About: Vision

Kamala Sankaram's Thumbprint

PROTOTYPE – OPERA/THEATRE/NOW is an annual festival of visionary opera-theatre and music-theatre works by pioneering contemporary artists from New York City and around the world. PROTOTYPE is a co-production of Beth Morrison Projects and HERE, two leaders in the creation and presentation of contemporary, post-classical, multi-disciplinary opera-theatre and music-theatre work. The festival is the only of its kind in New York City - presenting both complete performances as well as works-in-progress through partnerships with local performing arts venues.

Historically, the marriage of music and drama has been something composers tackled further along in their careers.  Fast forward to today: serious young composers are now creating new works of opera-theatre/music-theatre, and we are in a second golden age of creation for the art form. It is poised to become the most exciting live arts medium in the 21st century, embodying a modern day notion of Wagner’s gesamtkunstwerk

PROTOTYPE gives voice to these composers whose works would generally be categorized as “contemporary classical” or “post-classical” rather than the more commercial musical theatre idiom that is being explored by other producers in New York and elsewhere. The festival provides a recurring showcase of these visionary chamber-sized opera-theatre and music-theatre pieces that are currently flooding the New York scene and are ready to explode at the national and international levels. The festival also presents exciting new works by international artists, and hopes to be a global reference of artistic excellence in the field of opera and music-theatre.

PROTOTYPE 2014

In its second year, PROTOTYPE gained momentum among audiences and critics alike.  Presented between January 8 and 19, 2014, the 29 performances of seven projects included the world premiere production of Thumbprint, the American premiere of Lithuanian phenomenon, Have a Good Day!, New York premieres of Paul’s Case and Visitations, a concert reading of Angel’s Bone, and live performances from Brooklyn-based Sky-Pony, and the internationally acclaimed Elizaveta.

With one sold-out house after another, the 2014 festival turned this opera upstart into a can’t miss annual tradition.

PROTOTYPE 2013

The inaugural PROTOTYPE Festival was presented between January 9 and 18, 2013. It included 29 performances of five projects, with one world premiere, one international presentation, one national presentation, one multimedia concert event, and one work-in-progress concert, as well as a series of field conversations on the state of 21st century opera and music-theatre.

The press joined our audiences in the praise of the seductive aesthetics of Bluebeard, the courageous relevance of Soldier Songs, the raw emotional turmoil of Sumeida’s Song, the avant-garde glam sounds of Timur and the Dime Museum, and the darkly imaginative landscape of Aging Musician.

As a whole, the festival was praised for its adventurous programming in the field of new opera, as stated in New York Magazine:

Prototype is the teenage hacker of the opera world, and in its first public action, it’s left a message blinking on Big Opera’s screen: CAN YOU DO THIS?

Click here for more quotes from the press!