In addition to offering visits to opera's past with three traditional works and its present with Glory Denied, the 2013 Fort Worth Opera Festival hopes to provide a glimpse of the art form's future with Frontiers, a first-time program that will showcase new operas by composers from the Americas.
Submissions from more than 80 composers from North, Central and South America were evaluated by a blind jury and reduced to a field of eight. Brief excerpts (about 20 minutes each) from those unpublished operas will be presented on two nights at McDavid Studio.
The event, which the company plans to make a regular part of its annual festival, will include Q&A sessions with the composers and librettists of the new operas, all of whom will be in residence during the festival.
The works will be performed by Fort Worth Opera Studio singers with piano accompaniment in the two sessions, each featuring four of the selected works.
The program is another example of the company's commitment to promoting new composers and works alongside operas from the established repertoire. In recent years, General Director Darren Woods has presented several operas by top-flight contemporary composers, and will stage a world premiere and a regional premiere as part of the festivals in 2014 and 2015. Also, the company recently announced that it has commissioned a new work about the Kennedy assassination from composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Varek, with the working title JFK, for its 2016 festival.
New operas are territory where most companies fear to tread. But Fort Worth audiences have proved to be surprisingly supportive of these ventures into the unknown, allowing the company to develop a growing reputation for being at the cutting edge of opera presentation.
Below are the works to be featured in the Frontiers program this year.
Composer: Brian Current
Librettist: Anton Piatigorsky
Details: This work is a look at the interpersonal dynamics, fears and longings of three passengers and a flight attendant on an intercontinental flight in the context of the Greek myth of Icarus.
Why I Live at the P.O.
Composer: Stephen Eddins
Librettists: Eddins and Michael O'Brien
Details: A chamber opera in one act based on the story by Eudora Welty about a young postmistress in small-town Mississippi in the 1940s.
The Fox and the Pomegranate
Composer: Matt Frey
Librettist: Daniel J. Kushner
Details: An allegorical tale of love, seduction and betrayal.
From the Other Sky
Composer/librettist: Wang Jie
Details: A Chinese zodiac goddess's experience of compassion for the human race causes her to lose her place in the heavens and to share her musical powers with mankind, thereby rescuing it from the ravages of a deadly disease.
Composer: Louis Karchin
Librettist: Diane Osen
Details: Based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë about a young orphan (raised by a cruel aunt) who falls in love with a man she doesn't know is married.
The Mortal Thoughts of Lady Macbeth
Composer: Veronika Krausas
Librettist: Thomas Pettit
Details: The journey and final descent into madness and suicide of the wife of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Composer: Patrick Soluri
Librettist: Deborah Brevoort
Details: The tale of an aging major American network anchor being pushed out by a younger rival. When she is tricked by a terrorist (whose last attack was foiled by her reporting) into traveling to see him for an exclusive interview, the opera takes an unexpected twist and ends with a moment of triumph in the face of death.
The Summer King
Composer: Daniel Sonenberg
Librettists: Sonenberg and Daniel Nester
Details: The compelling story of the life and legacy of Negro League baseball player Josh Gibson, and the importance of his life in desegregating baseball.