THE SCARLET IBIS, TIMUR AND THE DIME MUSEUM and More Set for Prototype Festival's Third Season; Runs Jan 7-17
Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) and HERE have announced programming for the third annual PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now festival, running January 7-17, 2015, in New York City. This two-week festival, founded and curated by Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of BMP), and Kim Whitener (of HERE), has quickly become an established force on the global opera scene. The second season, even more overwhelmingly successful than the first, left Alex Ross of the New Yorker to declare, "in an eleven-day period Prototype managed to uncover more new work of substance than City Opera was able to do in the past decade or more."
"A fertile breeding ground for interesting new work" (The Washington Post), the Festival features several presentations from noteworthy voices in 2015: two world premieres - composer Stefan Weisman and librettist David Cote's The Scarlet Ibis, acontemporary family opera that weaves puppetry into its story-telling, and Korean-American artist Bora Yoon's multimedia music-theatre work, Sunken Cathedral, which takes the audience on a surreal sonic journey of deep psychological impact. The Festival also includes Toxic Psalms, an international co-presentation with Slovenian vocal theatre company Carmina Slovenica and St. Ann's Warehouse; Kansas City Choir Boy, a theatricalized concept album by Todd Almond, at HERE; two work-in-progress presentations of Beth Morrison Projects operas in development: Winter's Child, by Ellen Reid and Amanda Jane Shank, co-presented with Trinity Wall Street; and Aging Magician, by Paola Prestini, Rinde Eckert, and Julian Crouch, a returning work-in-progress from the inaugural Festival, here co-presented with Park Avenue Armory and Opera America's New Works Forum; and a one-night only performance, in collaboration with Joe's Pub, of a smash hit from the inaugural Festival, Timur and the Dime Museum, a Los Angeles-based "dark glam" opera band.
These Festival presentations take place at HERE, St. Ann's Warehouse, La MaMa, Park Avenue Armory, Trinity Church's St. Paul's Chapel, and Joe's Pub, along with forums to coincide with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) conferences, and the Opera America New Works Forum.
Watch this space for more information, samples, and Festival extras: http://prototypefestival.org.
THE SCARLET IBIS (WORLD PREMIERE)
Composer Stefan Weisman
Librettist David Cote
Based on the classic 1960 story by James Hurst, The Scarlet Ibis is a family opera about brotherhood, illness, and the power of the imagination to soar above physical limitations. This world premiere by composer Stefan Weisman (Darkling) and librettist David Cote fuses singers, puppetry, and multimedia stagecraft to tell the story of Doodle, a remarkable disabled boy whose older brother pushes him to be "normal." Set in rural North Carolina a century ago, the story contrasts notions of physical wholeness versus mystical otherness. Episodic and expressionistic, the narrative draws on elements of Southern Gothic, boy's adventure, and domestic tragedy. OBIE Award-winning director Mallory Catlett stages the premiere, with set design by Joseph Silovsky, puppetry by Tom Lee, lighting by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, and costumes by Andrea Mincic. Steven Osgood conducts the American Modern Ensemble in a nine-member configuration.
SUNKEN CATHEDRAL (WORLD PREMIERE)
Composer Bora Yoon
Co-presented with La Mama
An archetypal journey through the subconscious, Sunken Cathedral is a multimedia musical performance work by Korean-American composer, vocalist, and sonic surrealist Bora Yoon, featuring Korean traditional dance and drumming artist Vong Pak. Each chapter of this contemporary multimedia work excavates blood, memory, cultural identity, and the intersections where society's greatest diamonds and demons are held. Directed by Glynis Rigsby, projections by Adam Larsen, and featuring kinetic sculptures by U-Ram Choe, Sunken Cathedral traces death, life, rebirth, and the recombinant alchemy of matter and energy.
