96-Hour Opera Project

The 96-Hour Opera Project: Stories that Resonate is a composition showcase and competition in which teams of composers and librettists will create completely new and compelling 10-minute operas. The competition is designed specifically for composers and librettists from historically underrepresented communities. The 96-hour project is only open to those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab-American, Latin-American or other communities of color, including those artists from outside the US.

Each creative team will be paired with a story drawn from Georgia’s past and present based on materials provided by this year’s Stories that Resonate partners, representative nonprofit organizations with storytelling at their core. Stories will be provided in advance of the showcase, so that teams can spend time on both research and creation.

Morehouse College will host the finals in partnership with the Opera. Tickets to see the six teams in the showcase are now available to the general public. The event on June 20th is free and will be held at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College, School of Music – registration is required to reserve tickets. The 96-Hour Opera Project is sponsored by UPS.

sponsors

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The Rich Foundation

Finalists & Teams

Johanny Navarro

Young Puerto Rican composer Johanny Navarro has worked on commissions for important music soloists like Elisa Torres, Luis Miguel Rojas, and Andrea González Caballero, and organizations like Multicultural Music Group, Inc. and Boston Opera Collaborative; has also composed for ensembles like The Catholic University of America Symphony Orquestra, American Harp Society, Inc.,

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New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy, Victory Players, and Coralia from University of Puerto Rico. She has an ample catalog of diverse work and is deeply rooted in Afro-Caribbean musical aesthetics, essentially in Puerto Rican musical culture. Her opera ¿Y los Pasteles? Ópera Jíbara en dos actos, work for which she was awarded the Discovery Grant (2020) from Opera Grants for Female Composers by Opera America is scheduled to premiere in July 2022 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Navarro is resident artist at the American Lyric Theater in New York.

Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton

Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally known writer, educator, activist, performer, and the first Black Poet Laureate of Houston, Texas. Formerly ranked the #2 Best Female Performance Poet in the World (PSI), Her work has appeared in Houston Noir by Akashic Press (2019), Black Girl Magic by Haymarket Books (2019), the Texas Observer, and Fjords Journal, and on such platforms as NPR, BBC, ABC,

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Apple News, Blavity, Upworthy, and across the TedX circuit. Honored by Houston Business Journal as a part of their 2021 40 Under 40 class, She has served as a contributing writer to Texas Monthly, Glamour Magazine, and ESPN’s The Undefeated. Heralded as a “Literary Genius” by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee in 2019, D.E.E.P.’s most recent poetry collection, Newsworthy, garnered her a Pushcart nomination and was named a finalist for the 2019 Writer’s League of Texas Book Award and an honorable mention for the Summerlee Book Prize. A German translation, under the title “Berichtenswert,” is set to be released in Summer 2021 by Elif Verlag. Currently, she is a Resident Artist at the American Lyric Theater and Rice University.

Marcus Norris

Marcus Norris’ first foray into making music came in the form of producing rap beats on pirated software, installed on a Windows 98 computer that he Macgyvered together from spare parts while laying on the floor of his childhood bedroom. Though he came to composing concert music later, he transferred that same imagination and ingenuity to writing music of all kinds. Marcus has been called a

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“New Musical Talent in our Midst” by Chicago’s N’digo Magazine, and has made a number of achievements, including being selected as an inaugural Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Philharmonic from 2021-24, being awarded the prestigious Cota-Robles fellowship for pursuing his PhD in Music Composition at UCLA, and being chosen in 2020 for the LA Philharmonic’s National Composers Intensive. His violin concerto “GLORY” opened to three sold-out performances when premiered by the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and then was subsequently performed in Guangzhou, China later that year. In 2020 Marcus founded South Side Symphony, which recently recorded the original score for the feature film “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” starring Regina Hall & Sterling K. Brown, written and directed by Adamma Ebo. South Side Symphony remains the only orchestra that would perform “Back That Thang Up” on the same concert as Beethoven.

