Frontiers Libretto Workshop page strip.j

October 7 & 8, 2020

Frontiers: FWO Libretto Workshop is an exciting exploration of operatic storytelling, and the eighth installment of the company’s innovative new works showcase. Led by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning librettist and lyricist Mark Campbell, this two-night online event will be held in front of a live Zoom audience. While the first seven installments of Frontiers highlighted thrilling new unproduced works-in-progress, the company’s latest workshop strips away the musical elements and focusses entirely upon the text of new operas in-the-making. In addition to Mr. Campbell’s presence, FWO’s workshop will feature a distinguished panel of librettists, composers, directors, and artists, including Héctor Armienta, Nicole BrooksOctavio CardenasBlythe GaissertAlison Moritz, Rachel J. Peters, Kelley Rourke, and Talise Trevigne

FRONTIERS: FWO Libretto Workshop 

 

WORKSHOP OVERVIEW 

(SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS LISTED BELOW)

In creating this program, Fort Worth Opera wanted to provide librettists with a platform for dramaturgical development and assure the industry and opera lovers everywhere that the storytellers within this incredible art form would not be neglected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company continues its commitment to supporting the creation of new works, and Frontiers: FWO Libretto Workshop will provide librettists with an exclusive opportunity to hone their craft. Not only will they experience passages of their libretto performed by professional actors, but they will receive real-time feedback from some of the top creative minds in opera. Librettists will also be able to obtain a recording of the Zoom workshop to assist them further in their compositional process. 

This collaborative series is presented free of charge to all participating librettists and auditors. Donations of any amount are encouraged and accepted in support of Fort Worth Opera’s educational programming. Click HERE to learn more. 

SUBMISSION INFO (SUBMISSIONS ACCEPTED AUGUST 19 - SEPTEMBER 14, 2020)

 

Librettists from the Americas (citizens or residents of North, Central, and South America, as well as associated territories) are eligible and invited to submit a libretto. All application materials must be submitted electronically through the Frontiers web portal. Six libretti will be selected and showcased. Works not selected will not be automatically reconsidered for future showcases. 

 

Submissions will be accepted through Monday, September 14, 2020, at midnight. On Tuesday, September 29, six librettists will be chosen, and the winning selections will be publicly announced. Only completed libretti will be considered. Due to the online forum of this workshop, libretti must be in English, and submissions must include a synopsis. There is no fee for submissions. Fort Worth Opera retains the right to select fewer than six works for the showcase. 

SUBMISSION FAQ 

 

Are there any restrictions about the scale of my work?

 

None. Your libretto can be intended for chamber opera, grand opera or monodrama.

 

What stage of development should the libretto be in? Is it okay if my libretto has been produced?

 

Any stage of the development process is acceptable: your libretto can be completely new or have already received a production.

 

Is it okay if a composer has already scored my libretto?

 

Yes.

 

If my libretto is going to be submitted elsewhere featuring some of the same panelists, would it be better to submit work they haven’t seen before?

 

No, it does not matter that the panelists might have seen this work before. 

 

How long will the libretto reading be for each work? 

 

Each workshop will be two hours in length. Three libretti will be chosen for each night, with 40 minutes allotted for each work to be featured. During the first 20 minutes, you will briefly describe the plot and two selections will be read by actors. In the final 20 minutes, the panelists will make constructive suggestions, interact with you, and answer any questions you may have. 

 

Could you provide any additional information about the application process?

 

Email us at frontiers@fwopera.org and we will respond with a direct link to upload your libretto. Please make sure that all contact information is also included, so that we may get in touch with you, including your full name, email address, current street address, and telephone number. 

 

What type of work is FWO looking for? 

 

A libretto can be in any genre. FWO is not looking specifically for a “type” of work. 

 

If a composer is attached to the work, may they listen in to the reading?

 

Yes. But you must give FWO the composer's email address so that we may invite them to attend the reading. 

 

Who will be reading my libretto?

FWO has employed four local, professional actors to read your libretto.

 

Are there limits to the cast size of my libretto? 

 

None. But please remember that we will have a cast of only four actors. While they can double in roles, casts with many characters might be confusing in this presentation.

How many librettos can I submit?

 

Only one libretto can be submitted.

Can my libretto be in another language besides English?  

 

No. Due to the online forum of this workshop, your libretto must be in English.

Will FWO give me an electronic recording of the libretto reading and presentation?  

 

Yes. Following the Zoom workshop, you will receive a video recording of your 40-minute segment to assist you further in your compositional process.

