|Ardea Arts announces BOUNCE The Basketball Opera, their latest project in development. Showcase performances will take place at Paerdegat Park in East Flatbush, Brooklyn Saturday-Monday June 25-27, 2016 at 6pm. For more information, visit http://www.ardeaarts.com/bounce/.
BOUNCE is grounded in pressing issues facing today’s youth. Based on the Greek myth The Flight of Icarus, BOUNCE tells the story of Ike “The Flight” Harris, a high school basketball star bound for stardom. Audiences will see if “Flight” can rebound from the emotional and physical pain of gun violence as the story plays out on local basketball courts across the country.
Pairing diverse casting with a fresh approach to arts engagement, local high school students working along side seasoned professionals are integrated into the production using the powerful medium of basketball. They become the basketball players, the cheerleaders and Flight’s classmates and teammates. Local and national community leaders also play a number of the adult roles.
Basketball is a simple game – get the ball in the basket. But this ‘simple’ game becomes complex when outside forces like money and fame challenge team ethics. Isaac “Flight” Harris, a gifted and ambitious young player is on a fast track to stardom until his wings are clipped by the actions of a jealous teammate. We experience Flight’s descent, then the powerful epiphany that changes his world forever. Synthesizing the grandeur of operatic singing with the grittiness of street rhythms, electronic dance music and urban hip-hop vocal stylings, BOUNCE asks: how does one rise up after being knocked down? The answer is in the game of basketball itself.
The creative team includes: Grethe Barrett Holby (Opera Director/Creative Producer), Glen Roven (Lead Composer/Music Supervisor) and Charles R. Smith, Jr. (Story and Libretto), with additional music by Tomás Doncker, (Global Soul Composer) and Ansolo (EDM tracks). The Production staff includes Dr. Everett McCorvey (lead Music Director), Gloria Parker (Producing Director), Chidi Ozieh (Managing & Media Director) and Clarence Tennell (Basketball Coach). The cast includes professional singers, actors, a hip-hop artist and high school students from GMACC, Inc. (Gangsta’s Making Astronomical Community Changes) in East Flatbush, The EBC High School for Public Service in Bushwick, and the Business of Sports School (BOSS) in Manhattan. The production is 90 minutes in length with no intermission.
Ardea Arts has been developing BOUNCE in partnership with The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. BOUNCE partners and advocates include prominent local council members, community leaders, and basketball industry advocates. This project is made possible in part by the support of The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, The John and Jody Arnhold Foundation, with in-kind contributions from BOYLAN Bottling Company, Newman’s Own, Inc. and Marquee Screen Printing.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Grethe Barrett Holby (Concept & Direction) The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, La Scala, LA Opera & companies across the US. Originating cast member Einstein on the Beach; collaborations with Leonard Bernstein, Lou Reed, Robert Wilson and Yusef Komunyakaa. Founding Artistic & Executive Director Ardea Arts and Family Opera Initiative; Founder of American Opera Projects; a Rockefeller Fellowship recipient, Holby holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from MIT.
Glen Roven (Lead Composer/Music Supervisor) Composer, lyricist, conductor, pianist; Founder and Artistic Director for RovenRecords, distributed worldwide by Naxos; 12 -time nominee and 4-time Grammy winner; collaborated with Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Aretha Franklin, Renee Fleming, Kathleen Battle and hundreds of other celebrities for film, television, Broadway, Carnegie Hall and many other international venues and orchestras.
Charles R. Smith, Jr. (Story and Libretto) Award-winning author, photographer and poet with over thirty books to his credit including a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration (2010) for his photographs accompanying the Langston Hughes poem “My People” and a Coretta Scott King Honor Author Award (2008) for his biography on Muhammad Ali, “Twelve Rounds to Glory.” Early books such as “Rimshots”, “Hoop Kings” and “Hoop Queens” focus on his love of basketball.
Tomás Donker (Additional Music) Global Soul composer and producer. Directs, composes and performs with his ensemble, Tomás Doncker Band. Guitarist for James Chance & The Contortions, Defunkt, J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz. Collaborated with Boosty Collins, Yoko Ono, The Itals, & Prince Charles Alexander. Current projects with Ivan Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Meshell Ndegeocello, Living Colour’s Corey Glover, P-Funk keyboardist Amp Fiddler Shamekia Copeland, & Bill Laswell.
Ansolo (EDM tracks) A DJ and Electronic Dance Music Producer, Ansolo has performed in major EDM concert venues and festivals around the world.
Everett McCorvey (Lead Music Director) Professor of Voice, OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies, and Director and Executive Producer of The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre: Artistic Director of the National Chorale, New York City; Director, American Spiritual Ensemble; Vice chair Kentucky Arts Council. Professional Credits: the Kennedy Center, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Communale (Italy), Radio Music City Hall. A basketball fan, he often sings the National Anthem for UKY Wildcats games.
ARDEA ARTS creates and produces provocative new works of music-theater and opera to entertain, challenge and inspire today’s diverse global community, uplift the human spirit, and encourage new ways of seeing our world. In addition to BOUNCE, Ardea Arts repertory includes Flurry Tale (1999), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2001), Fireworks! (2002), Animal Tales (2005), The True Last Words of Dutch Schultz (2007), The Man in the Black Suit (2008), Goodnight Moon/Plums (2009), CAT (2010), Maya’s Ark (2013), BABAR The Little Elephant (2014), One Christmas Long Ago (2015), and in development, The Three Astronauts.