Adamma Ebo

Adamma Ebo is American-Nigerian writer/director, who completed her first feature film project HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL. in 2021. The film is produced by her identical twin sister Adanne Ebo, alongside 59% (Daniel Kaluuya’s production company), and starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown. She is also writing partners with her producer/twin sister, and together their

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TV writing credits include the upcoming Amazon series MR & MRS SMITH run by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Donald Glover, and Julie Plec’s GIRLS ON THE BUS for Netflix/WBTV. Adamma and her sister are developing their animated pilot spec SUPASHAWTY GIRLS, FUNKAMATIC BANGBANG at 20th Television Animation with Tiffany Haddish producing, and their live action pilot spec SUPPLY, 404 at MRC with Gloria Sanchez producing. They are also writing an episode for the upcoming anthology series STRANGE ADVENTURES with DC Entertainment/WBTV, and Adamma recently directed an episode of FX’s ATLANTA. Adamma is a Spelman College and UCLA Film School graduate. She is also a 2019 Sundance Episodic Lab fellow, and 2019 Sundance Screenwriting fellow.

Jorge Sosa

Jorge Sosa is a Mexican-born composer, currently residing in New York City. Opera News described his telematic opera “Alice in the Pandemic” as “wildly imaginative, musically powerful and technically courageous” and commended “Sosa’s broad stylistic palette (which) incorporated lyrical impassioned melodies, kooky carnival music, and efficient recitative.” Jorge has recently been

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commissioned by American Lyric Theater to write a new opera “Splintered,” co-composed with Justine Chen and libretto by Lila Palmer. Jorge is currently developing a new work for Boston Children’s Chorus on the subject of climate change, and a new comic opera for University of North Iowa. In 2020 Jorge was commissioned by Little Orchestra Society to write “The Monarch of Uxmal” a new work for orchestra and soprano with premiere scheduled for 2022. In 2019 Jorge was commissioned by Albany Symphony to write his work “I Dissent”, based on three iconic dissenting opinions by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Jorge is currently an Associate Professor at Molloy College.

Alejandra Villarreal Martinez

Alejandra Villarreal Martinez formally began writing for the stage in 2015, when her pastiche children’s opera, Alice in Operaland was produced at the Cleveland Children’s Museum and the Cleveland One World Festival by the Great Lakes Light Opera company. Another of her children’s operas, The Lunchbox Project was produced by Reimagining Opera for Kids as part of their 2018 season, touring to many

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schools in Southern Indiana. Ms. Martinez has been privately working on an original libretto, Higueras, for several years. In 2020, this libretto, inspired by her Mexican heritage, was included in Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers Libretto Workshop. Another work, based on the lives of soldaderas in the Mexican Revolution, La Capitana, was completed in 2017, co-written with Nancy De Los Santos. La Capitana received recognition from Opera America and was the project for which Ms. Martinez won the Jacobs School of Music’s Innovation Competition. Ms. Martinez is also an award-winning soprano who specializes in Spanish and Latin American music as well as 20th and 21st century works. In 2020, Ms. Martinez became co-Executive Director of New Voices Opera, which aims to produce new operas by student composers, and is currently promoting and performing in John William Griffith II’s The Jungle.

Carlos Castro

Carlos Castro is a Costa Rican composer and 2008 Latin Grammy winner. He is the artistic director of Ensamble Eco, the foremost chamber ensemble in Central America. His music has been played in USA, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, England, Spain, Poland, Germany, Portugal, Singapore, Hong Kong and more. His music has been performed by important ensembles and soloists like:

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North South Consonance Ensemble (NY), Edmundo Ramirez (NYSound Circuit), Composer’s Concordance, Shattered Glass, The Ear, Mario Ulloa, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, Orquesta Sinfónica de Heredia, Orquesta Filarmónica de Caracas, Rubén Riera, Iván Chinchilla, Javier Valerio, Irwin Hoffman, David Robert Coleman, among others. Castro’s guitar music is edited by Les Productions d’OZ, Quebec, Canada. His compositions range from solo guitar to orchestra and opera. Has composed and produced numerous scores for dance, theatre, video, film, and radio, including a long list of collaborations with Radio Nederland for a series of radio dramas and documentaries. Carlos Castro teaches at the Universidad de Costa Rica, where he is the Coordinator of the Composition Department and is a member of the Board of ACAM (Asociación de compositores y autores musicales de Costa Rica).

