Brooklyn’s AOP To Select Composers, Librettists For Two Years Of Free Training In The Fundamentals Of Opera

March 7, 2017

APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE MARCH 15 FOR 9TH SEASON OF
“COMPOSERS & THE VOICE” PROGRAM BEGINNING IN FALL 2017

Bass-baritone Matthew Burns works with composer Andreia Pinto- Correia during a 2013 C&V workshop. Photo by Ted Gorodetzky

BROOKLYN, NY – American Opera Projects (AOP) announces the return of its popular Composers & the Voice program for its 2017-19 seasons. Created and led by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood, eight composers and librettists will be selected for two-year fellowships to learn the fundamentals of writing for the voice and opera stage. Workshop sessions with professional opera singers, mentors, and instructors are held at AOP’s home base in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Applications and complete information will be available beginning March 15 at www.aopopera.org/composers_voice. The deadline for applications is April 28 with fellowships announced by July 1.

The Composers & the Voice fellowships include 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. The workshop sessions between September 2017 and April 2018 include composition of solo works for six voice types (coloratura soprano, lyric soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, and bass).

In addition, 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 (librettist, As One, Silent Night), will provide in-depth knowledge of how singers build characters, act in scenes, and sing text.

Fellows will also receive individual guidance from “Artistic Chairs,” sponsorships named in honor of mentors and their support of Composers & the Voice. Artistic Chairs for the upcoming season include 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).

At the end of the workshop sessions, AOP will present selections from the participants’ work in public performances – First Glimpse, a concert of songs in Spring 2018, and Six Scenes, an evening of short opera scenes in Fall 2018.

Following the Six Scenes performances, Composers & the Voice enters its second year of its two-year cycle and focuses on the development and further promotion of the Fellows’ C&V-created works. This includes career guidance from AOP’s staff and potential workshops and presentations in AOP’s “First Chance” opera development program.

Composers & the Voice will also continue partnerships with The Hermitage Artist Retreat , which will select a C&V Fellow (or Fellowship team) to receive a 6-week residency to continue opera development at the Hermitage’s Florida estate, and the Chautauqua Opera Company, which annually invites one C&V alumnus to join the company for their 8-week summer season as a Composer-in-Residence and receive world premieres of three works commissioned by AOP.

Since launching in 2002, C&V has fostered the development of 54 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), The Scarlet Ibis (PROTOTYPE 2015, Stefan Weisman), and three in 2017 – Three Way (Nashville Opera and AOP, Robert Paterson), The Summer King (Pittsburgh Opera, Daniel Sonenberg), and Independence Eve (UrbanArias, Sidney Marquez Boquiren).

“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 more proud of the commissions and premieres that have flowed to the alumni of C&V.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation continues its support of AOP’s Composers & the Voice program through 2019 as part of a two hundred thousand ($200,000) multi-year grant award, which also covers artistic personnel and other program activities.

During 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 conducted the premieres of over a dozen operas, including As One, The Scarlet Ibis, Thumbprint, Peony Pavilion, Oresteia, Song from the Uproar & Breaking the Waves, JFK, and Little Nemo in Slumberland and has served as Conductor Mentor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. He has been a member of the Music Staff of the Metropolitan Opera since 2006.  Upcoming productions include the US Stage Premiere of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in Respighi’s realization, Don Pasquale, and Hydrogen Jukebox, all part of Chautauqua Opera’s 2017 season, where he is General and Artistic Director.

 

COMPOSERS & THE VOICE 2017-2019: CALENDAR OF DATES

March 15, 2017                        Applications available on AOP site

April 28, 2017                          Applications portal closes

June 30, 2017                           Announcement of 2017-19 C&V Fellows

October 2017 – May 2018          Closed workshop sessions

May 2018                                Composers & the Voice: First Glimpse – concert reading of songs

September 2018                        Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes – concert reading of opera scenes

Fall 2018-2019                         AOP mentoring and opera development

COMPOSERS & THE VOICE 2017-2019: ARTISTIC CHAIRS

Ricky Ian Gordon, David T. Little, Missy Mazzoli, Tobias Picker, Gene Scheer, Stephen Schwartz, Gregory Spears, and Royce Vavrek.

MORE INFO AND PRESS MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT: www.aopopera.org/press.


