“An easy enterprise to applaud”   The Financial Times


The Center for Contemporary Opera announces its season auditions to be held on October 16 and 17 in New York City. You should prepare one aria in English written after 1945 and one aria from the standard repertoire presented in its original language. There is no fee.

To apply, please send your resume and headshot to us at: ccoauditions@gmail.com by October 3rd. Acceptance and times will be announced by October 6.

Thank you for a great 31st season!

Thanks to your support, we enjoyed a great 31st season as seen below. We are busy planning next season and it looks to be an excellent one as well! Please look out for our next season announcement which will be coming soon. In the meantime, let me invite you to join our new open group on Facebook.

Productions with Ensemble:

Oration, Line Tjornhoj, The Cell Theatre
El Cimarron, Hans Werner Henze, Symphony Space
Big Jim and the Small Time Investors, Eric Salzman, Faison Firehouse Theater

Readings with Piano:

Jane Eyre, Louis Karchin, The Cell Theatre
Night of the Living Dead, Todd Goodman, The Cell Theatre
Kafka’s Women, Jiri Kaderabek, The Cell Theatre
News from Poems, Susan Kander, The Cell Theater
Four Sisters, Elena Lenger, The Cell Theater
Anon, Errollyn Wallen, The Cell Theater
The Lariat, Lisa Scola Prosek, Un-Scripted Theater, San Francisco

Libretto Readings:

The Reef, Joan Ross Sorkin, National Opera Center
An American Dream, Charles Matz, National Opera Center

Compact Disc:

The Secret Agent, Michael Dellaira, Albany Records


The Lariat, CCO Development Series, June 21 at 7:00pm, Un-Scripted Theater,  San Francisco, CA.

The Center travels to San Francisco for the first time to produce an atelier of The Lariat by Lisa Scola Prosek based on the novella by Jaime De Angulo. Directed by Jim Cave and conducted by CCO chief conductor Sara Jobin. Featuring Philip Skinner, Mark Hernandez, Desirae Harp and Clifton Romig. Tickets and more information can be found here. We hope to see you in California!


Prima le Parole. CCO Development Series, May 22 at 7:30pm, National Opera Center, 330 7th Ave, New York City.

The Center presents a reading of two new libretti; The Reef  by Joan Ross Sorkin and An American Dream by Charles MatzNicole Haran directs. Following the reading, Cori Ellison will moderate a panel discussion with the librettists and creative team.

The Reef, based on Edith Wharton’s novel, is a story of love smothered by the conventions of society. Set in Martinique,1911, Anna Leath, an American, is trapped on the French sugar plantation of her deceased husband when she falls in love with an American diplomat. But Anna, the diplomat, the nursemaid, and the infirmed step-son become so entangled in a web of love and deceit that Anna is forced to choose between passion and conscience.

An American Dream. Norman Mailer’s big city setting drives toward a lyric ending in the electric dream of sin city, Las Vegas. Returning war veteran, Stephen Rojack, thrust into Manhattan’s late 1960′s affluent life, deals with taunts as well as caresses, real and imagined. Money, lust, and murder play out in an American urban scene that hints at what was the recent past, but also remains the present. One of the several American dreams, strangely reassuring, despite its violence.

This event is offered free of charge. Please join us!


Big Jim and the Small Time Investors. by Eric Salzman. CCO Development Series. March 11 at 8pm. Faison Firehouse Theater, 6 Hancock Place, NYC. Tickets are available here.

“Where’s Jim?”  These are the opening lines of Eric Salzman’s latest opera, Big Jim & the Small-Time Investors. The question remains, has anyone actually seen Jim in person, or just as he appears on the screen? 

“Big Jim” King claims to have invented a virtual reality machine which allows users to experience their own wildest fantasies.  Is he a genius or just a scheming L.A. business man walking the line between con-man and cult leader? As he lures Small-Time Investors into his operation his plan starts to spiral out of control threatening to ruin the Investors and promising disaster for Jim’s wife, Kim and his assistant, Stan.

A man of mystery and intrigue, Big Jim’s story resonates now more than ever.   Composer Eric Salzman has brought this dramatic character to life with the help of librettist, Edgar Jackson. 

This work allows you to see the cutting edge in opera, and ask yourself the age-old question: Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?

Andrew Eggert directs and Steven Crawford conducts an all-star cast featuring Vale Rideout, Aaron Theno, Colette Boudreaux, and Darynn Zimmer.  

