Offers behind-the-scenes exploration of four new one-act operas-in-progress

New York, NY – American Lyric Theater (ALT) presents The Living Libretto, the final event in its 2011-2012 Freshly Brewed Artist Brunch Series at OPERA America. Connected to the season’s final concert, Opera in Eden, together the two performances provide an intimate, insider’s view of the process of creating opera.

The Living Libretto takes place on Sunday, April 29, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. (Doors open for brunch at 12:30 p.m.) The event begins with readings of librettos of four new one-act operas, currently being written by ALT resident artists and performed by guest actors from Broadway and off-Broadway under the direction of Dmitry Troyanovsky. Following the performance, there will be a discussion moderated by Lawrence Edelson, ALT Founder and Producing Artistic Director, of the challenges of setting text to music in an operatic context, timing of action in opera versus spoken drama, and the role the orchestra can play in opera beyond mere accompaniment. The musical side of composers’ collaboration with librettists will also be explored. A light brunch with the artists featured on the program is offered as part of the event. Guest actors include: Glenn Seven Allen, Joan Barber, Anna O’Donoghue, Jessi Blue Gormezano, and Scott Sowers.


The Price of Silence

- Libretto by Magda Bogin; Music to be written by Jeffrey Dennis Smith
A retired salesman in Argentina has lived for 30 years with a dark secret. Called to testify about his role in the Dirty Wars, he is torn between his conscience and his desire to protect his grown daughter, the apple of his eye. When she learns about his past, she faces an even starker choice: to protect her father, or to uphold the truth.
Title TBA

- Libretto by Kate Light; Music to be written by Theo Popov
Can we hold on to loved ones forever – or should we learn to let them go? Can we fight the inevitable – and if we do, at what cost? Hoping to keep his dying mother alive, a soldier captures death. The soldier’s resident “house spirit” thinks he knows better, but is his mother the one who really knows the right path to choose?

The Wedding Gift of Pirate Granny

- Libretto by David Johnston; Music to be written by Alla Borzova

On a Caribbean island in the 17th Century, Elizabeth Prince is about to marry Jack Hope, and live happily ever after as a respectable, church-going wife and schoolteacher.  But her buccaneering grandmother’s riotous, cigar-chomping ghost refuses to let her settle for such a boring domestic life.

The Whiles
- Libretto by Stephanie Fleischmann; Music to be written by Jeremy Howard Beck

World War II, Oxfordshire, England. The insular world shared by Imogen, a scientist, and her sister, Cressida, is in danger of becoming a thing of the past when their late father’s time machine turns up, tempting fate. A story of the bond between sisters, the wonders of the everyday, and the ethical questions raised by technology.

The above operas-in-progress will be performed in ALT’s annual concert, Opera in Eden, on Monday, June 25, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space. The one-night only event is hosted by ALT’s Director of Professional Development, Mark Adamo, and Mr. Edelson.

Freshly Brewed’s The Living Libretto
Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.

(Doors open at 12:30 p.m. for brunch.)
OPERA America, 330 Seventh Avenue (between 28th and 29th), NYC.

A light brunch with the featured artists on the program is included.
Tickets: $20*; available online at or by calling (212) 868-4444.
*Advance ticket purchase is required due to limited seating capacity at OPERA America. Tickets will not be sold on the day of the event.

Opera in Eden
Monday, June 25th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Leonard Nimoy Thalia – Symphony Space – 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, NYC.

Advance Tickets: $20; Students/Seniors: $15; Tickets day of the show: $25.
Available online at


ALT’s Freshly Brewed series of informal concerts feature performances of works-in-progress from Resident Artists, master classes with guest artist mentors; as well as provocative discussions with some of the most exciting writers working in American opera today. Events offered earlier in the 2011-12 season included a round table discussion featuring composer Nico Muhly, librettist Stephen Karam, composer Ricky Ian Gordon, composer Stewart Wallace, and librettist Michael Korie, led by world renowned dramaturg and ALT principal faculty member Cori Ellison as part of National Opera Week. Entitled Why Opera?, the event explored what inspires operatic writers in America today. The Art of the Aria with Mark Adamo, a master class with ALT’s Director of Professional Development, offered a look inside the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) studio, and presented new arias by four composer/librettist teams, all Resident Artists in the studio. Dramatizing History with Anthony Davis was a culmination of the internationally acclaimed composer’s annual winter residency at ALT, during which guest singers from the country’s leading opera houses presented a program of newly written scenes by CLDP Resident Artists based on real-life figures of the past and present.

All of the operas featured as part of the annual Opera in Eden concert are derived from an assignment designed by Mark Adamo, in which composers and librettists in the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) studio are provided with an outline that is very loosely based on the story of Adam and Eve, but with many missing pieces – a sort of operatic ‘MadLibs’ project. The artists are asked to fill in the blanks, make distinct choices about their takes on the story, and then to realize their visions in an operatic context. Throughout this one-act project, composers and librettists are challenged to rethink assumptions, justify their choices, and find their own voices as they create a piece that is both dramatically riveting and musically engaging. Previous operas developed as part of this project have gone on to fully staged productions in Philadelphia and San Francisco, including The Hunger Art by Jeff Myers and Royce Vavrek, and All Wounds Bleed  by Christopher Cerrone and Tony Asaro, which was recently selected by OPERA America to be featured at the second New Works Forum in New York City this coming November.

Founded in 2005 by Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson, American Lyric Theater (ALT) is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. The goal of ALT is 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.

While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT’s programs focus on serving the needs of artists, developing new works, and collaborating with producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire.

ALT believes that to build a body of new repertoire to appeal to contemporary American audiences, there must be significant resources made available to gifted emerging operatic writers. ALT’s programs have been designed to compliment the efforts of more traditional producing opera companies around the country by providing unprecedented professional training and mentorship opportunities for those writers, and by providing them with the opportunity to develop a new body of operatic works that speak to contemporary audiences on their own terms – as vivid music-theater that has evolved to keep pace with the interests of our diverse contemporary American communities.

More detailed information on ALT can be found at

The Composer Librettist Development Program and American Lyric Theater’s public performance programs are 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, OPERA America, and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.

Biographies of participating artists, composers and librettists are available at