These four production designs were selected by panelists Izumi Ashizawa, director and producer; Todd Hensley, lighting designer and theater consultant, Schuler Shook; Drew Landmesser, deputy general director, Lyric Opera of Chicago; Tobin Ost, scenic and costume designer; and David O. Roberts, costume designer. As opera is an intrinsically collaborative art form, the projects chosen were selected not only because they demonstrate the requisite creativity and skill, but because they display true collaboration, creative vibrancy and collective passion.
The finalist teams will each be given $2,000 to be used toward further research and the production of more comprehensive renderings and models. Each team will also be mentored by one of the panelists as they prepare the final presentation of their designs. Up to two representatives from each team will be provided with transportation, lodging and registration to attend Opera Conference 2015 in Washington, D.C, where they will present their proposals to opera producers at a special live-streamed session as well as network with conference attendees. At the most recent Director-Designer Showcase, held in 2013, over 80 opera producers attended the presentation and more than 18,000 viewed the live stream. Over the next two years, each team will also have their designs featured in a six-month exhibition at the National Opera Center in New York.
Director Walker Lewis, one of the 2013 finalists, stated, “Presenting our work at Opera Conference 2013 provided the opportunity to meet so many opera professionals face to face, forming important relationships that I can now strengthen and nurture for years to come. That experience gave me the confidence to continue expanding my circle of opera colleagues and to think more creatively and boldly about possible opera projects,” he continued.
As a direct result of their Showcase experience, members of the 2013 finalist teams received engagements with member opera companies, including Amarillo Opera, American Opera Projects, Gotham Chamber Opera, Music-Theatre Group, Opera Columbus, Opera North, Opera Philadelphia and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. These finalists have also since worked with Central City Opera, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Labyrinth Theater Company, NBC (for the telecast of the Sochi Winter Olympics), Pittsburgh Opera, Second Stage, Tulsa Opera and on various film and television projects.
“OPERA America is uniquely positioned as the field’s convener and connector to advance the careers of the most talented creative artists,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase enables us to support the career development of stage directors and designers and, through them, further the artistic development of the opera form.”
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