ACQUANETTA, FELLOW TRAVELERS, THE ECHO DRIFT and More Among PROTOTYPE Festival's 2018 Lineup
PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now invigorates New York City January 7-20, 2018, with the sixth annual showcase of progressive opera and music-theatre, curated by co-founding directors Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of Beth Morrison Projects) and Kim Whitener (of HERE), along with newly appointed co-director Jecca Barry (of Beth Morrison Projects). Since its launch in 2013, the Prototype Festival has presented a phenomenal 32 new works across five seasons, propelling the industry forward as a first-rate presenter and influencer.
Socially conscious and artistically stimulating, PROTOTYPE 2018 boasts seven new presentations-three world premieres, two U.S. premieres, one New York premiere, and one work-in-progress-encompassing topical explorations of ethnic, gender, and queer identity, as well as environmental concerns and the human condition. The Festival kicks off with a toast-soprano superstar Renee Fleming hosts the PROTOTYPE Soiree at City Vineyard January 7, 2018-an intimate evening to mingle with artists, festival directors, and Metropolitan Opera stars.
Performances open January 9 with Michael Gordon (pictured left) and Deborah Artman's Acquanetta, a "fascinating experience of modern psychological theater" (Super Sontagg) that observes the way the cinema has shaped racial/gender stereotypes and has created public/private identities. The piece is inspired by Mildred Davenport, the African-American star of the 1943 cult classic horror flick "Captive Wild Woman," who was reinvented by Universal Studios as the "Venezualan Volcano." This chamber version, commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects is produced in association with Bang on a Can and Trinity Church Wall Street and co-presented with Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center. It is the first production of the piece since the 2005 original in Germany. (@ Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center)
Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce's "powerful...ravishing" (Cincinnati Enquirer) Fellow Travelers, based on Thomas Mallon's 2007 eponymous novel and directed by Kevin Newbury, is an extraordinary personal journey and illicit love story between two men set during America's gut-wrenching McCarthy-Era witch-hunts and the often-overlooked "Lavender Scare." This acclaimed Cincinnati Opera production, developed and co-commissioned by G. Sterling Zinsmeyer and Cincinnati Opera, is co-presented with John Jay College of Criminal Justice and American Composers Orchestra for the opera's much-anticipated New York debut. (@ Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College of Criminal Justice)
The Echo Drift, an operatic collaboration between Mikael Karlsson, Elle Kunnos de Voss, and Kathryn Walat, centers on a convicted murderer trapped in a timeless prison. This world premiere production switches between the confines of a tiny cell and an expansive visual world of hand drawn animation, exploring the psychology of a woman struggling to overcome her nature and the freewheeling tendencies of the mind when robbed of external stimuli. The Echo Drift was commissioned, developed and produced by Beth Morrison Projects, HERE, and American Opera Projects and is co-presented with Baruch Performing Arts Center. (@ Baruch Performing Arts Center)
Two international presentations make US debuts on the 2018 Festival. IYOV, from the Ukranian team Vladyslav Troitskyi, Roman Gryhoriv and Illia Razumeiko, retells the Biblical story of Job in a synthesis of ancient Greek drama, baroque opera, oratorio, Requiem, and the techniques of postmodern theater. Featuring polyphonic choral episodes and a prepared piano, the piece accesses the full range of the human voice to illustrate the character's search for life's meaning (@ HERE's Mainstage Theatre). As a source of inspiration for their intimate musical production Secrets, the Netherlands-based soprano Claron McFadden and Massot-Florizoone-Horbaczewski jazz trio (pictured right) crowd-sourced anonymous stories from the general public. The result is a musical and visual mosaic in which Claron McFadden, singing, whispering and laughing, merges sorrowful, mischievous and cynical passages into one another. Secrets is produced by Muziektheater Transparant and Aventura Musica. It is co-produced by JazzLab Series and Operadagen Rotterdam and co-presented with National Sawdust. (@ National Sawdust)
Black Inscription, from Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Jeremy Flower, is a multimedia song cycle that follows a deep sea diver on her Odyssean journey. Written with guidance from experts at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and brought to life by a seven-piece band fronted by three singers, the immersive world premiere is a symbolic, scientific, and emotional plunge into the ocean where wonder, discovery, and reckoning entwine. (@ HERE's Dorothy B. Williams Theatre)
The Festival's work-in-progress this season is Stranger Love from Dylan Mattingly and Thomas Bartscherer, commissioned and performed by the chamber music ensemble Contemporaneous. The three-act work, inspired by the writings of Plato and Octavio Paz, follows two lovers whose romance unfolds to the rhythm of the seasons (Act 1), then broadens beyond the individual to offer an archetypal picture of human love (Act 2), and finally reaches an astral envisioning of the divine, a love supreme (Act 3). Only Act 1 will be presented in PROTOTYPE. The concert is co-presented with Roulette. (@ Roulette)
PROTOTYPE 2018 presents the second iteration of Out of Bounds, a series of short, free performances of new works in public spaces. Out of Bounds 2018, organized by associate producer Raul Zbengheci, features works created in response to the proliferation of public non-places: airports, railway stations, superstores, motorways, international hotel chains, etc. All performances will take place in New York public sites and will be free and open to the public.
