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Arizona Spark Prospectus and Request for Proposals

From Arizona Spark: A New Works Commissioning Initiative of Arizona Opera

ARIZONA SPARK is a commissioning club founded in 2014 by a group of enterprising patrons of Arizona Opera. The club has created an initiative to encourage and support the development of new operatic work to further the mission of Arizona Opera’s artistic initiative, Arizona Bold. The initiative takes place over one 24-month cycle, and will be evaluated at the conclusion of the first cycle.

Arizona Bold

Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music by cultivating engagement of a larger statewide community. Arizona Bold, as a community-based artistic initiative, seeks to bring new and exciting stories to Arizona Opera’s statewide audience.

Focus

Proposals that support the Arizona Bold initiative are invited from composers and/or composer/librettist creative teams. The ARIZONA SPARK Committee – representative of Arizona Opera’s stakeholders – will evaluate the concept submissions. Five concept proposals will be selected as semi-finalists. Each semi-finalist shall submit 15-20 minutes of music for consideration. The Arizona Spark panel will choose three (3) finalists from these five (5) semi-finalists. Each of the three finalists will then submit 30-45 minutes of additional music, constituting one Scene or portion of an Act of the opera. All three Scenes/Acts will receive a public workshop, performed by members of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. One of the three finalists will be selected by the ARIZONA SPARK Committee to compose one full act of the opera. (Details of the evaluation/selection process are outlined below.) The initiative will be directed by Arizona Opera General Director Ryan Taylor, and administered by the Company’s Director of Artistic Administration, Zackery Hayhurst, and Head of Music Staff, Allen Perriello.

The following focal points are of particular interest as concepts for the Arizona Spark submissions:

  • The History and Development of Arizona as a State (including all cities and geographic regions within the State borders)
  • Hispanic Interests
  • Military Communities
  • Chinese Interests
  • African-American Interests
  • Jewish Communities
  • Native American History and Interests

AWARENESS

In addition to leaders from within the operatic industry, statewide community and corporate leaders, funding organizations, selected media, and the general public will be invited to attend the workshop performances to provide exposure for the creative teams and their work.

ARIZONA SPARK: NEW WORK COMMISSIONING PROCEDURE

ELIGIBILITY

All composers, librettists, or composer/librettist creative teams who are either United States citizens or legal residents are eligible.

  • Works that have received workshop, conservatory or school productions are eligible.

  • Works may be submitted in any language. If the libretto is not in English, an English translation must be provided in addition to the libretto in its original language.

  • Submitted selections chosen as semi-finalists, finalists or winners may utilize no more than six singers. (It is understood that completed works may consist of grand scale personnel or orchestral forces.)

  • Only works that can be performed with piano accompaniment will be accepted for public workshop performance. (No additional electronic, percussion, and/or acoustic instrument, or any other equipment will be included in the workshop performance.)

  • Composers or composer/librettist creative teams may only submit work for consideration in the ARIZONA SPARK 2015 competition.

  • Arizona Opera retains the right to select fewer than five semi-finalists.

APPLICATION

Interested and qualified composers, librettists, or composer/librettist creative teams may obtain submission and related information by contacting Arizona Opera Director of Artistic Administration, Zackery Hayhurst at zhayhurst@azopera.org.

Applications must consist of

  • A synopsis of story concept limited to not more than one page.
  • Explanation of how the story concept fits into the ARIZONA BOLD artistic initiative.
  • 500-word (or less) biography of the composer or composer/librettist creative team. (Note: all composer or composer/librettist creative team names will be removed from submission materials to allow for “blind” evaluation by the Committee.
  • A recording of music that is representative of the compositional style of the composer.
  • The submissions will be reviewed by Arizona Opera General Director Ryan Taylor, Director of Artistic Administration, Zackery Hayhurst, Head of Music Staff and Director of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio, Allen Perriello, and members of the ARIZONA SPARK Committee.

TIMELINE

  • March 15, 2015: Initial proposal submissions due. (No proposals will be accepted after this date.)
  • April 15, 2015: Five semi-finalists selected from the initial proposals.
  • August 1, 2015: The five semi-finalists must submit 15-20 minutes of original music, constituting at least one through-composed section of the opera. Scene and aria structure is encouraged but not mandatory.
  • September 1, 2015: Arizona Spark Panel chooses the three finalists.
  • November 1, 2015: Deadline for the three finalists to submit 30 minutes, but not exceeding 45 minutes of original music, constituting one Scene or portion of an Act of the opera.
  • December 28, 2015-January 4, 2016: The work of the three finalists are given public workshops with the Members of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio.
  • January 15, 2016: The winning composer or composer/librettist creative team will be notified and asked to develop a full act of the opera that can be performed at a public workshop in the fall of 2016.

SELECTION PROCESS AND AWARDS

  • Round 1: Submission of concept ideas/proposals consistent with ARIZONA BOLD mission

    • Each composer or composer/librettist creative team must submit a working title, a synopsis of the story concept not longer than one page, and an explanation of how the story fits into the ARIZONA BOLD initiative and concept.
    • Included in this initial submission must be a recording of music that is representative of the compositional style of the composer.
    • Five composers or composer/librettist creative teams will be chosen to advance to Round 2.
    • Each winner team will receive a $1,000 stipend toward the further development of the submitted work.

  • Round 2: Selection of Semi-Finalists

    • Five composer or composer/librettist teams will be selected and asked to submit 15-20 minutes of original music, constituting one scene of the opera plus two arias. The submission must include a piano/vocal score for accompaniment and libretto with translation, if necessary.
    • From these five semi-finalists, three finalists will be chosen and will each receive $2,000 to cover related expenses of advancing to Round 3.
  • Round 3: Public Workshop for Finalists

    • The three finalists will receive a public workshop with members of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio and piano accompaniment.
    • The material submitted for this round should constitute one full scene or portion of an Act a full act of the opera with piano/vocal score and corresponding libretto.
    • These three finalists will receive transportation and related expenses to come to Phoenix, AZ for an agreed-upon period of time to work with Arizona Opera for the public workshop.
    • If one does not already exist, Arizona Opera will require, prior to the public workshop of the composition, a Collaborator’s Agreement between composer and librettist and a document verifying the acquisition of rights to their property if it is not in the public domain.
  • Round 4: Final Public Workshop for Winning Selection

    • The winning creative team will be asked to develop a full act of the opera which will be given a public workshop in the fall of 2016.
    • The winning composer or composer/librettist creative team will receive a $5,000 advance toward the creation of the full opera. (This award is an advance against the total cost of the commission, should such an agreement be reached.)

NOTE

1. Works not selected for the ARIZONA SPARK 2015 competition are not automatically selected for future review, but may be resubmitted for future funding cycles should the initiative be renewed.
2. Arizona Opera is not obligated to stage a performance of the winning selection.
3. Any decision by Arizona Opera to stage a performance of the winning opera is predicated upon a contract between Arizona Opera and the composer.

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