Diana Solomon-Glover

Diana Solomon-Glover’s artistic talents, showcased on the operatic stage, in concert, oratorio, recital, musical theater, cabaret, and on radio and television across the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Central America, have long served humanitarian and social efforts. This season, her opera This Little Light of Mine, about 1960’s Civil Rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, with music by

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Chandler Carter, will premiere in October at the Santa Fe Opera. Last November, Solomon-Glover received Opera America’s IDEA grant to create an oratorio with composer, Maria Thompson Corley, based on the life of Congressman John Lewis. As a soprano, she has been a featured soloist for The Innocence Project’s Annual Gala and producer of Project People Foundation’s “Celebration of Life” concerts, which raised over $250,000 for programs benefiting South African children orphaned by AIDS. Ms. Solomon-Glover is also co-owner with singer/composer Kristin Norderval of Reduta Deux, a not-for-profit dedicated to producing theatrical works that represent an unusual integration of vision and techniques whose subject matter reflects a broad human consciousness.

Roydon Tse

A composer of “exquisitely layered soundworlds” (I care if you listen) hailed for works “glittering with professionalism” (Vancouver Sun), Chinese-Canadian composer Roydon Tse is passionate about communicating to audiences from all backgrounds. His music is influenced by the intersections of Eastern and Western traditions, the global climate crisis, psychology, places of

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being, and loss. He currently is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s NextGen composer (2022) and is embarking on a new work for the Esprit Orchestra. Tse has won multiple national and international awards for composition, including six SOCAN Foundation Awards for Composers, the Washington International Composition Prize, Grand Prize from the iSing! International Composition Competition, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award, Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction, and the Metcalf Performing Arts Protégé Prize. He was named one of “Top 30 under 30” Canadian Classical Musicians by the CBC in 2017. Born in Hong Kong, Dr. Tse studied in the U.K. before majoring in composition at the University of British Columbia (B.Mus) and the University of Toronto (M.Mus, D.M.A). Based in Toronto, he is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Center and works frequently with the Canadian Opera  Company as a teaching artist.

Marcus Yi

Marcus Yi is an award-winning theatre writer/composer/director and performer based in New York. He has created work in Singapore, Atlanta and New York and is the artistic director of Morbid Dumpling Productions. He has worked on over 100 productions and his recently created work include Micro Shrimp The Musical (Winner of 11th Annual NJ Playwrights Contest), 29x/y (WIld Project,

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Paradise Factory), Pretty Little Mouth (Roy Arias), The Procedure (Gene Frankel Theater), The Ephemeral Lightness of Dreams: the dream plays (Lynn Redgrave Theatre), Thicker Than Water: the blood plays and Baby Baby!. His work has been produced by the National Asian Artists Project, Yangtze Rep, Prospect Theater, Pan Asian Rep, Asian American Film Lab, The Secret Theatre, New Jersey Playwrights Contest, Ingenue Theater, Modern Griot Theatre, Ticket2eternity Productions, Queens Players, Rising Solo, POPLAB, URNetworkAlliance, NYC Actors and Playwrights Collective, All Out Arts, Short Play Lab, Angry Head Productions and Living Room Theater. His work has been seen at the New York Times Center, Green Room 42, The Duplex, National Opera Center, Midtown International Theater Festival, Planet Connections Theater Festivity, Fresh Fruit Festival and the Midwinter Madness Theater Festival. Marcus was named one of Indie Theater Now’s 2014 People of the Year, is an Indie Theater Now Playwright, and an inaugural member of the 92nd Street Y Musical Theater Development Lab Collective. He is also a Resident Artist with American Lyric Theater and a New Victory 2021 Labworks Artist.

