Neal Goren Joins Forces With Peak Performances To Launch New Company Catapult Opera

Peak Performances today announces a groundbreaking venture with Catapult Opera, the new chamber opera company led by Neal Goren, the internationally acclaimed former artistic director of Gotham Chamber Opera. This ongoing collaboration will launch in Fall 2020 with the world premiere of Robert Wilson's staging of Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, conducted by Goren, and will include the development and premiere of two Catapult productions each season at Peak Performances' home, the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University (1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ 07043).

With a remarkable breadth of knowledge and experience, Neal Goren has developed an international reputation for mounting daring, imaginative productions of exquisite, seldom-heard masterworks from the chamber opera repertoire. Wilson's unexpected reimagining of Amahl and the Night Visitors will be followed by the Spring 2021 U.S. premiere of Nadia Boulanger's recently-discovered opera La ville morte, with a symbolist libretto by Gabriele d'Annunzio, directed by Robin Guarino, with new chamber orchestration by Stefan Cwik and Joseph Stillwell. In Fall 2021, Mary Birnbaum, who recently directedFrank London and Elise Thoron's Afro-Cuban-Yiddish opera Hatuey: Memory of Fire at Peak Performances, will return with a new staging of David Hertzberg's The Wake World, winner of the Music Critics Association of North America's award for best new opera of 2017. In Spring 2022, Catapult will produce The Silent Twins, a U.S. premiere from "renaissance woman of contemporary British music" (The Observer) Errollyn Wallen, to be staged by acclaimed director Charlotte Braithwaite. For these productions, which will offer powerful sung stories on a human scale, Goren will select and train exceptionally talented singers.

Both Peak Performances and Catapult Opera are committed to making opera a space of inclusion, and the organizations aim to realize racial, gender, and cultural diversity in all aspects of their work together-including singers, musicians, directors, and designers.

Jedediah Wheeler, Executive Director of Arts + Cultural Programming at Montclair State University and Artistic Director of Peak Performances,says, "To this day, I vividly remember watching a black & white television broadcast of Gian Carlo Menotti's now beloved chamber work, Amahl and The Night Visitors. It was an awe-inspiring moment for a boy whose previous experience with the arts had been The Mickey Mouse Club. As the most multidimensional of all the art forms, opera teems with life, but too many voices have been excluded from the creative conversation. Catapult's programming works to remedy this, and is a key component in Peak's ongoing commitment to a bold new vision for the future of chamber opera."

Neal Goren, Artistic Director of Catapult Opera, says, "I am thrilled to be collaborating with Jed Wheeler, a genuine artistic visionary, to launch Catapult Opera, and to advance the genre of chamber opera. The emotionality of the classically-trained voice, combined with the emotional distillation inherent in chamber opera, results in an artistic experience of unequalled power. It is our intention to preach this gospel wherever art is appreciated."

With the new Catapult partnership, Peak Performances expands its commitment to pushing the boundaries of opera, following the recent premieres of Hatuey: Memory of Fire and Ashley Fure's immersive The Force of Things: An Opera for Objects.

Peak Performances is a program of the Office of Arts + Cultural Programming at Montclair State University and has been honored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts with an Arts Citation of Excellence and Designation of Major Impact. Programs in this season are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

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