The CLDP is tuition free for selected artists, and is designed to provide customized mentorship to artists from a wide variety of backgrounds. ALT's mandate includes mentoring artists with classical training, as well as those with non-traditional/non-classical backgrounds who have a passionate interest in writing for the opera stage. Based on the quality of applicants each year, ALT accepts up to eight artists to participate in year one of the Program. After their first year, select artists are invited to continue their residency with ALT as they continue to receive highly personalized mentorship while working towards developing full-length works.
Applications are welcome from any emerging composer or librettist/playwright who is a U.S. Citizen or legal resident. Artists may apply individually to the program or as a member of a writing team. ALT defines an emerging opera Composer or Librettist as someone who has acquired significant skills as a composer and/or librettist (or playwright) through academic study, practice, and professional experience; who demonstrates a unique and important musical and/or theatrical perspective that could benefit from intense mentorship as part of the CLDP; and who has not yet had a work commissioned or performed by a professional opera company in the United States (i.e. they have not been paid by an OPERA America professional producing company to write a new opera, or an opera they have written has not been licensed for fully staged performance by an OPERA America professional producing company). Artists' work in other genres may have been performed professionally, as ALT's definition of emerging applies specifically to an artist's development as a writer for the opera stage. Students of degree granting institutions are not eligible for consideration; however exceptions may be made for doctoral students who are in the process of completing their dissertations. (Students who will be engaged in an ongoing course of classroom study during the 2013-2014 season should not apply to this program. Students graduating in the spring or summer of 2013 are welcome to apply.) There are no age restrictions for participation.
American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 to build a new body of operatic repertoire for new audiences by nurturing composers and librettists, developing sustainable artistic collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon. ALT is not an opera company by any traditional definition. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT's programs focus on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with larger producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire.
In 2006, ALT commissioned The Golden Ticket, a new opera based on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, from American composer Peter Ash and librettist Donald Sturrock. ALT then developed a partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to present the world premiere of The Golden Ticket, which took place in June 2010 to tremendous critical and audience acclaim. The opera was subsequently presented in partnership with The Wexford Festival and The Atlanta Opera. A live recording of The Golden Ticket was produced by ALT in conjunction with the most recent performances in Atlanta, and released in December 2012 on Albany Records.
In 2007, ALT launched its core initiative, the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), led by Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson and a faculty including some of the country's foremost artists. To date, the program has provided intensive, personalized mentorship to 30 gifted emerging artists; and 11 short chamber operas have been developed under the auspices of the program. In 2009, ALT commissioned The Poe Project, a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe from six CLDP Resident Artists which will receive its world premiere in 2014. In 2012, ALT announced three new opera commissions being written by returning CLDP artists: La Reina, an opera in Spanish and English that explores the war on drugs between Mexico and the United States, by Jorge Sosa and Laura Sosa Pedroza; The Turing Project, a historical fantasia that explores the life of British scientist Alan Turing, by Justine F. Chen and David Simpatico; and The Long Walk, based on Brian Castner's critically acclaimed memoir of the same name, by Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann.
In 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member - a testament to ALT's service to the field.
The Composer Librettist Development Program and American Lyric Theater's public performance programs are made possible by generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, OPERA America/The Opera Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Esther B. Kahn Charitable Foundation, The Amphion Foundation, and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.