The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, FL and New York City’s American Opera Projects (AOP) have just presented the first Opera Genesis Fellowships to composer Mikael Karlsson and librettist and visual designer Elle Kunnos de Voss; The award includes a sixweek Hermitage residency, in which these two artists will work on their new opera, The Echo Drift, a monodrama about a female prisoner and a moth, slated for a co-production by AOP and PROTOTYPE Festival in 2017

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September 9, 2015

FIRST OPERA GENESIS FELLOWSHIPS ANNOUNCED
The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, FL and New York City’s American Opera
Projects (AOP) have just presented the first Opera Genesis Fellowships to composer Mikael
Karlsson and librettist and visual designer Elle Kunnos de Voss. The award includes a sixweek
Hermitage residency, in which these two artists will work on their new opera, The Echo
Drift, a monodrama about a female prisoner and a moth, slated for a co-production by AOP
and PROTOTYPE Festival in 2017. These are the first Opera Genesis Fellowships, 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.
“The Hermitage was in discussions with AOP for many months before announcing
this partnership in June,” remarked Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “Seeing
the program come into being with the announcement of the first recipients is very exciting.
We exist to inspire and assist artists in the creation of new work. AOP takes it to the next
level so that the work can be presented to the public.”
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 cofounded
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.
American Opera Projects’ Composers & the Voice offers two-year fellowships for
composers and librettists which provides experience working collaboratively with singers on
writing for the voice and opera stage. This free training includes a year of working with the
company’s resident ensemble of singers and artistic team, followed by a year of continued
development and promotion through AOP and its strategic partnerships. Launched in 2002,
C&V has fostered the development of 44 composers & librettists. Alumni works that went
through AOP’s opera development program and continued to a world premiere include
Darkling (2006 NYC and 2007 Germany and Poland, Stefan Weisman); Love/Hate
(ODC/San Francisco Opera 2012, Jack Perla); Paul’s Case (UrbanArias 2013 and Prototype
Festival 2014), Gregory Spears); and The Summer King (Portland Ovations 2014, and
upcoming at Pittsburgh Opera, Daniel Sonenberg).
Charles Jarden, AOP’s general director, notes, “this new partnership with the
Hermitage allows us to further support some of our most successful C&V fellows once they
have completed the program. The time they will be granted to develop their work at The
Hermitage will enable these creative teams to prepare their works for full-scale production. In
the current climate, there is much energy surrounding the development of new opera, but not
always enough time for the creative process to unfold; the Genesis Fellowships directly
address this, and we are all eager to see the work that results.”
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About the Hermitage Artist Retreat
The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood,
FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other
artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked
to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists
touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each
year. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an
annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among three disciplines: visual art,
music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to
award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more
information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at
www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
About American Opera Projects
At the forefront of the contemporary opera movement for a quarter-century, AOP creates,
develops and presents opera and music theatre projects collaborating with young, rising and
established artists in the field. AOP is launching its 8th cycle of Composers and the Voice in
2015/16. AOP has been a lead producer on over 30 world premieres; recent highlights include,
Kaminsky/Reed/Campbell’s As One (2014), Lera Auerbach’s The Blind (2013), and the upcoming
Hagoromo at BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival, a dance opera with music by ICE and composer
Nathan Davis, puppetry by Chris Green and choreography by David Neumann featuring dancers
Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto.. www.operaprojects.org

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