For Immediate Release
Contact: Patricia Kiernan Johnson; PKJohnson@operaamerica.org
www.operaamerica.org


January 26, 2007

LARGEST GATHERING OF OPERA PROFESSIONALS IN THE WORLD TO CONVENE

Opera Conference 2007: Opera of the Americas To be Held in Miami, Florida, April 25-29

Highlights Include Keynote Address by Composer Osvaldo Golijov


New York, NY—OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, announces that Opera Conference 2007 will be held in Miami, Florida, from April 25-29. Exploring the theme “Opera of the Americas”, Opera Conference 2007 is hosted by Florida Grand Opera and will be held at the Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel and Marina, 1633 North Bayshore Drive, a luxury hotel in the heart of Miami’s Arts and Entertainment District. OPERA America’s annual conference is the largest gathering of opera professionals in the world, with more than 500 attendees expected from around the globe. Coinciding with conference activities, Florida Grand Opera will present the world premiere of Anna Karenina, opening at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House on April 28.

In the United States, more than 70% of the opera companies performing today were established after 1960. In Canada, The Canadian Opera Company, the oldest opera company in Canada, was founded in 1950. Following World War II, growing cities began to identify themselves through cultural institutions. With the determination of entrepreneurial leaders, the opera industry grew, along with a network of conservatories and singer training programs. The emergence of acclaimed singers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and South America was followed by a growing canon of operas by native-born composers. At the turn of the 21st century, opera can be said to be thriving in the Americas.

Miami’s explosive population growth in recent years has been driven by internal migration from other parts of the country as well as by immigration. Greater Miami is regarded as a cultural melting pot, heavily influenced both by its large population of ethnic Latin Americans and Caribbean islanders. The region’s importance as an international financial and cultural center has elevated Miami to the status of world city; because of its cultural and linguistic ties to North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean, it is sometimes called “The Gateway of the Americas.”

Miami, in addition to being home to Florida Grand Opera, is home to dozens of museums, theaters, and art galleries, as well as six professional sports teams. Because of its proximity to Latin America, Miami serves as the headquarters of Latin American operations for many multinational corporations, including American Airlines, Cisco, Disney, Exxon, FedEx, Microsoft, Oracle, SBC Communications, and Sony—a stimulating setting for the five days of seminars and sessions.

Opening Session and Keynote Address
Osvaldo Golijov is a master composer of our time. His opera, Ainadamar, was acclaimed following its premiere at the Tanglewood Festival and subsequent production staged by Peter Sellars at The Santa Fe Opera and Lincoln Center. Having received a Grammy Award in 2003 for the song cycle Ayre, Golijov was named Musical America’s Composer of the Year in 2006. The Argentine Jewish composer finds influence everywhere, from traditional Latino dance forms to synagogue cantillation, and embraces the ideas and improvisations of his collaborators. In his Keynote Address, Golijov will discuss his work, emphasizing the importance of drawing from a broad variety of cultural references to create compelling work for the 21st century.

Overcoming Barriers to Fulfill our Vision for the Future
This interactive session, led by master facilitator and teaching artist Eric Booth, will feature leaders of the American Symphony Orchestra League, Chorus America, Dance/USA, and OPERA America with special guest Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, in a discussion that will help define the most pressing issues facing the industry. These dialogs will shape the direction of Opera Conference 2007 and lay the groundwork for the multi-disciplinary agenda of the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention in Denver.

Sessions and Seminars
Sessions and seminars addressing all aspects of opera creation, administration and production have been scheduled throughout Opera Conference 2007. Exploring both traditional and new techniques in reaching diverse constituencies, developing marketing and pricing strategies, integrating education programs into overall programming, and identifying governance issues necessary for the success of an opera company, will be explored in depth. Additional sessions have been designed in the areas of Artistic/Artist Training, Development, Finance/Administration, Public Relations, and Technical/Production.

New Works Sampler
The New Works Sampler, on Saturday, April 28, provides a unique opportunity to witness the cutting edge of opera creation. Members of the Florida Grand Opera Studio will perform excerpts from works in progress and recent premieres, as well as other vocal works by opera composers. Composers whose works were represented in past New Works Samplers include Tobias Picker, Mark Adamo, and Daniel Catán.

Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition
The Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition was established in 1969 to assist the careers of aspiring opera singers and has become one of the most prestigious national contests for young singers. Many past winners have gone on to illustrious international careers including Kate Aldrich, Vivica Genaux, Eric Owens, Dean Peterson and Christopher Schaldenbrand, among others.

World Premiere and Plazacast of Anna Karenina
Florida Grand Opera has commissioned a new opera based on Tolstoy’s classic novel, Anna Karenina, one of the most compelling love stories in all of literature. Within the constraints of 19th-century Russian society, Anna tries to follow her heart, but she, along with everyone she loves, is overwhelmed by the terrible choices she is forced to make and their bitter consequences. Her tragic descent comes to a famously shattering conclusion. Composed by David Carlson with libretto by well-known stage director Colin Graham, Anna Karenina will receive its world premiere on April 28 at the new Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House. This evening will mark the exciting beginning of Florida Grand Opera’s performances as a resident company of the new Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. FGO Music Director Stewart Robertson will conduct with Mr. Graham also providing the stage direction. This romantic score follows Mr. Carlson’s previous operas, The Midnight Angel and Dreamkeepers, which have been performed to wide critical acclaim. Anna Karenina is a co-production with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Support of Conference 2007
OPERA America is grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, DCM Telemarketing and Telefundraising, LTM Artists, Target Resource Group, Arts Consulting Group, CCS Fundraising, Schuler Shook, TAYLAR Development, and Fisher Dachs Associates, Inc.

For more information on Opera Conference 2007, visit www.operaamerica.org/home.shtml, or call 212-796-8620.

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ABOUT OPERA AMERICA

OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.