AOP Receives Over $100K for Creation of New Operas, Including GULLIVER'S TRAVELS and More
American Opera Projects (AOP) announces it is the recipient of several recent grants to support the creation of new operas in partnership with various producing organizations. Over $100,000 in financial support has been awarded to AOP and partners Nashville Opera, Festival Opera, and Opera Parallèle by the National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America and other foundations, institutions, and government entities to commission, develop, and premiere operas around the country.
AOP has recently received generous general operating support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., BMI, the New York State Council on the Arts, and a first-time contribution from The Howard Gilman Foundation, to further AOP's mission to identify, develop and present innovative works of opera and music theater by established and emerging American artists, and to engage our audiences in unique and transformative theatrical experiences.
Operas developed in AOP's First Chance and Composers & the Voice programs that will enjoy premieres and/or new productions in the 2016-17 season include Three Way (Opera Nashville),The Summer King (Pittsburgh Opera), As One (Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Colorado), and Before Night Falls (Florida Grand Opera).
More information about current and past AOP operas can be found at www.aopopera.org.
ABOUT THE OPERAS-IN-PROGRESS:
Supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, a total of $200,000 has been awarded to seven female composers, and seven opera companies through Opera America's Opera Grants for Female Composers program for fiscal year 2016. Included in this announcement is a $10,000 commissioning grant awarded to American Opera Projects to support the development ofGulliver's Travels by composer Victoria Bond and librettist Stephen Greco, with stage direction by Doug Fitch. AOP will collaborate with Gulf Coast Symphony on the premiere production in spring 2017 at Gulf Coast's homebase, Barbara Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers, Florida.
Gulliver's Travels will be a fully-realized MainStage production for Gulf Coast Symphony. AOP has co-produced several works with GCS's Artistic Director Andrew M. Kurtz, and his Philadelphia-based organization Center City Opera Theatre, and is pleased to be creating a world premiere with him as music director. AOP workshop presentations of the opera are scheduled for January 2017 in Fort Myers, FL.
Gulliver's Travels is a "mythological burlesque" based on the Jonathan Swift novel. Appropriate for family audiences in the tradition of Hansel and Gretel, the opera is a journey of the imagination, where the world isn't limited to what you see or know. Gulliver's adventures and observations of the follies and vices of man form the basis of the opera, which blends satire, humor and drama. Told through music and animated objects, the opera is created for the adult in every child. The four short acts are performed without intermission, totaling 70 minutes.
RATED R FOR RAT
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA's second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $20,000 to Festival Opera to support the development of a new chamber opera, Rated R for Rat, by composer Wang Jie and librettist Anne Babson. Rated R for Rat will make its debut at Festival Opera in 2017, in collaboration with AOP, the recipient of an OPERA America Female Commissioning Grant in 2014 for Wang Jie.
AOP workshop presentations of the opera are scheduled for October 2016 at Festival Opera in the San Francisco Bay Area and April 2017 at New York Theatre Workshop where Rated R for Rat director Mou Zhou is a Season 2050 Fellow in Directing.
"Supporting projects like the one from Festival Opera offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day." Festival Opera General Director Sara Nealy said, "We are honored to be recognized by the NEA for the work we are embarking on to create cultural bridges with new works that engage diverse members of our Bay Area communities, and we are excited to work with our partners, American Opera Projects, to bring this imaginative new work to the stage."
Rated R for Rat will portray strong artists contending with an oppressive bureaucracy, with the latter represented as characters of the Chinese Zodiac.
OPERA America has announced the recipients of The Opera Fund: Repertoire Development Grants in which nine opera companies have been awarded a total of $225,000 to develop new North American operas. Included in this announcement is an award in the amount of $35,000 toNashville Opera to support the development of a new opera, Three Way, by composer Robert Paterson and librettist David Cote. Three Way makes its world premiere at Nashville Opera in January 2017, in co-production with American Opera Projects.
AOP workshop presentations of the opera are scheduled for May 2016, with a full production at BAM's Fisher Center in Brooklyn in June 2017 with the orchestra American Modern Ensemble (AME). This will be the first partnership between AOP and Nashville Opera.
Three Way comprises three one-act comic operas about craving and connection. The Companiontells the story of Maya, who lives with her android lover, Joe. This animatronic companion looks and sounds human but has a few glitches. A technician stops by to install new experimental software, with surprising results. In Safe Word, Mistress Salomé is a high-priced dominatrix in a private dungeon. Today, her new male client is a cocky businessman. Their "session" takes some unexpected turns. In Masquerade four couples attempt to step out of their comfort zone and explore their hidden desires.
TODAY IT RAINS
OPERA America has announced the recipients of The Opera Fund: Repertoire Development Grants in which nine opera companies have been awarded a total of $225,000 to develop new North American operas. Included in this announcement is an award in the amount of $35,000 toOpera Parallèle to support the development of a new opera, Today It Rains, by composer Laura Kaminksy and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. Today It Rains will make its world premiere during Opera Parallèle's 2018/19 season, produced in partnership with American Opera Projects.
Today It Rains will be Opera Parallèle's first mainstage commissioned work. The opera is set in May 1929, when Georgia O'Keeffe took a train from New York to Santa Fe with her friend Rebecca Strand, propelling herself away from her tumultuous relationship with Alfred Stieglitz and his circle in search of a more fulfilled life as an artist. The libretto will segue between O'Keeffe and Strand traveling through the American landscape, and O'Keeffe looking back on her love for Stieglitz. The production will be designed and directed by Brian Staufenbiel, with original film by Kimberly Reed.
Founded in 1988, American Opera Projects is at the forefront of the contemporary opera movement, commissioning, developing, presenting, and producing opera and music theatre projects, collaborating with young, rising, and established artists, and engaging audiences in unique and transformative theatrical experiences. AOP has produced over 30 world premieres, including the Nathan Davis/Brendan Pelsue dance chamber opera Hagoromo starring Wendy Whelan (BAM, 2015), Kaminsky/Reed/Campbell's As One (BAM, 2014), Nkeiru Okoye's Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom (Irondale Center, 2014), and Lera Auerbach'sThe Blind (co-production with Lincoln Center Festival, 2013). Other notable premieres include Kimper/Persons' Patience & Sarah (1998), Weisman/Rabinowitz's Darkling (2006), Lee Hoiby'sThis is the Rill Speaking (2008), and Phil Kline's Out Cold, also at BAM (2012). AOP-developed operas that premiered with co-producers include Stefan Weisman's The Scarlet Ibis at PROTOTYPE Festival (2015), Gregory Spears's Paul's Case at Urban Arias (2013) and PROTOTYPE Festival and Pittsburgh Opera (2014), Jack Perla's Love/Hate at ODC Theater with San Francisco Opera (2012), Stephen Schwartz's Séance on a Wet Afternoon at New York City Opera (2011), Tarik O'Regan's Heart of Darkness at London's Royal Opera House (2011) and Opera Parallèle (2015).
Pictured: Brandon Snook, Nancy Allen Lundy, and Kyle Guglielmo in AOP's 2014 staged workshop of The Companion, one act of Robert Paterson and David Cote's opera Three Way, currently in development with Nashville Opera and premiering in the 2016-17 season. Photo by Alex G. Knight.