The Faison Firehouse Theater is at 6 Hancock Place which is an extension of West 124th Street between Manhattan and Morningside Avenues on the edge of Morningside Heights and Harlem not far from Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music, etc. The easiest way to get there by public transportation is on the A, B, C or D trains to the W. 125th Street stop. From there, walk downtown (south), 1 block to W. 124th Street/Hancock Place and turn right. The theater is on the south side of the street, 1/2 black west. There is also parking in the neighborhood.


El Cimarrón (The Runaway Slave) by Hans Werner Henze, January 16 and 17, 7:30pm at Symphony Space followed by a double bill of works in progress by Elena Langer and Errollyn Wallen, January 20, 8pm at The Cell Theatre.

The Center for Contemporary Opera continues its 31st season with an exciting week of opera.

El Cimarron is based upon Miguel Barnet’s biography of the runaway Cuban slave Esteban Montejo, and is one of Henze’s most striking works of the early 1970s, and was a landmark in the development of the wonderfully plastic genre of music theatre which was such a feature in that period (The Guardian). CCO’s fully staged production is directed by the acclaimed Greek stage director, Eugenia Arsenis who has previously mounted this work in many of Europe’s leading houses.  We are pleased to welcome the return of baritone Eric McKeever in the title role and Maestra Sara Jobin conducts members of the CCO Orchestra. As far as is known, this epic work has not been heard in New York since 1986. For tickets and more information, please visit Symphony Space.

On January 20, 8pm at the cell, a 21st century salon, 338 West 23rd St, the CCO Development Series continues with excerpts of new works by  two of the United Kingdom’s’ leading composers. Elena Langer’s Four Sisters is the modern tale of four wealthy Park Avenue sisters who opine on how they will fund their dreams with their father’s inheritance.  Errollyn Wallen’s Anon was commissioned by Welsh National Opera and revisits the classic tale of Manon Lescaut.  Music direction by Lidiya Yankovskaya and stage direction by  Nicole Haran.  Tickets are available here.



The Center for Contemporary Opera is pleased to announce the appointment of Eugene (Gene) Rotberg as its new President.  Rotberg succeeds Durwood Littlefield and is the fourth President in CCO’s 31 year history.

Gene Rotberg has had a distinguished career as an advisor to governments, international institutions, and the private sector on matters dealing with the regulation of financial markets and the role of international development institutions.

His expertise has recently been recognized by Institutional Investor magazine, who named him one of the 40 most influential persons world-wide in finance over the last 40 years.Gene served at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission where he held the positions of Associate Director for Market Regulation and Chief Counsel, Office of Policy Research.Following Gene’s 11 years at SEC, he was named Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank, where he was responsible for its overall funding and investment operations.Rotberg has served as director on various international and public domestic corporate and advisory boards.   He  is currently a Senior Advisor to The George Washington University Investment Committee and has served as a Trustee of the Washington National Opera, the NPR Foundation, The Theatre Lab, and INMED, a non-profit institution devoted to improving health conditions for children at risk.Gene is a self-proclaimed opera fanatic and, in fact, has written an opera libretto based on events in Tahir Square, Egypt.   He and wife Iris have two daughters and seven grandchildren, whom they are trying to steer toward opera, not finance.
“We are honored and delighted to welcome Gene Rotberg”, said Jim Schaeffer, General and Artistic Director of CCO. “Gene has a great passion for opera along with a long list of amazing life accomplishments. Any opera board in the world would be honored to have him as their president as are we. We also want to thank Durwood Littlefield for his outstanding leadership these past three years. We will miss Woody and wish him well”.
Sept. 10, 2013: We are very close to announcing the works chosen for the CCO Development Series. There are about fifty more scores to review and we do not want to rush this for obvious reasons. Thank you for your patience and I hope to be able to announce something within two weeks.


Thanks to all who help make our NewOp Week a great success…composers, conductors,directors, designers, stage managers, our teriffic casts and of course the capacity audiences that took the time to attend one or more of our productions. We are very appreciative.

This coming season: El Cimarron by Hans Werner Henze; Jan 16, 17 Symphony Space, at least one atelier TBD, one concert reading TBD, two Prima le Parole evenings and (if we can secure the funding) the NYC professional premiere of William Mayer’s A Death in the Family. Speaking of ateliers, we have received  100+ submissions for this coming season’s Development Series and hope to annouce those in early September.

