National Sawdust to Present 10 Opera Events This Season
National Sawdust embarks on its sophomore season with a fresh commitment to being a leading incubator of new work. The non-profit artist-led Brooklyn space offers comprehensive artistic support from commissioning to development, collaboration, performance, recording, and beyond.
With a deep-seated commitment to interdisciplinary, collaborative new music; a host of new curators, artistic residencies, commissions, international partnerships, and a new online publication; and a full lineup of festivals, operas, concerts, and touring, National Sawdust looks set to prove itself once again "a triumphantly successful new performance space in Williamsburg that stands for a hip, sophisticated brand of new music" (New York Times).
National Sawdust has already established itself as a vital new home for opera, and one that is sought-after as a production partner by some of the most original voices in the New York opera scene. This season National Sawdust presents or produces ten operatic projects.
Opera productions in the fall include the world premiere of Juliet Palmer's Sweat, a full-length a cappella opera depicting life in factories around the world, and two chamber operas by Louis Andriessen, all co-presented with the Center for Contemporary Opera in October. Heartbeat Opera's third annual Benefit Drag Extravaganza, an intergalactic Halloween show titled Queens of the Night: Mozart in Space, takes place on All Hallows' Eve. And rounding out the fall opera offerings, National Sawdust presents a pair of projects directed by resident artist R.B. Schlather: the American premiere of Vasco Mendonça's The House Taken Over, a co-production with the Manhattan School of Music and the Festival d'Aix en Provence (one of NS's international partners), and an open workshop of Schlather's new take on Handel's Baroque masterpiece Ariodante.
Spring opera projects comprise Philip Glass's A Madrigal Opera, again directed by Schlather; Prototype Festival's presentation of Funeral Doom Spiritual, featuring M. Lamar; an operatic staging of "Tragedy" by NS resident artists Julia Holter and wild Up with guests; and a special project by NS Curator Anthony Roth Costanzo.
Critically acclaimed venue
As critics were quick to appreciate, National Sawdust provides an intimate and acoustically exemplary environment for artists and audiences to connect. Architectural specialist Wallpaper described its "state-of-the-art, acoustically-driven design" as "show-stopping." The New York Times agreed, noting that the acoustics "were impressive in music both amplified and not, a difficult feat." Similarly, New York found NS to be "a sensitive and versatile space, able to flatter the smallest peep and absorb an amplified assault." All told, as the Village Voice recognized, National Sawdust offers "a modernized version of an 18th-century chamber hall where almost anything is possible."
National Sawdust opera projects in 2016-17:
The House Taken Over
Composer Vasco Mendonça and librettist Sam Holcroft
Co-production with Festival d'Aix en Provence and Manhattan School of Music
R.B. Schlather, director
Etienne Siebens, conductor
Oct 14 & 15
Center for Contemporary Opera & National Sawdust
Louis Andriessen Double Bill Chamber Opera
Center for Contemporary Opera
Featuring Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Larissa Koniuk, Shabnam Kalbasi, Eric McKeever, & Patrick McNally
Lidiya Yankovskaya, conductor
Giselle Ty, director
Benefit Drag Extravaganza - Queens of the Night: Mozart in Space
R.B. Schlather, director
Geoffrey McDonald, conductor
Spring 2017:Jan 13, 14
Funeral Doom Spiritual
featuring M. Lamar April 28, 29
Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera
R.B. Schlather, director Date tba
"Tragedy" - an operatic staging
By NS resident artists Julia Holter and wild Up, with guests
By NS curator Anthony Roth Costanzo
Pictured: Interior of National Sawdust, designed by Bureau V (photo: Floto + Warner)