HERE and BMP Kick Off Inaugural PROTOTYPE Festival, Now thru 1/19
Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) and HERE announce programming for the inaugural PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now, running today, January 9-19, 2013, in New York City.
This two-week festival, distilling the curatorial visions of artistic directors Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of BMP), and Kim Whitener (of HERE), features visionary music-theatre and opera-theatre works by pioneering artists from NYC and around the world. PROTOTYPE is unique in providing a permanent theatrical home for the presentation of such quality productions, spotlighting the high-caliber creations of an exciting new generation of composers and collaborators, with a focus on chamber-sized works.
The Festival debuts with works from notable rising stars: a BMP and HERE co-production world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz's Sumeida's Song, the first opera by an Arab- American composer to be fully staged in America, directed by David Herskovits; a presentation of David T. Little's Soldier Songs, based on recorded interviews with veterans of five wars, directed by Yuval Sharon; a multimedia cabaret concert performed by Los Angeles's "audacious" dark-glam opera band Timur and the Dime Museum; a concert reading of Paolo Prestini's The Aging Magician, in collaboration with stage director/designer Julian Crouch, with text by Rinde Eckert. Except for Soldier Songs, all above performances will take place at HERE, exact dates TBA. Also to be announced, a visionary international presentation, along with panels to coincide with Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA).
The Festival gives voice to serious young composers whose work would generally be categorized as 'contemporary classical' or 'post- classical' rather than the more commercial musical theatre idiom that is being explored by other musical theatre entities in New York and elsewhere. A new body of work is beginning to explode out of New York and onto the national scene, and as this cohort of composers claims the opera-theatre and music-theatre genre in a new and unique way, PROTOTYPE will be integral in importing and exporting quality productions on an international platform. Leadership funding for PROTOTYPE has been provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Watch this space for the new PROTOTYPE website, now in Beta: http://prototypefestival.org.
CO-PRODUCTION, WORLD PREMIERE
Created and composed by Mohammed Fairouz
Directed by David Herskovits
Based on Tawfiq El-Hakim's Song of Death, adapted by Mohammed Fairouz
Sumeida's Song is Mohammed Fairouz's first opera, and the first Arab-American opera to be fully staged in America. Based on the classic Tawfiq El-Hakim play, Song of Death, the opera follows the return of a young man, Alwan, from Cairo to his Upper Egyptian peasant village. He defies his family's expectations to fulfill an age-old blood feud, instead revealing the true purpose of his return: to end the cycle of violence. For his attempts to bring light and modernity to his village, and for challenging the structure of his society, he pays the ultimate price.
Tawfiq El-Hakim's story is well known in the Arab world, and Fairouz's operatic adaptation captures the underlying aspirations of young people, like Alwan, who stand up for their ideals and for aspirations of a better life. Alwan's resonant proclamation - "I won't kill" - embodies the noble mission of justice and progress in this timeless, timely, and universal story. This world-premiere production will feature a chamber orchestration with Arabic and western instruments. Mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway leads the cast of four singers.
MOHAMMED FAIROUZ, born in 1985, has been recognized as an "expert in vocal writing" by the New Yorker magazine and as a "post-millennial Schubert" by Gramophone Magazine. Hailed by The New York Times as "an important new artistic voice," the Arab- American composer melds Middle-Eastern modes and Western structures to deeply expressive effect. His large-scale works, including four symphonies and an opera, engage major geopolitical and philosophical themes with persuasive craft and a marked seriousness of purpose.
He is the subject of a BBC TV documentary, has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and BBC/PRI's The World, and has been profiled in Symphony, Strings, New Music Box, and the Houston Chronicle, among others. His works are published by Peermusic Classical. He lives in New York City. For more, visit www.mohammedfairouz.com.