Did you attend one of our three ateliers?

The CCO Development Series is designed to assist the composer and librettist in the improvement of their opera. Audience feedback is an important part of this process. Would you please take the time to answer some of these questions? Please answer these questions as best you can, based solely upon the performance. Your anonymous feedback will be compiled and provided to the composer. Thank you.


NewOp Week 2013. Featuring readings of three operas in progress plus the world premiere of Oration by Line Tjornhoj. July 20-27, the cell theatre, 338 West 23rd St NYC. 

The first three works are part of the CCO Development Series,  generously supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. There will be a short panel discussion preceding the performance and the audience will also be solicited for their thoughts about the work in order to assist the composer and librettist in developing their work. The price of admission also includes a wine reception where you can meet and greet the cast and creative team and offer your thoughts and comments, 

“Kafka’s Women” by Jirí Kaderábek, July 20 at 8pm.  Tickets available here.

The opera explores the relationship between Franz Kafka and the four women in his life.
We have a great cast including Judith Kellock, Judith Barnes, Sarah Miller, Cris Frisco , Scott MacLeod, Richard Cassell, Jessica Thompson, and Jodi Karem. Stage Director is Heidi Lauren Duke and the music director is CCO’s Grammy nominated Maestra, Sara Jobin.

The composer,Jirí Kaderábek, born 1978, is one of the most sought-after Czech composers of his generation. His music has been commissioned and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonia, New Juilliard Ensemble, Slovak Philharmonic Choir, and many others. He is recipient of numerous awards, including Shipley Arts Festival Composition Competition in Great Britain, Zenith Composers Competition in The Netherlands, Czech Radio Composition Competition, Dean of the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague Award, was finalist of the Musica Nova International Composition Competition, and a nomination for the Gideon Klein Award, all within the past few years.

Milena Jelinek  is a screenwriter, playwright and now a librettist. She studied film at FAMU, Prague film school; wrote a screenplay  “Easy Life” that premiered in Prague in 1957.  In 61 she immigrated to the United States.In US, she wrote, directed and produced several short films.  They were shown in festivals around US and received several prizes. Partial listing: Whitney Museum (New Filmmakers Series), Kennedy Center in Washington, 2nd Film Festival Of Women’s Films in New York, Women’s Film Festival in Sydney, Australia, Films by Women, Paris, and Bleeker Street Cinema.In 1981 she started teaching screenplay writing at The School of the Arts, Columbia University.  She still continues teaching there as a Senior Lecturer. She has taught in several European workshops. After 1989, she wrote a screenplay “Zapomenute Svetlo” (A Forgotten Light) that was produced in Czech Republic. It received several prizes, and is still being shown on Czech Television.  In 2006 she wrote a play “Adina” for the centennial anniversary of Vinohradske Divadlo, the second largest theater in Prague.  She wrote the libretto for “Kafka’s Women” in 2012.

Night of the Living Dead by Todd Goodman, July 23 at 8pm. Tickets are found here.

You’ve seen the movie, now see the opera!

Todd Goodman, born in 1977 in Pennsylvania, received his training at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Duquesne U. in Pittsburgh, Kent State University, Aspen, and at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. His principal composition teachers have been Pulitzer prize winning composer George Tsontakis, David Stock, Frank Wiley, and Richard Toensing. Currently resident composer for the Lincoln Park P.A. Center in Pennsylvania, Goodman has also composed several works for winds, including a Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra and Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra.

Our outstanding cast and creative team includes:

Ben: Eric McKeever
Johnny, Tom:  James Baumgardner
Harry Cooper:  Michael Jones
with Renee Heitman and Carl Fisher

Music Director Richard Owen
Stage Director Eugenia Arsenis
Stage Manager Jessica Thompson

Jane Eyre by Louis Karchin, July 24 at 8pm, Tickets may be purchased here.

Louis Karchin, American composer, conductor and educator, has composed over 60 works including unaccompanied and chamber music, symphonic works, and opera. His music has been recognized by awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, as well as commissions from the Serge Koussevitzky, Fromm, and Barlow Foundations. Karchin is currently a professor of Music at NYU.

