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Culture Fort Worth Opera to join with American Lyric for planned JFK opera

Fort Worth Opera to join with American Lyric for planned JFK opera

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

American Lyric Theater has joined Fort Worth Opera as co-commissioner for the world premiere of JFK, which will take place during the Spring 2016 Festival in Fort Worth.

JFK, FWOpera’s third commissioned opera, is the final work in three years of world premieres that will begin during the 2014 season. Written by composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek, JFK will tell the story of the lives and relationships of those connected to the 35th president of the United States, with a focus on their moments in Fort Worth the morning before his fateful trip to Dallas. The opera, which serves as the crown jewel of FWOpera’s 70th anniversary season in 2016, will take place at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall on April 16, 2016.

The opera was first announced in 2012 as the final work of Phase One of Opera of the Americas – Fort Worth Opera’s 10-year artistic commitment to the production of work from contemporary composers of the Americas. “Through this partnership, we are able to support this incredibly exciting project, and at the same time, support one of our distinguished alumni, Royce Vavrek, and David T. Little,” said ALT founder Lawrence Edelson. “The collaboration will also enable ALT to draw upon Fort Worth Opera’s producing expertise, as we make plans to bring this exciting new work to New York City audiences after it premieres in Texas.”

ALT will present two public events in New York City in conjunction with FWOpera, leading up to the 2016 world premiere of JFK in Fort Worth. The first event, taking place this fall, is a libretto workshop culminating with a The Living Libretto: JFK on Nov. 9, 2013, at The National Opera Center in New York City. The event will feature Vavrek reading excerpts of the libretto in progress. After the reading, there will be a panel discussion with Vavrek and Little, along with dramaturges Cori Ellison and Michael Cohen, historical researcher William V. Madison, Fort Worth Opera General Director Darren K. Woods, and Edelson exploring the challenge of adapting historical subject matter for the opera stage, and the portrayal of famous, iconic figures in opera, among other topics. The second event, a concert reading of the score in progress, will take place in New York City in fall 2014, with details to be announced at a later date.

Further details about JFK, including the cast and creative team for the world premiere, will be announced in 2015. Fort Worth Opera’s upcoming 2014 season includes two premieres – Daniel Crozier and Peter M. Krask’s With Blood, With Ink; and the regional premiere and national co-production of Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Pulitzer Prize award-winning Silent Night. – Betty Dillard  


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