The industry received international acclaim last year for Hopscotch, a groundbreaking mobile opera that took place in cars and public venues around Los Angeles. It was designed and produced by the Artistic Director of The Industry, Yuval Sharon.
On Friday, January 13, over two hours of Hopscotch music will be released by The Industry Records as a USB stick in the form of a car key or digital download available through Bandcamp and other outlets. At the same time, a new interactive opera website, with animations, images and sound, will be launched at hopscotchopera.com.
To mark the occasion, a release event titled “Hopscotch in Concert” will take place on Friday, January 20 (7:30 p.m.) at Newman Recital Hall at the University of Southern California. Hosted by Yuval Sharon, this will be the first live concert of songs from the opera. The performance will be preceded at 4 p.m. by a panel discussion at USC’s Wallis Annenberg Hall with members of the opera’s creative team, as well as journalists Mark Swed and Sasha Anawalt (moderator). Both events are free and open to the public; more details follow.
Hopscotch tells the original story of a disappearance through time. The fall 2015 version of Hopscotch featured 24 live “chapters” with music from six major LA composers – Veronika Krausas, Marc Lowenstein, Andrew McIntosh, André Normand, Ellen Reid and David Rosenboom – on texts by six writers. In addition, ten animations with music by gnarwhallaby have been uploaded to provide basic story points to all audiences.
Audiences moved from site to site along three routes in groups of four; the limousines that carried them also served as intimate performance spaces. Although an overarching narrative emerged, a version of the Orpheus myth with the genres reversed, each group saw the chapters of this nonlinear work in a different order. In total, over 100 singers, musicians and dancers performed. In the end, all of the groups converged on a Central Hub for a climactic finale composed by Norman.
Small wonder Alex ross describes Hopscotch in the New Yorker as “one of the most complicated lyrical undertakings to have been attempted since Richard wagner staged The Ring of the Nibelung, over four days, in 1876. “
For this recording, Yuval Sharon and the Executive Director of The Industry, Elisabeth cline, distilled four hours and more of Hopscotch’s music into 20 tracks lasting two hours and fourteen minutes. These include vocal scenes by each of the opera’s six main composers, spoken word episodes, and instrumental interludes; together, they form a dynamic portrait of this mercurial piece.
According to Sharon, “Hopscotch’s live performance was intentionally fragmentary and incomplete, an open drift through our perceptual experience of city life. Our Hopscotch recording offers something different: a sense of the total picture and a chance to appreciate the individual contributions of six of LA’s top songwriters. Although ‘early-mid-end’ dramaturgy was never part of the work’s original intent, we hope this record will fill in the missing pieces and highlight the diversity of viewpoints central to it. that represents Hopscotch. In the spirit of Julio Cortázar’s novel that inspired this project, perhaps the best way to recreate the Hopscotch experience is to mix up the tracks. “With that in mind, the accompanying 50-page booklet booklet lists seven suggested playlists, grouping the tracks by route (Green, Yellow, Red); by composer; by librettist; “Just the story;” and “Just the music.”
The booklet also includes a foreword by Alex ross, a dialogue between Sharon and Hopscotch playwright Josh Raab, essays by Elisabeth cline and musical director Marc Lowenstein, a diagram of the three routes, and more. Given the improbability of another production, the Hopscotchrecording will serve as the unique documentation of this singular opus.
Hopscotch RELEASE EVENTS:
Friday January 20 (4 p.m.)
USC, Wallis Annenberg Hall (ANN), Room L105A
3630 Watt Way, Los Angeles
A fascinating conversation with art journalists about producing performing arts in public spaces of Los Angeles and listening to the music of an opera outside of its original context. Panelists include composers Veronika Krausas and Marc Lowenstein, Yuval Sharon of The Industry, and art journalists Mark Swed and Sasha Anawalt (moderator).
Hopscotch in concert
Friday January 20 (7:30 p.m.)
USC, Newman Recital Hall (AHF)
3616 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles
This special evening hosted by director Yuval Sharon will be the first live concert of songs from the opera. Six chapters of the work will be performed (one from each of its six composers), including the expansive choral finale of André Normand.
FIRST TAKE / SECOND TAKE:
February 2017 marks the third edition of FIRST TAKE, the industry’s biennial West Coast workshop on New American Opera, and the debut of SECOND TAKE, featuring the entirety of a new opera heard in progress as part of of the previous FIRST TAKE program. Co-presented by his house band, LA’s fearless wild Up ensemble, FIRST TAKE will feature excerpts from six new opera works in progress, composed by Nicholas Deyoe, William Gardiner, John hastings, Laura Karpman, Marc Lowenstein and Dylan Mattingly. The three-hour performance is free and open to the public and takes place on Friday, February 24, 2017 (7-10 p.m.) at the Aratani Theater, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Book your tickets at https://ftst_2017.eventbrite.com.
Second Take launches with the concert premiere of Bonnie and Clyde by composer Andrew McIntosh and librettist MeLinda Rice Saturday February 25 (7-9 p.m.), also at the Aratari Theater; tickets will be priced at $ 10 and will go on sale at ftst_2017.eventbrite.com.
FIRST TAKE and SECOND TAKE are organized by Yuval Sharon, in collaboration with the Executive Director Elisabeth cline, Music Director Marc Lowenstein and Wild Up Artistic Director Christopher Rountree. FIRST TAKE is modeled after the format created by Sharon during his four years as Project Director of New York City Opera’s influential VOX program between 2005 and 2009. The scores are chosen from an open call – a record 68 submissions for 2017. Each opera performed at FIRST TAKE is presented unstaged, allowing the audience to focus on the music and the libretto, and is prefaced by a short video introducing the composer and providing context. FIRST TAKE will be conducted by Paolo Bortolameolli, Dudamel Fellow Conductor at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Marc Lowenstein, Music Director of The Industry, and SECOND TAKE will be conducted by Christopher Rountree, Artistic Director of wild Up. The full program and the cast are here: theindustryla.org/projects/first-take-2017.
The Industry creates experimental productions that expand the traditional definition of opera. By merging media and engaging in interdisciplinary collaborations, we produce works that inspire new audiences for the art form. We believe that opera can be emerging and responsive to new perspectives and voices in contemporary culture. The industry serves as an incubator for new talent and for artists primarily based in Los Angeles.
Founded by Yuval Sharon in 2010, The Industry has developed world-first large-scale productions every two years: Crescent City (2012), Invisible Cities (2013) and Hopscotch (2015). Throughout the year, we feature smaller-scale but artistically ambitious events, including our biennial American New Opera Workshop, FIRST TAKE, and our California series Highway One. The Industry Records extends the reach of New American Opera with high quality recordings.