FRONTIERS: Libretto Workshop Panelists

Mark Campbell

The work of Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell is at the forefront of the contemporary opera scene in this country. Mark has written 38 opera librettos, lyrics for 7 musicals and text for 5 song cycles and 2 oratorios. His best known works are Silent Night, Sanctuary Road, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, As One, Elizabeth Cree, Stonewall, Later the Same Evening, The Manchurian Candidate, Volpone, Bastianello/Lucrezia, and Songs from an Unmade Bed. Mark also mentors future generations of opera composers and librettists through such organizations as the American Opera Project, American Lyric Theater and the American Opera Initiative and recently created the first prize in the history of opera designated specifically for opera librettists, called the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize.

 

Héctor Armienta

Héctor Armienta, a nationally recognized composer/librettist, focuses on creating work that explores the Mexican and Mexican-American cultural experience. His awards and commissions include those from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Southwest, Opera Pacific, the Pacific Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, and others. His work for orchestra, theater, and opera has received support from seven NEA grants in artistic excellence. Upcoming projects include Mi Camino and the world premiere of Zorro. Drawing on his training as a classical composer, his mission is to reinvent classical musical forms by incorporating music from both sides of the border.

 

Nicole Brooks

In the performing arts world, Nicole Brooks is beyond a triple-threat. Her extensive accomplishments include: filmmaker, director, performer, singer, playwright, composer, curator, teacher and ‘art-ivist’. Brooks has devoted over 20 years producing innovative content (for the stage and screen), with a focus on narratives that illuminate the peoples of the African Diaspora. In 2012, Brooks officially added playwright to her list of talents. Her debut theatrical work Obeah Opera - which she created, wrote, composed and performs in - has been staged in various incarnations from festivals to staged workshop productions in Toronto between 2009 and 2014. Honored with a Dora nomination for Outstanding New Opera/Musical in 2012 and with continued development thereafter, an updated version of Obeah Opera premiered in August 2015, as a prestigious commission from the cultural arm of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.  Its final incarnation mounted in June 2019 as part of the critically acclaimed roaster of the Luminato Festival in Toronto and was honored with two additional DORA nominations in 2020 for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Feature Performance. 

 

Octavio Cardenas

Stage director Octavio Cardenas captivates audiences with his visionary, visceral, and physical style of directing. Born in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, Opera News has praised him for “an immersive theater experience” while the Dallas Morning News hailed him for bringing “every character and situation to life.” Recent projects include Dead Man Walking for Opera Delaware and La boheme for Des Moines Metro Opera and Madame Butterfly for Opera Santa Barbara. As the former Director of Opera for Baylor University, Mr. Cardenas directed productions of L’elisir d’amoreThe Turn of the ScrewDialogues of the Carmelites, and Rita. He has served as the Head of the Directing Staff at Des Moines Metro Opera and has also been part of the directing staff at Chautauqua Opera.

 

Blythe Gaissert

Mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert has established herself as one of the preeminent interpreters of some of the brightest stars of new classical music. A true singing actress, she has received critical acclaim for her interpretations of both new and traditional repertoire in opera, concert, and chamber repertoire. “Gaissert gave a dramatically powerful, vocally stunning portrait of a woman growing increasingly desperate and delusional from lack of contact with the outer world. Gaissert’s development of Loats’s personality was utterly believable, and she gave a virtuoso performance of this very challenging music” (Arlo McKinnon, Opera News for The Echo Drift). Known for her warm tone, powerful stage presence, and impeccable musicianship and technical prowess….”Mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert was impossible to ignore as the headstrong Mother Marie. She has a pure, powerful and appealing voice and a forceful stage presence to match.” (Denver Post).

 
 

Alison Moritz

Alison Moritz’s productions have been lauded as “raw, funny, surreal, and disarmingly human” by Opera News. Upcoming 2020-2021 projects include new productions for Glimmerglass, Chicago Opera Theatre, Opera Santa Barbara, and world premieres for Experiments in Opera and Contemporaneous. In fall of 2020, Alison makes her first foray into the world of VR directing Miranda - a dystopian satire imagining an alternative American legal system (Sankaram/Reese; co-produced by LUMA Projection Festival and Tri-Cities Opera). Her 2019-2020 season included mainstage debuts at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Omaha, the Ravinia Festival, and Rice University. Other recent directing highlights include the world premieres of Taking Up Serpents (Sankaram/Dye; Washington National Opera), Candide (Tanglewood), Chunky in Heat (Experiments in Opera), and Penelope (Snider/McLaughlin; new performing edition for Lyric Opera of Kansas City). Committed to contemporary American repertoire, Alison has workshopped pieces for Opera Philadelphia, directed the world premiere of Proving Up (Mazzoli/Vavrek; Washington National Opera), and created a visceral new production of The Manchurian Candidate (Puts/Campbell; Austin Opera) in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. 