Fort Greene Park to be commemorated in student operas in new AOP and NYU Tisch partnership

February 19, 2016

Randall Eng, composer and Assistant Arts Professor at Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program

By the end of this spring, one of New York City’s most historic and vibrant neighborhoods will be commemorated in song. And not just one song, but an entire series of new operas. This spring, students in the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (GMTWP) at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts will learn the ins and outs of opera writing when Brooklyn’s American Opera Projects (AOP) partners with the esteemed arts school for a new “Opera Writing Workshop.”  Led by composer Randall Eng, the workshop is an advanced class for composers and librettists of GMTWP at Tisch who will collaborate with an ensemble of eight professional opera singers and two music directors to create short operas under the mentorship of AOP, an opera company in Fort Greene that has developed and premiered contemporary operas for over 25 years.

For the inaugural workshop, AOP and Eng have assigned the students to create operas inspired by the Brooklyn neighborhood Fort Greene and the historic Fort Greene Park, the latter of which has been home to a graveyard of Revolutionary War soldiers as well as a source of inspiration for writers Richard Wright and Marianne Moore and filmmaker Spike Lee. In addition to the musical team, AOP will provide the students with special access to staff from NYC Parks and Fort Greene Park Conservancy.  NYU associate professor and opera director Sam Helfrich will direct the AOP workshop singers in the site-specific scenes being created with the participation of his design students in Tisch’s Design for Stage and Film Department. The operas will be performed in conjunction with American Opera Projects at GMTWP’s Black Box Theatre on May 7, 2016 and in Fort Greene Park itself on May 8, 2016.

AOP General Director Charles Jarden stated, “In this partnership with NYU, AOP is broadening our mission to help mentor creators of opera and music theater work by attracting grad students at one of the best schools in the country.  This project is a great complement to one of our core programs, Composers & the Voice and Randall Eng is one of the alums of that program, which makes the partnership especially valuable and gratifying for us.  We are deeply grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and to the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for on-going generous support.”

As of February 1st there are twenty-five (25) students enrolled in the class.

Crowds gather in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn’s first park and subject for NYU’s Opera Writing Workshop composers.


Applications for Composers & the Voice 2015-17 available March 16

February 25, 2015

American Opera Projects (AOP) announces the return of its popular Composers & the Voice program for its 2015-17 seasons. Created and led by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood, composers, librettists, and composer/librettist teams will be selected for a two-year fellowship that 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.  All sessions will be at AOP’s home base in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Applications and complete information will be available beginning March 16 at www.operaprojects.org/composers_voice. The deadline for applications is May 15 with fellowships announced by July 1.

The primary focus of Composers & the Voice is to give composers and librettists experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and opera stage.  The workshop sessions between September 2015 and April 2016, include composition of solo works for six voice types (coloratura soprano, lyric soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and bass). In addition, over 45 hours of “Skill-Building Sessions” for composers and librettists will provide an in-depth and firsthand knowledge of how singers build characters, act in scenes and sing text. These will include acting courses by director Pat Diamond (Wolf Trap, The Aspen Music Festival), theatrical improvisation led by Terry Greiss (co-founder and Executive Director, Irondale Ensemble Project), and a new extended course in libretto development designed by librettist Mark Campbell (Silent Night, The Manchurian Candidate, As One).

Fellows from the seventh season of Composers & the Voice in a workshop session. Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Ted Gorodetzky

Fellows from the seventh season of Composers & the Voice in a workshop session. Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Ted Gorodetzky

“I can think of no better forum for a composer with a passion for learning the traditions of so-called progressive American opera theater than AOP’s program,” said opera composer and guest C&V instructor Daron Hagen.

Past “Composer Chairs,” sponsorships named in honor of mentors and their support of Composers & the Voice, have included composers John Corigliano, Daron Hagen, Jake Heggie, Lee Hoiby, Libby Larsen, John Musto, Tobias Picker, Kaija Saariaho, Tan Dun and composer-librettist Stephen Schwartz.

At the end of the workshop sessions, AOP will present the results of the participants’ work in public performances – First Glimpse, a concert of songs in Spring 2016, and Six Scenes, an evening of short opera scenes in Fall 2016.

Following the Six Scenes performances, Composers & the Voice enters its second year of its two-year cycle and focuses on the development and further promotion of the Fellows’ C&V-created works. This includes potential workshops and presentations in AOP “First Chance” opera development program as well as concert series that have included partnerships with Opera Memphis, Phoenix Concerts, Opera on Tap, and Two Sides Sounding, to name a few.

Select C&V operas-in-progress will receive staged readings in 2017 through a twelve-year AOP partnership with The Manhattan School of Music (www.msmnyc.edu) and a new affiliation with The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music (www.schoolofmusic.ucla.edu). These readings using student performers provide continued development of C&V projects while serving to introduce contemporary opera to students. 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).

