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New York City Opera Announces 2011 Vox Line-up

New York City Opera today announced its celebrated annual new music festival, VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab, will return for its 12th season with an exciting new line-up. The first day of the festival begins on Saturday, May 14, at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (Skirball), while the second day of the festival this year moves to the more intimate club setting of Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday, May 15. This new venue gives composers and librettists an opportunity to workshop pieces that are in Early Stages of development or have been composed for smaller ensembles. All of the selected works will be performed by an orchestra and soloists.

For the first time this year, the festival will feature two works that have been developed out of UVOX's UWords First librettist program. Words First began in 2009 as a way to support a working group of established playwrights with an interest in writing opera librettos.

The ten selected operas showcase the many distinguishing traits that make contemporary American opera unique. Featured works include Arlene Sierra and Lucy Thurber's Faustine - a product of VOX's Words First librettist program; Huang Ruo and Candice Chong's Sun Yat-Sen, which will have its world premiere in fall 2011 at Opera Hong Kong; and David T. Little and Royce Vavrek's Vinkensport, which was commissioned by Dawn Upshaw's Graduate Vocal Arts Program at Bard College, and had a workshop production in February 2010.

"In the 12th year of the VOX Contemporary Opera Lab, we are excited to present two outstanding works developed out of the Words First program, [Faustine and Paola Prestini and Donna di Novelli's De Deo] which not only showcases City Opera's support of up-and-coming composers, but librettists as well," said George Steel, General Manager and Artistic Director of New York City Opera. "The addition of Words First, as well the expansion of venues, furthers City Opera's efforts in providing a platform for discovering new American opera and playing an integral role in the future of opera."

Six opera excerpts will be presented at Skirball on Saturday, along with a pre-performance panel discussion on producing art in alternate spaces, and a post-show artist talkback. Both discussions are open to all ticket holders. Four operatic works arranged for smaller ensembles will be showcased at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday. The audience for Sunday's performances is also invited for post-show drinks with the composers, librettists and singers.

Tickets for VOX will be $25 for the performance at Skirball, and $15 for performance at Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets go on sale today, and can be purchased online, through CenterCharge at 212.721.6500, or in-person at the venue on the day of the performances.

UAbout VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab
VOX is an opera lab of new works that offers American composers and librettists the opportunity to hear their works performed by professional musicians in an exploratory setting. Every year, VOX presents up to twelve new and previously un-produced works from both emerging and established composers in orchestra readings that are free and open to the public. For the last half century, New York City Opera has been a leader in the development of American opera. City Opera has presented an unmatched repertory of American works, including those of over 50 American composers, and has shaped an American aesthetic for opera through the world premieres of more than 25 American operas. VOX is at the core of New York City Opera's commitment to American opera; to date, VOX has presented excerpts from more than 100 new operas, with more than 40 of those going on to full productions - six at City Opera and the others at companies including Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Michigan Opera Theater and Santa Fe Opera. This coming Spring season, City Opera is premiering two previous VOX works including Stephen Schwartz's Séance on a Wet Afternoon and John Zorn's La Machine de l'être.


Saturday, May 14
NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
1:00 PM: Panel Discussion: Producing art in alternative spaces
Open to all ticket holders

2:30 PM: Opera Excerpts
An artist talkback will follow the afternoon's performances.
566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South)
New York, NY 10012
Tickets: $25

Sunday, May 15
Le Poisson Rouge
7:30 PM: Opera Excerpts
Ticketholders are invited to stay for drinks with the artists following the performances.
158 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
Tickets: $15

For all ticketing, please visit

USaturday, May 14 at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

All Three Acts of a Sad Play Performed Entirely in Bed
Dag Gabrielsen, composer; Julie Larios, librettist
Set entirely in the comfort of her covers, a woman recounts memories of an affair in her youth. The relationship begins to deteriorate and only after comparison with new lovers does the woman realize the true love that she had.