David Herskovits is the Founding Artistic Director of OBIE Award-winning Target Margin Theater. David has directed a broad range of new opera, including works by Pascal Dusapin, Nick Brooke, Thomas Cabaniss, David Soldier, Julia Greenberg, and Robin Goldwasser, for The Lincoln Center Festival, The Bonn Biennale, Spoleto Festival USA, The Kitchen and others. Recently, David directed Uncle Vanya and The Tempest (HERE), and created Second Language (The Chocolate Factory) and The Really Big Once (St. Marks Incubator, and Georgetown Performing Arts Center). He was a 2011 Fellow of the American Academy in Jerusalem and on the 2012 Faculty of the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard. He has taught and lectured at Yale, NYU, the Institut Internationale de la Marionnette in France, and many other institutions, and published essays in The New York Times, American Theatre, Theatre Magazine, and Performing Arts Journal, among others. For more, visit http://www.targetmargin.org.
Soldier Songs is an evening-length multimedia event from composer David T. Little that combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused- concert music, and animation to explore the perceptions versus the realities of the Soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war. Though music can be easily co- opted to serve a political or ideological message, it can equally be a vehicle for reflection, engagement, and emotional connection, as is seen in this gripping opera-theatre work.
The libretto, created by the composer, was adapted from recorded interviews with veterans of five wars. Soldier Songs traces the shift in perception of war from the age of 6 to the age of 66. We follow the abstract character through the three phases of life: Youth (playing war games) Warrior (time served in the military) and Elder (aged, wise, reflective). It is a chilling and realistic view of our media-crazed, war machine culture, and of the nature of power in war. Each of the eleven songs explores a different aspect of the experience, ranging from rage, to fear, to joy, to grief. Multi-media is employed less as a collection of recorded evidence and more as a critique of the media's ability to both glamorize and falsify the truth of combat. Soldier Songs asks the tough questions and tells the tough stories through its poignant libretto, driving music, and surprising visual counterpoint. The tension between the visual and aural experience of our production works to dispel the numbness felt by those lucky enough to only experience war through the comfort of our living rooms.
Soldier Songs is presented in partnership with Pace University's Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, featuring Newspeak ensemble and baritone Christopher Burchett as the Soldier.
David T. Little's potently dramatic music draws upon his experience as a rock drummer, and fuses classical and popular idioms to powerful effect. Often undertaking political and existential themes, his music has been described by The New York Times as "dramatically wild...rustling, raunchy and eclectic," showing "real imagination." New Yorker critic Alex Ross declared himself "completely gripped," noting that "every badass new-music ensemble in the city will want to play him."
Little's first full-length opera, Dog Days, premieres this fall. Upcoming projects include new works for the London Sinfonietta, Kronos Quartet, Maya Beiser, Nadia Sirota, and others. His music has been performed internationally, heard at the Tanglewood, Aspen, and Cabrillo Festivals, and the Bang on a Can Marathon. Advocates include eighth blackbird, the London Sinfonietta, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Alarm Will Sound, and Marin Alsop, with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He recently received his doctorate from Princeton University, and is a member of the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP). His music is published by Project Schott New York. For more, visit http://davidtlittle.com.
YUVAL SHARON, named a "Face to Watch in 2012" by the Los Angeles Times, has been creating an unconventional body of work that explores the boundaries of music, visual art, and concert theater. His productions have been described as "dizzyingly spectacular" (New York Magazine) and "ingenious" (San Francisco Chronicle). Yuval directed a landmark production of John Cage Song Books with San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall with Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, and Jessye Norman. He also founded and serves as Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles, where his inaugural production of Anne LeBaron's hyperopera, Crescent City, was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "reshaping LA opera."
Yuval was Project Director for four years of New York City Opera's VOX, and has worked with international houses such as San Francisco Opera, the Mariinsky Theater, the Bregenzer Festspiele, and the Komische Oper. He was assistant director to Achim Freyer on the Los Angeles Ring Cycle and Associate Director of the world premiere of Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht with Graham Vick. For more, visit www.YuvalSharon.com.
