Dramatizing History with Composer Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis HeadshotAmerican Lyric Theater (ALT) is pleased to announce that composer Anthony Davis will host the next event in the company’s FRESHLY BREWED concert and master class series on Sunday, February 26th, 2012, at 1:00 PM.

The FRESHLY BREWED series was designed to give the public a chance to see inside the Composer Librettist Development Program studio. ALT’s flagship program, the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) is the only full time mentorship initiative for emerging operatic writers in the United States. Anthony Davis, internationally acclaimed composer of the operas X, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MALCOLM X, TANIA, AMISTAD, and WAKONDA’S DREAM, is a guest faculty member and artist mentor for the CLDP.

Davis is known around the globe for his exciting works that draw from the lives of historical figures. This month’s FRESHLY BREWED event will be the culmination of his winter residency at ALT, during which composers and librettists in the CLDP have been exploring the challenges of dramatizing history for the opera stage. Guest singers from the country’s leading opera houses join us for a program of newly written scenes based on real-life figures, including Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense during Vietnam under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson; Henry Morton Stanley, the famous British explorer of Africa; Helen Suzman, the lone woman in South Africa’s parliament for 36 years, and a tireless dissenter against apartheid; and Salvador Allende, President of Chile from 1970-1973, and the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America.

The concert will include a discussion about the use of the vernacular, and the balance between fact and fiction in dramatizations of history, moderated by dramaturg Cori Ellison. In addition, two excerpts from exciting new operas will be featured: an aria from DREAM OF THE SPIDER, by composers Anthony Davis and Dafnis Prieto and librettists Alma Guillermoprieto and Charles Koppelman; and an aria from LA REINA, currently being developed at ALT by Jorge Sosa and Laura Sosa. A light brunch will also be served, providing an opportunity to meet and get to know the next generation of American operatic writers.

American Lyric Theater Resident Artists to be featured include composers Alla Borzova, Jeremy Beck, Theo Popov, Jorge Sosa, and Jeffrey Smith; and librettists Magda Bogin, Kate Light, Stephanie Fleischmann, David Johnston, and Laura Sosa. Full biographies of ALT’s Resident Artists may be found at www.altnyc.org.

Guest Artists include Mezzo Soprano Heather Johnson (Metropolitan Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Carnegie Hall), Baritone Dan Kempson (Fort Worth Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Spoletto Festival) and Pianist Leesa Dahl (Fort Worth Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera).

Tickets, which include a light brunch, are available for $20 through SmartTix at www.smarttix.com or by calling (212) 864-4444. Advance purchase is required. Due to limited seating capacity at OPERA America, tickets are strictly limited and will not be sold on the day of the event. OPERA America is located at 330 Seventh Avenue (between 28th and 29th). Subway: 1 to 28th Street; A,C,E,1,2,3 to Penn Station/34th Street.