Few opera companies avail themselves of the repertory of American opera written since World War II. The Center for Contemporary Opera embraces this category.
In addition to presenting and producing new American opera, the center assists American composers with their work by providing staged readings with full orchestra and cast, employs emerging singers and educates the general public about contemporary opera through lectures, panel discussions, previews and its publication, Opera Today.
Among the operas premiered by the center have been Mario and the Magician, by Francis Thorne and J. D. McClatchy, based on the novel by Thomas Mann; and the televised production of The Bald Soprano, by Martin Kalmanoff, based on the play by Eugène Ionesco. Other productions have included Cheri, by Michael Dellaira and Susan Yankowitz; A More Perfect Union, by Victoria Bond and Isaiah Sheffer; Insect Comedy, by Martin Kalmanoff and Lewis Allen; KAFKA: Letter to My Father, by Stanley Walden; La Priere du Loup, by Eric Salzman; and Christopher Sly, by Dominick Argento.
Each season the winners of the previous year’s International Opera Singers Competition are presented in recital of mostly American music in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Public lectures have featured the composers John Corigliano, William Bolcom, Lee Hoiby and Carlisle Floyd, as well as John Rockwell, former Director of Lincoln Center Festival, and other opera professionals.