Opera Fusion Fall 2015: Shalimar the Clown.

Opera Fusion: New Works Grant Renewed by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 

Cincinnati Opera and CCM are pleased to announce that their groundbreaking joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works, has been renewed by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with a gift of $300,000, which will fund another six workshops over the next three years.

Thanks to a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Opera Fusion: New Works was created in 2011 to foster the development of new American operas. The program offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a 10-day residency in Cincinnati, utilizing the talent, personnel, and facilities of both organizations. The workshops are cast with a combination of CCM students and professional artists, and each workshop concludes with a public performance. The program is led by co-artistic directors Marcus Küchle, Director of Artistic Operations of Cincinnati Opera, and Robin Guarino, the J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera at CCM.

“We are thrilled that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recognized the impact and importance of this collaboration,” said Patricia K. Beggs, The Harry Fath General Director & CEO of Cincinnati Opera. “The mainstage success of the operas that have come through Opera Fusion: New Works is a testament to the invaluable workshop opportunity the program offers to a new piece.”

“Opera Fusion: New Works provides CCM’s students with something truly remarkable: an opportunity to work directly with world-class artists on the development of new creative works,” said Peter Landgren, the Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music and Dean at CCM. “This workshopping process allows our students to exercise a very different set of artistic and pedagogical muscles, when compared to the process of learning standard repertoire. These life-changing opportunities would not be possible without The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s generous support of experiential learning at CCM, and we could not have a better partner in this endeavor than Cincinnati Opera.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the trust in and recognition of our work with Opera Fusion: New Works over the past three years that is expressed through this generous grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” said Marcus Küchle, co-artistic director of Opera Fusion: New Works. “These are exciting times for the development of new opera and we are thrilled to continue to play a meaningful role.”

In 2011, Opera Fusion: New Works awarded its first workshop to composer Douglas J. Cuomo and librettist John Patrick Shanley in support of their new opera Doubt, which premiered at Minnesota Opera in January 2013. In 2012, Opera Fusion: New Works provided workshops for Champion, by composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer, which premiered at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in June 2013; and Morning Star, by composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist William M. Hoffman, which premiered at Cincinnati Opera in June 2015. In 2013, the residency went to Fellow Travelers, by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce, which will have its world premiere at Cincinnati Opera on June 17, 2016. In 2014, the program invited composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally to workshop Great Scott, which will premiere at The Dallas Opera on October 30, 2015. For the final workshop of the original six-workshop grant, the residency was awarded to Meet John Doe, with music and libretto by the late Daniel Catán.

“Over the past three years, Opera Fusion: New Works has had a seismic effect on the current art of opera, developing six world premieres, all operas with vital themes for today’s audiences,” said co-artistic director Robin Guarino. “We kick off the next three years and the renewal of our grant with an opera by an innovative composer and librettist team.”

'Shalimar the Clown' is adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie.

‘Shalimar the Clown’ is adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie.

The first opera to benefit from the new cycle of workshops will be Shalimar the Clown, which will receive a residency in Cincinnati from October 7 to 17, 2015. The new opera features music by Jack Perla and a libretto by Rajiv Joseph, adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie.

The opera will have its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 11, 2016. The workshop will be directed by James Robinson, artistic director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, who will also direct the mainstage premiere, and will be conducted by Roberto Kalb, the resident assistant conductor at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. This is the second time that Opera Fusion: New Works has awarded a workshop to an opera with an upcoming premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; the first was the aforementioned Champion, by composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer.

The 10-day workshop will culminate in a free public reading of excerpts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at the newly-opened Over-the-Rhine event space The Transept, 1205 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Tickets are available now through the Cincinnati Opera box office; call 513-241-2742 to reserve. The performance will stream on the Cincinnati Opera website at cincinnatiopera.org.

“I’ve been hoping to work with Robin, Marcus, and Opera Fusion: New Works for some time, and I couldn’t ask for better than to do so with Shalimar the Clown,” said composer Jack Perla. “This is a tremendous opportunity to test and fine-tune this opera stem to stern—to assess its pacing, vocal writing, and dramatic development, well in advance of production and the work’s premiere. Director Jim Robinson, librettist Rajiv Joseph, and the Opera Fusion: New Works team all together in one place, focused on that effort? I couldn’t ask for a better situation for developing this ambitious piece.”

