This month we’re excited to have a guest on the blog, artistic director Darren K. Woods. He brings us a play-by-play of his experience at this year’s New Works Forum, held annually at Opera America since 2012 as a discussion epicenter and idea incubator for the many and various voices that produce new opera. Without further ado, here’s Darren!
SMC at Opera America’s New Works Forum
The New Works Forum at Opera America is one of my favorite meetings to attend each year. Now in its seventh year (and I’ve been to every one), it is a wonderful gathering of composers, librettists, producers, singers, funding professionals, conductors, dramaturgs – well – every type of person who makes new opera happen. This year Seagle Music Colony was incredibly well represented.
On Wednesday, Tony took the train down from Schroon Lake so that he could be at rehearsal the next morning for The Ghosts of Gatsby, Evan Mack and Joshua McGuire’s new chamber opera that was workshopped at SMC this summer. “Gatsby” was one of the three operas to be showcased at the forum. Seagle, along with Opera Birmingham and Samford University, commissioned the opera, and it was a wonderful opportunity to reunite with Keith Wolfe, who was a singer and managing director at Seagle for many years and is now the General Director of Opera Birmingham. Mark Adamo, composer of Little Women and Lysistrata, another new work we’ve done at SMC, and his partner, Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano, hosted us in their home for rehearsal all day Thursday. We put together a stellar cast, including a number of SMC alumni. Scott Clark was F. Scott Fitzgerald, while Francesca Mehrotra was Zelda 18 and Shelley Mihm was Zelda 24. One of the artists from the premiere in Birmingham, Kathryne Overturf, sang Zelda 48. Our own Jennifer McGuire was at the piano.