A couple of weeks ago, the Seattle Opera announced that it will a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help underwrite costs involved in producing “Amelia,” a new opera with music by American composer Daron Aric Hagen with a libretto by American poet and writer Gardner McFall, and a story by Stephen Wadsworth. In addition, The Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences has given Seattle Opera $300,000 and will be the production sponsor for “Amelia.” “Amelia” is the first opera to have been commissioned by Seattle Opera during the tenure of its general director Speight Jenkins.
Here’s some excerpted information from the Seattle Opera press release:
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant will be used over a four-year period to support the production and presentation of contemporary opera at Seattle Opera and at two additional American opera companies. Seattle Opera will be sending out details for participation in early July. The grant will provide funding that will underwrite rental and royalty expenses for up to two other companies to present Amelia. It will also cover the cost of set and costume modifications undertaken by Seattle Opera to make the opera compatible with multiple companies. A percentage of the grant will fund any necessary score or libretto revisions and will fund audience development materials that can be shared in the various cities.
Amelia’s title character is a woman in her late thirties who is expecting her first child. Amelia is still traumatized by the death of her father, a Navy pilot lost in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. The opera spans a thirty-year period in both the U.S. and Vietnam, interweaving one woman’s emotional journey, the American experience in Vietnam, and elements of the Daedalus and Icarus myth. The opera’s emotional arc moves from loss to recuperation, paralysis to flight, ultimately embracing life and the creative force of love and family.