A glance at SFCV’s opera page makes it clear that the Bay Area is a veritable cauldron of operatic activity, with a dozen companies grand (SF Opera) and small (Pocket Opera) offering everything from Opera Parallèle’s family-friendly Harriet’s Spirit to Ars Minerva’s bawdy Messalina to timeless offerings like SF Opera’s Fidelio and Così fan tutte.
Among the most innovative groups in terms of fostering fresh works is West Edge Opera, which — in collaboration with chamber music ensemble Earplay — just announced the selections for their next SNAPSHOT festival. For the sixth year in a row, the showcase will sample new operas in development by West Coast composers and librettists. The festival is set to run April 9–20, 2022, at the Taube Atrium Theater in the Wilsey Center, San Francisco.
According to Earplay conductor Mary Chun, “Since its inception in 2017, SNAPSHOT has developed into a terrific platform to help West Coast opera-makers perfect their craft. This year’s selections especially reveal an embarrassment of riches from our vibrant new work community here in California.”
West Edge Opera Music Director Jonathan Khuner adds, “SNAPSHOT will showcase a variety of pieces, each with something important to say in a unique way. All five scenes on the program draw on real events or history of the last 75 years. This success of SNAPSHOT is a brilliant reflection both of the creative talent looking to opera for expression and of the appetite of West Edge’s and Earplay’s audiences for new works.”
Here is a snapshot of the upcoming lineup:
The Dark Horse, by composer Cesar Cancino and librettist Scott DeTurk, both Bay Area artists. The opera explores Italian motor racer and entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari’s rise to success
Lilith, by Oakland-based composer/librettist Michael Kaulkin. J.R. Salamanca’s 1961 novel about a recovering WW2 vet who interacts tragically with a primordially seductive patient at a mental institution was the inspiration for this work.
Cristina Doesn’t Need Saving, by composer/librettist Gabrielle Rosse. This opera also explores the margins of love in a story about a 15-year-old girl, estranged from her home, who seeks love and community in an uncertain environment of drugs and predation.
Remembrance, by composer/librettist Jean Ahn. The opera centers on a Korean boy who has lost his mother and sister in the Korean war. Bewildered, he cries and reminisces.
The School for Girls who Lost Everything in the Fire, by composer Ryan Suleiman and librettist Cristina Friès. The story of three girls, homeless and held hostage after a terrible fire, seeking love and adventure amid fear of the unknown adult world.
For more information about the operas, tickets, and details, visit the SNAPSHOT webpage.