Composer Librettist Development Program

PLEASE NOTE: Applications will not be accepted until February 2017 for the next cycle of the CLDP, beginning in the fall of 2017.

ALT Resident Artists Theo Popov and Tony Asaro in a workshop session with ALT Mentors Mark Adamo and Mark Campbell.

ALT Resident Artists Theo Popov and Tony Asaro in a workshop session with ALT Mentors Mark Adamo and Mark Campbell.

Until ALT started the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), there was not a single full-time training program for opera composers and librettists at any opera company in the United States. Almost every opera company in the country has a Young Artist Program to mentor emerging singers, and over the past 25 years, these programs have proved immensely successful at improving both the artistic level and the career success of American singers around the globe. Imagine what could happen if the same sort of opportunities were available for operatic writers. ALT is doing more than imagining this – we are making it happen. The CLDP has been designed to address the absence of appropriate mentorship for our writers.

Founded in 2007 and recognized for artistic excellence by both the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the CLDP is the only full-time professional mentorship initiative for operatic writers in the country. The CLDP is a tuition-free program that includes a core curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country’s leading working artists. Under the direction of Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson, the principal faculty for the CLDP includes composer/librettist Mark Adamo, librettist Mark Campbell, composer Robert Beaser, dramaturg Cori Ellison, librettist Michael Korie, stage director Rhoda Levine, and composer Paul Moravec. Recent guest teachers and lecturers have included composers Kaija Saariaho, Ricky Ian Gordon, Nico Muhly, Stewart Wallace, Christopher Theofanidis, and John Musto, and librettists Stephen Karam, Donna DiNovelli, and Gene Scheer.

In addition to ongoing classes and workshops, composers and librettists in the program have the opportunity to take part in residency observerships at The Metropolitan Opera. Through this recently expanded partnership, ALT is able to provide artists the opportunity to explore the process of mounting fully staged operatic productions. ALT also provides opportunities for Resident Artists to meet opera company leaders from around the country so that they can showcase their work, and expand their professional network. Additional networking and membership resources are provided through ALT’s partnership with OPERA America

Originally available to artists in New York City, the CLDP was expanded to be a national initiative in 2013.  Composers and librettists from across the United States are able to participate in the CLDP through a combination of part-time NYC residencies, and regular remote participation in classes and workshops through the use of  HD video conferencing technology. The acquisition of this new, high speed, high-resolution technology enables ALT to invite artists from all over the country to participate in the CLDP and to collaborate with other artists, without geographic restriction.

Upon completion of the CLDP, artists have addressed crucial voids in their training while creating a draft of a new work to be further developed for staged reading by ALT, with the possibility of subsequent professional production by ALT and/or other companies. To date, the program has provided intensive, personalized mentorship to 38 gifted emerging artists. ALT has contributed 15 new 30-minute operas, 2 one-act chamber operas, and 2 full-length operas to the repertoire, which have been performed by organizations including Fort Worth Opera, Opera Saratoga, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Tulsa Opera, The San Francisco Conservatory and Bard College. Currently, there are four new full-length operas in development by ALT Resident Artists under the auspices of the CLDP. Beyond works developed at ALT, distinguished alumni of the CLDP are now creating works for companies around the country, including Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.