Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater Co-Commission World Premiere Stewart Copeland Opera

By: Oct. 14, 2015
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Based on La invención de Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, the opera will receive its world premiere in the spring of 2017 at Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.

Most famous as the co-­?founder and drummer of The Police, Stewart Copeland is a rock legend who has also established himself as a major symphonic and opera composer, earning commissions from Covent Garden, the Cleveland Opera, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Virginia Arts Festival, the San Francisco Ballet, among others.

Copeland's latest commission, a joint effort by Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater, teams the legendary composer with librettist and opera stalwart Jonathan Moore for an intense story of suspense, exploration, and unlikely romance set on a mysterious island. The opera is based on La invención de Morel, a 1940 novel by the influential Argentine author, Adolfo Bioy Casares.

An escaped fugitive arrives on an isolated, strange island. While exploring his surroundings, he observes a group of tourists, including one particularly beautiful woman with whom he becomes obsessed. However, something is not quite right in this paradise. He discovers these eccentric visitors exist in an alternate reality created by a futuristic invention of Morel, a mad, scientific genius who willingly leads the group to their death.

"We are thrilled to develop this time-­?bending love story with Stewart and Jonathan after their great success with The Tell-­?Tale Heart, which was given its US premiere in 2013 by Long Beach Opera," says Andreas Mitisek, artistic and general director of Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. "Stewart is a refreshing new voice for the opera stage."

"The idea of making an opera out of Morel came from my 18-­?year-­?old daughter, Grace," says Copeland. "She was drawn to the device of the two lovers on the same beach, but at different times. Music is the perfect way to create the effect of Morel's invention of never ending time loops. The feeling of reality going around and around is how music works and provides a way to represent the overlapping and contrasting realities of the story..." Copeland comments, "I've got a pretty clear idea of how music can drive emotion, which is why I'm so keen on opera - it's the most fun a composer can have with his clothes on."

The Invention of Morel, with a cast of nine singers and orchestra of 16 players, receives a workshop with orchestra on January 18th, 2016 in New York as part of OPERA America's New Works Forum, an annual gathering of opera creators. The opera will have its world premiere in the spring of 2017 at Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.

About the Artists

Composer STEWART COPELAND was the co-­?founder and drummer of the rock band THE POLICE. His career includes the sale of more than 60 million records worldwide and numerous awards, including five Grammy awards. He has had commissions from and worked with many major cultural institutions including the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, the San Francisco Ballet Company, the Savannah Music Festival, the Brighton Festival and the Royal Opera House (London), among many others. He is the recipient of the Hollywood Film Festival's first Outstanding Music in Film Visionary Award, a Grammy nominee for his 2005 CD Orchestralli, and a 2003 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stewart Copeland has been responsible for some of the film world's most innovative and groundbreaking scores. Copeland's Gamelan D'Drum, commissioned and premiered by the Dallas Symphony, was presented by London's Royal Academy of Music in July 2012 and by the Cleveland Orchestra in October 2012. Germany's Elbtonal Percussion recently premiered and recorded Copeland's new ensemble work, Mikrokosmos.

The Royal Opera House (ROH) London commissioned Copeland's recent opera The Tell-­Tale Heart, based on the famous Edgar Allan Poe story of a paranoid murderer, and premiered the work in 2011 at ROH. Music critic Richard Morrison wrote in The Times, "Copeland's score is perfectly effective...This murderer's Jekyll-­?like split personality is cleverly conveyed by musical means." Edward Seekerson commented for The Independent, "[Copeland] took to the stage with an innate sense of what music theatre needs to do." In 2013, LBO gave the US Premiere of The Tell-­?Tale Heart with Michael Gordon's Van Gogh. Opera News magazine wrote, "Unfolded with gusto...Copeland's music, for strings, percussion and piano, has a bluesy, rhythmic cast but it is also freewheeling, easily slipping into discordant horror and madness"; the Los Angeles Times music critic praised The Tell-­?Tale Heart and wrote, "Opera was born to be mad"; the Gazette newspapers complimented the "extraordinary production" remarking Copeland's "evocative, atmospheric score" made the opera "compelling musical theater"; The Edge wrote, "Tell-­?Tale Heart's music went well with lyrics skillfully adapted from the source material"; and Stage and Cinema raved, "By giving The Tell-­Tale Heart its US premiere and Van Gogh its first ever staging, LBO both extends the operatic repertoire and brings cutting-­?edge compositions to new audiences."

Librettist JONATHAN MOORE is a seasoned writer and opera director who has collaborated with some of the world's leading composers. His work has appeared at major venues including the English National Opera, Scottish Opera, BBC Television, La Fenice Opera House (Venice), Opera, Edinburgh Festival, Darmstadt, Oper Bonn, Santiago di Compostella, Almeida Opera, Basler Ballet, the Royal College of Music, and the Shakespeare Globe Theater London. His awards include the Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Best Libretto Award (Munich Biennale), the Midem Award (Cannes) and an Olivier Award Nomination with the English National Opera, among others. Praise for his work includes comments from composer Hans Werner Henze for

Greek: "This is a production of genius."; opera and ballet composer Michael Nyman for Testimonials: "Certainly the best production of any of my operas in the last twenty years."; and from actor Gabriel Byrne: "As well as being a profound writer and director, his exceptional moral character and his great gifts as a teacher and communicator are constantly in evidence. His rare gifts and talents enrich us all."

About the Commissioning Partners

CHICAGO OPERA THEATER, founded in 1974, engages curious audiences through adventurous opera experiences of new and rarely performed works. COT is an innovative, nationally recognized opera company that inspires a diverse community through immersive and thought-­?provoking opera experiences. COT, established in 1974 by Alan Stone, is a founding resident company of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. Andreas Mitisek, COT's Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director, is known for his adventurous repertory, visionary leadership, fundraising skills, and innovative audience building initiatives. Additional information at COT's websitewww.COT.org.

LONG BEACH OPERA (LBO), founded in 1979, is one of the oldest and largest professional opera organizations in Southern California, nationally and internationally known for unconventional repertoire and inventive productions in unusual locations from parking garages to swimming pools. In 2003, Andreas Mitisek succeeded the founder of the company as artistic and general director. Noted for the number of its world, American and West Coast premieres, LBO recently presented the U.S. premiere of Marilyn Forever by Gavin Bryars, amongst other firsts of unusual and modern repertoire. LBO's productions are reviewed by important publications, including the Los Angeles Times, American Record Guide, Musical America, Opera (UK) and Opera News, to name a few. The company collaborates with some of America's foremost living composers, including Philip Glass and John Adams. Along with its current three-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the company receives support from major corporations, arts patrons, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, among others. Additional information at LBO's website www.longbeachopera.org.

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