American Lyric Theater Presents THE LIVING LIBRETTO at National Opera Center Tonight
American Lyric Theater presents the next installment in its popular series, The Living Libretto, at the National Opera Center, tonight, February 6th, 2013. Featuring guest actors from the Broadway and off-Broadway stage, each event is the culminating reading of extensive libretto workshops conducted for new operas currently being written by ALT Resident Artists.
The reading of THE LONG WALK by librettist Stephanie Fleischmann and composer Jeremy Howard Beck will be directed by Debbie Saivetz, and will feature Ted Schneider, Birgit Huppuch, Bobby Plascenia, Nate Miller, Brendan Spieth, Annie McNamara, Ashley Bryant, Zac Ballard, and Mercer Patterson. Following the reading, there will be an open discussion with the artists moderated by ALT's Producing Artistic Director, Lawrence Edelson. A wine and cheese reception with Ms. Fleischmann and Mr. Beck will precede the event.
Commissioned by American Lyric Theater in 2012, and recently awarded a developmental grant from OPERA America's Opera Fund, THE LONG WALK, is based on Brian Castner's critically acclaimed book of the same name, which describes a soldier's return from Iraq where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordnance 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. (To view a video preview about THE LONG WALK, visit www.altnyc.org/new-operas-for-new-audiences/the-long-walk.
For 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.
Debbie Saivetz has directed and developed new plays at New York and regional theaters such as the Foundry, the Lark, Fulcrum, Clubbed Thumb, Rattlestick, Ensemble Studio Theater, Voice & Vision, Red Bull, INTAR, the Playwrights' Center, Hartford Stage, the Goodman, the Guthrie, Long Wharf and Seattle Rep. She directed the New York premiere of Javier Malpica's Our Dad is in Atlantis/Papá está en la Atlántida (Working Theater) and the Mexican premiere of Sarah Ruhl's La Casa Limpia/The Clean House (Teatro Helénico). Most recently, she directed Verónica Musalem's Rebanadas de vida/Slices of Life for Lab Trece in Mexico City and Sarah Ruhl's Eurídice at La Casa de los Teatros in Oaxaca. She is a New Georges Affiliate Artist, an alumna of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, a Drama League Directing Fellow and was a Resident Director at New Dramatists. She holds a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern and teaches at Montclair State University.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR WHOSE WORK INSPIRED THE OPERA
Brian Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in the US Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006. After leaving the active military, he became a consultant and contractor, training Army and Marine Corps units prior to their tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. His writing has appeared in a number of national and regional publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, Publisher's Weekly, and Garry Trudeau's The Sandbox anthology. Brian lives outside of Buffalo, New York with his wife and four sons. The Long Walk is his first book.
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.
Further details about upcoming 2012-2013 season The Living Libretto performances and more can be found at www.altnyc.org.