Thursday, 7:30 pm EDT May 13, 2021
Online via Zoom
We are happy to join the American Opera Project for our second Note/Books event, a series that features libretto readings (with musical excerpts) of new operas inspired by fiction. Join us for an early look at The Night Falls, a dance-driven blend of movement, opera, and musical theater with book and lyrics by Karen Russell (Swamplandia!, Orange World), music and lyrics by Ellis Ludwig-Leone (San Fermin), and choreographed and directed by Troy Schumacher (NYC Ballet).
The presentation will feature the premiere of two dance videos from a 2020 workshop of The Night Falls, as well as an in-depth look at the work’s unique chronology from prose to opera to short story. A discussion moderated by Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Executive Producer Emeritus, Joseph V. Melillo, and a Q&A with the opera’s creators will follow.
Still from 2020 dance workshop of The Night Falls. Video: Troy Schumacher.
Ellis Ludwig-Leone (music/lyrics) is the songwriter and bandleader for San Fermin, which has released three albums on Downtown/Interscope Records and has toured extensively, with appearances on Last Call with Carson Daly, CBS This Morning, and Canal + Music. The band has received critical praise from the likes of NPR, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and more. He has composed for a wide variety of ensembles and soloists, including ACME, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, The Crossing, Decoda, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Lavinia Meijer, Het Gelders Orkest, NOW Ensemble, and Simone Dinnerstein. He was named the 2015 Composer-In-Residence for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, and is a recipient of residencies from The MacDowell Colony and Banff Centre for the Arts. His work with Troy Schumacher has been premiered by the New York City Ballet. Current projects include a new musical commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre, directed by Diane Paulus.
Joseph V. Melillo
Joseph V. Melillo
Joseph V. Melillo was BAM’s executive producer from 1999 to 2018. Mr. Melillo was responsible for BAM’s artistic direction, overseeing programming in all its performance spaces: the Howard Gilman Opera House, Harvey Theater, BAM Fisher and Rose Cinemas. He previously served as BAM’s producing director and founding director of the Next Wave Festival, which debuted in 1983. Spanning a 35 year-tenure at BAM, Melillo has fostered the work of emerging and established artists, and forged numerous international partnerships. Awards include the Commandeur, Officier, and Chevalier de L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France), OBE (Great Britain), Knight of the Royal Order of the Polar Star (Sweden), and Knight of the National Order of Québec (Canada). He has served as both a 2017 Gish Award panelist and a 2017 Heinz Award juror. Melillo is currently the International Artistic Advisor for Columbia Artists and the 2019 Director’s Fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. He is a lecturer at colleges and universities nationally and internationally.
Karen Russell (book/lyrics) A native of Miami, Russell won the 2012 and the 2018 National Magazine Award for fiction, and her first novel, Swamplandia!, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2012 Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and was a recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2013. Her work has been published in the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, the New York Times, and the Best American Short Stories anthologies, and honored by the National Book Award’s 5 under 35 program and the New Yorker’s 20 under 40″ issue. Russell is also the author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories, and Sleep Donation: A Novella, and the 2019 story collection Orange World. She lives with her husband, son, and daughter in Portland, Oregon.
Troy Schumacher (director/choreographer) is an American choreographer, dancer, and director living in New York, NY. His athletic aesthetic draws upon the artists he collaborates with to produce fresh, unexpected results. He is a soloist dancer with New York City Ballet and the founder of BalletCollective, an arts collective driven toward creating new ballet-based works that has been moving ballet forward since its inception in 2010. His work has been presented by New York City Ballet, Performa, Danspace Project, Guggenheim Works & Process, the Joyce Theater, the Savannah Music Festival, and NYU Skirball Center. He has collaborated with many artists including Jeff Koons, Thom Browne, Ken Liu, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, Maddie Ziegler, and David Salle. In addition to live performances, Schumacher has choreographed numerous art, fashion and commercial shoots, including works for Google, Sony PlayStation, Capezio, HP, Aritzia, CR Fashion Book, Tom Ford, and the New York Times.
Funding for the creation of The Night Falls was provided by BalletCollective. The Night Falls was developed during a Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals 2018 residency.
The Night Falls –a dance opera was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Howard Gilman Foundation, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.
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