Fort Worth Opera Reveals 'Opera of the Americas' on KERA's THINK

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Darren K. Woods, General Director of Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) appeared on KERA's widely popular program Think-the daily topic driven and call-in radio show hosted by Krys Boyd-this afternoon, Monday, January 7, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. (CST). During this special hour long, in-depth interview he discussed the recent announcement of the organization's new artistic vision, Opera of the Americas, a ten-year commitment to the production of thought-provoking works by contemporary composers of the Americas.

Nationally announced this morning, Opera of the Americas is envisioned as a long-term, multi-phase initiative that will be launched in spring 2014 with the professional world premiere of With Blood, With Ink by composer Daniel Crozier and librettist Peter M. Krask. Following seasons will include the world premieres of A Wrinkle in Time by composer Libby Larsen and librettist Bradley Greenwald in 2015, and JFK (Working Title) by David T. Little, composer, and Royce Vavrek, librettist, in 2016. As part of this mission, the 2014 Festival will also include the regional premiere of the 2012 Pulitzer-Prize winning Silent Night by composer Kevin Puts-in co-production with Minnesota Opera, Cincinnati Opera, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Additionally, a second work by David T. Little and Royce Vavrek, the highly-acclaimed Dog Days-based on the short story of the same name by Judy Budnitz-will receive its regional premiere in co-production with Beth Morrison Projects within the first three years of Opera of the Americas. Contemporary programming selections for future seasons, as well as full festival announcements, will be made at a later date.

Audiences interested in learning more about FWOpera's long-term artistic vision or about the productions announced as part of Opera of the Americas can listen live on 90.1 FM or online at www.kera.org/think and can submit questions or comments via telephone at 1.800.933.5372 or email at think@kera.org. Podcasts of each THINK episode are available for download at www.kera.org/podcasts/think/.

KERA is a not-for-profit public media organization that serves the people of North Texas. The station broadcasts to the fourth-largest population area in the United States. KERA produces original multimedia content, carries the best in national and international public television and radio programs, and provides online resources atwww.kera.org. The station's extensive coverage of the arts can be found at www.artandseek.org. KERA-TV broadcasts on Channel 13.1. KERA WORLD broadcasts on 13.2. KERA-FM broadcasts on 90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 88.3 in Wichita Falls, 100.1 in Tyler and 99.3 in Sherman. The music station KXT 91.7 FM is also streamed online at www.kxt.org.

Founded in 1946, Fort Worth Opera is the oldest continually performing opera company in Texas, and one of the 14 oldest opera companies in the United States. Under the leadership of General Director Darren K. Woods since 2001, the organization has gained national attention from critics and audiences alike for its artistic quality and willingness to take risks. Known throughout the operatic world as a champion of new and rarely-performed works, the company has taken a leadership role in producing contemporary operas. In 2007, when the company changed its fall/winter schedule to a condensed one-month long Festival in the spring, FWOpera staged its first world premiere, Frau Margot; and followed up the next season with Angels in America (which resulted in More Life: the Art and Science of AIDS, a community-wide collaboration amongst organizations in the performing and visual arts, children's education, medicine, and social services), Dead Man Walking in 2009, the world premiere of Before Night Falls in 2010, and Hydrogen Jukebox in 2011. The 2012 Festival staged the regional premieres of Mark Adamo's Lysistrata and Jake Heggie's Three Decembers, the first time the two composers' works were co-programmed. The company's CD recordings of Frau Margot and Before Night Falls are available on the Albany label.

