Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) announced today a call for submissions for its second annual Frontiers new works showcase to be held during the 2014 Fort Worth Opera Festival. A pioneering leader in the production of contemporary opera, FWOpera launched Frontiers in the 2012-2013 season. One of the only programs world-wide designed to seek out unproduced works by up-and-coming composers from North, South, and Central America, the showcase provides composers and librettists a platform by which to gain exposure for their pieces in a live performance environment while also affording them valuable networking opportunities with industry professionals, including artistic directors of opera companies, artist managers, classical music publishers, funding organizations, and conductors.
Composer and librettist teams whose works are selected for the Frontiers 2014 showcase will be in residence during the 2014 Festival. While in Fort Worth, they will attend the showcase, participate in the final rehearsals of their work open to the public, and engage in post-performance discussions with panelists and audience members. Selected composers and librettists will also receive feedback on their piece through private meetings with the Frontiers jury panel and will have a recording of their work provided to assist them further in their compositional process.
Building on the inaugural season's established model, the Frontiers 2014 showcase will be expanded with the goal of specifically seeking out works for future production in FWOpera's popular alternative venue series Opera Unbound, which presents new or rarely-performed works by contemporary composers. The program's selection panel will now include collaborative partners who will play a critical role in the long-term development of the Frontiers works to help ensure their future development. Notable partners include Beth Morrision (Beth Morrison Projects), Charles Jarden (American Opera Projects), Ben Krywosz (Nautilus Music Theater), Kim Whitener (HERE), William Florescu (Florentine Opera), John Hoomes (Nashville Opera), and RoBert Wood (UrbanArias). Returning panelists will include Mark Adamo, Steven Osgood, Lawrence Edelson (American Lyric Theater), Darren K. Woods, (FWOpera General Director), Kurt Howard (Producing Director and Frontiers Curator), Joe Illick (FWOpera Music Director), and Keith Wolfe (FWOpera Managing Director).
In announcing the second year of Frontiers, FWOpera General Director Darren K. Woods stated, "With the announcement of our 10-year artistic vision Opera of the Americas earlier this year, FWOpera reaffirmed to the world its passion and commitment to the production of contemporary opera. We believe it is our mission to find and embrace those unique composers who possess an unmatched ability to communicate with their audiences. We are specifically looking to develop those works that have a global impact as told through personal stories. Frontiers allows us an unparalleled resource for finding these burgeoning works and their talented creators. Going forward, we'll work hand-in-hand with our collaborating partners to help the Frontiers composers continue to cultivate their works, while ensuring their performance beyond our Festival venue."
Composers from the Americas (citizens or residents of North, Central, and South America, as well as associated territories) are eligible and invited to submit a composition via an online portal that will guarantee blind submission. Excerpts should be between 15-25 minutes in length and must not have been presented publicly except for workshop or school presentations. While the works may ultimately consist of grand scale personnel or orchestral forces, submitted selections may only utilize up to six singers. Only those that can be performed with solo piano accompaniment will be considered for the Showcase; no additional electronic, percussion, acoustic instrument, or other equipment may be used. A minimum of 15 minutes of the composition must be completed-although the selection does not need to be continuous-and can be in any language. Composers may only submit one work for the Frontiers 2014 Showcase. Six to eight pieces will be selected and showcased. Composers and librettists must attend the rehearsal and showcase during the 2014 Festival (May 5-10, 2014). Lodging and round-trip travel will be provided. Works not selected will not be automatically reconsidered for future showcases, however, these works may be submitted again to the 2015 competition. Additional submission requirements follow below the panel information.
Since being named general director in July 2001, Darren K. Woods has worked tirelessly to establish Fort Worth Opera's reputation for high-quality, Dynamic Productions. Under his leadership, the company has gained national attention from critics and audiences alike for its artistic quality and willingness to take risks, and it is known throughout the operatic community as an organization that champions new and rarely-performed works. Under Mr. Woods' guidance, Fort Worth Opera has created Frontiers, a new works showcase debuting in 2013 that will shine a spotlight on unpublished, original 21st-century works by composers from the Americas. Another substantial innovation, which revitalized Fort Worth Opera's image, launched in May 2007 when the company changed from a fall/winter schedule to a condensed, one-month long spring festival season. Mr. Woods' tenure at Fort Worth Opera has led to a consistent increase in subscription and donor bases, a balanced budget for the eighth consecutive year, and a deepening commitment to education through the training of young singers with the Fort Worth Opera Studio. In 2011, Mr. Woods was appointed vice chairman for the board of Opera America, the national service organization for the art form, where he also serves on the finance and information services committees and chairs the artist services committee.
Kurt Howard (Curator) was named producing director of Fort Worth Opera in 2010, as he started his seventh season with the company. He has led the FWOpera production team through the transition into a repertory/festival format as both a production manager and stage manager, and continues in a role which puts him directly responsible for all aspects of production, including the development of new works premiered at Fort Worth Opera. His responsibilities include artistic and creative team management, budget development and management, and production oversight - overseeing over $2.25 million in expense per season. Premieres include Frau Margot (Pasatieri), Before Night Falls (Martín), A Wrinkle in Time (Larsen), and JFK (Little/Vavrek).