Our outstanding cast and creative team includes:

Jane Eyre:  Marcy Richardson
Rochester:  Scott Joiner
Blanche: Karen Joilcouer
Bessie:  Jami Leonard
Mrs. Faitfax, Mrs. Ingram:  Sharon Harms
Mr.Mason, Mr.Ingram: Mark Wilson

Stage Director: Sarah Mayers
Music Director: Michael Fennelly
Stage Manager: Jami Leonard

The world premiere of  the chamber opera, Oration, a speech for humanity” by Line Tjørnhøj. July 26, 27 at 8pm. For tickets, please click here.

Line Tjørnhøj describes her chamber opera Oration as “a speech for humanity. Oration gives a unique description of the human experience and the love and hate, hope and despair, suffering and joy we see in our lifetimes.”

A native of Denmark, Ms. Tjørnhøj is a composer, sound-artist, and performer. Since 1995 she has composed for theater, dance, musicals, and radio and TV presentations. Her work with voices and sounds crosses the borders of style, tradition , expression and aesthetics, and her many interests include working in the areas of jazz, ethnic music, Bulgarian womens’ voices, and throat singers. A member of the Danish Composers Society, her works include Antigone, performed in NY in 1996; I sing the body electric, performed by Den Anden Opera in Copenhagen; and Anorexia Sacra (for 6 voices, doublebass and liveprocessed stagesounds), also performed in Copenhagen.

Our premiere features an excellent cast and creative team:  Alexandra Chernyshova, Marshall Coid, Leanne Gonzalez Singer, Barbara Le May, Gabriel Munro, and Kate Oberjat

Stage Director Jeremy Bloom
Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya
Scenic Director Brian Rady
Stage Manager Mackenzie Meeks
Lighting Designer Christopher Weston

Oration is made possible with the generous support from Danish Composers’ Society / KODA’s Fund for Social and Cultural Purposes and the Consulate General of Denmark, New York.  Thank you!



The Center for Contemporary Opera returns to the Opera Theatre d’Avignon to present the French premiere of William Mayer’s A Death in the Family.

This afternoon at 5pm, CCO will reprise its award wining production of A Death in the Family at Avignon’s historic opera house.  This performance marks CCO’s second trip to Avignon and its sixth visit to Europe within the past four years.  Stage director Robert Alfoldi and Maestra Sara Jobin leads our original cast while we are privileged to once again perform with the Szeged Symphony Opera, Maestro Sandor Gyudi Director.  Tickets may be purchased here .

We are grateful to our partners at the Armel Opera Festival and Competition, Agnes Havas, Director, for making our participation possible as well as to the Victor Herbert Foundation for their support for this production. We look forward to seeing you in Avignon!


J. Mark Scearce Commissioned by the Center for Contemporary Opera

Through a grant from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the Center for Contemporary Opera has commissioned an opera, “Falling Angel” by J. Mark Scearce with libretto from Lucy Thurber based on the classic novel by William Hjorstberg. Falling Angel will receive its world premiere by the Center for Contemporary Opera in the fall of 2015 in New York with the possibility of subsequent performances in North Carolina and Europe.

Made into the movie “Angel Heart” in the 1980s, “Falling Angel” is the classic genre-crossing novel by William Hjorstberg—part mystery, thriller, horror, and hard-boiled detective story. Harry Angel is a private investigator in 1950s New York City. Hired by a mysterious stranger to find a Big Band crooner named Johnny Favorite, wildly popular during World War II but wounded in an air raid during the early years of the war. Institutionalized for a time in upstate New York, Favorite has disappeared, and no one has seen him for more than a decade. As Harry Angel follows the leads, it seems Favorite is right behind him, cleaning up loose ends. From old jazz musicians, to secret lovers and forgotten daughters, Favorite eludes Angel until coming face to face—the hunter and the hunted—in a climax of cinematic horror in this opera noir.

In the Center for Contemporary Opera’s thirty year history, this is only the third opera it has commissioned. “We are delighted to commission this important new opera and look forward to bringing it to life through our development series leading to the premiere”, said CCO’s General and Artistic Director, Jim Schaeffer. “I have previously worked with both composer and librettist and know how talented they are. This opera promises to be something special.”

“To be among that handful of American composers commissioned to write opera is a great honor,” said Scearce. “CCO’s reputation for promotion and dissemination of American opera makes this an exceptional opportunity.”


Coming this spring! The CCO Development Series continues with Jane Eyre by Louis Karchin,  News from Poems by Susan Kander, Night of the Living Dead by Todd Goodman, Snake, Scholar, Monkey by Jue Wang, and The Reef by Joan Sorkin. We are also proud to present works by two European composers: Jiri Kaderabek (Czech Republic), Kafka’s Women and  Line Tjørnhøj  (Denmark) Mirandolas: Oration  which will be a world premiere. Details including dates, times and locations will be announced very soon.


