ALT Presents THE GOLDEN TICKET 6/16-26

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American Lyric Theater (ALT) announces the World Premiere of The Golden Ticket, a new opera based on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, on June 13, 2010 at7pm at Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis at Webster University's Loretto-Hilton Center, continuing for five more performances on June 16, 18, 22 (mat), 24, and 26. Tickets are available at www.experienceopera.org or by phone at (314) 961-0644.

Commissioned by American Lyric Theater in New York City and Felicity Dahl, The Golden Ticket was written by American composer Peter Ash and British librettist Donald Sturrock. The World Premiere production of The Golden Ticket will be staged by James Robinson, Artistic Director of Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis, and choreographed by Seán Curran; with costumes and lighting by Tony Award-winning designers Martin Pakledinaz and Christopher Akerlind, and scenic design by Bruno Schwengl, whose innovative work has been seen at Teatro La Fenice, Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, and Los Angeles Opera.

Bass-Baritone Daniel Okulitch, recently acclaimed as Don Giovanni at New York City Opera and in the world premiere of The Fly at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, creates the role of Willy Wonka, joining the ranks of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp in portraying the world's most famous and eccentric candy man. The cast also includes Michael Kepler Meo as Charlie, Tracy Dahl as Violet Beauregarde, Jennifer Rivera as Veruca Salt, David Trudgen as Mike Teavee, and Andrew Drost as Augustus Gloop. All performances are accompanied by members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Timothy Redmond.

"We are incredibly excited that Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis is partnering with ALT to present the world premiere of The Golden Ticket," said Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director of ALT. "Opera Theatre has assembled an extraordinary design team to bring this wonderful new opera to life. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of the most beloved stories of all time. While there have been two exceptional and very different film versions of this classic book, The Golden Ticket represents the first time that this beloved story has been professionally adapted for the stage on this scale. We are very grateful for the cooperation of the Estate of Roald Dahl, and especially to Felicity Dahl, without whose vision and support, The Golden Ticket would not have been possible."

All of Roald Dahl's incredible characters, from Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas, to the four bratty children - and of course - Charlie, find unique new voices in The Golden Ticket. "Donald Sturrock has captured Dahl's fantastic imagination in the libretto and Peter Ash's score is not only beautiful and theatrical, but also ingeniously uses many traditional operatic conventions to help portray different characters. The Golden Ticket is exactly the type of piece that ALT was created to champion, both to support gifted composers and librettists and to bring new audiences to opera. I am thrilled that after three years of development at ALT, audiences in St. Louis and around the world will now be able to enjoy The Golden Ticket," Edelson said.

The Golden Ticket is a co-production of Opera Theatre Of Saint Louis, American Lyric Theater and Wexford Festival Opera. Following the engagement in St. Louis, the production will be presented by Ireland's Wexford Festival Opera for five performances between October 17 and 29, 2010. Additional performances in the United States will be announced by American Lyric Theater later this year.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Peter Ash (Composer) was born in Iowa in 1961 and studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan, before moving to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Although working as a conductor, he continued his academic career and was awarded a British Research Studentship for 3 years PhD work on a comparative study of the librettos of Da Ponte. He has held positions with St. Petersburg Camerata and is currently Artistic Director of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. Ash has a wide and eclectic operatic repertoire, which ranges from Purcell and Haydn to Berio, and Henze. As a symphonic conductor, Ash has worked with orchestras including Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, London Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has made recordings for the BBC, RTE, Spanish National Radio, and SFB German Radio. Ash is committed to broadening the boundaries of classical music for young people. He teaches at London's Centre for Young Musicians (CYM), and is Music Advisor to the Roald Dahl Foundation, for whom he has conducted many important stage premieres. These include Georgs Pelecis' Jack and the Beanstalk in 1996 with Danny DeVito, Simon Callow, Joanna Lumley and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; and Tobias Picker's Fantastic Mr. Fox, with Gerald Finley in a production at the Los Angeles Opera. He has recorded Eleanor Alberga's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, also with DeVito and Lumley. As composer and arranger, Ash has written for television and theatre, including The Art of Singing (1997); and An Awfully Big Adventure (1998); incidental music for a new production of Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine in Magdeburg (1999); and the Children's Opera Keepers of the Night for Los AngeLes Children's Chorus (2007).