An INTERNATIONAL PRESENTATION, Festival panels, and dates for all events will be announced later in the season.
TIMUR AND THE DIME MUSEUM
The dark-glam opera band TIMUR AND THE DIME MUSEUM fuses indie, opera, pop & vaudeville sounds, creating a rich amalgam of sensibilities with Bjork fierceness, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins theatricality. Led by the acclaimed young Kazakhstani opera singer, Timur Bekbosunov, and profiled in LA Weekly's Best of L.A. People Issue 2011, the band's stunning intensity brings songs to cure the new depression with a bohemian attitude. Timur and the Dime Museum will be presented in a cabaret setting, including late-night performances.
Immediately following their successful debut at the ALOUD series at the Mark Taper Auditiorium, they established a strong following of fans, and received endorsements from artists such as Amanda Palmer, DeVotchKa, and Sondre Lerche. The band has performed in numerous venues around LA and beyond, including Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. The band creates unconventional and fascinating sounds, combining Timur's "charismatic tenor" (Los Angeles Times) with electric guitar, upright bass, accordion, bass clarinet, viola, and drums.
Embracing the notion of multi-disciplinary contemporary projects, T&DM has begun a series of collaborations, directly working with composers on their music. Timur, a noted interpreter of contemporary and cross-cultural music, and the members of the band, all are graduates of California Institute of the Arts, and individually, have performed in countless major projects, productions, festivals and venues around the world. For more, visit http://timurandthedimemuseum.com.
The Aging Magician is a composite of sonic and visual elements used to paint the fading world of the title character. In this collaboration between composer Paola Prestini and stage director/designer Julian Crouch, a narrator and gondolier shepherd the aging magician through a symbolic last ride through Venice, where he falls in love with a young beautiful boy in his last grasps at life. A sculpture/ instrument designed by Mark Stewart engulfs the stage and slowly illuminates throughout the work, calling the magician to another world.
In this interdisciplinary tale, three generations of men play the magician, boy and gondolier. These roles are embodied by radically different musical styles, chosen by Prestini to represent the characters varying needs and perceptions in their different stages of life. Rinde Eckert's voice is treated operatically, the writing for the boy embodies his folk- tinged style, and the gondolier's role includes scored narration. The music, written for these three voices, highlights Prestini's compositional range, expressing complexity, optimism and worldly awareness. Performers include violinists Cornelius Dufallo and Jennifer Choi, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
PAOLA PRESTINI is a composer, director and a co-founder of VisionIntoArt, an interdisciplinary collective/Production Company based in NY. She specializes in works that transcend disciplinary boundaries.
Her 2009 Tzadik release, Body Maps, has been featured on WQXR and Q2 and showcases new music's great soloists. She has been commissioned and performed by ensembles such as New York City Opera, MATA, Ensemble ACJW, the Kronos Quartet, ETHEL, Carnegie Hall, WNYC, and Concert Artist Guild in venues and festivals worldwide. Her current projects include works for Chicago Symphony Orchestra Music Now, a residency at the Krannert Center, De Deo, an opera with librettist Donna Di Novelli that will inaugurate New York City Opera's Word First Program, and large scale works for soloists Maya Beiser and Cornelius Dufallo. Paola has received awards from ASCAP, NYSCA and the LMCC and is a Paul and Daisy Soros fellow, and a Sundance Fellow. A graduate of the Juillard School, she studied with Robert Beaser, Samuel Adler, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. For mroe, visit www.paolaprestini.com.
