The Washington Post

Speaking of American opera: another new program in Fort Worth

Did someone mention American music? The Fort Worth Opera is defining “American” as “from the Americas” (North, Central and South America, plus territories), and announcing a call for unpublished operas by composers from this area, to be showcased in the company’s 2013 season.

Excerpts from between six and eight works will be highlighted in the Frontiers series. The composers — who have until May, 2012 to submit their work — will be flown in for the festival, attend the workshops, and get feedback from an 11-member jury that includes the composer Mark Adamo, the conductors Joe Illick and Steven Osgood, and the general director of the Fort Worth opera, Darren K. Woods. All work will be presented with solo piano accompaniment, using one to six singers.

“Frontiers” joins a selective list of programs designed to help promote work-in-progress, from American Opera Projects to the Kentucky Opera’s composer workshop to the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s new composer-in-residence program, the first leg of the Washington National Opera’s just-announced New American Works project through the Met’s ongoing but amorphous set of commissions-in-progress to, most similarly, the Vox program of the New York City Opera (a company that appears to be dying a lingering death before our eyes, but that’s another subject for another post). Woods has already made a significant commitment to contemporary work in Fort Worth (including the world premiere of Before Night Falls); the 2012 season includes Adamo’s “Lysistrata” and Jake Heggie’s “Three Decembers.”

“Composing opera is a herculean task,” Woods said in a statement, “and we hope to aid in composers’ development and exposure by giving their undiscovered operas a platform to be heard by the public, critics, and the opera industry.”

The Fort Worth Opera has shown a commitment to new work with pieces like the world premiere of “Before Night Falls” — now it’s announcing a workshop program to showcase new operas in progress.

Anne Midgette came to the Washington Post in 2008, when she consolidated her various cultural interests under the single title of chief classical music critic. She blogs at The Classical Beat.


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