First Take was launched on June 1, 2013 at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater. Among the six new works showcased was an opera by the legendary Pauline Oliveros, set to a text by the poet Ione, and a new theatrical song-cycle by rising star composer Mohammed Fairouz set to Wayne Koestenbaum’s riff on Pierrot Lunaire. Performances featured the wild Up modern music collective, led by Marc Lowenstein and Christopher Rountree, and were preceded by short video documentaries.
FIRST TAKE offered six creative teams crucial assistance towards the future realization of their works. The structure was modeled on Artistic Director Yuval Sharon’s work on New York City Opera’s VOX Showcase, which he led as Project Director between 2005-2009. Under his leadership, VOX became the most important crucible for new opera in the country, presenting excerpts of new operas by composers such as John Zorn, Charles Wuorinen, William Kraft, Stephen Schwartz, and Anne LeBaron. Of the 40 works Sharon workshopped at VOX, twenty-five have gone on to future life in companies around the world, including the first two operas produced by The Industry: LeBaron’s CRESCENT CITY and Christopher Cerrone’s INVISIBLE CITIES.
Music and text by Aaron Siegel
The House is Open
Music and text by Alexander Vassos
Created by David Brynjar Franzson, Davyde Wachell, Halldor Ulfarsson, and Angela Rawlings
Music by Ellen Reid, libretto by Amanda Jane Shank
Music by Mohammed Fairouz, libretto by Wayne Koestenbaum
The Nubian Word for Flowers
Music by Pauline Oliveros, libretto by Ione
“The Industry is quickly and dramatically making itself an essential component of American opera. FIRST TAKE could be the start of something big. The company is now indispensable to the LA opera scene.”
–Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times