We are proud to announce that the Center for Contemporary Opera’s production of William Mayer’s, A Death in the Family was named Best Production of the Armel Opera Festival and Competition. We also received the Audience Favorite Award cast by thousands of opera lovers across the world who had the opportunity to see the opera via the web cast at Arte Live Web or by watching the production’s live television broadcast on the Duna and Mezzo networks.

Our male lead, Phillippe Brocard, who sang the role of “Jay Follet” was awarded best male singer and received a recording session with orchestra as his prize. Our female lead and now CCO “veteran” Adrienn Miksch was awarded a special prize
as best Hungarian artist. For this, she will be singing a leading role with the world famous Hungarian National Opera at Budapest. We are very proud of both of them!

We are also proud of our cast, designers, and directors Robert Alfoldi and Sara Jobin for their superb work. I would also like to thank the Szeged National Theatre, Sandor Gyudi, General and Artistic Director, for their assistance and expertise. It is always a pleasure to perform in their house.

In addition to our production, there were four other companies who presented works. They were all of a very high standard and I would like to recognize them as well: The Serbian National Theatre, The Slovak National Theatre, The Josef Tyl Theatre of Pilsen, Czech Republic and our friends from the Szeged National Theatre.

Agnes Havas, the Director of the Armel Opera Festival and Competition deserves special recognition. We sometimes call her “Wonder Woman” and that label is not far fetched.

We appreciate our donors, friends and all those who watched the production and voted for us

Finally but most importantly, we thank the composer, William Mayer, who brought to life such a compelling and powerful work. Bravo!

After the dust settles a bit, we will be announcing the remainder of our season. It promises to be something special.


Congratulations to the following composers and librettists. These works have been selected for CCO’s Development Series, generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation:
  • Jane Eyre  Music and libretto by Louis Karchin
  • Night of the Living Dead   Music by Todd Goodman, libretto by Stephen Cartanzarites
  • Scholar, Monk, Snake   Music and libretto by Jue Wang
  • The News from Poems   Music and libretto by Susan Kander
  • The Reef   Libretto by Joan Ross Sorkin (Prima le Parole libretto reading series)
Thank you to all composers and librettist who submitted scores to us. We had upwards of 100 of these to review and only wish we had the funding to produce more of these deserving works.


October 8, 2012. The Center for Contemporary Opera opens its 30th season with the European premiere of William Mayer’s opus, A Death in the Family and we hope you can join us either in person or via the web. For our European friends, the work will be broadcast live across Europe over the Mezzo cable network. For our friends in the US and elsewhere, you may watch the live stream on the Arte network beginning at 1pm est by following this link.. The web cast will be available throughout the week so if you can’t watch the live performance, you may watch this anytime at your convenience. Let me also encourage you to vote for us as best production. Instructions for doing so are found on the same link.

To my mind, A Death in the Family is one of the most beautiful and powerful operas ever written. Our directors, Robert Alfoldi and Sara Jobin, have put together an amazing production featuring a very strong cast. We hope you will join us.

Death in the Family, Arte Live Web

August 23, 2012. Did you know that The Center for Contemporary Opera is the publisher of New Music Connoisseur? The only magazine in print devoted to modern music. The summer issue is nearing publication and look at what we offer:

Live Reviews of

  • Women’s Work concert at the Player’s Theater: Produced by composer Beth Anderson, works by women between 1991 and 2012, including Judith Shatin, Luo Jing Jing, Katherine Hoover, Stefania de Kenessey, Jennifer Higdon,and Vivian Fung.
  •  NY Philharmonic concert performance of excerpts from Hans Werner Henze’s grand opera “The Bassarids”
  •  Performances of 2 one-act operas, “My Last Duchess” by Theodore Wiprud and “The Clever Mistress” by Robert Sirota on the Cutting Edge series.
  •  ”The Other Borges”, a multi-media opera by Matthew Welch at Roulette.
  •  An article on two works based on the life of Lord Byron’s daughter,Ada Lovelace, one of Boston performance at the American Repertory Theater of an opera-musical called “Futurity”; the other a reading of work-in-progress by the Center for Contemporary Opera called “Ada”
  •  Leo Kraft’s 90th birthday concert at Queens College
  • Short reviews of about a dozen other events around town, ranging from
  • Symphony Space’s Gertrude Stein festival, to the concert of Bright Sheng and
  • David DelTredici pieces at Poisson Rouge.
  • A review of Amahl and the Night Visitors
CD Reviews:
  •  besides a number of short reviews of about a dozen CDs, longer reviews on retrospectives of Pauline Oliveros and Stefan Wolpe.
  •  one a memorial to Milton Babbitt by Benjamin Boretz, the founder of
  • Perspectives of New Music and the other  about the composer Osvaldo Golijov and recent accusations of plagiarism made against him
…and a puzzle! The cost is only $12.50 a year. To subscribe, please visit here.


