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The Hermitage announces first Opera Genesis Fellowships

The Hermitage Artist Retreat and New York City's American Opera Projects have offered their first annual six-week residency to composer Mikael Karlsson and visual designer Elle Kunnos de Voss

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  • | 1:30 p.m. September 10, 2015
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Southwest Florida has become an avid advocate for the creation of and performing of some of the best works in all of opera. From the the immense work done at the Sarasota Opera with its ambitious Verdi Cycle and commissioning new works for its children's opera program, opera has found passionate defenders in the Sarasota area. Now in Englewood at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, there will be a whole new generation of opera artists creating the future classics of American opera. 

The Hermitage Artist Retreat in collaboration with the American Opera Projects (AOP), a developer of new operatic and musical theater works with young and aspiring artists in New York City, have announced the recipients of the first annual Opera Genesis Fellowships: composer Mikael Karlsson and librettist and visual designer Elle Kunnos de Voss. To be presented every year to graduates of AOP's composer and voice program, recipients will be given a six-week residency at the Hermitage campus to work on their newest opera production and/or concept. 

"The Hermitage was in discussions with AOP for many months before announcing this partnership," says Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage. "Seeing the program come into being with the announcement of the first recipients is very exciting. We exist to inspire and assist artists in the creation of new work. AOP takes it to the next level so that work can be presented to the public."

Karlsson and Kunnos de Voss are young and successful artists in their respective fields. Both hail from New York City by way of Sweden and will be collaborating on their newest work, "The Echo Drift," while residing at the Hermitage. 

Kunnos de Voss also hails from New York City by way of Sweden and has worked on award-winning designs for architecture, film, set and costume design.
Kunnos de Voss also hails from New York City by way of Sweden and has worked on award-winning designs for architecture, film, set and costume design.

Composer Karlsson received his master's degree in classical composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music in 2005, and has had his music performed at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art as well as at new music and opera festivals around the world at the Oslo Opera House, the Royal Swedish Opera House and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Along with "The Echo Drift," Karlsson is developing the tentatively titled "The Diana Vreeland Opera" and an opera titled "Decoration."

Librettist and visual designer Kunnos de Voss earned her master's degree from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design. In 2004, she moved to New York City and co-founded The Metrics where as creative director she completed architectural and interior design projects in New York, Europe and Asia. In addition to working on "The Echo Drift" with Karlsson, Kunnoss de Voss is working on two librettos. "The Echo Drift" has had a staged preview at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C. and is scheduled fro a New York City premiere in 2017.

"In the current climate, there is much energy surrounding the development of new opera," says Charles Jordan, AOP's general director, "but not always enough time for the creative process to unfold. The Genesis Fellowships directly address this, and we are all eager to see the work that results."


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