The second year of the cycle will also include a new partnership with The Hermitage Artist Retreat (http://hermitageartistretreat.org) that nurtures creativity in mid-career writers, painters, poets, playwrights, composers, translators, sculptors, and artists. A C&V Fellow (or Fellowship team) will be selected to receive a 6-week residency to continue opera development at the Hermitage’s Florida estate. AOP artists who have been in residence at The Hermitage include Laura Kaminsky (As One), Mark Campbell (As One), Phil Kline (Out Cold), Lera Auerbach (The Blind), and Huang Ruo (Paradise interrupted).

Since launching in 2002, C&V has fostered the development of 44 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).

Past AOP Composers & the Voice Fellows have received grants and honors from the following organizations: Aaron Copland Fund for Music, ASCAP, BMI, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Center, the American Composers Forum, OPERA America, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, the Fulbright Foundation, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Douglas Moore Fellowship, Tapestry New Opera Works, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, New Dramatists, and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation continues its support of AOP’s Composers & the Voice program through 2016 as part of a two hundred thousand ($200,000) multi-year grant award, which also covers artistic personnel and other program activities.

During 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 Laura Kaminsky (As One), Stefan Weisman (The Scarlet Ibis), Kamala Sankaram (Thumbprint), 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.  Upcoming productions include Glory Denied (Opera Memphis), Three Decembers (Atlanta Opera), and The Long Walk (world premiere, Opera Saratoga).


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


Applications now available for Composers & The Voice 2013-14

March 22, 2013

BROOKLYN’S AOP TO SELECT COMPOSERS, LIBRETTISTS FOR FREE TRAINING IN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF OPERA

APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE FOR 7th SEASON OF
“COMPOSERS & THE VOICE” PROGRAM BEGINNING IN FALL 2013

BROOKLYN, NY – American Opera Projects (AOP) announces the return of its  Composers & the Voice program for its 2013-14 season. Created and led by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood, six composers or composer/librettist teams will be selected for a year-long fellowship, working with the company’s Resident Ensemble of Singers and Artistic Team.  Applications and additional information can be found at AOP’s website www.operaprojects.org. The deadline for applications is May 17, 2013.  All sessions will be at AOP’s home base in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Composers & the Voice PictureThe primary focus of Composers & the Voice is to give composers and librettists experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and opera stage.  The workshop sessions between September 2013 and April 2014, include composition of solo works for six voice types (coloratura soprano, lyric soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and bass) and “Skill-Building Sessions” for composers and librettists in acting, improv games, and libretto development, providing an in-depth and firsthand knowledge of how singers build characters, act in scenes and sing text.

“I can think of no better forum for a composer with a passion for learning the traditions of so-called progressive American opera theater than AOP’s program,” said opera composer and guest C&V instructor Daron Hagen.

Previous seasons of Composers & the Voice have featured guest lectures from notable artists such as composer Mark Adamo (Little Women, Lysistrata) and librettist Mark Campbell (Silent Night, Later The Same Evening).  Past “Composer Chairs,” sponsorships named in honor of mentors and their support of Composers & the Voice, have included Mr. Adamo and composers John Corigliano, Tan Dun, Daron Hagen, John Musto, Richard Peaslee, Tobias Picker, Kaija Saariaho, Stephen Schwartz, and the late Lee Hoiby.

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. AOP has an eight-year relationship with Manhattan School of Music Opera Studies Program, in which students work alongside the composer and librettist and other professionals provided by AOP.

Since launching in 2002, C&V has fostered the development of 37 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 Off-Broadway and European tour of Darkling (2006-07, Stefan Weisman). Additional AOP-developed works from C&V alumni include Decoration (Mikael Karlsson), The Summer King (Daniel Sonenberg), The Golden Gate (Conrad Cummings), Dream President (Jennifer Griffith), Henry’s Wife (Randall Eng), and Semmelweis (Raymond J. Lustig). Visit www.operaprojects.org/composers_voice

Past AOP Composers & the Voice fellows have received grants and honors from the following organizations: Aaron Copland Fund for Music, ASCAP, BMI, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Music Center, the American Composers Forum, OPERA America, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, the Fulbright Foundation, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Douglas Moore Fellowship, Tapestry New Opera Works, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, New Dramatists, and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation.

During 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.  Upcoming productions include Opera Memphis’ Midtown Opera Festival, Hawaii Opera Theater’s Tosca, and Chautauqua Opera’s Peter Grimes.

