American Lyric Theater Awarded Two $15,000 Grants by OPERA America
American Lyric Theater (ALT) has been awarded two grants of $15,000 each from OPERA America's THE OPERA FUND for Repertoire Development. Announced earlier today by OPERA America, the grants are for two operas in development at ALT: La Reina by composer Jorge Sosa and librettist Laura Sosa Pedroza; and The Long Walk, by composer Jeremy Howard Beck and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann based on Brian Castner's critically acclaimed book of the same name.
La Reina is an electro-acoustic opera with text in Spanish and English that draws its narrative from the drug trade in Mexico and the United States, inspired by some of the most vivid real life players in this increasingly violent war from the past and present. The Long Walk describes a soldier's return from Iraq where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit, and his battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as he tries to reintegrate himself into his family life upon his return from the war.
The operas, both of which have been commissioned by ALT, are being developed under the auspices of the company's Composer Librettist Development Program. American Lyric Theater is honored to have been selected by OPERA America as the only opera company in the country to receive two of the 11 Repertoire Grants awarded by THE OPERA FUND this year. Readings of both operas-in-progress will take place as part of American Lyric Theater's inaugural InsightALT festival this spring between May 28 - June 3, 2013.
Composer: Jorge Sosa; Librettist: Laura Sosa Pedroza
Video Preview: http://www.altnyc.org/new-operas-for-new-audiences/la-reina/
La Reina draws its narrative from the drug trade in Mexico and the United States. The story of revenge and corruption on both sides of the border is inspired by some of the most vivid real life players in this increasingly violent war from the past and present, including Sandra Ávila Beltrán, El Guero Palma, El Pozolero, DEA agent Enrique Camarena, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. The opera is being written for classically trained singers and a chamber orchestra of acoustic and electronic forces. The libretto for La Reina is being written in both Spanish and English, reflecting the symbiotic relationship between Mexico and the United States, and the shared responsibility of the current drug conflicts.
Jorge Sosa is a Mexican born composer who lives in New York City. Sosa received a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, a Masters of Music in Composition from Mannes College of Music, and a licentiate diploma from the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios de la Musica (C.I.E.M) in Mexico City. Sosa's works, which are strongly influenced by ancient music, electro-acoustic music, and Latin American folk music, have been performed in Mexico, the United States, and Europe. He was one of the winners of the Chanticleer Student Composers Competition in 2006 with his choral work The Fly. His piece Capricho for Solo Violin was selected for the Washington Composer's Forum Transport Concert Series in Seattle. Capricho has also enjoyed successful performances in Dublin, Paris, Boston, Philadelphia, Kansas City, New York, and Mexico City. In 2007, Sosa was the winner of the 'Tonoi Ensemble' Composition Competition with his piece Oak, Ivory and Silver, and his piece Bounce for solo sax was performed at Carnegie Hall. His electro-acoustic opera The Calling has been performed in Mexico City and was also staged at the H&R Block Theater in Kansas City, along with his opera/oratorio Tonatzin, which tells the story of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe. His Refraction I was performed at the New York Electronic Music Festival in 2009 and performed at the 2010 ClarinetFest in Texas. Plastic Time was performed at the 2010 Foro de Música Nueva Manuel Enriquez at the Fine Arts Palace in Mexico City, and Ariel was premiered in London by the group, Rarescale, followed by performances at the 2010 New York Electronic Music Festival. Jorge is currently developing La Reina, a bilingual (Spanish/English) opera for electronic and acoustic performing forces under the auspices of American Lyric Theater's Composer Librettist Development Program.