May 3, 2012:  CCO’s performance of The Secret Agent in Avignon was a huge success; Here is a translation of the first of many reviews to come:

Opéra d’AvignonThe Secret Agent Opera by Michael Dellaira, libretto by J.D. McClatchy, after the novel The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad.Winner of the Armel Opera Competition and Festival/Arte (2011 Award)
Production of the Center for Contemporary Opera, New YorkMusical Direction: Sarah (sic) Jobin
Stage Direction: Sam HelfrichWinnie: Adrienn MIKSCH (Hungary)
Verloc: Nicolas RIGAS (France)and Jodi Karem, Deborah Lifton, Courtney Huffman, Sarah Miller, Cherry Duke, Rick Piersall, Jason Detwiller, Mark Zuckerman, Jonathan Blalock, Matthew Garrett, Aaro Themo, Nathaniel Baer, David Neal, Jason PapowitzWith the participation of the dancers of the Ballet of the Opera-Theatre of AvignonSymphony Orchestra of SzegedThe novel on which this opera is based was written in 1907 by Joseph Conrad. This work has remained current since it was filmed by Hitchcock in 1936. In 1996, Christopher Hampton was inspired to make another film version starring Gérard DepardieuThe recent terrorist madness everywhere is a non-stop reminder of this reality which the composer Michael Dellaira has now put on the opera stage. In 2011, this work, The Secret Agent, was performed with four other works at the “Armel Opera Competition” and was cited by the jury. It should be noted that this competition has been in existence for four years with the mission of showing the worth of contemporary creations. The Avignon Opera had the pleasure of presenting it to its public in its French premiere.The action takes place in London. A unique staging, based on a changing play of light. showing in turn the office of an ambassador, a rich London dwelling, and a mean shop where terrorists and secret agents meet, was beautifully conceived, never interfering with the unfolding action.The pit contained 14 musicians, members of the Szeged Symphony Orcestra under the direction of Sarah Jobin, a young conductor who combines feminine grace with firmness in the direction of a modern (but not excessively modern) score. This music is well in the style of 20th century North American music. Sarah Jobin knew how to make it flow and sound very pleasing.The subtitles were worthy of a ‘wikipedien’ translation, an approximation that sometimes produced a smile – a contrast to the darkness of the ambiance of anarchists, terrorists, murderers and swindlers of every sort.Among the singers, we must single out the sweet and warm voice of Adrienn Miksch in the role of Winnie, even if her low notes were often covered by the orchestra. She sang with deep feeling in the scene where she puts her young brother to bed, the sole moment of love in this violent universe.The principal role of the secret agent Verloc was taken by the young French baritone Nicolas Rigas: a fine scenic presence and a very well placed voice that make one wish a breakthrough for him in this difficult singing business.The other roles are secondary but were nevertheless performed with conviction in both their scenic and vocal commitment.The Avignon public had some hesitations coming to hear this contemporary opera but those in attendance had no cause to regret their presence

December 1, 2011:  The Center for Contemporary Opera was honored with an invitation from the Armel Opera Festival to present The Secret Agent on April 18, 2012 at the Avignon Opera Theatre, Avignon, France. We are most appreciative of the financial support from the Armel Festival towards making this performance a reality.

October 30, 2011:  Congratulations to Robert Ward, co-founder of the Center for Contemporary Opera who received lifetime honors from the National Endowment of the Arts. His citation may be found here.

