Opera Fusion: New Works 2012 Residencies

Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Opera Program are pleased to announce the selection of two new American operas, Champion and Morning Star, for the Opera Fusion: New Works program’s second year of residencies.

Champion
by Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer
October 18-28

Morning Star
by Ricky Ian Gordon and William M. Hoffman
November 26-December 5

Champion, composed by Terence Blanchard with a libretto by Michael Cristofer, will receive a workshop from October 18 to 28, 2012. A co-commission of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Jazz St. Louis, the piece is scheduled for a world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 15, 2013. The Cincinnati workshop will be directed by James Robinson, the artistic director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, who will also direct the world premiere. Robinson previously directed Cincinnati Opera’s productions of Carmen (2004) and Nixon in China (2007). The workshop will be conducted by Greg Ritchey, assistant conductor at both Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Palm Beach Opera.

Ricky Ian Gordon and William M. Hoffman, creators of the opera Morning Star, will be in residency from November 26 through December 5, 2012. The pair began work on the opera over a decade ago, while Mr. Gordon was the Freeman Composer in Residence at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Mr. Hoffman’s libretto is adapted from Sylvia Regan’s play of the same name, which premiered in New York in 1940. The workshop will be directed by Ron Daniels, who staged the world premiere of the new American opera Il Postino at LA Opera in 2010. Metropolitan Opera regular Steven White will conduct the piece.


About Champion
Champion
, an opera with a unique fusion of jazz and operatic styles, is based on the true story of boxer Emile Griffith. A world champion prizefighter, Griffith experienced both triumph and tragedy; in winning the Welterweight Championship in 1962, his punches put opponent Benny “The Kid” Paret in a coma from which he never recovered. Just before the match, Paret had mocked Griffith using homosexual slurs. Years later, Griffith’s homosexuality was revealed when he was nearly killed by a gang outside a gay bar. Champion presents a modern tragic hero who is ultimately consumed by rage, regret, and the terrible consequences of his actions. The world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in June 2013 will star Denyce Graves, Aubrey Allicock, Arthur Woodley, and Robert Orth.

Renowned for his work as a composer of jazz pieces for small ensembles, symphonic settings, film, and stage, Terence Blanchard has received five Grammy Awards, including the 2007 Large Ensemble Grammy for A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina). Most recently, he wrote the scores for the film Red Tails and the new Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Champion is Blanchard’s first opera.

Playwright, filmmaker, and actor Michael Cristofer received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play for The Shadow Box in 1977. His work on such films as The Witches of Eastwick, Falling in Love, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and HBO’s Gia has earned him a Golden Globe, a Writer’s Guild Award, two Emmy nominations, and a best director award from the Director’s Guild of America. He currently appears on the NBC drama Smash. Champion is Cristofer’s first opera libretto.

Champion
contains adult language and is recommended for mature audiences.


About Morning Star
Morning Star
is the story of a Jewish mother who brings her four children from Russia to New York City in hopes of a better life. The action follows the immigrants through the early years of the twentieth century as they adapt to their new country, enduring both the First World War and the Great Depression. Through their struggles, the work addresses such issues as political ideology, race, religion, and identity with humor and humanity.

After studying composition at Carnegie Mellon University, Ricky Ian Gordon settled in New York City, where he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Mr. Gordon’s songs have been performed by such internationally renowned singers as Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Kelli O’Hara, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, and Nicole Cabell. He is the composer of the 2007 opera The Grapes of Wrath, adapted from the novel by John Steinbeck.

Playwright William M. Hoffman is Associate Professor of Journalism, Communications, and Theatre at City University of New York. His play about the AIDS epidemic, As Is, won an Obie Award and three Tony nominations in 1985. Aside from his numerous plays, Hoffman also wrote the libretto for the opera The Ghosts of Versailles, with a score by John Corigliano, through a commission by the Metropolitan Opera.


Opera Fusion: New Works presents
Public Performances of Works in Progress

Champion
Music by Terence Blanchard
Libretto by Michael Cristofer

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
When: Saturday, October 27 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village, West Corry Street, Cincinnati, OH 45221
Admission: Free, but reservations are required. Tickets available beginning Monday, October 22 at noon. Please visit the CCM Box Office or call (513) 556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

School for Creative and Performing Arts
A reception with the composer and librettist will follow the performance.

When: Sunday, October 28 at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Mayerson Theater, 108 W. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Admission: Free, but tickets are required. Tickets available beginning Monday, October 8 at 9:30 a.m. Please contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.


Morning Star
Music by Ricky Ian Gordon
Libretto by William M. Hoffman

Memorial Hall
When: Tuesday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: 1225 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Admission: Free, but tickets are required. Tickets available beginning Monday, October 8 at 9:30 a.m. Please contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
When: Wednesday, December 5 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Cohen Family Studio Theater, CCM Village, West Corry Street, Cincinnati, OH 45221
Admission: Free, but reservations are required. Tickets available beginning Monday, December 3 at noon. Please visit the CCM Box Office or call (513) 556-4183 to reserve. Limit two tickets per order.