Laura Sosa Pedroza is a bilingual Mexican screenwriter who has worked primarily in film and television. She is co-writer of En el país de no pasa nada, selected as the winner of the Best Movie category by the OCIC jury in Guadalajara's Film Festival in 2000. She has participated in numerous TV shows as co-writer, including Todo por amor (TV Azteca-Argos, 2000); Momento de decision (Series TV Azteca-Argos, 1999); Ladrón de corazones (Telemundo-Argos, 2003); Corazón partido (Telemundo-Argos, 2005); Zapata, amor en rebeldía (Telemundo-Argos, 2006); Mientras haya vida (Azteca-Argos, 2007); Vivir sin ti (TV Azteca-Argos, 2008); Secretos del alma (TV Azteca, 2009); Las Aparicio (Cadena Tres-Argos, 2010); El sexo débil (Cadena Tres-Argos, 2011). She was head writer for Gitanas, a soap opera awarded best adaptation by the international FyMT in 2004, and was the story producer of the first season of Capadocia (HBO-Argos), which was nominated for best drama series in 2009 at the International Emmy Awards. She is also the author of several episodes of Capadocia on the first and second seasons. Laura is currently working on the production of the third season of Capadocia, as well as the libretto for her first opera, La Reina, with composer Jorge Sosa.
THE LONG WALK
Based on the book, The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows, by Brian Castner
Composer: Jeremy Howard Beck; Librettist: Stephanie Fleischmann
Video Preview: http://www.altnyc.org/new-operas-for-new-audiences/the-long-walk/
A solider comes home from war and must adapt to a world that is forever changed. This is a timeless story, though the context continues to change. Based on the critically acclaimed 2012 memoir by Brian Castner, The Long Walk dives deep into the mind of a American soldier who has returned from Iraq after serving as an officer in an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit. Castner's battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he calls "the Crazy with a capital C," is at the center of this moving personal story of a man struggling to reintegrate himself back into his family life upon his return from the war.
For composer Jeremy Howard Beck, writing music is an integral, urgent part of a life lived in search of extremes, adventures, and adrenaline. Lifelong passions for roller coasters and gymnastics have lent his music intense, visceral physicality and emotional immediacy. His music has been performed across the country: at MYTHOS, a concert benefiting Education Through Music (Los Angeles, California), the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASSMoCA (Massachusetts), the International Trombone Festival (Austin, Texas), the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Connecticut), and New York venues including The Cell, Galapagos Art Space, The Tank, and the Gershwin Hotel. He is the recipient of a 2011 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and his first symphony, Metropolis, was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2010 ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize competition. Jeremy is a Co-Director of Detour, a modular new music ensemble, composer collective, and commissioning organization. He also serves on the board of directors of Choral Chameleon, a choir specializing in new music. An active trombonist, he recently performed with TILT Brass in Super Critical Mass's Swelter at the Central Park Lake as part of Make Music New York, and performs regularly with the Chelsea Symphony and the Detour New Music Ensemble. He is the first Composer-in-Residence of the Guidonian Hand Trombone Quartet. Jeremy holds degrees from The Juilliard School (MM, '10), where he studied with John Corigliano and Christopher Rouse, and NYU (BM, '07), where he studied with Mark Adamo and Deniz Hughes. Jeremy joined the Composer Librettist Development Program in the 2011-12 season, during which he developed the one-act opera Another Sky with librettist Stephanie Fleischmann. He continues his collaboration with Fleischmann this season as they begin the development of The Long Walk.
