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Official announcement of the American Opera Initiative

Here it is! Live! From the June 13 press release, on the Washington National Opera’s blog!

New 20-minute operas will explore the diversity of the American experience

The three original 20-minute operas presented on November 19 will each highlight a very different aspect of American life and culture. Each of these new works will be presented with accompaniment by a small chamber orchestra and will be performed in English. Following the performance, there will be a Q&A session with the artists and creative team.

Composer Douglas Pew and librettist Dara Weinberg will present The Game of Hearts, a comedic opera about a group of widows in a Seattle nursing home. Pew and Weinberg first met in Poland last year at the start of their two-year terms as Fulbright Scholars studying music composition and theater.

Part of the Act, by composer Liam Wade and librettist John Grimmett, is a comic opera set in a vaudevillian theater in New York City in 1924. Sparks fly between actresses in a backstage dressing room when a glamorous star is accused of infidelity by her rival.

Composer Scott Perkins and librettist Nat Cassidy have created Charon, an allegorical tale of the ferryman of the River Styx and the cross-section of American characters he transports from the land of living to the world beyond.

The press release also mentions a new hour-long work to premiere in 2013, “The Tao of Muhammad Ali (A Ghost Story),” by composer D.J. Sparr and librettist Davis Miller. All of these new works–both the twenty-minute pieces and the hour-long piece–are different parts of the American Opera Initiative. Doug and I are in the first year of the program, and we’re very excited. I’m looking forward to meeting all the composers and librettists in the fall. Congratulations to everyone, and happy writing in the months ahead.

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