Catapult Opera Launches New Initiatives to Re-Imagine Opera for Future

By David Salazar

Catapult Opera has announced several initiatives to alter the face of opera in the United States.

In a press release unveiling its mission, the organization offered up four new programs that it intends to implement to re-imagine opera.

“We believe that the American opera industry, as we have known it, is no longer sustainable,” say the opening lines of Catapult Opera’s press statement. “In order for opera to survive, institutions must become more nimble, more inclusive, and more innovative at every level. The disruption of the pandemic grants us an opportunity to envision an exciting and sustainable future for a classic art form.”

The company will present “Opera Innovate,” “Opera Accelerate,” “Opera Animate,” and “Opera Stimulate.”

“Opera Innovate” intends to commission and produce new works that are aimed specifically to engage with virtual audiences. As part of this project, the company has already announced Nico Muhly and Greg Pierce’s “The Glitch,” which will begin production in early August with the intention of being unveiled in September. The company is also preparing a new work by Laurie Anderson that will also premiere in the fall.

With “Opera Accelerate,” the company will seek out, support, and empower visionary artists through fast-grant competitions and project-based collaborations. The first Digital Opera Accelerate Competition will be a team-based event that will engage artists to create a piece of digital content that “improves the artistic and technical quality of socially distanced dramatic performance.”

“Opera Animate” will offer a dedicated expansion of the operatic canon and rethink the future of live opera performance, particularly throughout New York City. Among the projects in development under this banner are Nadia Boulanger’s “La Ville Morte,” David Hertzberg’s “The Wake World,” Erollyn Wallen’s “The Silent Twins,” and Toshio Hosokawa’s “Hanjo.”

Finally, “Opera Stimulate” will create a free, online library of masterclasses, lectures, process conversations, and other discussions to promote a deeper connection to opera’s past, present, and future. Catapult Opera will present “Conversations with Neal” led by Neal Goran on Casting, talent identification, practice, skill acquisition, and self-production. There will be an “In Process Series” as well as “Artists for the Future” series.