Donald Sturrock (Librettist) was born in 1961 and grew up in England and South America. After reading Modern History at Oxford University, he joined BBC Television's Music and Arts Department, where he worked as both producer and director between 1983 and 1992. After leaving the BBC, he wrote and directed The Graham Greene Trilogy for BBC2's ARENA series. Sturrock also directed Plácido Domingo's Tales at the Opera for the BBC, The Art of Singing, the Grammy-nominated The Art of Piano, as well as An Awfully Big Adventure and The Human Face (with John Cleese). In collaboration with an international team of composers, including Paul Patterson, Eleanor Alberga, Georgs Pelecis, Tobias Picker, Vladimir Tarnopolski, Peter Ash and Kurt Schwertsik, Sturrock has adapted and directed a series of musical versions of Roald Dahl's children's stories. In 1995, he wrote and directed a TV film version of Little Red Riding Hood with Danny DeVito, Ian Holm and Julie Walters with choreography by Matthew Bourne. It was broadcast to ecstatic reviews and a UK television audience of over six million viewers. Sturrock is also an accomplished stage director. In 1998, he directed the world premiere of Tobias Picker's opera Fantastic Mr. Fox. Presented by the Los Angeles Opera, with designs by Gerald Scarfe, the piece was hailed in the international press as "a landmark in musical history," and the production praised for its, "breathtaking beauty and imagination." In 2006, Sturrock was commissioned to write the official biography of Roald Dahl. Storyteller is scheduled for publication by Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins in the fall of 2010.

Roald Dahl (Author) is one of the world's most popular children's authors. Born in Wales in 1916 of Norwegian parents, he had an unhappy childhood. His father died when he was four and he disliked his English school education intensely. He could not get away quickly enough, going to work for Shell in East Africa, before joining the Royal Air Force, where he served as a fighter pilot in Greece and Palestine. He began writing in 1942, when he was posted to Washington as an Assistant Air Attaché, after being invalided out of the RAF. There he first achieved fame as a writer of adult fiction. His early stories were often existential reflections on the experience of war and flying, but later he became known as a fabricator of elegant, subversive plot-driven tales, earning him the soubriquet 'Master of the Macabre'. In 1953, he married the American actress Patricia Neal, moving back to England in 1960 where he settled in Buckinghamshire at Gipsy House. It was here, in a small, dingy hut at the bottom of the garden, that he began to write children's fiction. A visitor recalled it thus: "A dirty plastic curtain covered the window. In the centre stood a faded wing-back armchair, inherited from his mother, and it was here that Dahl sat, his feet propped up on a chest, his legs covered by a tartan rug, supporting on his knees a thick roll of corrugated paper upon which was propped his writing board. Photographs, drawings and other mementoes were pinned to the walls, while a table on his right was covered with a collection of favourite curiosities such as one of his own arthritic hip bones, and a remarkably heavy ball made from the discarded silver paper of numerous chocolate bars consumed during his youth." This was the environment in which he created such extraordinary classics as James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Witches, The BFG, Matilda and most popular of them all, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Chinese edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the biggest printing of any book ever - two million copies! Roald Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74. He was working to the end. Since his death, his books have more than maintained their popularity. Sales have grown particularly strongly in the United States where Dahl books are now achieving the bestselling status that curiously proved elusive during the author's lifetime.

ABOUT AMERICAN LYRIC THEATER
Founded in 2005 by Lawrence Edelson, American Lyric Theater's mission is to build a new body of operatic repertoire for new audiences by nurturing composers and librettists, developing sustainable artistic collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon. While the traditional opera company model focuses on producing a season, ALT's programs take place primarily behind the scenes.

ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. Almost every opera company in the country has a Young Artist Program to mentor emerging singers, and over the past 25 years, these programs have proven immensely successful at improving both the artistic level and the career success of American singers around the globe. ALT is dedicated to providing comparable mentorship for operatic writers through the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP). The CLDP is a tuition-free initiative that includes a core curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country's leading operatic writers, directors and dramaturges, including Mark Adamo, Daniel Catán, Anthony Davis, Cori Ellison, Michael Korie, and Rhoda Levine. In addition to the CLDP, ALT commissions new operas with the specific goal of developing repertoire to attract new audiences to opera.

Collaboration is at the core of ALT's mission. While collaboration between composers and librettists is the starting point, partnerships between ALT and other opera companies are crucial to ALT's ability to bring new works to the public. The Golden Ticket is ALT's first main stage commission under this new model. Currently, ALT is developing five other operas, including The Poe Project, a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe.

For more information, visit www.altnyc.org.

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