On Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29, audiences will get a first look at six wildly different new operas invoking diverse settings such as the Arab Spring in Tunisia, a post-apocalyptic future, and a modern college campus and exploring a multitude of themes and concepts, including the emotional minefield of solar flares, the dissonance of fundamentalism in urban and regional communities, and the nature and validity of Opera itself. COMPOSERS & THE VOICE: SIX SCENES 2018 showcases opera scenes from nine artists emerging in the world of contemporary opera. The composers Matt Browne, Scott Ordway, Frances Pollock, Pamela Stein Lynde, Amber Vistein and Alex Weiser, and librettists Laura Barati, Kim Davies, and Sokunthary Svay, were chosen by AOP to spend a year creating new works in its bi-annual fellowship program Composers & the Voice (C&V). The evening will be hosted by C&V Artistic Director Steven Osgood.
The performances will be held at 7:30pm at South Oxford Space (138 S. Oxford St.) in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the home of AOP. Tickets range from $10-$20 general admission and are available at https://6scenes2018.eventbrite.com.
Six Scenes 2018 will be performed by the AOP Resident Ensemble of Singers: lyric soprano Jennifer Goode Cooper (NYCO, Glimmerglass), tenor Blake Friedman (BAM, Dallas Opera), coloratura soprano Tookah Sapper (Chautauqua Opera), mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert (Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera), baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco (Central City Opera, Glimmerglass), and bass-baritone Adrian Rosas (Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis). Each of the scenes were composed specifically for the singers’ voices, after months of study and experimentation during the C&V program. Supporting on piano will be C&V Music Directors Mila Henry and Kelly Horsted.
Previous Six Scenes concerts have given audiences their first look at operas that went on to fully-produced world premieres including Gregory Spears‘ Paul’s Case (UrbanArias and Prototype Festival), The Summer King by Daniel Sonenberg (Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre), Jack Perla‘s Love/Hate (ODC/San Francisco Opera), and Three Way by Robert Paterson (Nashville Opera), and more.
Six Scenes includes the following works:
Dark Exhalation (By Amber Vistein)
“Dark Exhalation” is a meditative, experimental piece exploring our very human tendency to attach cosmic significance to the personal connections we forge. A woman in a nameless city conflates the turmoil of an impending Summer storm with the emotional unrest of her departed lover in this resonant contemporary opera.
Spring (Score by Scott Ordway; Libretto by Meryem Belkaid)
“Spring” takes a frank, empathic close-up view of the moments, mentalities and malaise immediately before and after a revolution overthrows a dictatorial regime. Four personified winds leave politics to the background as they paint intimate portraits of the people who endure these volatile times.
Better Than It Sounds (By Matt Browne)
A comedic assessment of the value of opera as an artform, “Better Than It Sounds” is an absurd, yet articulate debate on the importance of song. When Samuel Clemens is outraged by an operatic interpretation of “Tom Sawyer”; composers and actors, William and Emma must go to the heart of the artform to convince him that he should allow them to produce their show.
The Interaction Effect (Score by Pamela Stein Lynde; Libretto by Laura Barati)
Mikaela, a statistics major at a liberal arts college, just wants to forget the night her friend Adam raped her-instead, she is forced to contend with the aftermath of her community and school administration’s painful mishandling of her assault. “The Interaction Effect” boldly exposes the weaknesses in a justice system governed by institutionalized misogyny.
Salt (Score by Frances Pollock; Libretto by Emily Roller & Frances Pollock)
A contemporary adaptation of the tale of Sodom and Gamora, “Salt” explores the escalating tension between urban and rural communities. When Lot and his two daughters flee their home after a terrorist attack, they must contend with the notion that their flight could lead to further persecution at the hands of a different kind of fundamentalism.
State of the Jews (Score by Alex Weiser; Libretto by Ben Kaplan)
How much must one sacrifice to change the world? “State of the Jews” is a non-linear historical drama chronicling the struggle of Austro-Hungarian writer Theodor Herzl to campaign for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, and the breakdown of his marriage as a result of his slavish dedication to his cause.