“Workshops such as these are essential for the development of new works such as Shalimar,” said librettist Rajiv Joseph. “It’s one thing to sit in one’s room and write out a bunch of sentences and lyrics, hoping they’re perfect. But, for me at least, it’s not until I can hear them read—and sung—aloud in a room that I have any idea whether what I’ve done is working. Usually it’s not, and so the real work begins.”

About Shalimar the Clown
Shalimar the Clown tells the story of Shalimar and his beloved Boonyi, who have grown up together in a pastoral Kashmiri village, making people laugh as acrobats and dancers in a traditional folk theater. Though one is Muslim and one is Hindu, they fall in love—and despite all odds, their village embraces their marriage. But when a new American ambassador sees Boonyi dance, dark clouds gather. The promise of a new life tears their love apart and sends Shalimar down a path of revenge.

About composer Jack Perla
Composer and pianist Jack Perla is active in opera, jazz, chamber, and symphonic music. His operas and instrumental compositions have been widely performed, and he has performed in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, forging a reputation for his unique cross-fertilization of jazz and classical music. Perla has been commissioned by Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Houston Grand Opera, and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition. He is also a recipient of the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Composers Award, as well as awards, support, and recognition from the Argosy Fund for New Music, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and numerous other organizations. Called “a gripping piece of musical theater,” An American Dream, Perla’s fifth work for a major U.S. company, received its premiere with Seattle Opera in August 2015. Enormous Changes, Perla’s third jazz recording, was recently released on Origin Records, and Pretty Boy, a new disc of chamber and vocal music, is slated for release this winter. Perla grew up in Brooklyn and lived in New York City while attending NYU and the Manhattan School of Music. He earned his D.M.A. in composition from the Yale School of Music, and lives and works in San Francisco.

About librettist Rajiv Joseph
Rajiv Joseph is the author of the Broadway play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and was also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. Joseph’s other plays include Guards at the TajThe North PoolGruesome Playground InjuriesAnimals Out of PaperMr. Wolf, and The Lake Effect. Joseph has written for television, including seasons 3 and 4 of the award-winning Showtime series Nurse Jackie. He also has written for film, and is the co-writer of the 2014 Lionsgate feature Draft Day and the upcoming release, Army of One. He received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University and his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn.

About stage director James Robinson
James Robinson is the artistic director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where he has directed the world premieres of Terence Blanchard’s Champion and Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 in addition to John Adams’s Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer, the American premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland and Tobias Picker’s Emmeline. His work has been seen throughout the world at such companies as the Wexford Festival, the Royal Swedish Opera, Opera Australia, Canadian Opera Company, the London Symphony, Welsh National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Aspen Music Festival. He has directed several productions for the Santa Fe Opera, including the American premiere of Huang Ruo’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and will return in 2016 for Vanessa. Other future projects include Nixon in China for Houston Grand Opera, The Elixir of Love for the Canadian Opera Company, and the world premiere of Shalimar the Clown for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Opera Fusion: New Works is sponsored by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

CCM News

Performance Details Announced for Free Public Reading of 2013 Opera Fusion: New Works Residency

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Cincinnati Opera and CCM’s Department of Opera are pleased to announce performance details for the free public reading of the 2013 Opera Fusion: New Works residency Fellow Travelers. The reading will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26, in the Small Auditorium of the Cincinnati Masonic Center. The event is free, but reservations through the Cincinnati Opera box office are required.

Fellow Travelers, composed by Gregory Spears with a libretto by Greg Pierce, will be in workshop in Cincinnati from Nov. 17-26, 2013. Pierce’s libretto is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon. The director of the work is Kevin Newbury, who directed Cincinnati Opera’s 2007 production of Nixon in China. CCM Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson will conduct. G. Sterling Zinsmeyer is the executive producer of Fellow Travelers.

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CCM Opera and Cincinnati Opera Select New Work for Fall 2013 Opera Fusion Residency

Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce's 'Fellow Travelers' is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon.

Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce’s ‘Fellow Travelers’ is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon.

CCM and Cincinnati Opera are pleased to announce the selection of a new American opera, Fellow Travelers, for the Opera Fusion: New Works program’s third year of residencies.

