We are honored to include some of America’s leading working artists on our faculty who are visionaries from both the opera and theater communities. Faculty members and Artist Mentors include composers, librettists, directors, conductors and singers who teach weekly courses, as well as those who join ALT for intensive guest residencies. As we further develop the program in the coming year, we look forward to welcoming additional artists to this prestigious roster:

MARK ADAMO – COMPOSER / LIBRETTIST

Acclaimed by critic Alex Ross as “one of the best opera composers of the moment,” composer-librettist Mark Adamo is a founding member of American Lyric Theater’s Faculty, and was appointed Director of Professional Development for the Composer Librettist Development Program in 2008.  Adamo first attracted national attention with the libretto and score to his uniquely successful début opera, Little Women, after the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Introduced by Houston Grand Opera in 1998 and revived there in 2000, Little Women has since enjoyed over fifty-five national and international engagements in cities ranging from New York to Minneapolis, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Adelaide, Mexico City, and Tokyo, where it served as the official U. S. cultural entrant to the 2005 World Expo. Telecast by PBS/WNET on Great Performances in 2001 and released on CD by Ondine that same year,Little Women was acclaimed as one of Amazon.com’s Ten Best Opera Releases of 2001, and further praised as a “masterpiece” by The New York Times in its East Coast debut by New York City Opera in March 2003: it received its Australian premiere at the State Opera of South Australia in May 2007. 2009 productions include Syracuse Opera and Intermezzo Opera in Belgium.

Comparable acclaim greeted the premiere of Lysistrata, or the Nude Goddess, adapted from Aristophanes’ comedy but including elements from Sophocles’ Antigone. Lysistrata was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera for its 50th anniversary and introduced in March 2005, when it was described in The New Yorker as “a sumptuous love story, poised between comedy and heartbreak” by “a brilliant theatre composer of effortless mastery.” Lysistrata made its New York City Opera début in March 2006, when it was praised by The New York Times for its “ambition, sweep, and skill” and “haunting music.” New York magazine, deeming it as “a serious, ambitious, and creatively generous piece of work,” noted that “Adamo’s Little Women, only eight years old, is already looking like a repertory piece. With luck, Lysistrata might well do the same.” The Seagle Colony unveiled a new production of the piece in August 2007, and Fort Worth Opera unveils another new production in 2012.

The 2006-2007 season brought a mini-festival of Adamo’s music to Washington, D.C.: the capital premiere of Little Women, premieres of the revised versions of three orchestral pieces, and, at the Kennedy Center, Adamo’s first concerto. Four Angels: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra and introduced in June 2007, when The Washington Post described it as “ambitious, eloquent, and radiantly beautiful: one of the best new pieces Music Director Leonard Slatkin has championed.” In May 2007, Washington’s Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, for which he served as first composer-in-residence, performed the revised version of Adamo’s Late Victorians which The Washington Postcalled “a captivating chamber opera.” That autumn, the same orchestra introduced Alcott Music, from Little Women, for strings, harp, celesta, and percussion; Regina Coeli, an arrangement of the slow movement of Four Angels for harp and strings alone; and the four-minute Overture to Lysistrata for medium orchestra.

Composer-in-residence at New York City Opera from 2001 through 2006, where he led the VOX: Showcasing American Composers program, Mark Adamo also served as Master Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts in May 2003, when he coached teams of composers and librettists in developing their work for the stage. He has directed two new productions of Little Women for Cleveland (summer 2004) and Milwaukee (fall 2005,) both of which were cited among the year’s best classical events by the critics of their respective newspapers: and he has given dozens of master-classes and coachings nationwide, most recently at NYU’s Skirball Center under the auspices of American Lyric Theater.

Mark Adamo began his education in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where, as a freshman in the Dramatic Writing Program, he received the Paulette Goddard Remarque Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate achievement in playwriting. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Music Degree cum laude in composition in 1990 from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he was awarded the Theodore Presser prize for outstanding undergraduate achievement in composition. He has annotated programs for Stagebill, the Freer Gallery of Art, and most recently for SONY/BMG Classics; and his monograph on the music of John Corigliano was published by the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for its Corigliano residency in March 2000. Other criticism, scholarship, and interviews have been published by Andante.com, The Washington Post, Stagebill, Opera News, theStar-Ledger, and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

His music is published by G. Schirmer.

