One of Seagle’s biggest selling points is our dedication to the production and promotion of new works. Not only do we provide the first outing for new operas and musicals in front of a live audience, we also provide our emerging artists with the opportunity to create roles from scratch. This is a unique experience for a young singer, to be the first person to ever perform, and in some ways set the standard, for how a role might be interpreted by later singers. The learning process is quite different as well; without recordings and performance history to rely on, singers must use their education, intuition, and collaboration with one another to realize a work’s potential on the stage. It’s truly a thrill ride!
This summer’s main-stage new work is The Manchurian Candidate, a collaboration by Pulitzer-winning composer-librettist team Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell. Mr. Campbell will be on Charley Hill with us this summer during the rehearsal process, working directly with the cast – just one more thing that makes a summer at Seagle memorable and meaningful to our emerging artists.
The opera is based on a 1959 Richard Condon novel of the same title, which has also been made into two different feature films (most recently a 2000s film starring Denzel Washington). Decorated Korean war veteran Sergeant Raymond Shaw is brainwashed into becoming a KGB assassin in an elaborate plot to overthrow the US Government. Will his former fellow soldier be able to break through and stop him in time? Featuring political intrigue, plot twists, and a powerhouse female lead, you don’t want to miss this show!
One (significant) note worth mentioning: Seagle received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to produce this opera. That’s our first NEA grant since Roscoe in 2016. We’re so grateful to the NEA for their support of the production and promotion of new works.
And coming this Fall Season…
The American Center for New Works Development @ Seagle Music Colony, (ACNWD) in addition to producing The Manchurian Candidate, is also excited to present FOUR (!!) workshops of new operas this fall. Utilizing the talents of our summer and fall season artists, several of these workshops will have public performances or readings, so mark your calendars now to ride on the cutting edge of new opera with us.
Yeltsin in Texas – Mack/McGuire – August 25-31, 2019
Based on true events, this comic opera recreates Russian diplomat Boris Yeltsin’s visit to an average Texas grocery store in 1989. Unimpressed by visits to New York City and the Johnson Space Center, it is the bounty of a supermarket that impresses Yeltsin to the point of abandoning his long-held Communist ideals. The cast of characters includes an ambitious store manager, a possibly-delusional store “Rent-a-Cop”, a feckless bodyguard, and of course the vodka-sodden Yeltsin on a crazy comedy jaunt that runs at the pace of meme culture and the best adult comedy on TV. The latest collaboration by Evan Mack and Josh McGuire, Yeltsin in Texas is co-commissioned by Opera in the Heights (Houston, TX) and Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX). The world premiere will take place at TCU in Spring 2020, with a professional premiere at Opera in the Heights soon to follow. ACNWD will present a staged workshop performance at the Oscar Seagle Memorial Theater on August 31, 2019.
Patra – Ohrenstein/Ohrenstein – September 2-7
A retelling of the downfall of Cleopatra (“Patra”) at the hands of the villainous General Octavian, this new opera from Sharon & David Ohrenstein will keep you on your toes all night. Who loves who, who’s in disguise, who’s asleep or awake or still alive… it’s all possible in this two-act opera-comique tale of rebirth. The music utilizes a combination of beloved operatic forms and contemporary dance rhythms to create an appealing and approachable sound world for this unique tale. The workshop is self-produced by the composer and librettist team. ACNWD will present a staged workshop performance at the Oscar Seagle Memorial Theater on September 7, 2019.
Sharon’s Grave – Wargo – September 3-7
We’re excited to collaborate for the second time on this new opera by Richard Wargo, artistic director of the Sembrich Opera Museum in Bolton Landing, NY. Mr. Wargo adapted the libretto from a play by John Keane. He will spend a week in work-in-progress sessions with our fall season artists to hear how the work is coming along with real singers for performance and feedback. Although this workshop will not have a public performance, we’re happy to let you know about all the music being made on Charley Hill. This kind of workshop is one of the additional offerings we hope to offer composers and librettists as part of ACNWD’s expanding programming.
Harmony – Carl/Banks – September 9-13
A new opera based on true events in nearby Keene Valley, NY, Harmony is a story of the challenges and joys of love – romantic, platonic, and familial. Novelist Russell Banks joins forces with composer Robert Carl to bring us this touching tale set in the heart of the Adirondacks. A young Charles Ives and an older, world-wizened Mark Twain meet in the home of Reverend Joseph Twichell, Twain’s best friend, to celebrate the anticipated engagement of Ives to Twichell’s daughter, Harmony II. But when jealousy, pride, and a life-altering secret come between the lovers, can their families, and Twain, persuade them not to “throw away love when you have it”? Although this workshop will be music only, stay tuned – Seagle Music Colony intends to produce the world premiere in its 2020 season. Join us for a public reading of the score, scheduled for September 13 (appropriately) in nearby Keene, NY.
Only 26 more days until the season gets going – have you purchased your tickets yet? If not, just click here and you’ll be on your way to joining us for another exciting season on Charley Hill!