Mark Adamo's operas include two commissions from Houston Grand Opera: Little Women, (1998) after the Louisa May Alcott novel, introduced, revived, telecast, and released on DVD by HGO and subsequently given over 75 distinct U.S. and international engagements; and Lysistrata, (2005) after Aristophanes, introduced by HGO and presented by, among others, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, and, most recently by Fort Worth Opera in spring 2012. This season sees premières of chamber works for Thomas Hampson, the Jupiter String Quartet, New York Festival of Song, and the Constella Festival, and concludes with the première in June 2013 of his third opera, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, commissioned by San Francisco Opera.
Lawrence Edelson is the founder and producing artistic director of American Lyric Theater (ALT) in New York City, where he created the Composer Librettist Development Program, the only full-time mentorship program for emerging operatic composers and librettists in the U.S. He was responsible for the commissioning and development of The Golden Ticket, based on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which premiered at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2010, and is currently overseeing the development of six new operas at ALT. An accomplished stage director and choreographer, his critically acclaimed productions include Hydrogen Jukebox (Fort Worth Opera), La Traviata (Minnesota Opera), the American premiere of Telemann's Orpheus (Wolf Trap Opera), a double bill of La Serva Padrona and Trouble in Tahiti (Opera Santa Barbara), Fauré's Pénélope (Manhattan School of Music), Così fan tutte (BU Opera Institute), and the world premiere of The ToyMaker (off-Broadway as part of the New York Musical Theater Festival).
William Florescu became the General Director of Milwaukee's Florentine Opera Company in May of 2005. During his tenure, he has overseen the expansion of the Company's repertoire. In October of 2008, Mr. Florescu oversaw the creation of the Florentine Opera Studio, a nine-month program for young professional singers, which is in its fifth year for the Florentine's 2012-2013 season. Opera audiences around the country have seen his work as a stage director, most recently for Augusta Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Nashville Opera, Opera Columbus and Opera Birmingham. Mr. Florescu has served on the Opera Review Panel and as an on-site reporter for the National Endowment for the Arts. During the 2012-2013 season, he will judge the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in various US cities and direct a production of Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring for the Florentine Opera on the 100th anniversary of Britten's birth. He serves on the Board of Directors for OPERA America and is a charter Board Director for the Creative Alliance of Milwaukee.
John Hoomes has been the artistic director of Nashville Opera since 1995. Also a free-lance stage director, he has directed over 150 productions of opera and music theatre in the US, South America, and Canada. Mr. Hoomes has worked for many professional opera companies including Opera Lyra Ottawa, Teatro Colón, Cincinnati Opera, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Opera Columbus. Mr. Hoomes has directed, among numerous other productions, Salome, Andrea Chenier, Tosca, The Pearl Fishers, La Bohème, Carmen, and Der Rosenkavalier for Nashville Opera; Madama Butterfly and Carmen for Kentucky Opera; Otello and Aida for Arizona Opera; The Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto, and La Bohème for Opera Carolina; Don Giovanni, Elmer Gantry, and Salome for Florentine Opera; Don Giovanni for Opera Cleveland; Ernani and Jenufa for Sarasota Opera; and Turandot for Nashville Opera, Opera Columbus, Indianapolis opera and Opera Memphis. Recently he staged the world premieres of Robert Aldridge's Elmer Gantry , (recently recorded on Naxos Records and winner of 2 Grammys; also named the #1 opera CD release by Opera News), and songwriter Marcus Hummon's chamber opera Surrender Road. He also directed the Southeastern professional premiere of four contemporary pieces, Poulenc's La Voix Humaine, Peter Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouse, David Lang's The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, and The Fall of the House of Usher by Philip Glass. The New York Times declared John Hoomes' Nashville Opera world premiere production of ELMER GANTRY "An Operatic Miracle in Nashville." The June 2010 Opera News feature article acknowledged "Hoomes has proved himself one of the most interesting stage directors in the regional market today with a seemingly limitless knowledge of repertoire".
Joe Illick has been music director and principal conductor of Fort Worth Opera since 2002. He has served as artistic director of the Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, and Shreveport Opera. He has also conducted for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Opera Carolina, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, San Francisco Opera (Merola), Skylight Opera, Wiener Kammeroper, Stadttheater Aachen, Teatro Lirico d'Europa, Augusta Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Naples Philharmonic, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Mid-Columbia Symphony, Miami Symphony, Nevada Opera Theater, and Opera Omaha. He conducted the world premiere recordings of Thomas Pasatieri's Frau Margot, the same composer's Before Breakfast, and Jorge Martín's Before Night Falls, all released on Albany Records. He was the artistic director and pianist for the Dallas-based contemporary music ensemble Voices of Change. Currently, he is also the executive and artistic director of the Santa Fe Concert Association, one of the major presenting organizations in the Southwest.