Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Opera America Awards

Opera America has made $225,000 in awards to assist in the production of a number of operas. Here are the works, composers, and companies involved. Congratulations to all of the recipients! I hope to hear your works.

Today It Rains by composer Laura Kaminsky and librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed

Today It Rains is set on the transformative train ride that Georgia O’Keeffe took from New York to Santa Fe in 1929, during which she began to redefine herself as an artist and confront certain aspects of her marriage to Alfred Stieglitz. Based on an original concept by Mark Campbell, with a projection design by Kimberly Reed, the production will be conducted by Nicole Paiement and directed by Brian Staufenbiel.

For this same work, Opera Parallèle previously received two grants: a 2016 Repertoire Development Grant and a 2017 Commissioning Grant, part of the Opera Grants for Female Composers Program. 

Magda/Max by composer Garrett Fisher and librettist Amy Schrader

Magda/Max is inspired by the dramatic life and death of Magda Goebbels, unofficial first lady of the Third Reich. The story unfolds through the experiences of Max, a gay Jewish prisoner in a concentration camp who is beaten close to death for “deviant” behavior. In a fever-dream, he imagines himself as Madga Goebbels, lamenting a society that refuses to accept the new world order. As the war comes to a close, Max's fate becomes intertwined with the Nazi leaders trapped in Hitler’s bunker, and freedom is only attainable through the ultimate sacrifice.

Schoenberg in Hollywood by composer Tod Machover and librettist Simon Robson
Based on a scenario by Braham Murray

Schoenberg in Hollywood centers on influential composer Arnold Schoenberg and his late-career effort to assimilate into the culture of 1930s Los Angeles. The opera will explore the humor, heroism and pathos of Schoenberg’s struggle, as it imagines his complex life in Hollywood and uncovers its relevance for future generations. It will premiere at Boston Lyric Opera in fall 2018.

Blue by composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tazewell Thompson

Blue dives into the emotional epicenter of an African-American couple who lose their teenage son when he is killed by a police officer. Blue will premiere during the 2019 festival season and will be one of the subjects of “Breaking Glass,” a podcast and series of national forums hyperlinking opera and topical issues.
For this same work, The Glimmerglass Festival previously received a 2016 Commissioning Grant, part of the Opera Grants for Female Composers program.

The Phoenix by composer Tarik O'Regan and librettist John Caird

The Phoenix examines the life of Mozart’s friend and librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte. After the composer's death, Da Ponte flees Europe for America. Pursued by tax collectors and wronged women, Da Ponte reinvents himself countless times as a priest, a poet, a father, a political exile, a grocer and a teacher. The Phoenix will premiere in March 2019 as part of HGO’s multidisciplinary initiative “Seeking the Human Spirit.”

Five by composer Anthony Davis and librettist Richard Wesley

Long Beach Opera will facilitate the revision and new premiere of the opera Five. The opera follows five African-American and Latino teenage boys who were wrongly convicted for the 1989 rape and beating of a white jogger in Central Park. The “Central Park Five” spent between 6 and 13 years in prison until they were exonerated by DNA evidence, following the confession of the true assailant.

Eurydice by composer Matthew Aucoin and librettist Sarah Ruhl

Eurydice, based on the play by Sarah Ruhl, tells the Orpheus story from the perspective of Eurydice, using contemporary language to present the young lovers as quirky and conflicted. Eurydice meets her father in the Underworld, her memory erased, and they must re-establish their bond. When Orpheus arrives to bring her back to the land of the living, will she return with him? Eurydice was commissioned in 2015 by the Met Opera/Lincoln Center Theater New Works Program.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by composer Paola Prestini and librettist Mark Campbell

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a family-friendly opera based on the young adult novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo. It follows the adventures of an aloof toy rabbit named Edward whose comfortable life abruptly ends when he is thrown into the sea. His adventures take him far and wide until he finally opens his heart and finds his way back home.

For this same work, Minnesota Opera previously received a 2017 Commissioning Grant, part of the Opera Grants for Female Composers program.

The Flood by composer Korine Fujiwara and librettist Stephen Wadsworth

A collaboration between Opera Columbus and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra,The Flood tells a story of human connection through loss and shared tragedy across multiple generations of one family, centered on the devastation caused by the Great Flood of 1913 in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. The Flood will receive its world premiere in Columbus in February 2019.

For this same work, Opera Columbus previously received a 2016 Commissioning Grant, part of the Opera Grants for Female Composers program.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones by composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Kasi Lemmons

Fire Shut Up in My Bones is based on the moving memoir by journalist Charles Blow, chronicling his coming of age in small-town Gibsland, Louisiana, formerly the site of a plantation. Blow learns to break the cycles of violence that ignite this community, which is tied together by deep bonds and the spirit of resilience.

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