LUCY ARNER – CONDUCTOR / VOCAL COACH

Known as “a true singer’s conductor,” Lucy Arner joined the ALT Artistic Mentorship Team in 2010 to help foster collaboration between composers and singers, and to provide insight into writing for the classically trained voice. Arner was a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s music staff from 1994 through the 2007-08 season. She was featured as the recitative accompanist in productions of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore as well as preparing several Met telecasts such as Giordan’s Fedora with Mirella Freni and Placido Domingo, the spectacular production of Madame Butterfly by the late Anthony Minghella, Verdi’s Macbeth and Bellini’s I Puritani with Anna Netrebko.  She has worked with many prominent singers in operatic productions including Alfredo Kraus, Montserrat Caballé, Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, Mirella Freni, Placido Domingo, Sharon Sweet, Aprile Millo, Giuseppe Giacomini, José Carreras, Teresa Berganza, Juan Pons, June Anderson, Marilyn Horne, Anna Netrebko, Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, Ben Heppner, Jennifer Larmore, Juan Diego Florez, Rockwell Blake, Paul Plishka, Mignon Dunn, Dolora Zajik, Deborah Voigt, Renée Fleming, and Thomas Hampson.

Lucy Arner made her professional conducting debut in 1996 conducting Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Menotti’s The Telephone at the Teatro Mancinelli in Orvieto, Italy.  She has conducted opera and concerts all over the world, and was the first woman to conduct opera in Mexico City’s historic Palacio de Bellas Artes.  Ms. Arner made her South American debut in Lima, Perú with a new production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in 2001, followed by Verdi’s Il Trovatore and Puccini’s Tosca.  Arner was the interim Music Director of the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston during the 2008-09 season, conducting Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and critically acclaimed performances of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath and Daniel Catán’s.  Florencia en el Amazonas.  Other recent engagements include Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Mexico City’s Teatro de Bellas Artes, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Don Pasquale in Tel Aviv, a double bill of Pagliacci and Suor Angelica for New Zealand’s Canterbury Opera, and Puccini’s La Bohème in Castres, France, performances of Le Nozze di Figaro in Italy for Opera Ischia and Monterrey, Mexico, Cosí fan tutte and a New Year’s Eve Gala for Opera Naples, and a gala benefit concert featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano Cynthia Lawrence in South America, and Ned Rorem’s Our Town for Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory.

Born in Santiago, Cuba, Lucy Arner began her musical studies at the age of twelve.  She attended Baldwin-Wallace College, Indiana University, receiving Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees and continued her doctoral studies at the University of Miami.  Currently she is on the faculty of Mannes College of Music and coaches privately in New York City in addition to her busy conducting schedule.

ROBERT BEASER – COMPOSER. 

Composer Robert Beaser joins the ALT faculty in the fall of 2011 as a guest mentor to work with returning artists on orchestration and the role of the orchestra in opera.  Robert received his B.A., master of arts, and doctor of musical arts degrees from Yale University, where he studied with Jacob Druckman, Otto-Werner Mueller, Arthur Weisberg, William Steinberg, and others. He won the Prix de Rome shortly after receiving his undergraduate degree (the youngest person up to that time to receive that award), and he studied in Italy with Goffredo Petrassi. Upon his return to the United States, he was appointed co–musical director and conductor of the contemporary chamber ensemble at Musical Elements, based at New York City’s 92nd Street YMHA. During his twelve years in that capacity, Beaser was responsible for presenting premieres of more than 200 contemporary chamber works.

