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The American Opera Project Announces Presentation Of Five New Opera Scenes By Composers & The Voice Fellows

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The biannual event is a rare look at the creative process in action, hosted by C&V Artistic Director Steven Osgood.

The American Opera Project Announces Presentation Of Five New Opera Scenes By Composers & The Voice Fellows

This September, The American Opera Project, one of America's leading homes for the creation of original lyric theater, kicks off its 33rd season with premiere music from five distinctive new operas at an outdoor concert in its home neighborhood of Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

C&V SCENE AND HEARD 2021 showcases opera scenes from five emerging composers - Matt Frey, Alaina Ferris, Michael Lanci, Mary Prescott, and Jessica Rudman - who created the works during their fellowships in AOP's opera writing program Composers & the Voice (C&V). The biannual event is a rare look at the creative process in action, hosted by C&V Artistic Director Steven Osgood.

The performances will be held on Sunday, September 26th at 3pm EDT in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, NY in a tent next to the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. Tickets are $25 general admission, with $15 discounted tickets becoming available via a promo code offered on AOP's social media channels until September 13, 2021 and are available at https://aopopera.org/cvscenes21.

In accordance with the newest NYC mandate (going into effect on September 13, 2021), all audience members will be required to show proof of full vaccination (your final dose was administered at least 14 days before the performance date). Masks are optional. At check-in, audience members will be required to show proof of full vaccination using either the NEW YORK STATE EXCELSIOR PASS or a hard copy/photo of your vaccination card alongside a form of ID. Performers will be distanced but unmasked.

The scenes will be performed by C&V's resident opera singers Jasmine Muhammad (lyric soprano, Metropolitan Opera), Timothy Stoddard (tenor, Bare Opera), Justine Aronson (coloratura soprano, Bang on a Can Summer Festival), and Mario Diaz-Moresco (baritone, Glimmerglass Opera), as well as guest artists Nina Riley (soprano, Bronx Opera), Victoria Davis (soprano, Washington National Opera), Blythe Gaissert (mezzo-soprano, Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera), and Cáitlín Burke (mezzo-soprano, Wolf Trap Opera). Supporting on piano will be C&V Music Directors Mila Henry and Kelly Horsted with stage direction by Luke Landric Leonard and Katie Madison. Deborah Cowell is the film director/editor and Isaac Madison is the camera operator.

Previous C&V Scenes concerts have given audiences their first look at operas that went on to fully-produced world premieres, including Gregory Spears' Paul's Case (UrbanArias and Prototype Festival), The Summer King by Daniel Sonenberg (Pittsburgh Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre), Jack Perla's Love/Hate (ODC/San Francisco Opera), and Three Way by Robert Paterson (Nashville Opera), and more. Other alumni works that continued through AOP's opera development program and went on to a world premiere include The Scarlet Ibis (PROTOTYPE 2015, Stefan Weisman), Independence Eve (UrbanArias 2017, Sidney Marquez Boquiren), and The Echo Drift (PROTOTYPE 2018, Mikael Karlsson).

C&V SCENE AND HEARD 2021 includes the following works:

28th Ave (Score by Michael Lanci; Libretto by Marella Martin Koch) It's a spring day on 28th Ave in a working-class neighborhood in the outer NYC boroughs. Ed, a Vietnam veteran, and Manuel, his 18-year-old grandson, get on each other's nerves in their cramped apartment. Underscored by Fox News, a minor dispute about the right way to drink milk has escalated to a screaming match, spilling out of their apartment and onto the building's front stoop. As Manuel runs off, Ed sits down to catch his breath and makes an unexpected friend: a sick possum. Ed, Clara the nosy neighbor, and Luba the landlady try to save the suffering creature's life. We are presenting two scenes, beginning with Ed and the possum's first meeting, and then skipping ahead to a private moment between Ed and Luba on the front stoop of the building

Alma (Music and libretto by Mary Prescott) Fai enters the room and discovers Alma weeping and disheveled on the ground. Alma reveals her haunted past. Fai becomes terrified and filled with dread for her child and husband. Calling out for them to no response, Fai questions what Alma has done to them. Alma tells Fai to look at herself and her hands. Fai looks into Alma as a mirror and realizes that she herself has killed her husband and child. She cannot bear the grief, and kills herself in Alma's arms. Alma coaxes Fai into the deep sleep of death as she laments her own eternal fate.

Marble House (Music and libretto by Matt Frey) It is the summer of 1895 in the extravagantly fashionable resort town of Newport, Rhode Island. The elite of New York society arrive to open their houses for the season. At Marble House, 18-year-old Consuelo Vanderbilt is dreading a long summer with her family, having left her newly-and secretly-engaged fiancé back in New York. For her mother Alva, however, this summer represents a much-needed opportunity to reassert herself as head of the social elite following a scandalous divorce from her husband, richest man in the country, William K. Vanderbilt. This won't be easy - "society," headed by Alva's longtime frenemy, The Mrs. Astor, will happily trample one of their own if it means maintaining the social hierarchy.

Protectress (Score by Jessica Rudman; Libretto by Kendra Preston Leonard) Medusa awakes from a horrible nightmare with a scream, causing her sisters Euryale and Stheno to rush in. They try to comfort Medusa as she recounts the dream, in which she relived the trauma of her rape by Poseidon. Having achieved a partial catharsis, Medusa allows her sisters to change the subject to her recent interview in Teen Vogue. Medusa has been living openly as her immortal self and wanted to share her story with the world. Her sisters-both still posing as humans- tease her about the interview. Eventually, they wonder if Athena has read the story and gotten angry. The sisters contemplate that possibility while Medusa remembers another dream she had earlier in the week. This leads to a second outburst, where Medusa focuses on her patron goddess Athena's betrayal: after Medusa was raped, Athena cursed her rather than supporting her. Euryale reminds Medusa that she has moved on and has a full life. Medusa confesses that she is afraid she can't take the nightmares for much longer, causing the sisters to vow that they won't let Athena break her. Euryale and Stheno promise to keep Athena from tormenting Medusa, realizing that they have many allies on whom they can call for help.

Simone de Beauvoir at the Museum (Music and libretto by Alaina Ferris) Simone de Beauvoir at the Museum follows the story of Evelyn, an aspiring writer in Brooklyn who is struggling with her life and PTSD from sexual assault. She wants to have a family and an artistic career, but is not sure she can do both - Simone de Beauvoir, after all, chose to never have children so she could write. Evelyn goes on a trip to Paris with her two best friends, Amelia and Rose, to enjoy the sites and each other's company. At Musée D'Orsay, the group begins to discuss the painting Ramsès dans son harem, when they unexpectedly summon a feminist vampire named Gustave. He joins their analytical discussion of the painting, touching on points of gender equality. Triggered by the talk, Evelyn goes into a fugue state. When she reemerges, Gustave invites them on a tour through feminist history, starting with a literary salon in Paris, 1949, the year Simone de Beauvoir's Le Deuxième Sexe was published.

More information and tickets can be found at https://aopopera.org/cvscenes21.


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