American Lyric Theater Announces Upcoming Season

American Lyric Theater Announces Upcoming Season

American Lyric Theater (ALT), home to the nationally acclaimed Composer Librettist Development Program, has announced the 2011-2012 public performance season, featuring workshop performances of seven new operas by Resident Artists; as well as lectures and master classes with some of the country's leading operatic writers. While the majority of ALT's programs are dedicated to mentorship of gifted emerging composers and librettists, six public events will take place over the course of the season to introduce these writers, their work, and other exciting trends in American opera to New York City audiences.

This season, ALT's Freshly Brewed series returns to OPERA America. These informal concerts feature performances of works-in-progress by Resident Artists, master classes with guest artist mentors, and provocative discussions with some of the most exciting writers working in American opera today. Freshly Brewed events take place on Sundays at 1:00 PM, and include a light brunch with the featured artists on each program. Tickets for each event are $20, and are available online at or by calling (212) 868-4444. Due to limited seating capacity at OPERA America, tickets are strictly limited and advance purchase is required. OPERA America is located at 330 Seventh Avenue (between 28th and 29th).

WHY OPERA?: On Sunday, October 30th, 2011, as part of National Opera Week, world renowned dramaturg and ALT principal faculty member Cori Ellison will lead a round table discussion exploring what is inspiring operatic writers in America today. New operas are being written by a wide variety of artists with radically different musical and theatrical styles. Tradition is sometimes revered, sometimes respected, and sometimes intentionally ignored. Classics are adapted and often reinvented, while other times new operas focus on political and social issues. During our first event in the Freshly Brewed series, we will discuss what inspires some of the country's most gifted writers. Why are they interested in writing operas? What subject material is "right" for operatic adaptation and why? Does subject matter have to be contemporary to speak to contemporary audiences? How does musical and linguistic style change from subject to subject, opera to opera? Guest artists will include composer Nico Muhly (Dark Sisters for Gotham Chamber Opera/Opera Company of Philadelphia/Music Theatre Group; and Two Boys for The Metropolitan Opera/English National Opera); librettist Stephen Karam (Dark Sisters with composer Nico Muhly); composer Ricky Ian Gordon (The Grapes of Wrath for The Minnesota Opera/Utah Opera/Pittsburgh Opera; Rappahannock County for Virginia Opera/Virginia Arts Festival; and currently writing The Garden of the Finzi Continis for The Minnesota Opera); composer StewArt Wallace (Harvey Milk for Houston Grand Opera/New York City Opera/San Francisco Opera; The Bone Setter's Daughter for San Francisco Opera; Where's Dick? for Houston Grand Opera, and Kaballah for Dance Theatre Workshop); and librettist Michael Korie (The Grapes of Wrath and The Garden of the Finzi Continis with Ricky Ian Gordon; Harvey Milk, The Bone Setter's Daughter (with Amy Tan), Where's Dick?, and Kaballah - all with StewArt Wallace).

THE ART OF THE ARIA WITH MARK ADAMO: On Sunday, December 18th, 2011, we invite the public to take a look inside the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) studio during this master class with ALT's Director of Professional Development, composer/librettist Mark Adamo. Best known for Little Women, one of the most produced American operas of all-time, Adamo's operatic work also includes Lysistrata for Houston Grand Opera, and he is currently writing The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for San Francisco Opera. During this event, four composer/librettist teams, all Resident Artists in the CLDP, will present new arias. Guest singers from the country's leading opera houses will perform the arias, and artists and audiences alike will be invited to discuss the works they have heard. What is an aria? What is its purpose dramatically and musically within the context of a larger work? Have these arias been successful in accomplishing their goals? Did they engage you? Did they move you? Why or why not? Is the text set well for the voice? This unique look inside the writers' studio will give audiences an opportunity to explore the process of developing new opera, and the opportunity to meet the next generation of operatic writers - the composers and librettists who will be writing the works you will want to hear in the future!

DRAMATIZING HISTORY WITH Anthony Davis: On Sunday, February, 26th, 2012, internationally acclaimed composer Anthony Davis hosts a concert and exploration of dramatizing history on the opera stagE. Davis is known around the globe for his exciting works that draw from the lives of historical figures, including X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, Tania, Amistad, and Wakonda's Dream. This Freshly Brewed event will be the culmination of Davis' annual winter residency at ALT, during which composers and librettists in the CLDP explore the challenges of dramatizing historic figures in opera. Guest singers from the country's leading opera houses join us for a program of newly written scenes based on real-life figures past and present.