From 1988 through 1993 he was a composer-in-residence with the American Composers Orchestra’s “Meet the Composer” program, and he has served since then as the artistic advisor for the ACO. That orchestra has performed a number of his works at Carnegie Hall, including. The Heavenly Feast. (with soprano Lauren Flanigan),. Chorale Variation, Seven Deadly Sins,. and his piano concerto, the last two of which were recorded by the ACO conducted by Dennis Russel Davies and released together on a London/Argo CD. Gramophone. magazine called the music on that CD “dazzlingly colorful, fearless of gesture; beautifully fashioned and ingeniously constructed.” Among his other recorded works are. Song of the Bells;. The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water; Notes on a Southern Sky;. a piano version ofSeven Deadly Sins; Mountain Songs;. and settings of Psalms 119 and 150. Beaser has a particular affinity for the Book of Psalms, which he connects most directly to his perception of Judaically related music. “I associate Jewish music with Psalms,” he explained in a recent interview.

In addition to the Baltimore Symphony (The Heavenly Feast) and the ACO, he has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic (for its 150th anniversary celebrations), the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, Chanticleer, and the American Brass Quintet. His works have been performed by the Aspen, Berlin, and Lockenhaus festivals, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the New World Symphony, the Seattle Symphony chamber series, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center—among many other groups. Soloists and conductors who have performed his music include Leonard Slatkin, Richard Stoltzman, James Galway, Gerard Schwarz, and David Zinman. His one-act opera. Food of Love,. with a libretto by Terence McNally, was commissioned jointly by New York City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera and was premiered in 1999. It formed part of the “Central Park Trilogy,” which was telecast the following spring on an Emmy-nominated segment of PBS’s. Great Performances.

Beaser’s music has been characterized as a synthesis of “spatial clarity and epic sweep,” and is known for its fusion of European traditions with “American musical vernacular.” In his evocation of American hymn styles, critics have drawn comparisons to Copland and Barber: in 1982 a. New York Times. critic wrote that he possessed “a lyrical gift comparable to that of the late Samuel Barber,” and the. Baltimore Sun. hailed him as “one of this country’s huge composing talents.” He is often considered among a group of “New Tonalists”—with contemporary American composers such as Lowell Liebermann, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Richard Danielpour—whose aesthetic approach involves adapting late-20th-century tonal language to serve more recent artistic leanings. “I am often called a ‘new tonalist,'” Beaser mused in a recent discussion, “which is somewhat baffling to me because I don’t think tonality is really new!” Rather, he sees his brand of tonality as both a continuation and a musical approach that, for some, might have faded and then was reborn. “There was, for my generation,” he admits, “a sort of sense that we had inherited a rather confining world of contemporary music. And then many of us went on to investigate other avenues. I was interested in recovering elements that I felt had been lost in music; and one of them is simply the ability to tell a story.” He sees his own musical language as evolving stylistically from one piece to another.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters honored Beaser in 1995 with a lifetime achievement award and with a citation stating that “His masterful orchestrations, clear-cut structures, and logical musical discourse … reveal a musical imagination of rare creativity and sensitivity …” His other awards and honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Fulbright foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, a Charles Ives Scholarship, and an ASCAP Composers Award. Beaser has lectured at many conservatories and universities, and he currently teaches composition at The Juilliard School.

MARK CAMPBELL – LIBRETTIST

Mark Campbellwas recently profiled in Opera News as one of twenty-five artists “poised…to become major forces in opera in the coming decade.” In his ten years as a librettist, Mark has written nine operas and collaborated with such notable composers as Mark Adamo, Lembit Beecher, William Bolcom, Ricky Ian Gordon, Jake Heggie, John Musto, Paul Moravec, Richard Peaslee and Kevin Puts. Mark’s most recent work, Silent Night, which he wrote with composer Kevin Puts for Minnesota Opera, received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Other successful operas include: Volpone, Later the Same Evening, Bastianello/Lucrezia, and Rappahannock County.

As a lyricist, Mark penned the lyrics for Songs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle with music by 18 composers. The show premiered at New York Theatre Workshop and has since been produced around the world, most recently in Mexico City. Other musicals for which he has written lyrics include: The Audience, Chang & Eng, and Splendora.

Recordings: the Grammy.®-nominated Volpone, (Wolf Trap Recordings), Later the Same Evening (Albany Records), The Inspector (Wolf Trap Recordings), Bastianello/Lucrezia (Bridge Classical), Rappahannock County (Nonesuch) and Songs from an Unmade Bed (Sh-k-Boom Records). Songs from an Unmade Bed and Silent Night are also published by Bill Holab Music. Other awards: first recipient of the Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, three Drama Desk Award nominations, a Rockefeller Foundation Award, and a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award.

