Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) General Director Darren K. Woods today revealed that the company will stage two world premieres as part of its 2014 Festival season.
April 19–May 11, 2014. The company will mount the full-length adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time by composer Libby Larsen and librettist Bradley Greenwald, based on the hugely popular science fiction novel by Madeleine L’Engle, as well as the professional world premiere of the award-winning opera With Blood, With Ink, by composer Daniel Crozier and librettist Peter M. Krask, based on the true story of 17th-century Mexican nun Sor (Sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz, a renowned intellectual, poet, nun, and champion of women’s rights who was forced by the Inquisition to sign an oath in blood renouncing her life’s work. The two operas are the company’s third and fourth mainstage world premieres.
“These two premieres reaffirm Fort Worth Opera’s commitment to new works, contemporary composers, and to growing new audiences,” said Mr. Woods. “I am honored to stage both these operas: A Wrinkle in Time had an indelible impact on me as a child and it has provided the perfect opportunity to collaborate with the distinguished composer Libby Larsen. In the book, the children travel to different worlds and meet fantastical beings, and we’ll be utilizing state-of-the-art technology to create the magical landscapes and characters inside Bass Hall, which will be a magnificent home for this production. And I’m equally overjoyed that our first world premiere on our newly-named Opera Unbound alternative-venue series will be With Blood, With Ink, a heartbreaking, historical gem of an opera which has been awaiting a mainstage premiere for nearly 20 years. Whereas Wrinkle will allow us to stretch the bounds of stage technology and effects, With Blood, With Ink is an incredibly intimate opera about Sor Juana’s very human struggle, and I can’t wait to bring it life in the McDavid Studio, our chamber theater.”
A Wrinkle in Time will be a full-length, mainstage opera which has loose roots in Larsen’s original one-act children’s opera commissioned by Opera Delaware in 1991 for elementary school groups. The 1962 Madeleine L’Engle novel of the same name is about a teenage girl, her younger brother, and their search for their father, a government scientist who went missing while working on a top-secret project. The work illuminates the eternal battle of good vs. evil and the struggle of conformity vs. non-conformity. A landmark book, winning the 1963 Newbery Award among other awards, it has been internationally hailed anew this year on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.
Composer Libby Larsen, one of America’s most prolific and popular living composers, whom the press has praised for her ability “to make contemporary opera both musically current and accessible to the average audience,” spoke about the origins of the opera’s new version.
“Darren and I were judges together for the Lynam Vocal Competition a few years ago,” Ms. Larsen stated. “He looked up as I walked into the room and just beamed. ‘I’ve got to talk to you,’ he said. ‘If you ever want to adapt A Wrinkle in Time as a mainstage opera, I want to produce it.’ The thought had never entered my mind, but I immediately loved the idea because Darren’s a world-class impresario and I knew he would bring the best artist together to bring this piece to life. And he loves this book as much as I do. We have the best situation for our opera to thrive and we’re having a whee of a time doing it.”
With Blood, With Ink will receive its mainstage world premiere as part of the company’s Opera Unbound series. Since the one-act opera’s creation in 1993, it has been produced at several universities (Manhattan School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Peabody Conservatory, among others) and was featured at New York City Opera’s VOX program. Winner of the National Opera Association Prize for new opera in 1994, it has been hailed by The New York Times as a “harmonically lush, lyrically driven score.” With Blood, With Ink chronicles the extraordinary life of an impoverished, illegitimate child in colonial Mexico who rose to become the first great literary figure in America, known as the Phoenix of America, and who went on to create the largest library in the Americas of the time. Sor (Sister) Juana has long been revered in Mexico but is only now being discovered in the U.S. The opera examines the irony of Sor Juana’s unparalleled genius, which was the key to her success as well as the cause of her destruction.