Stephanie Fleischmann is a playwright and librettist/lyricist whose texts serve as blueprints for intricate three-dimensional sonic and visual worlds, encompassing non-traditional music-theater and installation. A "neo Emily Dickinson" (Backstage) and "a writer who can conjure something between a dreamy road movie and a theatrical coming-of-age tale, and who can piece these elements together in the style of a jagged ballad for guitar" (Chicago Sun Times), she is an alumnus of New Dramatists and a former Playwrights Center Core Writer. Her work has been performed internationally and across the U.S. Stephanie received a NYSCA Individual Artist Theater Commission for her libretto for the multimedia music-theater work, Red Fly/Blue Bottle, with music by Christina Campanella(Latitude 14/ HERE Arts Center, Noorderzon Festival, and EMPAC in Troy, NY). Other grants and awards include NEA Opera/Music-Theater commission (Far Sea Pharisee, music by Miki Navazio), two NYFA Fellowships, the Whitfield Cook Award (Eloise & Ray, New Georges, NYC, "Voice Season Highlight"; and Roadworks, Chicago), the Frederic Loewe Award (The Hotel Carter, music by Jenny Giering), and a grant from the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust (The Secret Lives of Coats, music by Christina Campanella; Playlabs, Whitman College). She has also enjoyed residencies at MacDowell, HARP, Hedgebrook, Mabou Mines/Suite, DPI, and the Chocolate Factory. Stephanie's work for theater includes Hamlet Redux (Asolo Rep Conservatory), Omonia-3 (Athens, Greece), Tinder, a song cycle (Exit Festival, France), Tally Ho (Round House, Synchronicity), The Street of Useful Things (Act II), What the Moon Saw (Interart; Son of Semele), The World Speed Carnival (Soho Rep SummerCamp), The Wonder Seeker (Empty Space), Orpheus (music by Nikos Brisco; HERE), and lyrics (for over 60 songs) and dramaturgy for The Greeks 2 & 3 and The Americans, with composers John Pratt, Phil Roebuck and Jim White at Juilliard, with director Brian Mertes. She contributed texts to Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth's ecstaloop and The Cartographer's Song (Basel, Berlin, Graz, Stockholm, and the Aldeburgh Festival). Her work has been developed/ presented at venues including: Prelude, The Public, Knitting Factory, BACA Downtown, Guthrie Lab, San Francisco Stage and Film, Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Theatreworks, New Theater Miami, Teatro dei Contrari, Rome, and more. She is published by Play, A Journal of Plays, Playscripts.com, and Smith and Krauss. She was a Tennessee Williams Fellow in Playwriting at Sewanee, and has taught at Bard College and the Playwrights Foundation. Stephanie currently teaches playwriting at Skidmore College. She holds an MFA from Brooklyn College (studied with Mac Wellman). She is also a New Georges affiliated artist and founding member of Latitude 14. Stephanie joined the Composer Librettist Development Program in the 2011-12 season, during which she developed the one-act opera Another Sky with composer Jeremy Howard Beck. She continues her collaboration with Jeremy this season as they begin the development of a new opera,The Long Walk.
Founded in 1970, OPERA America's worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association's electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.
OPERA America's long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works, as well as the commissioning and development of new North American opera and music-theater The Opera Fund was launched by The National Endowment for the Arts, and is funded by The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Lee Day Gillespie, Lloyd and Mary Ann Gerlach, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James S. and John K. Knight Foundation and the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation.
Repertoire Development grants assist OPERA America Professional Company Members and their partners in meeting the special costs incurred by developing and producing new North American opera and music-theater. The grant may be used to offset creative fees, recording expenditures for evaluation and archival purposes or other costs associated with the development of a new opera/music-theater work, including but not limited to: lab productions, workshops, readings, and revisions.
American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded 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. 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 The Golden Ticket, a new opera based on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The opera was given its world premiere in June 2010 in partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, followed by its international premiere in partnership with Ireland's Wexford Festival Opera in October 2010. In December 2012, ALT released its first CD, the live recording of The Golden Ticket on the Albany Records label. Conducted by composer Peter Ash, the CD was produced by ALT in partnership with The Atlanta Opera, and was made during performances in Atlanta in March 2012.
In 2007, ALT launched its core initiative, the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), led by Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson and a faculty including some of the country's foremost artists, including composer-librettist Mark Adamo, composers Robert Beaser and Anthony Davis, librettists Michael Korie and Mark Campbell, dramaturg Cori Ellison and stage director Rhoda Levine. Recent guest teachers and lecturers have included composers Kaija Saariaho, Nico Muhly, StewArt Wallace, Christopher Theofanidis, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Musto, and Paul Moravec, and librettists Donna DiNovelli, Stephen Karam, and Gene Scheer. Notable alumni of the CLDP include librettists Royce Vavrek, Deborah Brevoort and Quincy Long, and composers Aleksandra Vrebalov, Patrick Soluri, Jeff Myers, and Christopher Cerrone. To date, the program has provided intensive, personalized mentorship to 30 gifted emerging artists; developed 11 short chamber operas; and in 2009, ALT commissioned The Poe Project, a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe from six CLDP Resident Artists.
In June 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member - a testament to ALT's service to the field.
Details about ALT 2012-2013 events and activities can be found at www.altnyc.org.