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Classical News, Jazz, Opera, World Music, Theater, Ballet ...

New opera writing contest finds its Genesis
A major international chamber opera competition has been launched for young composers and librettists.

The ‘Genesis Prizes for Opera’ aim to offer vital support to young artists at the beginning of their careers. The competition will culminate in June 2003 with performances of three works at London’s Almeida Opera.

The Genesis Foundation is a London based organisation created to help young artists "in the beginning", to help get careers started in all the art forms. Genesis has developed out of the John Studzinski Foundation, which was created in 1996 with the same objectives.

The opera competition will not only reward the successful composers and writers but also pay for ultimate production.

Submissions are open internationally and could be written in any language.

John Studzinski, trustee of the Genesis Foundation and chairman of The Genesis Prizes for Opera, said: "No doubt there is enormous talent out there which, if nurtured in the right way, can provide us with some more musical genius, and discovering genius is the purpose of Genesis."

The competition requires, in the first place, submission of a scenario plus tapes with examples of the composer's work and a sample of the librettist's writing. A jury will then choose six works for further development and each writer/composer team will receive £3,000 each to create a first draft of the libretto and an extract from the opera score for workshop performance in April 2002. Composers and librettists are being asked to choose contemporary subjects for their operas.

The advisory panel will then choose three operas from the short list for a full commission (£12,000 to the composer, £2,000 to the writer) and these will be taken forward to full production as part of the Almeida's season. The overall winning production will also be performed outside London on tour or at the Aldeburgh Festival, with which Almeida Opera regularly collaborates.

The distinguished jurors include the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli; Genista McIntosh, executive director, Royal National Theatre; Michael Morris, director of Cultural Industry and co-director of Artangel; David Parry, music director of Almeida Opera; David Pountney, opera director, translator and librettist; Jonathan Reekie, chief executive of Aldeburgh Productions; the writer Vikram Seth; and John Studzinski.

Together they will select one of the three finalists for the top prize of £20,000. "Most of all, the jurors will be looking for exciting theatrical ideas, for composers who can fashion from a contemporary subject the operas of tomorrow," said David Parry.

The specification for the chamber opera is a work of 60 to 90 minutes long which is capable of being produced within a single setting, with up to eight principal characters and orchestration for 13 players. The prize includes a budget of up to £10,000 for the production of scores, musical materials and any requirement for an electro/acoustic element.

Jonathan Reekie, Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Productions described the prizes as "a vote of confidence in contemporary opera". He added: "They are an important step towards the creation of a repertoire of stage-able operas that will engage modern audiences."

For further Information, contact:

Mon Jan 29 2001 (4:44:19 PM)


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