Opera America Conference 2012 Wrap-up and New Works Sampler

We bunkered down in “The City of Brotherly Love” last week for Creative Resurgence, the everything-about-opera conference presented by Opera America. Conclusion: Philly’s got it going on. For instance, the Kimmel Center might possibly be the most beautiful performing centers in the world. Creating a dynamic clash of era, the Kimmel’s suave, modern feel is right next to the rustic, traditional flare of the oldest grand opera house in the United States (the Grand Old Lady of Broad Street herself) the Academy of Music. It was simply fantastic to stand on the edge of the Grand Old Lady and look up at the ingenious structure that is nestled in the heart of Philly.  This is a stage meant for nothing other than opera with its high ceilings, focused proscenium, low pit, acoustically accurate designs, stacked balconies and vivid golds and deep crimsons adorning the walls and absorbing the warm glow of the 150+ year old grand chandelier affixed above the house.  In 1857, they sure knew how to build opera houses. However, my intention of this review is not to go on about the great operatic happenings and cultural face lift Philly provides to the arts landscape of the US, but rather to share with you the night of new operas that were showcased at the conference.

How often do you get to be in a room filled with 100s of the greatest thinkers in the opera world and listen to never-before-heard compositions?  We’ll take a shot in the dark and say that the answer is… very rarely. This past Wednesday night at the Curtis Institute of Music, Opera America presented their New Works Sampler to eager participants of their 2012 conference. Five different producers staged a newly composed example to give a taste of the journey that they’re on. The presenters included Boosey and Hawkes, Beth Morrison Projects, a joint project by the Opera Company of Philadelphia and The Santa Fe Opera, American Lyric Theater and American Opera Projects. Such immense pride filled the room after each piece had been displayed, further solidifying the notion that the creation of new opera is crucial for it’s future.

It’s a bit difficult to cast opinion based on mere snippets of the overall projects because many ambiguous feelings of both plot and drama could, and most likely would, subside with just a bit more music. Even with a glance at a libretto we would have been much better prepared. I look forward to the progress that each of these pieces take and wish everyone involved my highest wishes for success. Bravo to new opera in America!

Click on the links below to read the detailed review of each new work. Some of these operas have already been preformed by major companies and some are still looking for a premiere.

Cecilio Valdés, King of Havana

The ultra-suave stylings of the first number were alluring and sexy… Read More »

Oceanic Verses

Beth Morrison Projects has been getting some seriously cool press as of late and I couldn’t help but be quite anxious to receive one of her new projects… Read More »


On to the third selection in the program – a co-comissioned piece by The Santa Fe Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia that “tells the story of Oscar Wilde’s last years… Read More »

La Reina

Stealing the show was American Lyric Theater’s (ALT) new project, La Reina, by Jorge Sosa and screenwriter Laura Sosa… Read More »


Love/Hate is a comical fantasia that seeks to expose love’s “old paradox for a new era” by wildly portraying all stereotypical situations of relationships and enacting them simultaneously among four key characters… Read More »

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