October 18, 2011: The Center for Contemporary Opera has returned from the Armel Opera Festival and Competition were it presented Michael Dellaira and J.D. McCLatchy’s The Secret Agent to great acclaim. The performance took place at the Szegedi National Theatre in Hungary and was heard by a very appreciative audience in the theatre in addition to over one million viewers across Europe via the Mezzo Fine Arts Network of France and the Arte Live Web.  In case you missed the performance, the webcast will be available on the Arte Live network here. for the next three months.  In addition to the performance, General Director Jim Schaeffer gave a lecture at the University of Szeged on the topic Cultural Arts Management in the United States and the cast enjoyed a day off following the performance with many traveling to Budapest to visiting that amazing city. There is only one opera company in the United States that brings American opera to Europe and that is CCO. We are very proud to do this.

September 23, 2011: CCO has a new mailing address: P.O.Box 3169, New York, NY 10163. Please contact our office for instructions for Fedex or UPS deliveries.

September 21, 2011: General Director Jim Schaeffer is a guest panelist at Opera America’s Making Connections Series and is joined by composers Nico Muhly, John Glover and director Beth Greenberg. The topic is “The development of new operas”.

August 30, 2011: The Center for Contemporary Opera welcomes Eugene Rotberg to our distinguished Board of Directors. Mr. Rotberg has enjoyed a very distinguished career in finance and government and was the former Vice President of the World Bank.  He is a great lover of opera and sees an average of 60 operas a year all over the world.  A long time Board member at Washington Opera , his expertise will be invaluable to us.

August 22, 2011: The operas and libretti selected for the CCO Development Series were announced today.

August 1, 2011: Due to the extremely large number of scores submitted to us for the CCO Development Series, we will not be able to announce the results today as originally planned! We have narrowed the submissions to forty-three and hope to have our decisions within several weeks. We appreciate your patience!

June 14, 2011: General Director Jim Schaeffer and Stage Director Sam Helfrich traveled to Szeged, Hungary to judge the second round of the Armel Opera Competition and Festival. Their task was to select a “new” Verloc and Winnie for the  The Secret Agent‘s reprise in Szeged on October 14 and in New York in August. We are proud to announce that Hungarian soprano Adrienn Miksch will be singing the role of Winnie and Nicolas Rigas from France will sing the role of Verloc. Congratulations to both of them!  The Hungarian television network, Duna, produced a program about the competition which has been posted to You Tube.  You can see Sam Helfrich in action at the 16:00 mark as he works with some of the competitors.

May 21, 2011: CCO now has a “new and improved” phone number:  646 481-8110.

April 8, 2011. Operaticus weighs in with a review of The Secret Agent. To read, please click here.

March 20, 2011: Thank you for attending the world premiere of The Secret Agent by Michael Dellaira and J.D. McClatchy. Here are two reviews and an interview that you will enjoy: http://bit.ly/fKnjRchttp://bit.ly/fmO6d1

February 23, 2011: We are now accepting applications for the Armel Opera Competition First Round auditions. These will be held in New York City on April 18/19. To receive an application or for more information, please send an email to armelcompetition2011@gmail.com or visit the Armel website. Winners from the First Round will receive a stipend to travel to Budapest for the Second Round on May 29. You may then be chosen for a leading role in one of five (four in Europe and CCO from the US) productions. These  roles will be performed both in the opera company’s home theatre and at the Armel Festival itself in October, 2011. At the Festival, two grand prize winners will be selected and receive 10,000 Euros each.  In addition, each company’s production will be broadcast live across Europe via the French Mezzo network.

February 14, 2011: Thanks to all of you who attended our gala this past weekend. We have received a number of comments from attendees telling us how much they enjoyed the evening. One patron described it as “perfect”! Thank you as well to the Frost Opera Theater from the University of Miami. They students did an outstanding job by any measure and we certainly appreciated their participation. The only disappointment for the evening was the lack of donations. We established a goal of $30,000 to be raised but have received less than $500! As you could imagine, the $35.00 charge for admission did not even cover the cost of the evening. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you can see that CCO is worthy of your support and that we are doing more for American opera than any other company. We sincerely need and appreciate your support. Please donate safely on line by visiting our Support page. Thank you for your consideration and thank you for attending our gala!

February 10, 2011: The Gala Evening to Benefit the Center for Contemporary is officially sold out, but the National Arts Club is very resourceful in comfortably seating additional attendees. If you have not purchased your ticket or made a reservation, we hope you will still attend.

February 7,2011: Elliott Forrest (Classical WQXR, Live from Lincoln Center, Breakfast with the Arts, etc.) has graciously agreed to serve as the Master of Ceremonies for our Gala on Feb 10.. Please read more about him