Arts and Humanities
4:37 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Kentucky Opera's Composer Workshop Program Receives NEA Support

The Kentucky Opera is on the list of Kentucky artists and organizations receiving grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for the next fiscal year. The opera will receive $12,500 to help fund the development of a new one-act opera by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Terry Teachout through its innovative composer workshop. 

When Moravec and Teachout wrote their recent one-act opera “Danse Russe,” they envisioned an accompanying one-act to join it. The second opera is “The Kings Man,” which will go through the Kentucky Opera’s composer workshop this fall before both operas make their tandem world premiere as part of the company’s Contemporary Opera series in October 2013.

The Kentucky Opera's composer workshop began in 2009 and has supported the developmental phases of several new operas. In the composer workshop, opera composers come to Louisville for a brief residency, working with students from the University of Louisville School of Music and the Music Academy at St. Francis in the Fields, as well as the opera’s own studio artists.  

“The important point is offering the composer, the librettist, those artists an opportunity to develop their works in a safe environment, hearing their works performed with singers for the first time,” says general director David Roth.

The program also gives the emerging artists the opportunity to build professional relationships with composers. 

In its first year, composer Ben Moore began working on early drafts of his opera “Enemies: a Love Story.” Moore returned to Louisville last year with a fully-composed version of the opera to stage a concert-format workshop with full orchestration, produced with student musicians and studio artists.

“In a sense it’s experimental," says Roth. "We’re not commissioning these works, we’re just offering the tool for the composer and the librettist to consider, develop and in a sense play with works that have maybe been on the shelf or ideas they have that aren’t ready to be commissioned.”

Other Kentucky organizations and artists receiving a total of $123,500 in funding for fiscal year 2013 are Actors Theatre of Louisville, for the 37th Humana Festival of New American Plays ($50,000); Appalshop, for the Appalachian Media Institute 's youth programs ($15,000); Louisville poet Sarah Gorham ($25,000 literature fellowship); Lexington Philharmonic, for a residency by chamber sextet Eighth Blackbird ($16,000); and Louisville's Sarabande Books, to support production and promotion of five new books and an anthology of Appalachian literature ($30,000).