The Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Sarasota Opera are partnering for two free community programs featuring Hermitage Artists in Residence who are working on new opera projects

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The Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Sarasota Opera are partnering for two free community programs featuring Hermitage Artists in Residence who are working on new opera projects. The first one will be on Wednesday, October 28 at 10:00 a.m.. The featured artists, Elle Kunnos de Voss and Mikael Karlsson, will be interviewed by Sarasota Opera’s Executive Director Richard Russell at the Sarasota Opera House about their work and their new opera project, The Echo Drift. The program will take place in the Opera House Kamlet Library, 61 North Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota. No tickets or reservations are necessary, however space is limited and admittance will be on a first come, first serve basis. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and speak with the artists prior to the talk. Coffee will be served. For additional information, contact the Hermitage at 941-475-2098, ext. 5.
“Our esteemed Sarasota Opera is known world-wide for their flawless productions of traditional opera,” remarked Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat. “At the Hermitage, we are becoming more and more aware of the large number of new operas being written and produced around the country by many of our composers and librettists. We hope this partnership will help to cast a light on new work, as Sarasota Opera buffs learn more about what living artists are creating.”
Elle Kunnos de Voss and Mikael Karlsson are at the Hermitage as the first recipients of the American Opera Projects (AOP)/Hermitage Opera Genesis Fellowships. Their current work and collaboration, The Echo Drift, is a monodrama about a female prisoner and a moth, slated for a co-production by AOP and the PROTOTYPE Festival in 2017. The Opera Genesis Fellowships are awards that will be presented annually to artists who have completed training in AOP’s Composer & the Voice (C&V) program, which helps to develop contemporary American opera.
“Sarasota Opera is very excited to partner with the Hermitage Artist Retreat and to host talks by some of their composers in residence,” added Richard Russell, executive director of the Opera. “We are known for presenting the best in traditional opera and I think it a great complement to our programming to hear about some of the fascinating new work that is being created in the opera world.”
Mikael Karlsson moved to NYC from Sweden in 2000 and graduated Summa Cum Laude with departmental honors with a Masters Degree in classical composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music in 2005. Karlsson’s music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall, at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden, The Oslo Opera House, the Royal Swedish Opera House, BAM, and at new music festivals and opera houses across the world. In addition to The Echo Drift, he is currently developing two other operas – The Diana Vreeland Opera (working title) with librettist Royce Vavrek, developed by Paola Prestini’s Vision Into Art, and Decoration, with co-librettist David Flodén, which he developed during his 2011-13 AOP fellowship in the Composers & the Voice.
Elle Kunnos de Voss is a New York City-based Swedish production designer and creative director of The Metrics Design Group. Her work ranges from award-winning architectural design projects to production design for film, set and costume design for performing arts, as well as writing for stage. Kunnos de Voss holds an M.A. from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design. In 2004 she moved to New York and co-founded The Metrics. As The Metrics creative director, she has completed architectural and interior design projects in New York, Europe, and Asia. Her projects have been featured on television and in books and magazines across the world. Kunnos de Voss is currently developing two librettos. The Echo Drift, for which she received the Opera Genesis Fellowship, has already had a staged preview at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C. and is scheduled for a New York premiere in 2017.
“We may be in the presence of the next Mozart or Verdi,” continued Hermitage Program Director Patricia Caswell. “At our Hermitage programs, we have seen audience members warm to new music once they meet the dazzling, young composers who are creating the music. Hearing an opera from the inside of the creator’s head and almost literally seeing it being born gives you a bond with the music and a desire to see it succeed on the stages of the world.”
For more information on the Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098, ext. 5 or visit the website

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