The Music Critics Association of North America is pleased to announce that its second annual award for Best New Opera has been given to composer David Hertzberg for “The Wake World.”
The opera, which received its premiere on September 18, 2017, was commissioned by Opera Philadelphia in a co-presentation with The Barnes Foundation and received rave reviews. In fact, all performances were sold out.
The award for Best New Opera was created to honor musical and theatrical excellence in a fully staged opera that received its world premiere in North America during the preceding calendar year. The inaugural award went to “Breaking the Waves,” composed by Missy Mazzoli with a libretto by Royce Vavrek.
The award will be presented on April 13 during the MCANA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., and Hertzberg will be featured in MCANA’s web publication, Classical Voice North America.
The other finalists were “Dinner At Eight,” by composer William Bolcom and librettist Mark Campbell, “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” by composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell, and “War of the Worlds,” by composer Annie Gosfield and librettist/director Yuval Sharon.
In response to winning the award, Hertzberg said, “The Wake World represents a deeply personal vision, an attempt to render in lurid detail the strange, frightening, in-articulable mystery of imagination, into which I poured every iota of my creative being. To have this work recognized by a jury of such distinguished and probing musical minds is inexpressibly gratifying and moving. I would like to thank director R.B. Schlather for his gleaming inspiration, Opera Philadelphia for their support and courage in bringing this work to the stage, and especially, my dad for his unconditional respect for my creative journey, which has always seemed to me a superhuman act of generosity.”