Rinde Eckert is critically renowned as a playwright, poet, composer, director and performer. His opera / new music theatre productions tour throughout America, and to major festivals in Europe and Asia. Writing credits for plays include Horizon (Drama Desk Nomination: Best Play, Lucille Lortel Award: "Unique Theatrical Experience"); Orpheus X (Pulitzer Prize nomination); Highway Ulysses and Four Songs Lost in a Wall (The American Academy of Arts and Letters Marc Blitzstein Award); And God Created Great Whales (OBIE Award: Best Performance, Drama Desk Nomination: "Unique Theatrical Experience"); and the two, one-act plays An Idiot Divine. He wrote the text for the performances and recordings of Lonely Motel, Dream House, and Sand Hills Reunion. A Guggenheim Fellow, Eckert was the finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In 2012 he was honored as one of the inaugural Doris Duke Artists. Rinde Eckert lives in New York. For more, visit http://www.rindeeckert.com.
Julian Crouch is a director, designer, writer, and teacher whose career has spanned theatre, opera, film and television. In 1992 he began a successful creative partnership with Phelim McDermott, for whom he designed a number of productions including The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which earned him a T.M.A nomination for Best Designer of the Year). Along with Lee Simpson and Nick Sweeting, Phelim and Julian formed their own company, Improbable, in 1996. Numerous productions, including Shockheaded Peter, have gained far-reaching national and international recognition, winning several major awards.
Most recently, Julian designed the multi-award winning Jerry Springer: The Opera, designed and co-directed Satygraha for Improbable in a co-production with English National Opera and Metropolitan Opera, and designed and co-directed and The Addams Family musical for Broadway. He is currently working on The Devil & Mr. Punch for Improbable and The Enchanted Island for Metropolitan Opera. For more, visit http://juliancrouch.com.
Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) identifies and supports the work of emerging and established composers and their multi-media collaborators through the commission, development, production and touring of their works, which take the form of music-theatre, opera-theatre, chamber music, song-cycle, dance, theater, film, mixed media work, and new forms waiting to be discovered.
Founded in 2006 to identify and support the work of emerging and established composers and their multi-media collaborators, Beth Morrison Projects encourages risk-taking, creating a structure for developing new work that is unique to the artist and where artists feel safe to experiment and push boundaries. Noted as a composers' producer that "is a big underground force on the New York scene, developing events that transcend styles and genres (The New Yorker)," to date the company has commissioned, developed, and produced more than twenty-four premiere opera and other music-theatre pieces that have been performed around the globe. The Wall Street Journal said, "Ms. Morrison may be immortalized one day as a 21st-century Diaghilev, known for her ability to assemble memorable collaborations among artists." Current and upcoming projects include works by composers Eve Beglarian, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, David Lang, David T. Little, Keeril Makan, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Paola Prestini, TEd Hearne, Jonathan Berger, Kamala Sankaram, and more, with directors Julian Crouch, Jay Scheib, Yuval Sharon, and RoBert Woodruff. Projects have been performed in numerous premier venues around the world including Brooklyn Academy Of Music, The Kitchen, Performance Space 122, Lincoln Center, The Walker Art Center, The Barbican, The Beijing Music Festival, The Seoul Performing Arts Festival, The Estates National Theater of Prague, The New York Musical Theater Festival, and more.
Since 1993, HERE has been one of New York's premier arts organizations and a leader in producing and presenting new, hybrid performance work. Over 18 years, HERE has come to occupy a unique and essential place in the landscape of downtown live arts, and to be known as a home both for risk-taking artists in all disciplines, and for their adventurous audiences. HERE has served thousands of emerging to mid-career artists developing bold new hybrid performances, which are cross-disciplinary works that challenge existing boundaries among media and forms of expression. In the face of cookie-cutter art making, HERE has created a commissioning, development and production model that addresses many of the challenges faced by artists working in these hybrid forms. HERE makes it possible for artists to work at varied levels or scales, depending on what they individually need for their project, and to do it within a community of fellow artists who provide peer support and inspiration through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP). One major focus is on hybrid music- theatre/opera works, often involving multi-media and other genres such as dance and film. Recent examples are Corey Dargel's Removable Parts (2007 & 2009), Christina Campanella & Stephanie Fleischmann's Red Fly/Blue Bottle (2009), Nick Brooke's Border Towns (2010), Yoav Gal's Mosheh (2011), and upcoming, Kamala Sankaram's Miranda (2012), Joe Diebes' Botch, Stephan Weisman & David Cote's The Scarlet Ibis, Hai-Ting Chinn's Science Fair, and Bora Yoon's Weights & Balances.
