COLLABORATION FACILITATES THE FIRST WORLD-PREMIERE OPERAS IN FARGO’S HISTORY
Fargo, ND / New York, NY: Fargo Moorhead Opera, in partnership with American Lyric Theater (ALT), announced today the complete details for the world-premiere production of THE POE PROJECT DOUBLE-BILL, which will take place at the Reineke Festival Concert Hall Theater at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota on March 28th and 30th, 2014.This double-bill will be the first world-premiere operas presented in Fargo’s history.
The double-bill is comprised of two one-act operas, BURIED ALIVE and EMBEDDED, which were commissioned by American Lyric Theater in New York City as part of THE POE PROJECT in honor of the Poe Centennial in 2009. ALT asked composer/librettist teams to create contemporary opera thrillers inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. The operas are not simply adaptations of Poe stories, but rather, ALT asked these writers, “What might Poe write if he were alive today?” Fargo Moorhead Opera will present the chilling results in the world-premiere production, created in partnership with ALT.
BURIED ALIVE, by composer Jeff Myers and Quincy Long, draws on themes of anxiety and mortality from Poe’s story “The Premature Burial,” as a painter’s nightmares of death start to become real. EMBEDDED, by composer Patrick Soluri and librettist Deborah Brevoort, is wittily inspired by Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” as a TV news anchor finds herself on the other side of the headlines.
Both operas feature a cast of six of the country’s leading singers, who take on different roles in each opera: soprano Caroline Worra, soprano Sara Gartland, mezzo soprano Jennifer Feinstein, tenor Jonathan Blalock, baritone Christopher Burchett, and bass Nathan Stark.
BURIED ALIVE will be directed by Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director of ALT. Edelson has created original productions for Wolf Trap Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Saratoga and many other companies. EMBEDDED will be directed by Sam Helfrich, whose recent work includes productions for Glimmerglass Festival, Virginia Opera, and the Spoleto Festival/USA. Kostis Protopapas, who serves as the Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera, will conduct.
The production team is comprised of three of the most innovative and in-demand theatrical designers in the country. Zane Pihlstrom, who has designed productions for Beth Morrison Projects, The Finnish National Theater, and Company XIV, designs the sets and costumes. S. Katy Tucker, whose credits include productions at The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and The Sydney Opera House, is creating video and projections for both operas – bringing to Fargo some of the most exciting developments in stage technology ever presented in the state. Josh Epstein, whose credits include production for Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, and the Minnesota Opera, is the lighting designer.
For biographies of the composers, librettists, performers and production team, please visit: http://www.altnyc.org/new-operas-for-new-audiences/the-poe-project/
David Hamilton, General Director of Fargo Moorhead Opera, commented, “We would never have been able to present a production on this scale, or a world-premiere, without the partnership that has been developed with American Lyric Theater. Through this partnership, we are able to bring North Dakota audiences a completely new experience and the beginning of a new direction for opera in our community.”
Edelson continued, “American Lyric Theater is thrilled to be partnering with Fargo Moorhead Opera on this production. So often, new operas – and world-premieres in particular – are thought of as only the providence of large companies, or those in major metropolitan cities. But audiences all over the country are hungry for new opera. Why should these performances be limited to only the largest of companies, or only be produced in the biggest cities? Our model at ALT is designed to champion the work of some of the most talented operatic writers in the country, and to help companies of all sizes bring the most exciting new opera to their audiences. To present the world-premiere of BURIED ALIVE and EMBEDDED in Fargo is the culmination of five years of development on these exciting new works. I cannot wait to share the results with Fargo.”
Tickets for the world premiere production may be purchased by visitng www.fmopera.org
Additional presentations of the world-premiere production have been scheduled in other cities and will be announced by ALT at a later date.
ABOUT FARGO MOORHEAD OPERA
Fargo-Moorhead Opera (FM Opera) was founded in 1968 and produces seasons of three to four productions each year. FM Opera is the only full-season opera company from Omaha to Winnipeg and Minneapolis to Billings serving audiences in a 200-mile radius of Fargo. The company also tours regularly to North Dakota and rural Minnesota as a part of its commitment to bring opera to communities that have never before experienced live opera. FM Opera also supports a number of educational outreach programs including the new Gate City Bank Young Artist Program – a 10-week apprenticeship program for young artists chosen on a national level.
Fargo Moorhead Opera’s presentation of THE POE PROJECT is made possible through the generous support of The William C. and Jane B. Marcil Charitable Fund, The McKnight Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and Sanford Health.
ABOUT AMERICAN LYRIC THEATER
American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 by Lawrence Edelson 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. 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 focus is 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. Operas developed through the company’s Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), and by CLDP alumni, have been presented by a wide variety of companies, including Tulsa Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Urban Arias, Center City Opera, San Francisco Conservatory, New York City Opera VOX, and Beth Morrison Projects. 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. For more information about American Lyric Theater, please visit www.altnyc.org
The POE PROJECT was commissioned by ALT with support from The ASCAP Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. ALT’s mentorship programs for composers and librettists are supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; and additional funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, OPERA America/The Opera Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, the Dorothy Loudon Foundation, and the Friars’ Foundation.
Press Contact: Lyndsay Werking, American Lyric Theater