Early completion of New Works Initiative fundraising campaign

At its annual meeting today, Minnesota Opera announced the completion of the New Works Initiative fundraising campaign, one year ahead of schedule.

A pioneering movement in new opera when it was launched in 2008, the NWI was designed to invigorate the operatic art form with an infusion of contemporary works and formalized Minnesota Opera’s commitment to artistic growth, leadership and innovation. Its first iteration – a seven-season commitment to producing premieres and revivals of new works – funded the commissions of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night (Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell), 2013’s Doubt by Douglas J. Cuomo and librettist John Patrick Shanley, and the upcoming political thriller, The Manchurian Candidate (also by Puts and Campbell), which will have its premiere in March 2015.

“We are so grateful our New Works Initiative donors for their extraordinary support of our efforts to expand the art form,” said Minnesota Opera President and General Director Kevin Ramach. “It is a great testament to power of these works and of the vitality of the operatic art form in the 21st century.”

Now approaching the final year of the Initiative’s fully funded first phase, Minnesota Opera also revealed today the commission of Dinner at Eight by William Bolcom and librettist Mark Campbell, the third supported by the Initiative’s next iteration. Previously announced commissions include The Shining, by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the novel by Stephen King, which will have its world premiere in May 2016, and the co-commission of Cold Mountain with The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia, by composer Jennifer Higdon and librettist Gene Scheer, based on the novel by Charles Frazier, currently planned for the 2018-2019 Minnesota Opera season.

The future of the New Works Initiative is conceived not only to encompass major mainstage commissions like these, but endeavors to further invigorate the art form and expand its audience by creating new works conceived for non-traditional opera venues. To that end, a new hallmark of this new program will be the creation of local and national partnerships to develop new ways of creating, workshopping and presenting opera. Programmatic plans will be released on an ongoing basis.

 “The New Works Initiative is what excites me about Minnesota Opera,” said Margaret Wurtele, chair of the New Works Initiative Committee. “I am so proud of the work we have done, from The Grapes of Wrath to the Pulitzer Prize for Silent Night, and I personally look forward to continuing to support these efforts as we move forward into phase two.”

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