Called, “One of the most significant music events of the year.” (DMagazine – 2013), Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers showcase is breaking the mold of the traditional operatic experience by inviting patrons to experience new and innovative work at the beginning stages of an opera’s creation.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2017 Frontiers program, held May 3 and 4, 2017. Please contact Amanda Robie – Curator at for submission address and information. Applications accepted thru June 30, 2016.

These eight selected works will be presented in the intimate setting of the Kimbell Art Museum’s Kahn Auditorium. The 20-minute excerpts, sung by artists from the 2017 Fort Worth Opera Festival with piano accompaniment, will be offered in two separate showcases of four works each on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 8:00pm – 10:00pm and Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 8:00pm – 10:00pm.

2016 Frontiers Selections

Guy Barash

Nick Flynn

Alice Invents A Little Game And Alice Always Wins

In Guy Barash’s opera, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins, based on the play by Nick Flynn, four strangers meet on a New York City sidewalk during a blackout. Exploring the tenuous membrane that separates comfortable everyday existence from the desperate margins of society, Barash and Flynn portray an urban dystopia unnervingly similar to our own world while poignantly tapping into the loneliness and peril of city life.

Gordon Beeferman

The Rat Land

The Rat Land chronicles the disintegration of a troubled and eccentric family. The plot centers on their adolescent daughter Karen, coming of age as best she can amidst a post-Cold War American Grotesque. Caught between her nightmarish home life and a near-psychotic fantasy world of her own devising, she faces grown-up problems of violence, isolation, madness, and death. With The Rat Land, composer Gordon Beeferman and librettist Charlotte Jackson have created a unique chamber opera that is not a melodrama, but tragi-comedy: pity and fear are leavened by a healthy dose of graveyard humor.

Gerald Cohen

Deborah Brevoort


Steal a Pencil for Me, composed by Gerald Cohen with a libretto by Deborah Brevoort, is a full-length opera about one the Holocaust’s most unusual love stories—between Jaap Polak, a Dutch accountant, and Ina Soep, the daughter of a wealthy diamond manufacturer—who fell in love in the Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. Based on their love letters, which were published in a book of the same title, Steal a Pencil for Me is about the indestructibility of the life spirit and the power of humankind to survive adversity. The opera dramatizes intimate concerns and private dramas alongside the epic horrors of the Holocaust.

Royce Vavrek

Andrew Gerle

The Beach

Inspired by a recent French news item, The Beach, by composer Andrew Gerle and librettist Royce Vavrek, follows gold-digger Adele and her frustrating marriage to elderly William, whom she expected to die years ago but lives on despite his dementia. Adele and her lover Jean-Luc finally shut William in the laundry room and feed him stale pastries while they live on his money, convincing him he’s actually at a fancy beach resort. William’s childhood sweetheart soon begins to suspect foul play, but it is Jean-Luc’s pre-teen daughter who finally calls the authorities and releases William, who knows nothing of what’s truly been going on and begs everyone to return him to his “resort.”

Royce Vavrek

Mikael Karlsson

Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland, composed by Mikael Karlsson with libretto by Royce Vavrek, is an opera in fifteen anecdotes that celebrates the exaggerated personality of the ‘Empress of Fashion.’ Known for wielding her influence while working at Harper’s BazaarVogue and the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, Diana was famously mad about the odder sides of people, the embellishment of history, and the posterior of Jack Nicholson. Using music theater and contemporary ballet, the opera paints a surreal portrait of the icon who demanded “never be boring!”

Andrew McManus

Killing The Goat

Written by Andrew McManus, Killing the Goat is an operatic adaptation of Mario Vargas Llosa’s La Fiesta del Chivo. This visceral work of historical fiction tells the tale of Urania Cabral, a Dominican woman who returns to her native Santo Domingo to confront trauma she suffered as a teenager at the hands of Rafael Trujillo, the brutal dictator of the Dominican Republic prior to his assassination in 1961. As Urania searches for solace and catharsis from her ailing father, a former official in the regime, there are flashbacks to the dictator himself, to an official who conspired to assassinate him, and to the traumatic event that has haunted her for 35 years.

Rene Orth

Mark Campbell

Empty The House

Empty the House is a 60 minute chamber opera, composed by Rene Orth in collaboration with librettist Mark Campbell, which explores the complex nature of forgiveness between a mother and her two grown children.  The opera will receive its staged premiere in January 2016 with the Curtis Opera Theater.

Jason Kim

Joseph Rubinstein


Set in New York City in 1985, Legendary is an opera written by composer Joseph Rubinstein and librettist Jason Kim about double lives and destructive desires set in the glory days of New York City’s underground drag culture.  Based on a true story, famed drag performer Dee Legendary embarks on a passionate love affair with Officer John, whose fascination with Dee takes an unexpected and dangerous turn.


  • Darren K. Woods

  • Ned Canty

  • Paul Cremo

  • Cori Ellison

  • William Florescu

  • John Hoomes

  • Ben Krywosz

  • Peggy Monastra

  • Michael Mori

  • Nicole Paiement

  • Sarah Williams

  • Keith Wolfe


Interested and qualified candidates can obtain the submission information and address by contacting Amanda Robie at Only 15-25 minutes of a composition will be considered and all works must be submitted by 11:59 pm July 19, 2016.

Between six and eight compositions will be selected for participation in the 2017 Frontiers showcase. There is a $20 US application fee.

Applications must consist of:

  • Piano/Vocal score for the selection ONLY (15-25 minutes of music)
  • Libretto for the selection ONLY (additional English translation if the work is in another language)
  • Synopsis of the entire work
  • Recorded sample of the selection ONLY. These can be piano/vocal recordings (preferred), midi recordings, orchestral recordings, but must be converted into an mp3 or similar format before uploading.
  • Note: All composer/librettist names must be removed from the submission materials for blind evaluation by the panel
  • Submission PDF