Mark has also become an advocate for contemporary American opera and has mentored future generations of opera writers through such organizations as American Lyric Theater, Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative, the Virginia Arts Festival/John Duffy Composers Institute, and Opera Company of Philadelphia’s Composer-in-Residence Program.

On the horizon: six new commissioned works with composers William Bolcom, Julian Grant, Jake Heggie, Paul Moravec, Kevin Puts and D.J. Sparr. Mark has been a guest speaker for the CLDP since 2011, and joins the mentorship faculty in the 2012-2013 season.

Website: www.markcampbellwords.com

ANTHONY DAVIS – COMPOSER

Anthony Davis is an internationally known composer of operatic, symphonic, choral, and chamber works. He is also known for his virtuoso performances both as a solo pianist and as the leader of the ensemble Episteme, a unique ensemble of musicians who are disciplined interpreters as well as provocative improvisers. In April 1993, Davis made his Broadway debut, composing the music for Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, directed by George C. Wolfe. His music is also heard in Kushner’s companion piece, Perestroika, which opened on Broadway in November 1993.

As a composer, Davis is best known for his operas. X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which played to sold-out houses at its premiere at the New York City Opera in 1986, was the first of a new American genre: opera on a contemporary political subject. The recording of X was released on the Gramavision label in August 1992 and received a Grammy Nomination for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition” in February 1993. “[X] has brought new life to America’s conservative operatic scene,” enthused Andrew Porter in The New Yorker, “it is not just a stirring and well fashioned opera — that already is much — but one whose music adds a new, individual voice to those previously heard in our opera houses.” Davis’s second opera, Under the Double Moon, a science fiction opera with an original libretto by Deborah Atherton, premiered at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in June 1989. His third opera, Tania, with a libretto by Michael-John LaChiusa and based on the abduction of Patricia Hearst, premiered at the American Music Theater Festival in June 1992. A recording of Tania.  was released in 2001 on Koch, and in November 2003, Musikwerkstaat Wien presented its European premiere. A fourth opera, Amistad, about a shipboard uprising by slaves and their subsequent trial, premiered at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in November 1997. Set to a libretto by poet Thulani Davis, the librettist of X, Amistad was staged by George C. Wolfe.

Reacting to two of Davis’s orchestral works, Maps (Violin Concerto) and Notes from the Underground, Michael Walsh said in Time Magazine: “Imagine Ellington’s lush, massed sonorities propelled by Bartók’s vigorous whiplash rhythms and overlaid with the seductive percussive haze of the Balinese gamelan orchestra, and you will have an idea of what both the Concerto and Notes from the Underground sound like.”

Davis’s works also include the Violin Sonata, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its Centennial; Jacob’s Ladder, a tribute to Davis’s mentor Jacob Druckman commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony; Esu Variations, a concert opener for the Atlanta Symphony; Happy Valley Blues, a work for the String Trio of New York with Davis on piano; and “Pale Grass and Blue, Then Red,” a dance work choreographed by Ralph Lemon for the Limon Dance Company. His orchestral works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Kansas City Symphony, Beethoven Halle Orchestra of Bonn, and the American Composers Orchestra. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed Davis’s opera X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X in concert in November 1992. The Pittsburgh Symphony commissioned a concert-opener from Davis entitled Tales (Tails) of the Signifying Monkey. In the 2003-2004 season Davis served as Artistic Advisor of the American Composers Orchestra’s Improvise! festival and conference which featured a performance of Wayang V with Davis as piano soloist. Oakland Opera Theatre presented X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X in 2006, and Spoleto Festival USA produced Amistad in its revised and reduced form in 2008. The La Jolla Sympony premiered Amistad Symphony in 2009.

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, on 20 February 1951, Davis studied at Wesleyan and Yale universities. He was Yale’s first Lustman Fellow, teaching composition and Afro-American studies. In 1987 Davis was appointed Senior Fellow with the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and in 1990 he returned to Yale University as Visiting Professor of Music. He became Professor of Music in Afro-American Studies at Harvard University in the fall of 1992, and assumed a full-time professorship at the University of California at San Diego in January 1998.

