2011 Opera Vista Festival slated for March 12-19
Opera Vista, winner of the 2010 Houston Press MasterMind Award, announces the 2011 Opera Vista Festival, featuring the 4th Annual Vista Competition for New Opera, will take place March 12-19, 2011. Opera Vista focuses on bringing contemporary opera to Houston and the Vista Competition is an American-Idol-style competition for groundbreaking new works by composers from around the world.
“The Vista Competition is unique in that it gives composers the opportunity to have their works performed by professional singers and instrumentalists,” says Viswa Subbaraman, Artistic Director of Opera Vista. “They have a wonderful opportunity to interact with many well-known people from the world of opera and classical music, but I think more importantly, they get an insight into how their work is perceived by the audience.”
In November, six semi-finalists from three countries were selected, ranging from adaptations of Greek myth to a courtroom drama. Excerpts from each work will be performed on March 16th & 18th at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, beginning at 8 pm. A panel of judges – including world-renowned composer Daron Hagen and the director and founder of the Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston, Buck Ross – will critique each excerpt, and the audience will vote to select which operas will advance. In the final round, the selected excerpts will be performed again with a longer critique from the judges, but then the audience will get to directly question the composers. The audience then votes to determine the winner of the competition, which will be announced March 19th at the festival’s closing performance. The winner receives $1,500 and a full production of their opera at the next festival.
This year’s festival will also include the Texas premiere of the winning opera from the 2010 Opera Vista Festival, And Then I Remember by Lembit Beecher, in collaboration with Sara Draper and Dancepatheatre. Based on interviews with his grandmother, And Then I Remember creates a moving recollection of her life in Estonia during World War II and her flight from the advancing Russian Army by blending music, dance, video, and recorded audio. And Then I Remember will be performed at 8 pm on March 12th and 19th at Bethany Christian Church, 3223 Westheimer. Finally, there will be an evening of contemporary chamber music at 8 pm on March 17th at Bethany Christian Church.
“This event is great for Houston not only culturally, but also economically,” says Joe Carl White, Executive Director of Opera Vista. “We provide employment for some of the many top-flight musicians that are based here, and we are building an event that already draws interest from all over the world. When you think of new film you think of Cannes or Sundance. I want people, when they think of new opera, to think of Houston.”
Ticket Prices (available at operavista.org beginning February 25)
March 12, 2011 And Then I Remember (opening night) – $40
March 16, 2011 Semi-Finals – $30
March 17, 2011 Chamber Night – $20
March 18, 2011 Finals – $30
March 19, 2011 And Then I Remember plus awards reception (and iPad raffle) – $40
Students and Senior Citizens: half price with current ID
Opening Night Package March 12, 16, 17, 18 – $140 value at $100 including 5 raffle tickets for an iPad Closing Night Package March 16, 17, 18, 19 – $140 value at $100 including 5 raffle tickets for an iPad