American Lyric Theater Awarded Two $15,000 Grants by OPERA America


American Lyric Theater (ALT) has been awarded two grants of $15,000 each from OPERA America's THE OPERA FUND for Repertoire Development. Announced earlier today by OPERA America, the grants are for two operas in development at ALT: La Reina by composer Jorge Sosa and librettist Laura Sosa Pedroza; and The Long Walk, by composer Jeremy Howard Beck and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann based on Brian Castner's critically acclaimed book of the same name.

La Reina is an electro-acoustic opera with text in Spanish and English that draws its narrative from the drug trade in Mexico and the United States, inspired by some of the most vivid real life players in this increasingly violent war from the past and present. The Long Walk describes a soldier's return from Iraq where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit, and his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as he tries to reintegrate himself into his family life upon his return from the war.

The operas, both of which have been commissioned by ALT, are being developed under the auspices of the company's Composer Librettist Development Program. American Lyric Theater is honored to have been selected by OPERA America as the only opera company in the country to receive two of the 11 Repertoire Grants awarded by THE OPERA FUND this year. Readings of both operas-in-progress will take place as part of American Lyric Theater's inaugural InsightALT festival this spring between May 28 - June 3, 2013.

Composer: Jorge Sosa; Librettist: Laura Sosa Pedroza
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La Reina draws its narrative from the drug trade in Mexico and the United States. The story of revenge and corruption on both sides of the border is inspired by some of the most vivid real life players in this increasingly violent war from the past and present, including Sandra Ávila Beltrán, El Guero Palma, El Pozolero, DEA agent Enrique Camarena, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. The opera is being written for classically trained singers and a chamber orchestra of acoustic and electronic forces. The libretto for La Reina is being written in both Spanish and English, reflecting the symbiotic relationship between Mexico and the United States, and the shared responsibility of the current drug conflicts.

Jorge Sosa is a Mexican born composer who lives in New York City. Sosa received a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, a Masters of Music in Composition from Mannes College of Music, and a licentiate diploma from the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios de la Musica (C.I.E.M) in Mexico City. Sosa's works, which are strongly influenced by ancient music, electro-acoustic music, and Latin American folk music, have been performed in Mexico, the United States, and Europe. He was one of the winners of the Chanticleer Student Composers Competition in 2006 with his choral work The Fly. His piece Capricho for Solo Violin was selected for the Washington Composer's Forum Transport Concert Series in Seattle. Capricho has also enjoyed successful performances in Dublin, Paris, Boston, Philadelphia, Kansas City, New York, and Mexico City. In 2007, Sosa was the winner of the 'Tonoi Ensemble' Composition Competition with his piece Oak, Ivory and Silver, and his piece Bounce for solo sax was performed at Carnegie Hall. His electro-acoustic opera The Calling has been performed in Mexico City and was also staged at the H&R Block Theater in Kansas City, along with his opera/oratorio Tonatzin, which tells the story of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe. His Refraction I was performed at the New York Electronic Music Festival in 2009 and performed at the 2010 ClarinetFest in Texas. Plastic Time was performed at the 2010 Foro de Música Nueva Manuel Enriquez at the Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City, and Ariel was premiered in London by the group, Rarescale, followed by performances at the 2010 New York Electronic Music Festival. Jorge is currently developing La Reina, a bilingual (Spanish/English) opera for electronic and acoustic performing forces under the auspices of American Lyric Theater's Composer Librettist Development Program.

Laura Sosa Pedroza is a bilingual Mexican screenwriter who has worked primarily in film and television. She is co-writer of En el país de no pasa nada, selected as the winner of the Best Movie category by the OCIC jury in Guadalajara's Film Festival in 2000. She has participated in numerous TV shows as co-writer, including Todo por amor (TV Azteca-Argos, 2000); Momento de decision (Series TV Azteca-Argos, 1999); Ladrón de corazones (Telemundo-Argos, 2003); Corazón partido (Telemundo-Argos, 2005); Zapata, amor en rebeldía (Telemundo-Argos, 2006); Mientras haya vida (Azteca-Argos, 2007); Vivir sin ti (TV Azteca-Argos, 2008); Secretos del alma (TV Azteca, 2009); Las Aparicio (Cadena Tres-Argos, 2010); El sexo débil (Cadena Tres-Argos, 2011). She was head writer for Gitanas, a soap opera awarded best adaptation by the international FyMT in 2004, and was the story producer of the first season of Capadocia (HBO-Argos), which was nominated for best drama series in 2009 at the International Emmy Awards. She is also the author of several episodes of Capadocia on the first and second seasons. Laura is currently working on the production of the third season of Capadocia, as well as the libretto for her first opera, La Reina, with composer Jorge Sosa.

Based on the book, The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows, by Brian Castner
Composer: Jeremy Howard Beck; Librettist: Stephanie Fleischmann
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A solider comes home from war and must adapt to a world that is forever changed. This is a timeless story, though the context continues to change. Based on the critically acclaimed 2012 memoir by Brian Castner, The Long Walk dives deep into the mind of a American soldier who has returned from Iraq after serving as an officer in an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit. Castner's battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he calls "the Crazy with a capital C," is at the center of this moving personal story of a man struggling to reintegrate himself back into his family life upon his return from the war.

For composer Jeremy Howard Beck, writing music is an integral, urgent part of a life lived in search of extremes, adventures, and adrenaline. Lifelong passions for roller coasters and gymnastics have lent his music intense, visceral physicality and emotional immediacy. His music has been performed across the country: at MYTHOS, a concert benefiting Education Through Music (Los Angeles, California), the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASSMoCA (Massachusetts), the International Trombone Festival (Austin, Texas), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Connecticut), and New York venues including The Cell, Galapagos Art Space, The Tank, and the Gershwin Hotel. He is the recipient of a 2011 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and his first symphony, Metropolis, was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2010 ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize competition. Jeremy is a Co-Director of Detour, a modular new music ensemble, composer collective, and commissioning organization. He also serves on the board of directors of Choral Chameleon, a choir specializing in new music. An active trombonist, he recently performed with TILT Brass in Super Critical Mass's Swelter at the Central Park Lake as part of Make Music New York, and performs regularly with the Chelsea Symphony and the Detour New Music Ensemble. He is the first Composer-in-Residence of the Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet. Jeremy holds degrees from The Juilliard School (MM, '10), where he studied with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse, and NYU (BM, '07), where he studied with Mark Adamo and Deniz Hughes. Jeremy joined the Composer Librettist Development Program in the 2011-12 season, during which he developed the one-act opera Another Sky with librettist Stephanie Fleischmann. He continues his collaboration with Fleischmann this season as they begin the development of The Long Walk.