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Atlanta NightLife Theater Entertainment Feature News


Announces 2011-2012 Resident Artists for The Composer Librettist Development Program

America’s Only Full Time Mentorship Initiative for Operatic Writers

American Lyric Theater (ALT) announces that eight new Resident Artists have been selected for the company’s nationally acclaimed Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) in New York City.

Recently recognized for artistic excellence by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the CLDP is the only full-time professional mentorship initiative for operatic writers in the country. The CLDP is a tuition-free program that includes a core curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country’s leading working artists, including composer/librettist Mark Adamo (Director of Professional Development), conductor/vocal coach Lucy Arner, composer Robert Beaser, composer Anthony Davis, dramaturg Cori Ellison, librettist Michael Korie, and stage director Rhoda Levine.

During the 2011-2012 season, ALT will welcome four new librettists and four new composers to the CLDP: librettists Magda Bogin, Stephanie Fleischmann, David Johnston, and Kate Light; and composers Jeremy Howard Beck, Alla Borzova, Theo Popov and Jeffrey Dennis Smith. In addition, five composers and four librettist return to the CLDP to continue development of full length works: composer Jorge Sosa, who is working on LA REINA, a bilingual (Spanish/English) opera for acoustic and electronic performing forces; composer Christopher Cerrone and librettist Tony Asaro who will be collaborating on a new full length work to be announced later this season; as well as composers Jeff Myers, Jay Anthony Gach, and Patrick Soluri, and librettists Quincy Long, Royce Vavrek, and Deborah Brevoort, who continue their work on THE POE PROJECT, a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe commissioned by ALT last season. Full biographies of ALT’s Resident Artists may be found online at

According to Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson, “artists for the CLDP were selected by members of ALT’s faculty and artistic staff. These writers come from a diverse spectrum of musical and theatrical backgrounds which we feel is crucial in creating a new body of operatic repertoire for contemporary audiences. While many of these artists are already quite accomplished in their respective fields, they are all emerging as operatic writers. We are very excited to be working with these gifted artists, and look forward to seeing what they will bring to the future of opera.”

Edelson further explained that, “ALT is engaged in a long-term initiative to impact the opera field by providing gifted emerging operatic writers with high-caliber mentorship that is otherwise unavailable to them in universities/conservatories, traditional opera companies, and even laboratory companies dedicated to workshopping new operas. In developing ALT’s programs, we took a hard look at what already exists in the field. We identified a real absence of integrated programs that provide an extended period of time for composers and librettists to be immersed in an environment dedicated to their artistic development – to focus on skills and process as opposed to solely the end product – and, that also help to bridge the gap between training, workshops, and the realities of writing an opera for production at a professional producing company.”

In considering how the CLDP fits into other organizations’ efforts to enrich the operatic repertoire, composer/librettist Mark Adamo explained that, “no one else is doing this. No masters program offers composers a major in the field. Aspiring librettists can study music-theatre writing on the graduate level, but their work will draw overwhelmingly from the commercial and non-profit theatre, leaving unexamined the substantial differences that remain between the theatre and the opera house. Only ALT is taking new opera as a serious and ongoing concern FOR WRITERS; which means that only ALT is investing in the really new, as opposed to the merely chic. Regietheatre is a dead end. Dress La Traviata’s Violetta in Prada if you please, but as long as it’s still Verdi playing in the pit, the form remains moribund. Only new work—a groundswell of it—can keep opera healthy. Only new writers—SKILLED new writers—can make new work. ALT wants to grow those writers. That’s the CLDP’s contribution: and it’s as urgent as it is distinctive.”

This season, the CLDP will once again be held in residence at the headquarters of OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, in New York City. By partnering with OPERA America, ALT continues to provide Resident Artists with exceptional workshop facilities, additional educational resources, as well as crucial networking opportunities with industry leaders from around the country. ALT will also once again offer a series of public workshops and performances this season featuring the work of Resident Artists. The complete performance schedule, including the FRESHLY BREWED artist brunch series, a full orchestral workshop reading of THE POE PROJECT, and the annual OPERA IN EDEN concert at Symphony Space, will be announced in early September.


American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded by Lawrence Edelson in 2005 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. ALT is not an opera company by any traditional definition. 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 programs focus 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.

In 2006, ALT commissioned its first main stage work from American Composer Peter Ash: THE GOLDEN TICKET, a new opera based on Roald Dahl’s classic book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After Ash and his librettist partner, Donald Sturrock, began independent development of this opera, ALT commissioned its completion with Felicity Dahl, and provided a supportive mentorship environment for three years. Under a new collaborative producing model, ALT developed a partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to present the world premiere of THE GOLDEN TICKET, which took place in June 2010 to tremendous critical and audience acclaim. The European Premiere of THE GOLDEN TICKET took place in October 2010 at Ireland’s Wexford Festival Opera, and The Atlanta Opera will present the opera in March 2012. In 2009, ALT initiated a second main stage commission, THE POE PROJECT: a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe being written by six Resident Artists from ALT’s Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP). Since launching the CLDP in 2007, ALT has provided intensive personalized mentorship to 25 gifted emerging artists. Currently, ALT is developing two additional full-length operas, and welcomes eight new Resident Artists to the CLDP in the 2011-12 season.

The Composer Librettist Development Program is made possible by generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The ASCAP Foundation – Joseph and Rosalie Meyer Fund and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.

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