Praised by the New York Times as "the model for the cutting-edge arts spaces of tomorrow," HERE has received two OBIE grants for artistic achievement and a 2006 Edwin Booth Award ("for Outstanding Contribution to NY Theatre") from the CUNY Graduate Center. Our works have also garnered 16 OBIE Awards, five Drama Desk nominations, four NY Innovative Theatre Awards, a Bessie Award, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. In 2005, with the support of FJC, a foundation of donor-advised funds, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the City of New York, HERE purchased its long-time home as part of our five-year, $5.5 million "Secure HERE's Future" campaign. With our full-scale renovations completed in June 2008, thanks to additional generous support from the City of New York, HERE is moving forward with great momentum to expand its role as a downtown haven for the best in new contemporary live art.
Kristin Marting is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of HERE and a director of hybrid work. As Artistic Director of HERE, she cultivates artists and programs all events for two performance spaces for an annual audience of 30,000. Under her leadership, HERE has garnered 16 OBIE awards, 2 OBIE grants for artistic achievement, a 2006 Edwin Booth Award ("for Outstanding Contribution to NY Theatre"), five Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, four NY Innovative Theatre Awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. She has constructed 26 works for the stage (11 original works, 8 adaptations of novels and 7 classic plays) and is currently developing Trace Practices. She was recently named a nytheatre.com Person of the Year, A Leader to Watch by Art Table, and received a BAX10 Award. She teaches Creative Producing at NYU and lectures at Bard, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, and Williams. She regularly serves on grant panels for NEA, NYSCA, DCA, TCG and ART/NY.
Beth Morrison's deep commitment to the support and empowerment of composers and to the creation of new work is realized in Beth Morrison Projects. With an extensive history in the development of new opera and theatre, The Wall Street Journal recently said, "Ms. Morrison may be immortalized one day as a 21st-century Diaghilev, known for her ability to assemble memorable collaborations among artists...[she is] a vital link in the music-industry food chain." She previously served as Administrative Director for Boston University Tanglewood Institute, a program that connects young musicians to the Boston Symphony Orchestra's world renowned Tanglewood Festival. In addition to Beth Morrison Projects, Ms. Morrison served as Producer for New York City Opera's VOX: Contemporary American Opera Lab for the 2010 and 2011 seasons and held a three-year founding tenure with the Yale Institute for Music Theatre. Ms. Morrison holds a Bachelor of Music from Boston University School of Music, a Master of Music from Arizona State University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Theater Management/Producing from Yale School of Drama.
Kim Whitener joined HERE as Producing Director in February 2007, working in partnership with Artistic Director Kristin Marting to curate and produce all of HERE's activities.?From 2001 until 2007, Ms. Whitener was an independent producer with her own company, KiWi Productions, working with a diverse range of US artists, both companies and individuals, in the contemporary theater, dance-theater, and multi-media worlds to develop and produce new projects, working with co-producers worldwide. Her clients have included The Builders Association, Martha Clarke, Big Dance Theater, and 33 Fainting Spells, among others. Ms. Whitener was consulting producer on Logic of the Birds, artist Shirin Neshat's live performance featuring singer Sussan Deyhim (Lincoln Center Festival, Walker Art Center, Artangel London) in 2001. She also was co-producer of Zero Church, a multi-artist concert/performance event by Suzzy and Maggie Roche, at St. Ann's Warehouse in April 2002. Previously she was Managing Director of the ensemble theater company The Wooster Group, and worked with both the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia and the Boston Music Theatre Project at Suffolk University in Boston.
HERE is located at 145 6th Avenue, New York, NY. Call 212/352-3101.