Saman Shahi

Saman Shahi is an award-winning and published composer, pianist, conductor and educator based in Toronto. His music has been described as “Powerful and empowering” (The Wholenote), and “Lucid and dramatic” (Musicworks). He is also a co-founder and the Executive Director at ICOT since 2011. He also works as a composer and teaching artist with the Canadian Opera Company. Saman is

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also an active member of the Circle music band, a rock fusion group in Toronto since 2011, as well as the pianist for the Rogue Duo, a violin piano deut with Bijan Sepanji. In 2020 Saman’s debut composition album “Breathing in the Shadows” was recorded and released by Leaf Music. His chamber composition album,“Microlocking” was also released by People|Places|Records in 2021. His song cycle “Orbit” in this album won the second prize in Canadian Amateur Musician’s Associations’ composition Competition in 2019. Saman was also named the recipient of the 2020 Riversong Commission award by Whispering River Orchestra in 2020. The commission piece also was selected by Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s 2021 “Explore the Score.”

Isabella Dawis

Isabella Dawis is a Filipina-American playwright and performer. As a librettist, she is the recipient of the 2022 Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre, and she holds a Composers and the Voice Fellowship with the American Opera Project. As a lyricist, she is the recipient of the 2021 Fred Ebb Award, with composer Tidtaya Sinutoke. Their musicals together include HALF THE SKY (Weston-Ghostlight New Musical

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Award, 5th Avenue Theatre Digital Radio Play/First Draft Commission, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Theater Mu’s New Eyes Festival, Theater Latté Da’s NEXT Festival) and SUNWATCHER (Civilians’ R&D Group, Goodspeed’s Johnny Mercer Writers Grove, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Global Forms, Ancram Opera House Play Lab, Tofte Lake Center). Isabella’s writing has been supported by the Primary Stages Rockwell Scholarship, the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Songbook, Musical Theatre Factory, Coalition of Asian American Leaders, and more. B.M. summa cum laude, piano performance, University of Minnesota, with vocal study at New England Conservatory.

About the Competition

All participating teams will travel to Atlanta after preparing their works in advance of the program. Travel, housing, singers, pianists and space will be provided to each composer/librettist team in order to showcase their new mini-operas, based on the stories of Atlanta and greater Georgia.  The winning team will split a $10,000 prize and be commissioned to write a chamber opera for a future season at the Atlanta Opera. All other participating artists are guaranteed a $1,000 honorarium.

Designed specifically for composers and librettists from historically underrepresented communities, the competition is only open to those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab-American, Latin-American or other communities of color, including those artists from outside the US.

The four-day competition runs from June 17 to June 20. The showcase will be hosted in partnership with Morehouse College, School of Music. The finals will be open to the public and will be held at the Ray Charles Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 20, 2022. The finals will include a special commemorative performance honoring the Juneteenth holiday.

Each creative team will be assigned a story drawn from Georgia’s past and present based on materials provided by this year’s “Stories that Resonate” partners, representative nonprofit organizations with storytelling at their core.

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, We Love Buford Highway, the Fulton County Library System, the Japan American Society of Georgia and The Atlanta History Center will assist the opera in providing compelling local story prompts and creative briefs for the participating librettists and composers. The creative teams will be paired with story partner organizations and given their story briefs in advance of the competition with time to engage in collaborative discussion and exploration. The stories will fall into broad categories, paired with applicants based on interests identified in the application.

The Atlanta Opera provides singing talent, a pianist and a director to assist with staging, plus, a treasure trove of background information from the Stories that Resonate partner organizations to spark imagination.

In partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting, The Atlanta Opera Film Studio will produce a mini-series using filmed portions of the competition and supplemental interviews that will be shown on GPB stations across the state and online.

photo by Jeff Roffman

Artistic Advisor

Morris Robinson

Internationally renowned bass and Atlanta native Morris Robinson will serve as the artistic advisor for this year’s competition, working with creative teams throughout the competition as well as serving as one of the judges. 

“Projects like this one are necessary in order to move the needle for composers and librettists of color. I’m proud to be part of a company that is doing this work.”

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Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director

Tomer Zvulun

“The diversity of Atlanta—racial, ethnic, cultural—is the reason for the vibrancy and richness of this city. We want diversity to be a vital part of every aspect of our company and reflect the city we call home. This new initiative will achieve two major goals: sharing inspirational stories that reflect the multicultural history of Atlanta and amplifying the voices of diverse artists.”

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Judges

Donald Byrd

Donald Byrd is the Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater, a Tony Award nominated (The Color Purple) and Bessie Award winning (The Minstrel Show) choreographer. He has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and The Joffrey Ballet among others; and worked extensively in theater and opera including The NY Public Theater, The 5th Avenue Theater, Seattle Opera, Dutch National Opera, and San Francisco Opera.

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Awards, prizes, and fellowships includes Doris Duke Artist Award, James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award, Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts (Cornish College of the Arts), Masters of Choreography Award (The Kennedy Center), Fellow at The American Academy of Jerusalem, James Baldwin Fellow of United States Artists, Resident Fellow of The Rockefeller Center Bellagio, Fellow at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue (based at Harvard), and the Mayor’s Arts Award for his sustained contributions to the City of Seattle.

Khori Dastoor

Khori Dastoor has been named the new General Director and Chief Executive Officer of Houston Grand Opera. She will begin her new role with HGO full-time as of January 2022. She will assume responsibility for HGO’s strategic vision, fiscal condition, artistic merit, labor relations, and reputation both nationally and internationally.

Khori is an entrepreneurial and data-driven leader with a proven record of organizational transformation and a clear vision for the future of opera. She is committed to the integration of technology-based advancements, the diversification of traditional revenue models, the establishment of unconventional collaborations, and the expansion of access to the art form to all communities.

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She joined the HGO team from Opera San José (OSJ), where she served as General Director. Through her strategic vision, OSJ achieved record budget surpluses, enjoyed dramatic growth of held cash and investments, launched the nation’s first COVID relief fund for artists and musicians, established a new digital media studio dedicated solely to producing opera, distributed content to over 30 partner companies nationwide, and increased the company’s patron base to include a worldwide audience for the first time in the company’s 37-year history.

She serves on the Board of Directors for Opera America where she is the co-chair of the Learning and Leadership Council and is a founding member and mentor for the Mentorship Program for Opera Leaders of Color.  She also serves on the  Aspen Music Festival & School Alumni Committee, is a graduate of  American Express Women in Music Leadership Academy, and previously served as the San Francisco District Director of Metropolitan Opera National Council  Auditions. Previously, Khori served as Associate Director of The Packard Humanities Institute, a private family foundation dedicated to the conservation and advancement of art, music, and archaeology.

Khori holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree in opera studies from UCLA. She and her husband are the proud parents of two young daughters.

Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney is the acclaimed librettist for The Snowy Day, which enjoyed its world premiere at the Houston Grand Opera. Ms. Pinkney is The New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults. She is a four-time NAACP Image Award nominee, recipient of both the Regina Medal and the Arbuthnot Honor Award, for her singular body of work and distinguished contribution to the field of literature. Ms. Pinkney has been inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, and has served on the creative teams for several theatrical and audio productions, including those drawn from her acclaimed books. Ms. Pinkney and her work are the subject of the Emmy-nominated short film, Andrea Davis Pinkney: National Author Engagement.

Priti Gandhi

Priti Gandhi joined Portland Opera as Artistic Director in the fall of 2021, as part of a new collaborative leadership team structure for the company. An artistic and strategic leader, her role leads the discussions for season planning, casting, developing the young artist program, and oversight of the company’s community engagement and educational programs.

