New Works Debut at Cleveland Opera Theater’s NOW Festival

Fri Jan 26-Sun 1/28

If you are an opera buff who’s seen enough productions of La Boheme and Madam Butterfly to last a lifetime, then Cleveland Opera Theater’s annual NOW Festival (“New Opera Works”) is for you. It’s a chance to hear something you haven’t heard elsewhere and to share in the process of developing new opera.

It opens on Fri 1/26 @ 7:30pm with a reading of the libretto for an opera based on Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca’s dark, oppressive play The House of Bernarda Alba. It’s a step in the creation of an opera which will be staged by Cleveland Opera Theatre in a future season. The presentation will be followed by an audience talkback.

On Sat 1/27, NOW presents a forum on the creation of a new opera, featuring composers, librettists and stage directors of the new operas heard during the festival. It will include preview scenes from the new opera Angel’s Bone, whose debut takes place at Oberlin College’s Cat in the Cream Coffeeehouse Wed 1/31-Wed 2/7. This may be your only chance to hear any of it though; all the performances are sold out.

On Sat 1/27 @ 3pm and Sun 1/28 @ 7:30pm, there’ll be a new scenes workshop with piano-accompanied performances of scenes from operas written by three members of Cleveland Composers’ Guild. The composers will also talk about their work and there’ll be an opportunity for audience feedback as well.

Then on Sat 1/27 @ 7:30pm and Sun 1/28 @ 3pm, Verlorene Heimat, a new opera by Dawn Sonntag, chair of the music department at Hiram College, will be performed with a chamber orchestra. It tells the story of a Ukrainian Jewish girl taken in and protected by an East Prussian refugee family. It opens on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

All performances take place at the Maltz Performing Arts Center in University Circle. All are free with a reservation.

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