Arlene Sierra, composer; Lucy Thurber, librettist
This adaptation of Emma Tennant's Faustine explores the power of a selfish, consumer-oriented desire for eternal youth and beauty.

Mary Shelley
Allan Jaffe, composer; Deborah Atherton, librettist
Based on the life of novelist Mary Shelley, this retelling follows the life of the famed Frankenstein author and the personal effects of the literary monster she created.

Sun Yat-Sen
Huang Ruo, composer; Candice Chong, librettist
While fleeing an assassination attempt, Sun Yat-Sen, the leader of the Chinese Revolutionary Alliance, marries the daughter of a friend and fellow revolutionary without his consent. After a botched attempt to overthrow the old government, the old friends are reunited and the marriage is blessed.

The Beach
Andrew Gerle, composer; Royce Vavrek, librettist
Inspired by recent events in France, this music drama documents the abuse of a wealthy older man by his much-younger wife, who has locked him away in the confines of the laundry room to escape the stress of her husband's onset of Alzheimer's. After nearly a year, he is rescued from his fantasies of spending a year at the beach - and his makeshift bed of unwashed towels.

David T. Little, composer; Royce Vavrek, librettist
A motley assortment of contestants participates in a finch-sitting competition to see who has the most melodious bird. Although a seemingly simple and gentle competition, the competitors' inner monologues and flashbacks to their preparations reveal deep-seated rivalries, painful loneliness, and blossoming romance.

USunday, May 15 at Le Poisson Rouge

Blood Rose
Hannah Lash, composer-librettist
The classic Beauty and the Beast legend is turned on its head in this updated drama. To alleviate Beast's sense of rage from the devastation of his garden, he uses the blood of Beauty to water his broken flowers in an attempt to make them bloom again.

De Deo
Paola Prestini, composer; Donna DiNovelli, librettist
In the opera, De Deo, a contemporary young man from Brooklyn, in search of his identity, is led by a Roma tour guide into the medieval mechanism known as the wheel. Wheels, built into the walls of Catholic churches across the European continent, carry infants into a massive system of foundling hospitals along with the unwed mothers who abandon them. What begins as a search for identity becomes a quest for the divine as the wheel resurfaces throughout history.

Maren of Vardo
Jeff Myers, composer; Royce Vavrek, librettist
Inspired by real events in 17th century Norway, a young girl's supposed dalliances with the devil lead to betrayal and vengeance in their unrequited romance.

Three Weeks
Yoav Gal, composer; Reuven Namdar, librettist
This docu-opera traces the events surrounding the three-week period leading up to the Ninth of Av Day of Atonement, marking the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70AD. Partly historical, partly legend, this episode still reverberates today, especially in its mirror relationship to the rebirth of the modern state of Israel.

About NYU Skirball Center
The Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is the premier venue for the presentation of cultural and performing arts events for New York University and lower Manhattan. Led by executive producer Jay Oliva (President Emeritus, NYU) and senior director Michael Harrington, the programs of the Skirball Center reflect NYU's mission as an international center of scholarship, defined by excellence and innovation and shaped by an intellectually rich and diverse environment. A vital aspect of the Center's mission is to build young adult audiences for the future of live performance.

UAbout Le Poisson Rouge
Le Poisson Rouge is a multimedia art cabaret founded by musicians on the site of the historic Village Gate. Dedicated to the fusion of popular and art cultures in music, film, theater, dance, and fine art, the venue's mission is to revive the symbiotic relationship between art and revelry; to establish a creative asylum for both artists and audiences.

Sponsors and Supporters
VOX 2011 is made possible with leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Major support provided is by The Amphion Foundation, Inc., the ASCAP Foundation, John E. Baumgardner Jr., Carol M. and Timothy A. Cole, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Younghee Kim-Wait, Linda and Stuart Nelson, Raymond Steckel, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Ltd., The Helen F. Whitaker Fund, and contributors to the VOX Special Appeal. VOX is funded, in part, through Meet The Composer's MetLife Creative Connections Program.

Public support is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.

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