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Previous to her post in Portland, she was Vice President of Artistic at Minnesota Opera, where she advised on topics related to company programming, casting, and commissions related to the New Works Initiative. She also created new processes for company-wide conversations regarding diversity in traditional narratives and casting – most notably, exploring the growing discussion of the relevance of the operatic canon in the evolving lens of today – and has become a frequent contributor to panels, podcasts, and published articles regarding the ongoing dialogue of new perspectives in industry-wide EDI work.

She is also passionate about connecting to singers regarding career paths and resources, as well as creating more compassionate spaces for artists in the industry – speaking on panels with Opera America, National Endowment for the Arts, The Women’s Opera Network (OA), and various opera companies throughout the region.

In her international opera performance career, Ms. Gandhi has sung with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Theatre du Chatelet, the Royal Opera House, Prague Estates Theatre, New York City Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Opera, among others. Ms. Gandhi graduated with a bachelor of arts in communications and a minor in theatre from the University of California, San Diego, and has served as a published weekly columnist with The San Diego Union-Tribune, about life backstage and on the road. An alumna of young artist programs at Cleveland Opera and San Diego Opera, Ms. Gandhi is also an amateur painter and flamenco dancer.

Kevin Puts

Winner of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his debut opera Silent Night, Kevin Puts’ works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by leading ensembles, and soloists throughout the world, including Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Jeffrey Kahane, Dame Evelyn Glennie, the New York Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchester (Zurich), the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Miro Quartet, and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Fort Worth, St. Louis, and Minnesota. His newest orchestral work, The City, was co-commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in honor of its 100th anniversary and by Carnegie Hall in honor of its 125th anniversary.

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His new vocal work Letters From Georgia, written for Soprano Renée Fleming and orchestra and based on the personal letters of Georgia O’Keeffe, had its world premiere in New York in Fall 2016, and his first chamber opera, an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s gothic novel The Trial of Elizabeth Cree commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, had its world premiere in September 2017, followed by performances with Chicago Opera Theater in February 2018.

Silent Night, commissioned and premiered in November 2011 by Minnesota Opera and coproduced by Opera Philadelphia, has been produced at Fort Worth Opera, Cincinnati Opera, the Wexford Opera Festival, Calgary Opera, Montreal Opera, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Atlanta Opera, Opera San Jose, and Michigan Opera Theatre. In 2013, his choral works To Touch The Sky and If I Were A Swan were performed and recorded by Conspirare. His second opera, also commissioned by Minnesota Opera, The Manchurian Candidate, based on the novel, had its world premiere in 2015.

A former Composer-in-Residence of Young Concerts Artists, he is currently a member of the composition department at the Peabody Institute and the Director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute.

Morris Robinson

Mr. Robinson regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera where he debuted in a production of Fidelio and has since appeared as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte (both in the original production and in the children’s English version), Ferrando in Il Trovatore, the King in Aida, and in roles in NabuccoTannhäuser, and the new productions of Les Troyens and Salome. He has also appeared at the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Volksoper Wien, Opera Australia, and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. His many roles include the title role in Porgy and Bess, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Ramfis in Aida, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos, Timur in Turandot, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Padre Guardiano in La Forza del Destino, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, and Fasolt in Das Rheingold.

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Though Mr. Robinson’s 20/21 season engagements were cancelled due to the pandemic, he was able to take part in several special presentations, including Twilight: Gods, an innovative production of Gotterdämmerung created by Yuval Sharon and presentered by both the Michigan Opera Theater and the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Rigolettto produced by the Tulsa Opera and presented in ONEOK Field baseball stadium. He was also a member of the Atlanta Opera’s 20/21 Company Players appearing in various concerts, recitals, and educations outreach events throughout the year.

