San Francisco’s Opera Parallele (OP) has announced its first main stage opera commission, the creation of a new opera by American composer Laura Kaminsky inspired by the life of Georgia O’Keeffe at the time she left New York to embark on her iconic and influential experiences in New Mexico. The company has been awarded a prestigious Repertoire Development Grant from Opera America in the amount of $35,000 to support the work’s initial stages of creation and workshopping, and is set for an April 2019 premiere. The opera will feature a libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed, with a film by Reed as part of the production. The production team will be led by Opera Parallele Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel, will be conducted by OP Artistic Director and founder Nicole Paiement and will feature a cast of ten, details will be announced. The production is being undertaken by Opera Parallele in consortium with American Opera Projects and Cornish College of the Arts, and all three co-commissioners will present performances and other activities to be announced.
About The Opera
Today It Rains is set in May 1929, when Georgia O’Keeffe takes a train from New York to Santa Fe with her friend Rebecca Strand, propelling herself away from her tumultuous relationship with Alfred Stieglitz and his circle in search of a more fulfilled life as an artist. The libretto will segue seamlessly between O’Keeffe and Strand, charging forward through the American landscape, and O’Keeffe looking back on her love for Stieglitz. The opera will culminate in a moving finale as O’Keeffe arrives in Santa Fe to begin her new life. The opera’s title comes from one of O’Keeffe’s letters.
About The Composer
Laura Kaminsky is an award-winning, internationally recognized composer of opera, orchestra, chamber, vocal and choral music who is known to Bay Area audiences most recently for the Festival Opera production of As One, an opera about gender identity . As One (co-librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed), premiered in 2014 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to unanimously positive reviews, and was mounted in 2015 by Festival Opera in Oakland. Subsequently, the As One team has since been commissioned by Houston Grand Opera for a new work, Some Light Emerges, that will premiere in 2017, and by San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle for Today It Rains. Other upcoming commissions include a Piano Quintet for Ursula Oppens and the Cassatt String Quartet and a new work for Flute and Piano for the University of Minnesota/Duluth.
Kaminsky has received grants, awards and fellowships from, among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Opera America, Chamber Music America, BAM/The Kennedy Center De Vos Institute, Aaron Copland Fund, Virgil Thomson Foundation, Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music, American Music Center, USArtists International, CEC ArtsLink International Partnerships, Likhachev-Russkiy Mir Foundation Cultural Fellowship, Kenan Institute for the Arts, Artist Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, Bronx Arts Council, Arts Westchester, North Carolina Arts Council, Seattle Arts Commission, and Meet the Composer. She has received six ASCAP-Chamber Music America Awards for Adventuresome Programming, a citation from the Office of the President of the Borough of Manhattan, the 2015 Polish Gold Cross of Merit, a decoration awarded by the President of Poland for exemplary public service or humanitarian work, as well as the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage 2010 Chopin Award. She has been a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Centrum Foundation, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and Millay Colony for the Arts, and, in 2016, the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France.
Currently composer-in-residence at American Opera Projects, Kaminsky is a member of the faculty in the School of the Arts/Conservatory of Music at Purchase College/SUNY, where she served as dean from 2004-2008; she was also Artistic Director of Symphony Space in New York City until 2014. Previously she was chair of the music department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Artistic Director of the European Mozart Academy in Poland, and visiting faculty at the National Academy of Music in Ghana. In New York she held the positions of Director of Music and Theatre Programs at The New School, Artistic Director of Town Hall, and Associate Director of Humanities at the 92nd Street Y.