Cleveland Opera Theater’s inaugural New Opera Works Festival lifts the curtain on the creative process that happens before and after the fat lady sings. The festival brings together local colleges, the Cleveland Composers Guild and the Cleveland Opera Theater for shows in various states of production from staged readings and workshops to semi- and fully staged works Jan. 20 to 29. “It’s developing new opera and engages people in a way that challenges what they think opera can be,” says Scott Skiba, executive artistic director for Cleveland Opera Theater. Glimpse at three performances to see.
The House of Bernarda Alba
This Spanish drama about feminine will features an all-female cast of Baldwin Wallace University opera students, faculty and regional professionals as composer Griffin Candey plays refrains on the piano Jan. 22 at Baldwin Wallace. Afterward, the audience can discuss which lines should make the libretto. “Your ideas are helping to shape this,” says Skiba.
In this fully staged, one-woman-show, a homeless singer believes she is Amelia Earhart, who disappeared midflight in 1937. Clad in pilot goggles, she grips her shopping cart for takeoff in this 30-minute performance with a chamber orchestra at Baldwin Wallace Jan. 21 and 23. Singer Kathryn Frady Marvel’s emotive vocals are punctuated with paranoid tones and hopeful belts over an eerie piano. “It’s a really intense piece,” says Skiba. “A minimal approach but very relatable.”
Songs from Liquid Days
On Jan. 27 and 28 at Oberlin College and Jan. 29 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, see this dramatized exploration of the afterlife set to the tunes of Philip Glass’ 1986 album Songs from Liquid Days. Actors from Oberlin Opera Theater sing pop lyrics as projections and elaborate masks create alternate realms. “They won’t be situated in one specific time or place,” says director Jonathon Field.