Recordings of Davis’s music may be heard on the Rykodisc (Gramavision), Koch and Music and Arts labels. His music is published by G. Schirmer, Inc.

LAWRENCE EDELSON – STAGE DIRECTOR / PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Lawrence is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of American Lyric Theater.  An accomplished stage director, he enjoyed a diverse performing career in both opera and dance prior to founding ALT.  His artistic credits include directing and choreographing for The Minnesota Opera, Fort Worth Opera, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Sarasota Opera, Toledo Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, The Manhattan School of Music, Boston University’s Opera Institute, The New York New Music Ensemble, Opera Columbus, Des Moines Metro Opera, Ballet West, and Boston Ballet. A winner of OPERA America’s first Director / Designer Showcase sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, his directing has been hailed as “stunningly touching and entertaining” (The Washington Post), and he has been complimented for doing a “splendid job of making (opera) relevant and understandable.” (Opera Now)

For The Joffrey Ballet School, Lawrence founded the New Choreographers’ Workshop in 1991, which continues to flourish today. He is also the founder of Pro Musica Tours, Inc., a cultural tourism company specializing in educational programs. As an arts administrator, he has consulted on projects for MCC Theater and New York City Opera, and on the cultural development of Lower Manhattan for New York City Councilmember Alan Gerson. Lawrence originally studied Voice and Musicology at The University of Ottawa, Canada, and holds degrees in Directing (BA) and Performing Arts Administration (MA) from New York University, both conferred with the highest honors. Lawrence’s Thesis,. Opera – The Irrelevant Art: Uniting Marketing and Organizational Strategy to Combat the Depopularization of Opera in the United States, served as the catalyst for his founding of American Lyric Theater.

Since founding ALT, Lawrence Edelson has been responsible for launching the Composer Librettist Development Program, and commissioning.  multiple new works including The Golden Ticket, based on Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which received its world premiere in a co-production between Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Ireland’s Wexford Festival Opera, and ALT in 2010. In 2012,. Lawrence served as the Executive Producer of a live recording of The Golden Ticket, made by ALT in partnership with The Atlanta Opera, recently released on Albany Records. Lawrence is currently overseeing the development of multiple new commissions at ALT, including the one-act operas of The Poe Project, and three full length operas: The Long Walk, La Reina, and The Turing Project.

CORI ELLISON – DRAMATURG

Recently appointed the first ever Dramaturg in Glyndebourne’s history, Cori Ellison is a principal faculty member of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program. Ms. Ellison began her intense involvement in the development of new American opera through New York City Opera’s annual VOX American Opera Showcase, where she was part of the selection team and worked with individual composers and librettists. In fall 2009, she co-founded and led NYCO’s Words First program for the development of opera librettists.  In June 2009, she was the first opera dramaturg invited to participate in the inaugural Yale Institute for Music Theatre.  In addition, she is a sought-after private consultant to numerous composers and librettists.

As full-time staff Dramaturg at New York City Opera from 1997-2010, Cori was responsible for the company’s production dramaturgy, program book, and supertitles, as well as its adult outreach programs, curating both its pre-performance event series and creating its acclaimed Opera Matters series of collaborations with other noted New York cultural institutions.  She continues to serve New York City Opera as a consultant on selected productions and projects.

Cori has also served as dramaturg for Francesca Zambello’s production of the Ring Cycle, co-produced by Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera.  In 2009, she served as dramaturg for Opera Boston’s production of Shostakovich’s The Nose, and in 2006, was dramaturg for a triple bill of Offenbach operettas at the Bard Summerscape Festival.  In 2005, she co-curated and narrated soprano Elizabeth Futral’s program “Handel at Home”, the closing event of the annual Chicago Humanities Festival, and she curated the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s opening concert, an all-Beethoven gala.

