Chairman of the Genesis Foundation
The Genesis Prizes for Opera is a new initiative, launched in January 2001. The workshop phase comes midway through a two-year process culminating when the three commissioned operas are performed in July 2003 and the fourth, commended opera is performed thereafter.
Having called for proposals for chamber operas, we received 210 applications from all over the world. Our panel reduced this to nine semi-finalists in the summer of 2001. Each of the nine teams was then commissioned to develop a libretto and 15 minutes of composition for presentations of work in progress.
The workshops were not simply performances and were never intended to be -- though we were told that they were theatrical and stimulating for those involved and our guests. But these were not finished works being presented. Even after the workshops, we are still in the creative laboratory. Our purpose in the workshop phase was to observe and examine the weaknesses and strengths of how these projects are developing, consider pathways to their completion and choose three for immediate commission for July 2003 without in any way intending to exclude the other six.
There was, therefore, no audience in the traditional sense - people expecting simply to be entertained. There were only performers; the teams creating the work - composers, librettists and any other artist; and the panelists, each of whom has also assumed the role of mentor. As well, there were invited guests: other professionals or interested people who participated in the discussion periods with the various teams and who may yet become partners in the future.
The Genesis Prizes for Opera, relaunched as the Genesis Opera Project in October 2002, has now nearly completed its first ever cycle. The first productions were premiered in conjunction with Almeida Opera in July 2003.
At the end of the first Genesis Workshops in April 2003, the panel designated three projects to be commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for full production by Almeida Opera in July 2003, followed by performances at Aldeburgh and on tour.
A fourth project - Fumio Tamura's Cherry Station - was commissioned as well, but not for a specific deadline. We continue to investigate how we can help our other teams to develop in any way that is possible. We completed the commission for the opera by Isidora Zebeljan, Zora D, for production and performance by the Netherlands Opera Studio and Wiener Kammeroper.
The Genesis Foundation launched its second series of the Genesis Opera Project in October 2002. The productions for this took place in 2005. We hope you will remained interested friends of the Genesis Opera Projects.