THE LIVING LIBRETTO: On Sunday, April 29th, 2012, join us for a libretto reading of four new one-act operas being written by ALT Resident Artists. All four operas will be performed in concert as part of Opera in Eden on June 25th, 2012 at Symphony Space, but during this Freshly Brewed event, we will explore behind the scenes in the writing process as we discuss issues of dramatic structure, characterization, and how the composers are approaching the musical side of their collaboration with librettists. Under the direction of Producing Artistic Director and stage director Lawrence Edelson (Hydrogen Jukebox for Fort Worth Opera; La Traviata for The Minnesota Opera; the Israeli premiere of Little Women in Tel Aviv; and the American premiere of Telemann's Orpheus for Wolf Trap Opera), the four libretti will be performed by guest actors from Broadway and off-Broadway, followed by a discussion of the challenges of setting text to music in an operatic context, timing of action in opera versus spoken drama, and the role the orchestra can play in opera beyond mere accompaniment. Guest actors to be announced.

In addition to the Freshly Brewed Series, seven new operas will be featured in concert performances during the course of the 2011-2012 season:

THE POE PROJECT: On Thursday, November 10th, 2011 at 7:30 PM, ALT presents a concert reading of The Poe Project - three one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive by Jeff Myers and Quincy Long; ...of the Flesh by Jay Anthony Gach and Royce Vavrek; and Embedded by Patrick Soluri and Deborah Brevoort. The operas in this exciting new trilogy are not simply adaptations of Poe stories. ALT asked these writers, "What might Poe write if he were alive today?" The chilling results will be performed in concert with full orchestra in Cary Hall at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music (350 West 37th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues) with a cast including soprano Caroline Worra, soprano Camille Zamora, mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock, tenor Chad A. Johnson, baritone Christopher Burchett, and bass Matt Boehler. Tickets are $40 in advance, with a limited number of VIP seats available for $100. Tickets are available online at or by calling (212) 868-4444. The Poe Project was commissioned by ALT with support from The New York State Council on the Arts. This concert of The Poe Project is made possible with support from OPERA America and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.

OPERA IN EDEN: ALT's annual Opera in Eden concert returns to the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space for one night only on Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 7:00 PM. This evening of work written by Resident Artists from ALT's Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) will feature four new one-act operas by librettists Magda Bogin, Stephanie Fleischmann, David Johnston, and Kate Light; and composers Jeremy Howard Beck, Alla Borzova, Theo Popov and Jeffrey Dennis Smith. All of the operas featured as part of Opera in Eden are borne out of an assignment designed by Mark Adamo, in which composers and librettists are provided with an outline that is very loosely based on the story of Adam and Eve, but with many missing pieces - a sort of operatic ‘MadLibs' project. The artists are asked to fill in the blanks, make distinct choices about their takes on the story, and then to realize their visions in an operatic context. Throughout this one-act project, composers and librettists are challenged to rethink assumptions, justify their choices, and to find their own voices as they create a piece that is both dramatically riveting and musically engaging. Previous operas developed as part of this project have gone on to fully staged productions in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Tickets for all 2011 events are on sale now. Tickets for all 2012 events will go on sale January 6th, 2012. Additional details on all events are available at


American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded by Lawrence Edelson in 2005 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. ALT is not an opera company by any traditional definition. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT's programs focus on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with larger producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire.

In 2006, ALT commissioned its first main stage work from American Composer Peter Ash: The Golden Ticket, a new opera based on Roald Dahl's classic book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After Ash and his librettist partner, Donald Sturrock, began independent development of this opera, ALT commissioned its completion with Felicity Dahl, and provided a supportive mentorship environment for three years. Under a new collaborative producing model, ALT developed a partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to present the world premiere of The Golden Ticket, which took place in June 2010 to tremendous critical and audience acclaim. The European Premiere of The Golden Ticket took place in October 2010 at Ireland's Wexford Festival Opera, and The Atlanta Opera will present the opera in March 2012. In 2009, ALT initiated a second main stage commission, The Poe Project: a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe being written by six Resident Artists from ALT's Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP). Since launching the CLDP in 2007, ALT has provided intensive personalized mentorship to 25 gifted emerging artists. Currently, ALT is developing two additional full-length operas, and welcomes eight new Resident Artists to the CLDP in the 2011-12 season.

The Composer Librettist Development Program is made possible by generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and The ASCAP Foundation - Joseph and Rosalie Meyer Fund. Additional Program Support for the 2011-2012 season has been provided by OPERA America and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.


Sunday, October 30th, 2011 at 1:00 PM - Freshly Brewed: Why Opera? Venue - OPERA America, 330 7th Avenue, New York, New York.

Thursday, November 10th, 2011 at 7:30 PM - The Poe Project. Venue - Cary Hall at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, 450 W.37th Street, New York, New York.

Sunday, December 18th, 2011 at 1:00 PM - Freshly Brewed: The Art of the Aria with Mark Adamo. Venue - OPERA America, 330 7th Avenue, New York, New York.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM - Freshly Brewed: Dramatizing History with Anthony Davis. Venue - OPERA America, 330 7th Avenue, New York, New York.

Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM: Freshly Brewed: The Living Libretto. Venue - OPERA America, 330 7th Avenue, New York, New York.

Monday, June 25, 2012 at 7:00 PM - Opera in Eden. Venue - Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, New York, New York.