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PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now Returns to NYC Today
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PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now Returns to NYC Today

Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now invigorates New York City tonight, January 5, through January 15, 2017, with its fifth annual explosion of provocative and pioneering opera- and music-theatre, curated by co-founding producers, Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of Beth Morrison Projects) and Kim Whitener (of HERE).

Since its launch in 2013, the Prototype Festival has presented a staggering 23 new works across four seasons, propelling the industry forward and quickly establishing influence as a first-rate presenter on the international stage.

Socially conscious, visually stimulating, and culturally diverse, Prototype brings to the fore an audacious swath of artists each season. The 2017 Festival boasts six new presentations from such daring women and men. It opens with the world premiere of HERE Resident Artists Matt Marks/Paul Peers' Mata Hari, a hybrid opera-theatre exploration of the legendary and controversial Dutch mystic dancer who was executed for espionage during World War I (at HERE's Mainstage).

Two heralded operas come to Prototype for New York debuts this season. Missy Mazzoli/Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves, based on Lars von Trier's radical film of the same name, follows a harrowing tale of unconditional love and the ultimate sacrifice (at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts). Breaking the Waves is a Beth Morrison projects (BMP) co-commission and will come to Prototype after the world premiere with Opera Philadelphia in September 2016. Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang/Mark Dion's triumphant anatomy theater premiered in June 2016 at Los Angeles Opera and the Prototype performance marks both its East Coast and New York premieres. Also a BMP co-commission, this immersive, darkly humorous and arresting work is presented in the macabre style of an 18th century British public dissection (at BRIC Arts Media House).

Self-proclaimed 'Negrogothic Devil-worshipping free black man in the blues tradition,' M. Lamar, joins with Liturgy frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and co-librettist Tucker Culbertson for Funeral Doom Spiritual: For Male Soprano, Piano, and Electronics. The piece draws on themes of apocalypse, end times, and rapture found in Negro Spirituals and gets its New York premiere on the Festival (co-presented with National Sawdust).

Five commissioned composers come together for a preview presentation of Silent Voices, a collaborative multimedia piece conceived of and performed by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Artistic Director Dianne Berkun). Composers Sahba Aminikia, Jeff Beal, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Toshi Reagon, and DJ Spooky explore African-American and immigrant experience around issues of race, gender, inequity and social disparity, giving voice to those who have been silenced or marginalized in our society (co-presented with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) at Florence Gould Hall).

A word from Festival Co-Founding Producers and Artistic Directors, Kristin Marting, Beth Morrison, and Kim Whitener: "In 2010, the three of us came together with a dream to create a showcase of adventurous new boundary-pushing chamber-sized opera-theatre. Both of our organizations have a history of making exciting work in this area-BMP as an independent creative producer and HERE as an institution dedicated to multi-disciplinary work-and we felt partnership between the two organizations could be a dynamic force for change in the industry. From the beginning, a key goal of our mission was to diversify the opera/music-theatre repertory with broader representation of women and people of color. In five years of curating this Festival, we have found a rich array of exciting contemporary voices to explore, and the reception from audiences, the industry, and press has been overwhelmingly positive. We are honored to continue this mission, providing a vehicle for today's exceptional artists to take risks and produce the music of our time. We believe it is through this talented mix of voices that we discover more deeply the contemporary world within which we live."

The 2017 Festival wraps with an additional presentation to be announced at a later date (at HERE's Dorothy B. Williams Theatre). For in-depth information on the 2017 Festival programs visit prototypefestival.org. Tickets go on sale after Labor Day.

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 four seasons, PROTOTYPE produced and presented a total of 130 performances of 23 presentations, shared the work of more than 400 local, national, and International Artists, exposed visionary work to more than 15,000 people, and filled 22 stages across multiple boroughs of New York City. Now in its fifth season, Prototype, asOpera News proclaimed, "has become a major leader in opera theatre for the twenty-first century."

Founded, produced, and directed by Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of Beth Morrison Projects), and Kim Whitener (of HERE), 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:

Creative producer Beth Morrison Projects identifies and supports the work of emerging and established composers and their collaborators through the commission, development, and production of their work, taking the form of opera-theatre, music-theatre, and multi-media concert works. Relying on the core values of collaboration, exploration, experimentation, artistry, and excellence, BMP provides a nurturing structure that allows artists to push the boundaries of their art form. Founded in 2006, BMP rapidly developed a reputation for "envisioning new possibilities and finding ways to facilitate their realization" (The New York Times). In ten years, BMP has commissioned, developed, and produced more than forty-five operas and music-theatre pieces that have premiered or been performed in New York, across the country, and around the globe. TheWall Street Journal said, "Ms. Morrison may be immortalized one day as a 21st-century Diaghilev, known for her ability to assemble memorable collaborations among artists." BMP's ability to recognize emerging talent, invest in the vision of living composers and their collaborators, and partner with presenters to bring new work to life has allowed it to become vital in the landscape of new music and opera. The New York Times recently said, "The production of new [opera] works in the city still falls mostly to the tireless Beth Morrison and her Beth Morrison Projects..." BMP is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, the Department of Cultural Affairs of New York City, New Music USA, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Map Fund, a program of creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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.

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 28 works for the stage (9 original hybrid works, 5 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 Silent Voices 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 where the audience determines the value of various different plays; 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.

ABOUT THE PRODUCING & PRESENTING PARTNERS:

BRIC is the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, and one of the largest in New York City, devoted to presenting fresh work by artists and media-makers who reflect the diversity that surrounds us. BRIC House offers a public media center, a major contemporary art exhibition space, two performance spaces, a glass-walled TV studio and artist work spaces. Some of BRIC's most acclaimed programs include the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, the newly-renamed BRIC TV, and a renowned contemporary art exhibition series.

The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is New York's premiere French cultural and language center. FIAF's mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.

The non-profit National Sawdust is a dynamic home for artists and new music of all kinds; a place for exploration and discovery-where emerging and established artists can share their music with serious music fans and casual listeners alike. In a city teeming with venues, National Sawdust is a singular space that provides composers and musicians across genres with a setting in which they can flourish, and where they are given unprecedented support and critical resources essential to create and share their work.

NYU 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 Director Michael Harrington, the NYU Skirball mission is to showcase and support diverse and eclectic talent from around the world, while cultivating audiences for live performance through deeper engagement opportunities.


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