Ms. Ellison’s English singing translation of Hansel and Gretel, commissioned and premiered by New York City Opera, has also been performed (in a general-use adaptation recently published by Schott) by companies including Houston Grand Opera, Atlanta Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Kentucky Opera, Berkshire Opera, and Opera Roanoke.  Her singing translation of Shostakovich’s musical comedy Cheryomushki (Cherry Tree Towers) premiered at the Bard Summerscape Festival in August 2004, and her singing translation of Spontini’s La vestale, commissioned by English National Opera, premiered there in April 2002.

Ms. Ellison has long been a regular lecturer and panel moderator for New York City Opera, Cincinnati Opera, the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process series, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.  She has presented talks and interviews for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Carnegie Hall, Seattle Opera, Dallas Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Boston, Glimmerglass Opera, Bard Summerscape Festival, Opera Orchestra of New York, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart Festival, Berkshire Choral Festival, American Opera Projects, Schomburg Center for Black Culture, Paley Center for Media, Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre, the New School, Opera Index, and the Wagner Societies of New York, Chicago, Washington, and Northern California, as well as at The Royal Opera House/Covent Garden, the Covent Garden Festival, Ireland’s Wexford Festival, and Switzerland’s Verbier Festival, and on board Cunard’s Queen Mary II, under the auspices of Oxford University.  She has also served on the faculty of The Juilliard School’s Evening Division, was Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at New York University’s School of Continuing Education, and has often taught for the Explore New York! Elderhostel program.

Ms. Ellison was also part of the team that launched the Metropolitan Opera’s pioneering simultaneous translation system, Met Titles, and has also authored opera supertitles for companies including New York City Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Berkshire Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Opera, Eos Orchestra, The Juilliard School, Midamerica Productions, Boston Baroque, Center For Contemporary Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Marilyn Horne Foundation, PBS, and WGBH-TV.

Ms. Ellison regularly appears as a commentator and Opera Quiz panelist on the Metropolitan Opera’s radio broadcasts, and has been guest commentator on WNYC’s “Soundcheck” and “The Tristan Mysteries”, WQXR’s “First Hearing”, and other radio programs.  She has contributed articles to publications including the New York Times, Opera News, Gramophone, BBC Music, and Ms, and to books including The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, The Compleat Mozart, and the Metropolitan Opera Guide to Opera on Video.  She has also been a contributing writer for PBS’s Metropolitan Opera Presents TV series.

MICHAEL KORIE – LIBRETTIST

Michael Korie wrote the libretto to The Grapes of Wrath composed. by Ricky Ian Gordon. It premiered at Minnesota Opera followed by productions at Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and concert versions at Los Angeles Disney Philharmonic Hall and at Carnegie Hall. Also with composer Ricky Ian Gordon are The Garden of the Finzi Continis, commissioned by Minnesota Opera premiering in Spring, 2011; and Adele Hugo, co-commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater. Senna, about the death of the Brazilian Grand Prix race car driver, is a co-commission of The Met and LCT with English National Opera composed by Michael Torke and directed by Des McAnuff. Korie’s librettos to Stewart Wallace’s operas include Harvey Milk (San Francisco Opera, HGO, NYCO); and Hopper’s Wife (Long Beach Opera, both directed by Christopher Alden); Kabbalah (Dance Theater Workshop/Brooklyn Academy); and Where’s Dick? (Houston Grand Opera, directed by Richard Foreman). For musicals, Korie wrote the lyrics to Grey Gardens composed by Scott Frankel, book by Doug Wright, directed by Michael Greif, starring Christine Ebersole in the dual role of Edith Bouvier Beale and Little Edie. Following its Playwrights Horizons and Broadway productions it has been produced throughout the USA and abroad in Japan. Also with Frankel, Korie wrote lyrics to Happiness, book by John Weidman, direction and choreography by Susan Stroman at Lincoln Center Theater. Frankel and Korie’s Broadway-bound Finding Neverland with book by Allan Knee, direction and choreography by Rob Ashford, is being produced by Weinstein Entertainment. With collaborators Lucy Simon and Michael Weller, Korie co-authored lyrics with Amy Powers to Doctor Zhivago, premiering next year in Australia as a co-production of Sydney Opera House, directed by Des McAnuff. His lyrics to director-librettist Tina Landau’s original musical fable Beauty with music by Regina Spektor arrives in 2011-12. Awards include Richard Rodgers, Kleban, Larson, Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Musical for Grey Gardens, and a Tony nomination for its score. Korie is a member of the Dramatists Guild. He teaches lyric-writing at Yale and is librettist mentor. for American Lyric Theater. He is married to Ivan Sygoda.