For further information on 2018 Festival programming visit prototypefestival.org. Tickets go on sale to VIP Members after Labor Day and to the general public on September 18, 2017.
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL:
PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now launched in January 2013, unleashing a powerful wave of opera- and music-theatre from a new generation of composers and librettists. Across its first five seasons, PROTOTYPE produced and presented a total of 160 performances of 32 presentations, and shared the work of more than 500 local, national, and international artists. Now in its sixth season, PROTOTYPE, as Opera News proclaimed, "has become a major leader in opera theatre for the twenty-first century."
Founded by Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of Beth Morrison Projects), and Kim Whitener (of HERE), and now produced and directed by them along with new co-director Jecca Barry, PROTOTYPE supports and spotlights a diverse range of culturally and socially engaged work from intrepid creators across ethnicity and gender. Half of PROTOTYPE's lead artists to date have been women, and the Festival has presented work from Belgian, Chinese, Dutch, Egyptian-American, Indian-American, Irish, Kazakh, Korean-American, Lithuanian, Mexican, Russian, and Slovenian lead artists.
ABOUT THE ARTISTIC DIRECTORS:
Founded in 2006 to support the work of these composers and their multi-media collaborators, Beth Morrison Projects encourages risk-taking, creating a structure for new work that is unique to the artist and allows them to feel safe to experiment and push boundaries.
Noted as "the edge of innovation" (Opera News), Beth Morrison Projects is a "contemporary opera mastermind" (Los Angeles Times) and "its own genre" (Opera News). Projects have been performed in numerous premier venues around the world including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Disney Hall, The Barbican, Lincoln Center, The Walker Art Center, The Beijing Music Festival, The Holland Festival, and more. Current and upcoming projects include works by composers Mohammed Fairouz, Michael Gordon, Ted Hearne, Mikael Karlsson, David Lang, David T. Little, Keeril Makan, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Elvis Perkins, Paola Prestini, Ellen Reid, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Jeremy Schonfeld, and more, with directors Mallory Catlett, James Darrah, Rachel Dickstein, Lee Sunday Evans, Daniel Fish, Patricia McGregor, Kevin Newbury, Jay Scheib, and Ashley Tata.
BMP is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Alice M. Ditson Fund for New Music, The Amphion Foundation, The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, The Cheswatyr Foundation, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Emma A. Sheafer Foundation, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, The Jana Foundation, Jean & Louis Dreyfus Foundation, The Howard and Sarah D. Solomon Foundation, MAP Fund/Creative Capital Foundation, The Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New England Foundation for the Arts, New Music USA, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Opera America, and The Seniel Ostrow Foundation. www.bethmorrisonprojects.org
BMP is led by Creative Producer Beth Morrison, an opera and theatre producer, singer, and voice teacher with bachelor and master of music degrees and a master of fine arts in theatre management/producing from the Yale School of Drama, as well as many years of experience in the development of new opera and theatre works. She first cultivated her extensive experience in arts administration at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute where she served as administrative director for four years. Beth served a founding tenure as the Producer for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre from 2009-2011, as well as Producer for New York City Opera's VOX:Contemporary American Opera Lab from 2010-2011. Beth is also a founding producer of 21c Liederabend, a much-lauded multi-media festival of contemporary art song. BMP is the realization of Beth's vision, which stems from a deep commitment to nurturing composers and other artists and fostering the development of new opera and other new music- theatre works.
