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Opera Fusion Grant Renewed by Mellon Foundation

CCM and Cincinnati Opera's groundbreaking joint program, Opera Fusion: New Works, has been renewed by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with a gift of $300,000, which will fund another six workshops over the next three years.

Thanks to a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Opera Fusion: New Works was created in 2011 to foster the development of new American operas. The program offers composers or composer/librettist teams the opportunity to workshop an opera during a 10-day residency in Cincinnati, utilizing the talent, personnel, and facilities of both organizations. The workshops are cast with a combination of CCM students and professional artists, and each workshop concludes with a public performance. The program is led by co-artistic directors Marcus Küchle, Director of Artistic Operations of Cincinnati Opera, and Robin Guarino, the J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera at CCM.

“We are thrilled that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation recognized the impact and importance of this collaboration,” said Patricia K. Beggs, The Harry Fath General Director & CEO of Cincinnati Opera. “The mainstage success of the operas that have come through Opera Fusion: New Works is a testament to the invaluable workshop opportunity the program offers to a new piece.”

“Opera Fusion: New Works provides CCM’s students with something truly remarkable: an opportunity to work directly with world-class artists on the development of new creative works,” said Peter Landgren, the Thomas James Kelly Professor of Music and Dean at CCM. “This workshopping process allows our students to exercise a very different set of artistic and pedagogical muscles, when compared to the process of learning standard repertoire. These life-changing opportunities would not be possible without The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s generous support of experiential learning at CCM, and we could not have a better partner in this endeavor than Cincinnati Opera.”

“We are incredibly grateful for the trust in and recognition of our work with Opera Fusion: New Works over the past three years that is expressed through this generous grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” said Marcus Küchle. “These are exciting times for the development of new opera and we are thrilled to continue to play a meaningful role.”

In 2011, Opera Fusion: New Works awarded its first workshop to composer Douglas J. Cuomo and librettist John Patrick Shanley in support of their new opera Doubt, which premiered at Minnesota Opera in January 2013. In 2012, Opera Fusion: New Works provided workshops for two works: Champion, by composer Terence Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer, which premiered at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in June 2013; and Morning Star, by composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist William M. Hoffman, which premiered at Cincinnati Opera in June 2015. In 2013, the residency went to Fellow Travelers by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce, which will have its world premiere at Cincinnati Opera on June 17, 2016. In 2014, the program invited composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally to workshop Great Scott, which will premiere at The Dallas Opera on October 30, 2015. For the final workshop of the original six-workshop grant, the residency was awarded to Meet John Doe, with music and libretto by the late Daniel Catán.

“Over the past three years, Opera Fusion: New Works has had a seismic effect on the current art of opera, developing six world premieres, all operas with vital themes for today’s audiences,” said Robin Guarino. “We kick off the next three years and the renewal of our grant with an opera by an innovative composer and librettist team.”

The first opera to benefit from the new cycle of workshops was Shalimar the Clown, which recently received a residency in Cincinnati culminating in a reading on October 17. The new opera, featuring music by Jack Perla and a libretto by Rajiv Joseph, is adapted from the 2005 novel of the same name by Salman Rushdie. The opera will have its world premiere at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 11, 2016.

Opera Fusion: New Works is sponsored by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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