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Beth Morrison Projects Establishes Another West Coast Beachhead

October 27, 2020

Beth Morrison Projects (BMP), the company behind much of the groundbreaking new opera of the past decade, is extending its roots on the West Coast. BMP will be in residence in Santa Barbara next summer at the Music Academy of the West.

Two productions promise to be the highpoint of BMP’s work with student fellows in the Music Academy’s Vocal Institute.

The first, a double bill of contemporary American works, brings in earlier pieces from recent Beth Morrison collaborators. David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s 2010 opera Vinkensport pairs with composer Ellen Reid’s The Odysseus Cycle. (Reid, Vavrek, and Little have all had successes with BMP in the past couple of years, including two Pulitzer Prize wins.)

With the Music Academy fellows, BMP will also stage the latest iteration of 21c Liederabend, the company’s take on a song recital, with previous outings at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and more. It’s a production that goes right to BMP’s style: collaboration, new work, and inventive, inviting staging.

In addition to the operatic work, BMP leadership, including founder Beth Morrison, will serve as faculty for the Music Academy’s Innovation Institute, which supports alumni entrepreneurship.

For BMP, the partnership with the Music Academy is another California connection; in the past five years, the company has championed productions with Los Angeles Opera, the LA Phil, and more. And with Beth Morrison on board, the Music Academy continues to keep its Vocal Institute on the innovative edge. Director and designer James Darrah, another visionary in the opera world, joined the Institute as creative director in 2018.

Peter Feher is an editor at SFCV. He can be reached at [email protected].