Also a prolific concert singer, Mr. Robinson’s many concert engagements have included appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (where he was the 2015-2016 Artist in Residence), San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Met Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, New England String Ensemble, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and at the BBC Proms and the Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, Verbier, and Aspen Music Festivals. He also appeared in Carnegie Hall as part of Jessye Norman’s HONOR! Festival. In recital he has been presented by Spivey Hall in Atlanta, the Savannah Music Festival, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Mr. Robinson’s solo album, Going Home, was released on the Decca label. He also appears as Joe in the DVD of the San Francisco Opera production of Show Boat, and in the DVDs of the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Salome and the Aix-en-Provence Festival’s production of Mozart’s Zaide.

This season, Mr. Robinson returns to the Metropolitan Opera for The Magic Flute, the Dallas Opera for his role debut as Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers, and the Los Angeles Opera for Aida, Il Trovatore, and his role debut as Landgraf in Tannhäuser.

An Atlanta native, Mr. Robinson is a graduate of The Citadel and received his musical training from the Boston University Opera Institute and as a member of the prestigious Metropolitan Opera’ Lindemann Young Artist Program. He was also Artistic Advisor to the Cincinnati Opera from 2019-2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The 96-Hour Opera Project?

A composition showcase and competition in which teams of composers and librettists have four days to direct and stage completely new and compelling 10-minute operas.

What is the location of the performance?

The showcase will be hosted in partnership with Morehouse College, School of Music. The finals will be open to the public and will be held at the Ray Charles Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 20, 2022. The finals will include a special commemorative performance honoring the Juneteenth holiday.

What are “Stories that Resonate”?

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, We Love Buford Highway, the Fulton County Library System, the Japan American Society of Georgia and The Atlanta History Center will assist the opera in providing compelling local story prompts and creative briefs for the participating librettists and composers. The creative teams will be paired with story partner organizations and given their story briefs in advance of the competition with time to engage in collaborative discussion and exploration. The stories will fall into broad categories, paired with applicants based on interests identified in the application.  

Who should apply?

This year’s competition is designed specifically for composers and librettists from historically underrepresented communities, the 96-Hour Project is only open to those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab-American, Latin-American or other communities of color, including those artists from outside the US.

There is no age range or limit for applying, but composers and librettists who are in the early stages of their careers are encouraged to participate. Artists may have acquired significant skills in academic or professional settings, but have not had works performed regularly.

What if a librettist doesn’t have a composing partner or vice-versa?

We’ll provide an option to pair artists, based on their experience and interests.

What resources does the competition provide to participants?

All participating teams will travel to Atlanta after preparing their works in advance of the program. Travel (airfare or mileage reimbursement), housing, singers, pianists and space will be provided to each composer/librettist team in order to showcase their new mini-operas, based on the stories of Atlanta and greater Georgia. The winning team will split a $10,000 prize and be commissioned to write a chamber opera for a future season at the Atlanta Opera. All other participating artists are guaranteed a $1,000 honorarium.

What are the judging criteria for the applications?

Submissions will be evaluated based off of artistic excellence or the potential for artistic excellence, artistic ability, knowledge of both vocal and orchestral writing (composers), and character development (librettists).

Who are the judges for the competition?

Judges for the competition are Priti Gandhi, Artistic Director of Portland Opera; librettist and writer Andrea Davis Pinkney; recently appointed General Director of the Houston Grand Opera, Khori Dastoor; Bass Morris Robinson; composer Kevin Puts; and Donald Byrd, choreographer.

What is the four-day structure?

• Day one: Duos of composers and librettists arrive in Atlanta and finalize their pieces
• Day two: Rehearsal and staging
• Day three: Coaching, mentorship with judges, and final prep
• Day four: Performance and judging

What are your plans for community participation and digital distribution?

Artists will work with our Story Partner organizations to refine and explore their story prompts in the month leading up to the event.

We’ll invite the community to witness the performances on Monday, June 20th. Our Atlanta Opera Film Studio is working with Georgia Public Broadcasting to determine broader distribution in a mini-series format.

 

photo by Jeff Roffman