Fort Worth Opera's 2013 Festival season (April 20-May 12, 2013):

La Bohème (April 20, 28m, May 3, 11, 2013) - Puccini's tragic drama of young love, (which Rent is loosely based upon), featuring renowned soprano Mary Dunleavy and up-and-coming Sri Lankan tenor Sean Panikkar in their company debuts as the ill-fated Mimì and her smitten poet Rodolfo; Puerto Rican soprano Rosa Betancourt, a FWOpera Studio alumna, as the saucy Musetta, and baritone Wes Mason as her jealous beau, the struggling painter Marcello. FWOpera Music Director Joe Illick conducts, with direction by David Lefkowich, who made his company debut with FWOpera's critically acclaimed Il Trovatore in 2011.<


The Daughter of the Regiment (April 27, May 5m, and 10, 2013) - Donizetti's spirited switched-at-birth romantic comedy, featuring Texas soprano Ava Pine (Lysistrata, 2012), in the title role of Marie, and tenor David Portillo as her love interest, Tonio, (Don Giovanni, 2010). Bass-baritone Rod Nelman (Tosca and The Marriage of Figaro, 2012), sings Sergeant Sulpice, head of the 21st regiment. Renowned character mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle (The Turn of the Screw, 2003), returns as the Marquise of Berkenfeld, and FWOpera General Director and retired character tenor Darren K. Wood makes his company debut as the hapless butler Hortensius. Conductor Christopher Larkin (Three Decembers, 2012) conducts, with direction by Broadway and Hollywood veteran Dorothy Danner (Pirates of Penzance, 2004), a frequent conductor-director team who have led Daughter to great acclaim and laughter across the U.S.

Glory Denied (April 21m, 23, 24, 27m, 30; May 1, 4m, 7, 8, and 11m, 2013 - regional premiere) - American composer Tom Cipullo's emotion-packed, landmark work based on the bestselling book by journalist Tom Philpott, of the tragic, true story of America's longest-held Vietnam prisoner-of-war, Colonel Jim Thompson. Featuring Texas baritone Michael Mayes (Lysistrata, 2012) in role debut as Older Thompson; Caroline Worra in company debut reprising the role of Older Alyce; tenor David Blalock in company debut as the Young Thompson; soprano Sydney Mancasola in company debut as Young Alyce. Tyson Deaton, a longtime FWOpera pianist and in-demand collaborative recitalist, makes his company conducting debut. Also on the team are Dean Anthony, a former character tenor turned director directs; set designer Richard Kagey (Lysistrata, 2012), and Emmy Award-winning costume designer Stephen Chudej.

Ariadne auf Naxos (May 4, 12m, 2013) - FWOpera's first-ever production of Strauss' entertaining and comedic opera-within-an-opera. Featuring soprano Marjorie Owens (Il Trovatore, 2011), as the Prima Donna, whose character Ariadne is wooed by the Greek god Bacchus, sung by tenor Corey Bix in his company debut; soprano Audrey Luna makes her company debut as Zerbinetta, and mezzo-soprano Cecelia Hall makes her company debut singing the pants role of the Composer. FWOpera Music Director Joe Illick conducts, and frequent FWOpera presence David Gately (Lysistrata, 2012) directs.

Frontiers, FWOpera's, annual new works program, makes its debut during the 2013 Festival. The showcase will present eight unpublished works by composers from the Americas during May 6 - 11 of the 2013 Opera Festival in the McDavid Studio across from Bass Hall in downtown Fort Worth www.fwopera.org/Frontiers.

Please note that the company's 67th season and seventh festival is one month earlier than previous seasons as it moves to its new time. For more on all the information above, please visit www.fwopera.org or call 817.731.0726 or toll-free at 1.877.396.7372.

Fort Worth boasts a unique mix of western culture, urban sophistication, and fine art. The city is home to world-renowned arts organizations such as the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. On the other end of the spectrum, the city sponsors daily cattle drives through its Stockyards district, hosts equestrian and livestock events throughout the year, and is home to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Downtown Fort Worth is a lively spot for residents and tourists; attractions include fine dining, shopping, night life, and the opera house, the acclaimed Bass Performance Hall.

Pictured: James Bobick in Dog Days by composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek. Photo courtesy Peak Performances at Montclair State University.