Composers & the Voice is made possible in part by a generous multi-year award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

DOWNLOAD 2013-14 COMPOSER APPLICATION

DOWNLOAD 2013-14 COMPOSER/LIBRETTIST TEAM APPLICATION

MORE INFO AND PRESS MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT:
www.operaprojects.org

March 20, 2013


Meryl Streep: From Miranda to Margaret, Julia to…Sills?

February 24, 2012

Oh, Meryl.  Not only can you embody Margaret Thatcher and voice Julia Child, but you’re an opera singer too?

Well, sort of.

During an NPR “Fresh Air” interview on Monday, February 6th (summarized in this LA Times article the next day), Streep revealed that she studied voice with Estelle Liebling, who also taught America’s soprano-sweetheart Beverly Sills.  Though she hated opera as a teenager- admitting she didn’t feel comfortable performing opera because it was often in a language she couldn’t quite grasp- the actress went on to explain how her vocal training influenced her versatile speaking voice, stating

  “I learned the importance of breath. There was a thing I learned in my lessons from Estelle — to breathe from your back. She would always say, there’s room in the back — that you expand three dimensionally. … I use it all.”

Still, Streep confessed that she loved singing and “had a very good coloratura voice.”  Too bad she didn’t keep it up.  She should have something to fall back on in case her career doesn’t take off.


Composers and the Voice 2011/12 – Workshop Day 1

September 16, 2011

And they’re off!  Monday, September 12 was the first day of the Composers & the Voice 2011/12 Workshop Series, and it was a long invigorating day.  More on that below.  This blog post, and the ones that will follow more or less every 2 weeks, are intended to serve two purposes.  First, they will provide an ongoing forum for discussion and reflection by the 8 Composer and Librettist Fellows, as well as the Artistic Team— a place where ideas and questions that came up during the workshop session can be investigated further.  Second, these blog postings will provide the greater AOP family, and new opera enthusiasts everywhere, a glimpse into our workshop room.

The workshop day began at 3:00 with a quick orientation session, but then dove right into the fray with the first of our 9 Improvisation and Theater Games sessions, led by Terry Greiss of the Irondale Ensemble.  I first met Terry 23 years ago (yikes!) when I began a semester-long internship with Irondale– the final part of my undergrad degree at Drew University.  I ended up working with Irondale for close to 5 years, and so much of what I learned through my immersion in the company’s use of improv and theater games as tools for generating theatrical material, as well as building strong cooperative teams, continues to have a profound influence on my day to day work today.

In Monday’s 2-hour session Terry led us through the following games:

Terry Greiss

Instructor Terry Greiss leads an improv session while composer Sidney Marquez Boquiren and C&V Artistic Director Steven Osgood listen.

Zip Zap Zop

Mind Twist

Chair Tumble

One Word Story

One Word Fairy Tale

String of Pearls

Upside Down Drawing

One Word Letters/Scenes

Tell Me about the Time

My advice to the Composer/Librettist Fellows going into this course of Improv study was to dive in, play the games, and not to worry about how this all relates to the writing process.  It was great fun to sink into the high-energy full body challenge of Zip Zap Zop, and Mind Twist.  I found Chair Tumble to be an intriguing look at how difficult it is to TRULY risk falling down.  One Word Story, One Word Fairy Tales, and String of Pearls had our group of 10, who had just met an hour earlier, building stories together with the freedom to respond intuitively.  I think I was messing with the CD player when Terry was giving instructions to Upside Down Drawing.  While everyone else copied surprisingly skilled portraits of Igor Stravinsky, I was having a blast more or less coloring mine in.  Ah well….  One Word Letters/Scenes and Tell Me about the Time got us all out of our heads, and investigating a greater freedom of telling a story.

Soprano Andrea Arias-Martin sings

Soprano Andrea Arias-Martin sings for the 2011-12 composers & librettists.

After the dinner break we were joined by the Music Directors and Singers who we will be working with throughout the season.  Each of the singers had about 25 minutes to sing and dissect three arias that they feel are perfectly suited to their particular voice.  I love this session, and the look it gives into how each singer approaches singing, how difficult it can be to express in words this most elusive of physical acts, and how wonderfully these particular singers can articulate the process.  It is the crash-course part of Composers & the Voice, after which things relax a little as each composer gets to write for the singers one by one.  Once 10:00 rolled around, it was time for a glass or two of Riesling.

Next Session– September 26.  Just composers and librettists.  Improv 2, and Acting 1.


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