Fellow Travelers, composed by Gregory Spears with a libretto by Greg Pierce, will receive a workshop from Nov. 17 to 26, 2013. Pierce’s libretto is adapted from the best-selling 2007 novel by Thomas Mallon. The director of the work is Kevin Newbury, who directed Cincinnati Opera’s 2007 production of Nixon in China. Mark Gibson, Director of Orchestral Studies at CCM, will conduct. G. Sterling Zinsmeyer is the executive producer of Fellow Travelers. The workshop will culminate in a public performance on Tuesday, Nov. 26; location and ticket information will be announced at a later date.

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‘The Wall Street Journal’ Features Opera Fusion in Article on New Operas

Heidi Waleson explores the latest trends in the development and presentation of new operas in a recent Wall Street Journal article, highlighting the CCM and Cincinnati Opera collaboration Opera Fusion: New Works!

Waleson discusses Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer‘s Champion and Douglas J. Cuomo and John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, both of which were workshopped through the innovative Opera Fusion program! You can read the full Wall Street Journal article here.

Opera Fusion: New Works is generously funded by a $300,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Cincinnati Enquirer Reviews Opera Fusion Workshop Performance of ‘Champion’

The Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Steven Rosen was in attendance at Saturday’s public workshop of Champion, the new American opera composed by Terence Blanchard with a libretto by Michael Cristofer.

In his review of the performance, Rosen states, “Judging from the enthusiastic audience response, the opera may become a champion in more ways than one. One person asked, to general overall approval, if he would have to go all the way to Saint Louis to see the full opera, wishing Cincinnati Opera would itself stage it. (Several of the CCM students will be in the Saint Louis production.)”

You can read Rosen’s review in its entirety here.

CCM News

Opera Fusion: New Works Lab Presents Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s ‘Champion’ This Weekend

This weekend, CityBeat recommends the Opera Fusion: New Works Lab performance of Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer‘s Champion.

CCM will host a public performance of this new American opera at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Cincinnati Opera will host a performance 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, Oct. 28 at Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts. Champion contains mature subject matter and adult language.

You can read Anne Arenstein’s entire preview here.

CCM News

CCM Announces Fall 2012 Calendar of Major Events

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CCM is delighted to announce its fall schedule of performances. The largest single source of performing arts events in the state of Ohio, CCM presents more than 100 public performances this fall, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera, drama and musical theatre productions.

This fall’s schedule includes a Beethoven Festival (Sept. 14 – Oct. 12), a Kurt Weill Festival (Oct. 19 – March 10) and a Cage Centennial Celebration (Nov. 5 – Nov. 29). CCM also collaborates with Cincinnati Opera on public workshop performances of two new American operas (Oct. 27 – 28 and Dec. 4 – 5) and presents a pair of concerts in conjunction with the Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts (Oct. 10 and Oct. 28).

Download a digital copy of CCM’s Fall 2012 Calendar of Major Events today. Physical copies are also available at the CCM Box Office in the Corbett Center for the Performing Arts.

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Announcing CCM’s 2012-13 Studio Series of Opera, Musical Theatre and Drama

'Champion' composer and five-time Grammy winner Terence Blanchard.

‘Champion’ composer and five-time Grammy winner Terence Blanchard.

CCM is pleased to announce details for its 2012-13 Studio Series of opera, musical theatre and drama.

The series opens in October with a revival of the comedy-horror-rock musical Little Shop of Horrors and concludes in April with an extended run of the Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning musical Parade, co-produced with the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center.

CCM’s 2012-13 Studio Series also includes public workshop performances of two new American operas produced in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera, a pair of socially relevant and emotionally powerful dramas, and a fresh take on one of Georges Bizet’s earliest operas.

Please see the listings below for full production and ticketing details.

CCM News

CityBeat and Express Cincinnati Spotlight CCM Fall Performances

CityBeat and Express Cincinnati both published their Fall Arts Previews this week and several upcoming CCM performances made their lists of “must see” events!

CityBeat paid special attention to this fall’s Opera Fusion workshops, produced in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera, along with our Mainstage production of the rock musical Chess. Read the previews here.

Express Cincinnati singled out the Ariel Quartet’s debut performance as CCM quartet-in-residence (Sept. 11), along with our Beethoven Festival (Sept. 14 – Oct. 12) and our presentation of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor collaboration with the Constella Festival (Oct. 28). Read the full issue online here.

CCM proudly presents over 100 performing arts events this fall. Stay tuned for a full list of events next week!

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

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