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December 7, 2017
American Lyric Theater presented A Toast to Ten Years

New York, NY - American Lyric Theater presented A Toast to Ten Years, a wine tasting recital in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the company's lauded Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), on Friday, November 17, 2017 at 7pm at The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South, NYC. Tickets were $125 ($50 tax-deductible) and $250 ($175 tax-deductible), and tables of four were available at $500 ($200 tax-deductible) and $1,000 ($700 tax-deductible).

The event was a wine tasting recital, during which attendees had the opportunity to taste seven different wines that had been paired with excerpts from seven different operas developed by CLDP alumni, which were produced across the country. The evening was hosted by ALT's founder and producing artistic director Lawrence Edelson with Heather Meyer, East Coast regional manager for Winemonger Imports.

The evening included excerpts from (with wine pairings):
• Daniel Curran sang "Isadora" from Invisible Cities (Christopher Cerrone*) - world premiere at The Industry, LA, 2013, nominated for The Pulitzer Prize in Music (La Jara Prosecco NV Brut - Prosecco region, Veneto, Italy)
• Heather Johnson sang Jessie's aria "At the top of the Stairs" from The Long Walk (Jeremy Howard Beck*/Stephanie Fleischmann*) - world premiere at Opera Saratoga, 2015 (Rosi Schuster Blaufränkisch 2015 - Burgenland, Austria)
• Michael Kelly sang "A Lucky Man" from JFK (David T. Little/Royce Vavrek*) - world premiere at Fort Worth Opera, 2016 (Umathum Rosa 2016 - Burgenland, Austria)
• Daniel Curran sang "The Google Aria" from Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? (Jeffrey Dennis Smith*/David Johnston*) - concert premiere at (le) poisson rouge; world staged premiere at Urban Arias, 2018 (Gut Hermannsberg Riesling Trocken 2014 - Nahe, Germany)
• Carolina Worra and Adrian Rosas sang "Sylvia's Aria and The Phone Call" from Embedded (Patrick Soluri*/Deborah Brevoort*) - world premiere at Fargo Moorhead Opera, 2014 (Rodaro Refosco dal Pedunculo Rosso 2015 - Friuli, Italy)
• Cree Carrico and Heather Johnson sang "Cassie, an impending storm" from After the Storm (David Hanlon/Stephanie Fleischmann*) - world premiere at Houston Grand Opera, 2016 (Lichtenberger-Gonzales Muschelkalk Weiss 2015 - Burgenland, Austria)
• Kamala Sankaram, Cree Carrico and Sarah Heltzer sang "Chukar Song" from Thumbprint (Kamala Sankaram*/ Susan Yankowitz) - world premiere at the PROTOTYPE Festival, 2014 (Tschida Angerhof Grüner Veltliber Eiswein 2015 - Burgenland, Austria)
*indicates alumni of the CLDP

Wines were provided by Wine Monger, an importer of fine wines from Austria, Italy, Germany and France. The event, which was presented in partnership with Magnvm Opvs Tasting Concerts, also featured a raffle.

Honorary Committee: Page Ashley, Brent Barton & Nikolay Zdravkov, Patsy Chen, Gail Chesler, Anna DeSimone, Laura Kempster, Stephen M. Weiner & Don Cornuet.

"Over the past ten years, the Composer Librettist Development Program at ALT has been at the forefront of training the next generation of operatic writers," said Edelson. "There is nothing more satisfying than to see our alumni out in the world, writing incredible new operas, and seeing those works produced around the country - by companies large and small - changing the landscape of contemporary opera. We are deeply grateful to everyone who joined us at The Players for our 'Toast to Ten Years,' which gave us a chance to celebrate some of the many successes of our alumni, and to look forward at what the future holds for the CLDP.

At the center of the CLDP is ALT's core-curriculum, which consists of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country's leading working artists. For the 2017-18 season, principal faculty mentors will include composer/librettist Mark Adamo; librettist Mark Campbell; dramaturg Cori Ellison; and composer Jake Heggie. In addition, several internationally recognized composers and librettists are invited each season to be guest artists within the classes and workshops of the core-curriculum. Recent and upcoming guest teachers and lecturers include composers Ricky Ian Gordon, David T. Little, Missy Mazzoli,Paul Moravec, Kaija Saariaho, and Stewart Wallace, and librettists Michael Korie, Donna DiNovelli, Gene Scheer, and Royce Vavrek (one of the most prominent alumni of the CLDP).

As the program has blossomed over the past ten years, audiences around the country have increasingly been enjoying operas developed through the CLDP and by CLDP alumni at a wide variety of venues, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Saratoga, Utah Opera, Tulsa Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and many more. To date, the CLDP has provided intensive, personalized mentorship to 38 artists (with 7 new artists currently in the program), and 15 short chamber operas have been developed under the auspices of the program. Through the CLDP, ALT has commissioned eight full-length operas; and beyond the walls of ALT, alumni artists are at the forefront of creating new operas for companies around the country, including Opera Philadelphia, Washington National Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera. Eighteen new operas by ALT alumni have been commissioned and/or professionally produced since their participation in the CLDP. Of those works, nine of them have received (or are scheduled to receive) at least one additional production beyond their premiere, with four of them receiving three or more productions/presentations. Among the highlights of the 2017-18 season for CLDP alumni are the world premieres of The House Without a Christmas Tree(Ricky Ian Gordon/Royce Vavrek*) at Houston Grand Opera; Steal a Pencil for Me (Gerald Cohen*/Deborah Brevoort*) at Opera Colorado; Proving Up (Missy Mazzoli/Royce Vavrek*) at Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and The Miller Theater/NYC; and Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers (Kamala Sankaram*/David Johnston*) at Houston Grand Opera/HGOCo [*denotes alumni of the CLDP].

The Composer Librettist Development Program is made possible with multi-year support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through 2020. The Tenth Anniversary season of the CLDP is also made possible with additional leadership support from The National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

For more information about the Composer Librettist Development Program, Resident Artists, works by CLDP alumni, and upcoming public events at ALT, please visit


Great Operas Don't Just Happen. American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 by Lawrence Edelson to build a new body of operatic repertoire by nurturing composers and librettists, providing an incubator for their collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT's focus is on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with larger producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire. In 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member - a testament to ALT's service to the field. For more information about American Lyric Theater, please visit

American Lyric Theater's mentorship programs for composers and librettists and public programs in New York City are made possible by generous lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, OPERA America Innovation Grants (with support from The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation), Howard & Sarah D. Solomon Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, New Music USA's Impact Fund (made possible with funding from The Scherman Foundation's Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund), The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, and The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University.

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