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OPERA America Announces Finalists in Inaugural Director-Designer Showcase
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OPERA America is proud to announce the finalist teams of its first Director-Designer Showcase. As part of a continuing effort to foster emerging opera artists, the bi-annual Director-Designer Showcase seeks to benefit promising stage directors and designers interested in breaking into the world of opera. It is intended to bring new talent to the forefront and connect promising artists with those who are in a position to hire them. Administered as part of OPERA America's Opera Fund, the inaugural Director-Designer Showcase is supported by a special grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Working from a diverse list of American operas, applicants were asked to complete a production concept, including an explanation of the staging; ideas and initial research for scenery, props and costumes; required personnel; and suggestions for adaptations and/or editing, if any. A total of 41 director-driven teams submitted proposals for consideration; four of these were selected as finalists.

Each finalist team will be given $1,000 to be used toward research and supplies for the production of more complete renderings and/or models. Up to two representatives from each finalist team will be flown to OPERA America's Opera Conference 2009 in Houston to present their proposals to general and artistic directors at a special session.

"The Director-Designer Showcase supports talented emerging artists by providing them with unparalleled access at the Opera Conference to the field's decision-makers," stated Marc A. Scorca, president & CEO of OPERA America. "The production proposals displayed the remarkable range of talent and creativity of these young directors and designers. By highlighting these artists at the Showcase, OPERA America is proud to assist in furthering their careers."

The four finalist teams were selected by a panel that included Peter Dean Beck, designer; John Duykers, singer/teacher; Christopher Mattaliano, stage director/general director of Portland Opera; Diane Paulus, stage director and Darren K. Woods, general director of Fort Worth Opera.

"I was astounded at the level of preparation and creativity of the applicants," declared Mr. Woods. "Most all of them had done mounds of research and then translated them into incredible images and drawings. I think the winning teams' projects could go directly from the page to the stage — they were that good."

Mourning Becomes Electra
Director: Andrew Eggert
Set and Costume Designer: Anka Lupes
Lighting Designer: Aaron Black

Florencia en el Amazonas
Director: Lawrence Edelson
Set and Costume Designer: Martin T. Lopez
Lighting Designer: Josh Epstein
Choreographer: Lauri Stallings

Director: Mike Donahue
Set and Costume Designer: Anya Klepikov
Lighting Designer: Ji-Youn Chang
Choreographer: Sara Erde
Projection Designer: Daniel Vatsky

Einstein on the Beach
Director: Elise Sandell
Set and Costume Designer: Liz Freese
Lighting Designer: Gordon W. Olson
Choreographer: Keturah Stickann

In addition, the panels recognized four "noteworthy" applications:
Four Saints in Three Acts
Director: Michael Rau
Set Designer: Sara Walsh
Costume Designer: Jessica Pabst
Lighting Designer: Derek Wright

Einstein on the Beach
Director: Gregory Keller
Set and Lighting Designer: Dipu Gupta
Costume Designer: Melissa Schlactmeyer
Choreographer: Brady Paul

Director: Joseph Cermatori
Set Designer: Michael Locher
Costume Designer: Paul Carey
Lighting Designer: Burke Brown
Producer: Stephanie Ybarra

X — The Life and Times of Malcolm X
Director: Eric Einhorn
Set Designer: Kathryn Kawecki
Costume Designer: Candida K. Nichols

OPERA America's Director-Designer Showcase is a bi-annual program open to emerging opera/theater artists, regardless of their membership status with OPERA America. Information about the next round will be available at in 2010.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

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