RHODA LEVINE – STAGE DIRECTOR

Rhoda Levine is an internationally renowned Stage Director and teacher who has built an exceptional reputation as a champion of contemporary opera.  Career highlights include. Of Mice and Men; Lizzie Borden; Rigoletto; The Ballad of Baby Doe; X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X (world premiere); From the House of the Dead (American premiere); Die Soldaten; and Mathis der Maler at New York City Opera; Treemonisha at Opera Theater of St. Louis; Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis (world premiere) at Netherlands Opera; the South African premiere of Porgy and Bess at Cape Town Opera in 1996; productions at Belgium’s Opéra National; Scottish Opera; San Francisco Opera; Festival of the Two Worlds; Cabrillo Festival; and Holland Festival.

Rhoda has also directed and choreographed productions on and off-Broadway, in London’s West End, and for CBS and WNET. A dedicated teacher,. she has served on the faculties of Curtis Institute of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College, and Northwestern University.

PAUL MORAVEC – COMPOSER

moravec-214x300Paul Moravec, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Music, has composed over one hundred works for the orchestral, chamber, choral, lyric, film, and operatic genres. He is University Professor at Adelphi University, recently served as the Artist-in-Residence with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ., and in 2010 he was recently elected to the American Philosophical Society.

Mr. Moravec’s first opera,. The Letter, commissioned by Santa Fe Opera, with libretto by Terry Teachout, premiered in the 2009 season. Other recent premieres include. Danse Russe, a one-act comic opera for the 2011 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts;. The Blizzard Voices, an evening-length oratorio for Opera Omaha;. Brandenburg Gate, for Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall;. Piano Quintet, for Jeremy Denk and the Lark Quartet;. Anniversary Dances, for the Ying Quartet;. Cornopean Airs, for the American Brass Quintet;. The Time Gallery. with eighth blackbird at the Metropolitan Museum of Art;. Morph. with the String Orchestra of New York (SONYC);. Cool Fire. and. Chamber Symphony. for the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival;. Capital Unknowns for the Albany Symphony;. Everyone Sang. for the Marilyn Horne Foundation;Parables. for the New York Festival of Song;. Vita Brevis, for tenor Paul Sperry;. Useful Knowledge, a cantata commissioned by the American Philosophical Society for Benjamin Franklin’s tercentenary;. No Words, commissioned by Concert Artist Guild for pianist James Lent and the Empire City Men’s Chorus.

Paul Moravec’s discography includes. Tempest Fantasy, performed by Trio Solisti with clarinetist David Krakauer, on Naxos American Classics;. The Time Gallery, performed by eighth blackbird, also on Naxos;. Cool Fire, with the Bridgehampton Chamber Festival on Naxos;. Songs of Love and War. for Chorus and Orchestra on a CD featuring The Dessoff Choirs & Orchestra;. Sonata for Violin and Piano. performed by the Bachmann/Klibonoff Duo for BMG/RCA Red Seal;. Double Action, Evermore, and Ariel Fantasy, performed by the Bachmann/Klibonoff Duo on an Endeavour Classics CD entitled “The Red Violin.”;. Atmosfera a Villa Aurelia. and. Vince & Jan, performed by the Lark Quartet on an Endeavour Classics CD entitled “Klap Ur Handz”;. Morph, performed by the String Orchestra of New York on an Albany disc,. Spiritdance, an orchestral work on the Vienna Modern Masters label; an album of chamber compositions titled. Circular Dreams. on CRI; and. Vita Brevis, with Paul Sperry, tenor, and the composer at the piano, on Albany Records. Upcoming releases include an orchestral album with Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and. Useful Knowledge, on Naxos.

Among Paul Moravec’s numerous awards include the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, a Fellowship in Music Composition from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a Camargo Foundation Residency Fellowship, two fellowships from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as many commissions. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University, he has taught at Columbia, Dartmouth, and Hunter College, as well as Adelphi University.