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


OPERA AMERICA: 2009-2010 ONLINE LEARNING PROGRAM
BEGINS OCTOBER 20 WITH PUCCINI'S LA BOHÈME


New York, NY — OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, opens its 2009-2010 Online Learning season on October 20 with Puccini's La bohème and continues in April with Wagner's Ring Cycle. Online Learning is presented in partnership with six professional companies from across the United States: Arizona Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Los Angeles Opera, Portland Opera and Virginia Opera.

Online Learning contains a wealth of information about each opera and appeals to both opera lovers and those new to the art form. These multimedia online courses offer an opportunity to explore the many dimensions of opera — literature, music, visual art — as well as learn more about the artists who make a night at the opera truly unforgettable. Each course covers topics such as the world of the composer, the opera's source materials and music analysis, through written lectures, audio samples, photos and interviews. An interactive bulletin board feature allows discussion between participants and the instructor. Links to course materials are e-mailed to participants each week, allowing them to explore the resources at their own pace.

"Introducing opera to a broader audience is among OPERA America's core goals," stated Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America. "Online Learning provides valuable information about each opera's background, historical context and creator's intent, all of which help enrich the opera experience. Longtime opera lovers, as well as newcomers to the art form, will discover a greater appreciation for opera through this increased knowledge," Mr. Scorca continued.

A recent participant called OPERA America's Online Learning "… a very well-conceived initiative, innovative and to be entirely applauded."

Each partner company offers the courses to its patrons at no charge. Online Learning courses are available to the general public for $10 each and are free to OPERA America members.

Visit www.operaamerica.org/onlinelearning for more information and to register.

ONLINE LEARNING SCHEDULE AND INFORMATION

La bohème (Puccini): October 20 – November 17, 2009
Instructor: John Glover
Puccini's La bohème has long occupied a place on opera's "Top 10" list of most frequently performed works. This timeless classic illustrates the joys, sorrows and conflicts of artists and everyday people. Discover the deeper layers of this unforgettable story by examining its literary roots and consider the musical and dramatic elements that ensured Puccini's opera a permanent place in the canon.

A composer by trade, John Glover has received numerous awards and grants for his music. Commissions from organizations such as Baltimore Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, the Dueck Three, People's Light and Theater Company and the American Conservatory Theater have distinguished him as an emerging voice in contemporary music. He has written program notes, articles and online courses for organizations such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and OPERA America. Glover received his undergraduate training in composition with a focus in saxophone performance from Indiana University and his Master's degree in composition from the University of Southern California. Glover is also the operations manager for the American Composers Orchestra.

Partner companies: Arizona Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Portland Opera and Virginia Opera

Ring Cycle (Wagner): April 6 – June 1, 2010
Instructor: Thomas May
Richard Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen was a quarter century in the making and changed the course of operatic history. It also remains the ultimate challenge for a company to produce. In conjunction with Los Angeles Opera's first complete staging of the cycle and Opera Conference 2010 in Los Angeles, this course will provide a comprehensive path through the complex, labyrinthine and endlessly fascinating world that Wagner created through his extraordinary synthesis of the arts. In keeping with the Ring's scope, this course will offer eight full lectures, covering background on Wagner, his musical methods and mythological sources; the history of Ring productions; and individual introductions to each of the cycle's four operas.

Thomas May is a full-time freelance writer and educator. He serves as the English language editor for the Lucerne Festival and is a contributing writer to the San Francisco Symphony program book. His work regularly appears in the programs of other leading opera companies and orchestras — including those of the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Boston Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. He is also the program annotator for the New World Symphony and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. May's features and profiles appear in Playbill, Encore and LISTEN, while his criticism can be found in Opera Now and on the Web site crosscut.com. May has lectured on composers from Wagner to Philip Glass, and he has been the instructor for two of OPERA America's online courses, Nixon in China and Brief Encounter. His books include Decoding Wagner: An Invitation to His World of Music Drama and The John Adams Reader: Essential Writings on an American Composer, both from Amadeus Press.

Partner company: Los Angeles Opera

OPERA America's Online Learning is supported, in part, by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Music for La bohème and the Ring Cycle provided by Allegro Corporation/Opera D'Oro.

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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.