TOXIC PSALMS (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Co-presented with Carmina Slovenica and St. Ann's Warehouse
@ St. Ann's Warehouse
Vocal theatre company Carmina Slovenica, world renowned for its unconventional choral storytelling with opera, drama, and movement, brings its unique "choregie" practice to New York City for Toxic Psalms, an open-ended collection of scenes by several composers including Jacob Cooper, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Stephen Hatfield, and Sarah Hopkins, as well as a Syrian orthodox piece arranged by Karmina Silec. Led by internationally acclaimed conductor Karmina Silec, the troupe creates a highly theatrical and visceral experience through choral music that is both unexpected and provocative. Toxic Psalms features an ensemble of 34 Slovenian young women, aged 13-23. The music mirrors the unspeakable violences and victimizations across the world today, particularly against women. Channeling both ancient and modern humanities, it invokes Palestine, Syria, P**** Riot [edited to pass spam filters] weapons, extinctions, and contaminations of religions. In the age of #YesAllWomen and #BringBackOurGirls, Carmina Slovenica is a powerful arsenal of female power, igniting the anthem that "something has to be done."
KANSAS CITY CHOIR BOY (PREMIERE PRESENTATION)
Composer Todd Almond
Kansas City Choir Boy is a theatricalized concept album, here presented in a premiere presentation, about explosive young love tested by cruel fate, told in a series of mysterious flashbacks. A boy and a girl in small town America, united in their outsiderness and intense love for each other, get separated when one goes in search of greater mystery. Borrowing themes from ancient myth and music from the dance floor, the show features composer Todd Almond at the keyboard and on vocals, along with a fiery cast, a string quartet, a computer musician/DJ, and immersive video projections. Directed by Kevin Newbury, Kansas City Choir Boy is epic and romantic, a love-story for the music-video age and a love-child of the 24-hour news cycle that feeds on the stories of the anonymous "missing."
WINTER'S CHILD (WORK IN PROGRESS)
Composer Ellen Reid
Librettist Amanda Jane Shank
Co-Presented with Trinity Wall Street
@ Trinity St. Paul's Chapel
With a story written by Ellen Reid, Amy Tofte, and Julianne Just, Winter's Child is set in a Southern gothic landscape, revealing a world of rough earth, quiet prayer, and a mother's fight to change her youngest daughter's fate. This new opera, composed by Ellen Reid with text by Amanda Jane Shank, juxtaposes two contrasting settings: The House, a quiet and folky space rigidly controlled by the 'Mama,' and The Lake, a lush mystical expanse that holds Child's sisters. Esteemed conductor Julian Wachner leads a thirteen-member ensemble and a fifteen-woman chorus, where the chorus becomes the voice of The Lake, making a Faustian deal with Mother.
AGING MAGICIAN (WORK IN PROGRESS)
Co-created by composer Paola Prestini,? writer and performer Rinde Eckert, and director and designer Julian Crouch
Co-Presented with Park Avenue Armory
@ Park Avenue Armory
Aging Magician returns from the 2013 Festival as Prototype follows its developmental progress. A music-theatre work, Aging Magician is a composite of sonic and visual elements that paints an allegory on time, youth, and the peculiar magic of ordinary life, and, perhaps, the ordinary magic of a peculiar life. Accompanied by a string quartet and a choir of young people, Aging Magician moves with Harold from the surgical repair of a timepiece to the magic show of time itself, lives and deaths, appearances and disappearances. The man's vibrant last adventure is brought to life by a team of multidisciplinary artists who combine music, theatre, puppetry, instrument making, and scenic design to create an enduring work for the stage. This work features vocalist Rinde Eckert, a musical set by Mark Stewart, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
TIMUR AND THE DIME MUSEUM (ONE NIGHT ONLY)
@ Joe's Pub
The post-punk operatic glam band Timur and the Dime Museum fuses alternative indie sounds with Bjork fierceness and The Residents theatricality. LA Weekly called Timur a "fascinating Kazakh-American hybrid, a flamboyant performer with a beautifully haunting voice and a brilliant architect of tension." The band is currently touring their first large-scale multimedia project, Collapse, a post-ecological Requiem, produced by BMP with video artist Jesse Gilbert and fashion designer Victor Wilde, with shows at Redcat Theater, Miami Light Project, Operadagen Rotterdam Festival, and a major NYC festival in 2015 (TBA). This one-night-only show at Joe's Pub previews some songs from Collapse alongside their fan-favorite original and cover tunes.