Jecca Barry joined BMP as General Manager in February 2013 and now serves as Executive Director. With a background in both finance and contemporary music performance, BMP feeds both sides of her personality. Jecca received her Master of Music Degree in Flute Performance from New York University, where she studied with Robert Dick and Keith Underwood. She received her BA(Mus) in Flute Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. During her studies, Jecca focused almost exclusively on the performance of contemporary and avant-garde works. In 2010, Jecca was a founding member of the Empire State Sinfonia, a professional orchestra based in New York City. Jecca took on many roles within the ensemble, including board member, treasurer, orchestra manager, and performer. The Empire State Sinfonia was privileged to perform at Alice Tully Hall in May 2011 with the New York City Master Chorale. Prior to joining BMP, Jecca worked as a Business Manager at Spielman, Koenigsberg & Parker, where she handled the day-to-day financial needs of her clients.
Since 1993, HERE has been one of New York's most prolific producing and presenting organizations, and today stands at the forefront of the city's presenters of new hybrid art. HERE supports multidisciplinary work that does not fit into a conventional programming agenda. HERE's aesthetic represents the independent, the innovative, and the experimental. HERE has developed such acclaimed works as Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues; Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique; Young Jean Lee's Songs of The Dragons Flying To Heaven; Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers; and Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge. As the ultimate in hybrid forms, music-theater and opera-theater premieres developed and produced at HERE include Kamala Sankaram's first opera Miranda, Yoav Gal's Mosheh, Christina Campanella and Stephanie Fleischman's Red Fly/Blue Bottle, and Nick Brooke's Border Towns. HERE has garnered 16 OBIE awards, 2 OBIE grants for artistic achievement, the 2015 Ellen Stewart Award from New York Innovative Theatre Awards, a 2006 Edwin Booth Award ("for Outstanding Contribution to NY Theatre") from the CUNY Graduate Center, five Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, four NY Innovative Theatre Awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. The New York Times has called HERE "one of the most unusual arts spaces in New York and possibly the model for the cutting-edge arts spaces of tomorrow."
Kristin Marting is HERE's Co-Founder and Artistic Director and a director of hybrid work based in NYC. As Artistic Director of HERE, she cultivates artists and programs all events for two performance spaces for an annual audience of 30,000. She co-created and co-curates HARP, HERE's Artist Residency Program. She has constructed 29 works for the stage (9 original hybrid works, 6 opera-theatre and music-theatre works, 9 adaptations of novels & short stories and 5 classic plays) and is currently developing Assembled Identity at HERE and most recently premiered Silent Voices in BAM's Opera House with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (featured in Prototype 2017). Other recent projects include IDIOT with Robert Lyons; Bombay Rickey, an opera cabaret on Yma Sumac in Prototype 2016; Trade Practices, an immersive theatrical experience on value, Lush Valley, an immersive work on citizenship and civic responsibility, and James Scruggs's solo eight channel video work Disposable Men. She also directed Sounding and Dead Tech (collaborative works adapted from Ibsen), both of which received prestigious MAP Fund awards. She was recently named a nytheatre.com Person of the Decade for outstanding contribution, a Leader to Watch by Art Table and honored with a BAX10 Award.
Kim Whitener is HERE's Producing Director, co-curating and co-producing all of HERE's activities. Since early 2007 under her leadership, HERE's programming has grown exponentially, and several major initiatives have launched, including the PROTOTYPE festival and MADE HERE, an online video documentary series about New York performing artists. From 2001 until 2007, Ms. Whitener was an independent producer with her own company, KiWi Productions, working with a diverse range of US artists, both companies and individuals, in the contemporary theater, music-theater, dance-theater, and multi-media worlds to develop and produce new projects, working with co-producers worldwide. Her clients have included The Builders Association, Martha Clarke, Big Dance Theater, and 33 Fainting Spells, among others. Ms. Whitener was consulting producer on Logic of the Birds, artist Shirin Neshat's live performance featuring singer Sussan Deyhim (Lincoln Center Festival, Walker Art Center, Artangel London) in 2001. She also was co-producer of Zero Church, a multi-artist concert/performance event by Suzzy and Maggie Roche, at St. Ann's Warehouse in April 2002. Previously she was Managing Director of the ensemble theater company The Wooster Group, and worked with both the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia and the Boston Music Theatre Project at Suffolk University in Boston.