Renee Fleming, Gregory Spears’ ‘Fellow Travelers’ Headline PROTOTYPE Festival 2018

By Francisco Salazar

The PROTOTYPE Festival has announced its 2018 edition slated for January 7-20, 2018.

The festival celebrating its sixth annual showcase of progressive opera and music-theatre will showcase seven new presentations including three world premieres, two U.S. premieres, one New York premiere, and one work-in-progress. The Festival kicks off with soprano superstar Renée Fleming hosting the PROTOTYPE Soiree at City Vineyard January 7, 2018, an intimate evening to mingle with artists, festival directors, and Metropolitan Opera stars.

Actual performances will start on Jan. 9, 2018, with Michael Gordon and Deborah Artman’s “Acquanetta.’ Inspired by Mildred Davenport, the African-American star of the 1943 cult classic horror flick “Captive Wild Woman,” the chamber version, commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, will be produced in association with Bang on a Can and Trinity Church Wall Street and co-presented with Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center. It is the first production of the piece since the 2005 original in Germany.

On Jan. 12, 2018, Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce’s “Fellow Travelers” will get its New York premiere in Kevin Newbury’s acclaimed production first seen at the Cincinnati Opera. The production will get four performances and stars Aaron Blake.

“The Echo Drift,” an operatic collaboration between Mikael Karlsson, Elle Kunnos de Voss, and Kathryn Walat opens on Jan. 10, 2018. The world premiere production, which switches between the confines of a tiny cell and an expansive visual world of hand drawn animation, will get five performances and will be co-presented with Baruch Performing Arts Center.

Two international presentations make US debuts. First is “IYOV,” from the Ukranian team Vladyslav Troitskyi, Roman Gryhoriv and Illia Razumeiko. It opens on Jan 15, 2018, and retells the Biblical story of Job in a synthesis of ancient Greek drama, baroque opera, oratorio, Requiem, and the techniques of postmodern theater.

Then “Black Inscription,” from Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Jeremy Flower opens on Jan.11, 2018. The multimedia song cycle that follows a deep sea diver on her Odyssean journey was written with the guidance from experts at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and brought to life by a seven-piece band fronted by three singers.

The Festival’s work-in-progress for the season will be “Stranger Love” from Dylan Mattingly and Thomas Bartscherer. The work is being commissioned and performed by the chamber music ensemble Contemporaneous. The work will be showcased on Jan. 16 and 17, 2018.