ABOUT THE PRODUCERS, ARTISTIC DIRECTORS:
Creative producer Beth Morrison Projects identifies and supports the work of emerging and established composers and their collaborators through the commission, development, and production of their work, taking the form of opera-theatre, music-theatre, and multi-media concert works. Relying on the core values of collaboration, exploration, experimentation, artistry, and excellence, BMP provides a nurturing structure that allows artists to push the boundaries of their art form. Founded in 2006, BMP rapidly developed a reputation for "envisioning new possibilities and finding ways to facilitate their realization" (The New York Times). In eight years, BMP has commissioned, developed, and produced more than thirty-five operas and music-theatre pieces that have premiered or been performed in New York, across the country, and 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." BMP's ability to recognize emerging talent, invest in the vision of living composers and their collaborators, and partner with presenters to bring new work to life has allowed it to become vital in the landscape of new music and opera. The New York Times recently said, "The production of new [opera] works in the city still falls mostly to the tireless Beth Morrison and her Beth Morrison Projects..." BMP is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, the Department of Cultural Affairs of New York City, New Music USA, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Map Fund, a program of creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
BMP is led by Creative Producer Beth Morrison, an opera and theatre producer, singer, and voice teacher with bachelor and master of music degrees and a master of fine arts in theatre management/producing from the Yale School of Drama, as well as many years of experience in the development of new opera and theatre works. She first cultivated her extensive experience in arts administration at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute where she served as administrative director for four years. Beth served a founding tenure as the Producer for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre from 2009-2011, as well as Producer for New York City Opera's VOX:Contemporary American Opera Lab from 2010-2011. Beth is also a founding producer of 21c Liederabend, a much-lauded multi-media festival of contemporary art song. BMP is the realization of Beth's vision, which stems from a deep commitment to nurturing composers and other artists and fostering the development of new opera and other new music-theatre works.
Since 1993, HERE has been one of New York's most prolific producing and presenting organizations, and today stands at the forefront of the city's presenters of new hybrid art. HERE supports multidisciplinary work that does not fit into a conventional programming agenda. HERE's aesthetic represents the independent, the innovative, and the experimental. HERE has developed such acclaimed works as Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues; Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique; Young Jean Lee's Songs of The Dragons Flying To Heaven; Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers; and Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge. As the ultimate in hybrid forms, music-theater and opera-theater premieres developed and produced at HERE include Kamala Sankaram's first opera Miranda, Yoav Gal's Mosheh, Christina Campanella and Stephanie Fleischman's Red Fly/Blue Bottle, and Nick Brooke's Border Towns.
Kristin Marting is HERE's Co-Founder and Artistic Director and a director of hybrid work based in NYC. 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") from the CUNY Graduate Center, five Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, four NY Innovative Theatre Awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. She co-created and co-curates HARP, HERE's Artist Residency Program. She also has constructed 26 works for the stage, including 12 original hybrid works, 8 adaptations of novels and short stories and 6 classic plays. She works in a collaborative, process-driven way to fuse different disciplines into a cohesive whole. She is now developing TRADE PRACTICES, a collaborative live art event that examines the notion of values. Recent projects include ORPHEUS, a collaborative alt-musical also co-created with David Morris; LUSH VALLEY, a live art participatory performance on citizenship, and James Scruggs's interactive solo work DISPOSABLE MEN. She also directed SOUNDING & DEAD TECH (collaborative hybrid works inspired by Ibsen texts), both of which received MAP Fund awards. She was named Person on the Year by nytheatre.com in 2011 and recently honored with a BAX10 Award.
Kim Whitener is HERE's Producing Director, co-curating and co-producing all of HERE's activities.? Since early 2007 under her leadership, HERE's programming has grown exponentially, and several major initiatives have launched, including the PROTOTYPE festival and MADE HERE, an online video documentary series about New York performing artists. 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, music-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.