Minnesota Opera’s world premiere production of Silent Night was commissioned and developed through the Minnesota Opera New Works Initiative. The HD video recording of Silent Night (recorded on November 17, 2011) was also funded through the New Works Initiative, a seven-year, $7 million program designed to invigorate the opera repertoire with an infusion of new and contemporary works. Through this Initiative, Silent Night and the other contemporary works we champion will be given life well beyond these performances in the Twin Cities.
Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative supported the American premiere of Jonathan Dove’s The Adventures of Pinocchio and revivals of Dominick Argento’s Casanova’s Homecoming and Bernard Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights, as well as the commission of Doubt, composed by Douglas J. Cuomo with libretto by John Patrick Shanley. This season, the Initiative makes possible The Dream of Valentino, newly revised by Dominick Argento. Two future commissions have been announced, as well – The Manchurian Candidate, also composed by Kevin Puts with a libretto by Mark Campbell, will have its world premiere in March 2015, and The Shining, composed by Paul Moravec with a libretto by Mark Campbell and based on the novel by Stephen King, will have its world premiere in May 2016.
Minnesota Opera came into being in 1963 with a world premiere of Dominick Argento’s opera Masque of Angels, produced (by the then-Center Opera) on the brand new stage of the Guthrie Theater. For decades, Minnesota Opera’s commitment to new and contemporary opera made it a rarity in the world of American opera. A landmark National Endowment for the Arts study in 1985 revealed that Minnesota Opera was the only company that year to produce a new work.
Fortunately, the landscape has changed. Now, new American opera has never been more popular. Minnesota Opera is grateful to its audience for nearly a half-century of support of new and contemporary opera. The New Works Initiative has been guided and supported by the committee listed on this page. They have helped the company deepen its role as a leader in the production of new work.
Minnesota Opera New Works Initiative Committee
Margaret Wurtele, Chair
Bernt von Ohlen