 

Rachel J. Peters

Composer/librettist Rachel J. Peters writes all manner of works for the stage. Operas: Companionship (Fort Worth Opera), Rootabaga Country (Sarasota Opera), The Wild Beast of the Bungalow (Oberlin Conservatory), No Ladies in the Lady’s Book (Utah Opera). Steve (Boston Opera Collaborative), Musicals: Only Children (NYU), Tiny Feats of Cowardice (NYC Fringe), Tomato Red (UC Irvine), Octopus Heart (NYU). Concert works: Ethel Smyth Plays Golf in Limbo (Semperoper Dresden), If You Can Prove That I Should Set You Free (Albany Symphony), Jack's Vocabulary (Hartt School), Fronds: The Wisdom of Fanny Fern (Walt Whitman Project). Contributor to The AIDS Quilt Songbook. Scores for plays: Stretch (a fantasia) (New Georges), Tania in the Getaway Van (Flea Theater), Transatlantic (Arkansas Rep). Upcoming premieres: Opera Kansas, Opera Steamboat, Lyric Opera of the North.

 

Kelley Rourke

Kelley Rourke is a librettist, translator and dramaturg. Her work has been commissioned and performed by Washington National Opera, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Boston Lyric Opera, Young People’s Chorus of NYC, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Carnegie Hall, Urban Arias, Met LiveArts, Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, On Site Opera, San Francisco Conservatory, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Atlanta Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Nautilus Music-Theater, among others. Kelley has been a guest lecturer at Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and she is librettist mentor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. She is resident dramaturg for Washington National Opera and The Glimmerglass Festival.

 

Talise Trevigne

Grammy-nominated American soprano Talise Trevigne made her Lyric Opera of Chicago debut last fall as Kitty Heart in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and joined the Metropolitan Opera cast of Porgy & Bess. Besides creating key roles in the world premieres of Moby-Dick, JFK, Proving Up and It’s A Wonderful Life, she has headlined productions on both sides of the Atlantic, proving herself “a Butterfly worthy of mention alongside Maria Callas” (Voix des Arts).  Last season Miss Trevigne debuted the role of Ma in Missy Mazzoli/Royce Vavrek’s highly lauded Proving Up at Omaha Opera and at Lincoln Centre and made a further role debut at Madison Opera as Nedda Pagliacci. She travelled to Theater Basel for one of her signature roles, Cio-Cio-san in Madama Butterfly, a role that originally brought her great accolades at North Carolina Opera and at Kentucky Opera. She finished the season at Cincinnati Opera in the title role in Porgy & Bess reviving her great success in the role at Glimmerglass Festival the previous season.

ABOUT FRONTIERS

Hailed as “one of the most significant music events of the year” by D Magazine, Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers showcase has yielded numerous regional and world premieres since its inception. Commissioned by the American Lyric Theater, Patrick Soluri and Deborah Brevoort’s macabre, Edgar Allan Poe-inspired opera Embedded (Frontiers 2013) appeared during Fort Worth Opera’s 2016 Festival. Matthew Peterson and Jason Zencka’s critically acclaimed, true crime opera Voir Dire (Frontiers 2014) proved to be a highlight of the company’s 2017 Festival and recently received its official cast album recording. Composer and librettist Rachel J. Peters’ acclaimed dark comedy Companionship (Frontiers 2018) received its world premiere during FWO’s 2019 Festival.

 

Beyond North Texas, Robert Paterson and David Cote’s trio of comic, one-act operas, Three Way, premiered at Nashville Opera and BAM Fisher in 2017, and Opera Colorado presented the world premiere of Gerald Cohen and Deborah Brevoort’s true-life WWII romance, Steal a Pencil for Me (Frontiers 2016) during their 2018 season. Griffin Candey and Thom Miller’s delectable dark comedy, Sweets by Kate (Frontiers 2017), received its NYC premiere at the legendary Stonewall Inn in July of 2017 with OperaRox Productions. In 2019, Clint Borzoni and John de los Santos’ erotic opera, When Adonis Calls (Frontiers 2015), received its world premiere by Asheville Lyric Opera.

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Our mission at Fort Worth Opera is to educate, entertain, and expand the horizons of current and future audiences and artists through variety and artistic integrity.

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