Published: June 14, 2011

CU NOWThe CU New Opera Workshop (CU NOW) returned June 22-25 with an exciting new program of workshop-style performances featuring commentary from the composers. The workshop opened June 14 with a sold-out recital by CU voice alumnus Ashraf Sewailam.

CU NOW offers the rare opportunity to observe the process of operatic creation, and find out just what it takes to get an opera production from page to stage. This year’s featured composers were Herschel Garfein and Kirke Mechem. Patrons enjoyed excerpts of new works from our two professional composers-in-residence, performed by talented CU singers, in the state-of-the-art ATLAS Black Box Theatre. Each performance was followed by a public talkback where the audience asked questions and critiqued these works in progress.

In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, an opera by Herschel Garfein based on the play by Tom Stoppard, two minor characters from Hamlet explore what happens behind the scenes of the world’s most famous drama. Sections of this work-in-progress have been performed at New York City VOX, at the Glimmerglass Festival, and as a short film collaboration between American Opera Projects and Mark Morris Dance Group.

In Pride and Prejudice, composer Kirke Mechem sets a legendary love story to music. When Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr. Darcy, their intelligence and pride create harsh first impressions. As their families and friends seek true love, will they realize where their own hearts lie? Excerpts were recently featured by the Jane Austen Society of North America at San Francisco State University.