Peabody Opera Theatre is dedicated to the future of opera, and that means preparing students to perform new works alongside the existing operatic canon. Several of our faculty and staff have a noted trajectory of premiering new and contemporary vocal works, and our department has the benefit of collaborating with Peabody’s noted Composition Department. The total of new operas written, developed, and performed at Peabody in the past two decades comes to well over 60 works both large and small, and we regularly produce contemporary opera on our main stage.
At the core of Peabody Opera Theatre’s collaboration with composers is a project called Opera Études, facilitated by Professor Toni Arnold. Études are mini-operas of 10 to 20 minutes in length, typically scored for singers and piano. The generative process of these works is a unique dramatic improvisation between singers and a composer. Recently, the program has been run every other year, featuring about half a dozen composers each time, writing their own respective variations on a loosely-conceived dramatic theme.
Peabody Opera Theatre is committed to questioning the stories we tell on the operatic stage and to diversifying who gets to tell these stories. We strive to reassess the existing canon and find beautiful and socially responsible ways of performing the classics. We also work to train performing artists and composers who believe that opera is a contemporary art form because it reflects their own lived experience of the world. Our commitment to new work stems from our dedication to the future of opera.