ALT Developed Operas Set for Fort Worth Opera's 2016 Season
American Lyric Theater (ALT) has announced that three operas programmed in Forth Worth Opera's 2016 Season, announced earlier today by the company, are works commissioned and developed by ALT in New York City.
JFK by composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek is a co-commission between FWOpera and ALT. The work explores the final twelve hours of the 35th president's life and time spent in Fort Worth, Texas. The opera marks the first joint project for the writing team following their critically acclaimed chamber opera Dog Days (2012).
The Poe Project, a double-bill comprised of two one-act operas, was commissioned by ALT in honor of the Poe Centennial in 2009. ALT began the project by posing the question, "What might Poe write if he were alive today?" The results are two chilling works for the opera stage. Buried Alive, by composer Jeff Myers and librettist Quincy Long, draws on themes of anxiety and mortality from Poe's story "The Premature Burial," as a painter's nightmares of death start to become real. Embedded, by composer Patrick Soluri and librettist Deborah Brevoort, is wittily inspired by Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," as a TV news anchor finds herself on the other side of the headlines.
"At the core of ALT's mission is our commitment to supporting emerging composers and librettists," explains Lawrence Edelson, ALT's Founder and Producing Artistic Director. "But ALT is not a producing company - we are dedicated to artist mentorship and developing new works. Partnering with producing companies to present world and regional premieres is an integral part of our model, as it allows the work of our alumni to reach the widest possible audiences around the country. Through our unique partnership with Fort Worth Opera, ALT has been able to provide essential developmental resources and support for the commission of JFK, as well as secure a second staging for The Poe Project double-bill, which received its world premiere in 2014 at Fargo Moorhead Opera."
JFK marks a poignant circle of mentorship between ALT and librettist Royce Vavrek, who joined the CLDP in 2007 as a member of the program's first class of Resident Artists. Since completing the program, Vavrek has become one of the field's most celebrated and in-demand librettists for the opera stage. ALT has been honored to co-commission and support him, as he has embarked upon the largest-scale project of his career to date with frequent collaborator David T. Little. The entire world premiere cast, including baritone Matthew Worth as President John F. Kennedy, Daniela Mack in the role of Jacqueline Kennedy, Talise Trevigne in the role of hotel maid Clara Harris, Sean Panikkar as secret serviceman Henry Rathbone, Daniel Okulitch as Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Cree Carrico as Rosemary Kennedy and Katharine Goeldner as Jackie Onassis, participated in an extensive developmental workshop and public preview event produced by ALT in November 2014.
The writers of The Poe Project, Jeff Myers, Quincy Long, Patrick Soluri, and Deborah Brevoort, were the first group of CLDP Alumni artists to be commissioned by ALT. As part of their mentorship and ALT's unique commissioning and development process, ALT completed libretto workshops, piano/vocal workshops, and orchestral workshops of each opera. Throughout these workshops, ALT promoted the work in development, subsequently securing co-producing partners Fargo Moorhead Opera and Fort Worth Opera to present the world premiere production. Several artists featured in the world premiere will also star in the FWOpera staging, including baritone Christopher Burchett, soprano Caroline Worra and bass Nathan Stark. The original stage directors for each opera, Lawrence Edelson for Buried Alive and Sam Helfrich for Embedded return to revive their productions.