A major international chamber opera competition for young composers and librettists
Genesis Foundation today announced the inaugural Genesis Prizes for Opera and with them, a major investment in modern chamber opera which will not only finance the writing of new music theatre repertoire but will also ensure their production.
These new chamber opera prizes, open to young composers and their librettists worldwide, 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.
What Genesis Stands For
Genesis Foundation has a brief but notable record as an inspiration and help for young artists across a wide range of activities. Founded as the John Studzinski Foundation in 1996, it has supported a number of young artists and projects, including Roxanna Panufnik's Westminster Mass, the two Royal Court Theatre international playwrights' seasons as well as underwriting two full programme LAMDA scholarships annually. In its fostering approach to talent, it recognises the difficulties the young face in beginning an artistic career and later finding a showcase for their work.
And so its Opera Competition will not only reward the successful composers and writers but also pay for ultimate production. "No doubt there is enormous talent out there", says John Studzinski, Trustee of the Genesis Foundation and Chairman of The Genesis Prizes for Opera, "which, if nurtured in the right way, can provide us with some more musical genius, and discovering genius is the purpose of Genesis."
Finding The Winners
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 and at the Aldeburgh Festival with whom 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," says David Parry, "the jurors will be looking for exciting theatrical ideas; for composers who can fashion from a contemporary subject the operas of tomorrow."
A Chamber Opera
The specification set out by Genesis for its contest can perhaps best be defined as a chamber opera
"We are open to submissions internationally", says John Studzinski, "and librettos can be written in any language for the finished productions at the Almeida's summer 2003 season."
"We are hoping to make The Genesis Prizes for Opera widely known since the Genesis Foundation is sure that this venture will also lead us to many diverse young artists who need a stairway to opportunity and whom we might also be able to help in different ways."
"The Genesis Prizes are a vote of confidence in contemporary opera," says Jonathan Reekie, Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Productions. "They are an important step towards the creation of a repertoire of stage-able operas that will engage modern audiences."
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For further Information, contact: pressgenesisfoundation [dot] org [dot] uk
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