’s music is published exclusively by Schott Music. tobiaspicker.com

schwartz stephenStephen Schwartz, the current president of the Dramatists Guild, wrote the music and lyrics for the current Broadway hits Wicked and Pippin, and has also contributed music and/or lyrics to Godspell, The Magic Show, The Baker’s Wife, Working (which he also adapted and directed), Rags, and Children of Eden. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein’s Mass and wrote the title song for the play and movie Butterflies are Free. For children, he has written songs for two musicals, Captain Louie and My Son Pinocchio. He has also worked in film, collaborating with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney’s Enchanted as well as the animated features Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and writing the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. His first opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, was produced at Opera Santa Barbara and New York City Opera. A book about his career, “Defying Gravity,” has recently been released by Applause Books. Mr. Schwartz has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and a tiny handful of tennis trophies. stephenschwartz.com.

 

ABOUT THE PRODUCERS

For 25 years, AOP (American Opera Projects) has been creating, developing and presenting new American opera and music theatre projects. AOP has produced over 20 world premiere operas including Kimper/Persons’ Patience & Sarah (1998), Stefan Weisman’s Darkling (2006), Lee Hoiby’s This is the Rill Speaking (2008), and Phil Kline’s Out Cold (2012), part of BAM’s 30th Next Wave Festival. AOP-developed projects include Stephen Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon (New York City Opera, 2011), Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls (Fort Worth Opera, 2010), Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness (Royal Opera House (UK), 2011), and Jack Perla’s Love/Hate (ODC Theater and San Francisco Opera, 2012).  In 2013: World Premiere co-production of Lera Auerbach’s The Blind at Lincoln Center Festival 2013. Premieres of AOP-developed work: Gregory Spears’s Paul’s Case (UrbanArias), Kamran Ince’s Judgment of Midas (Present Music, Milwaukee), Lee Hoiby’s This Is the Rill Speaking (Opera Memphis). operaprojects.org


The Walrus Magazine discusses O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness

May 13, 2008

Arias of Darkness

Setting Joseph Conrad’s classic novel to music.

by Siobhan Roberts

Published in the June 2008 issue.

brooklyn — On a November night, an audience gathered in the Great Room at American Opera Projects headquarters to get an early glimpse of an unlikely addition to the cultural canon: an opera based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The librettist, London artist Tom Phillips (whose portrait of Iris Murdoch hangs in Britain’s National PortraitGallery), introduced the performance by offering interpretative outtakes from his umpteen readings of the classic novella, published in 1902.

Read full article: The Walrus Magazine » Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness Musical » By Siobhan Roberts » Tom Phillips


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