- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - You could call it instant opera: A New Orleans nonprofit will create and perform a pair of opera scenes with only two days to get from page to stage.

New Fangled Opera calls it Opera Presto - in musical terms, “Opera really, really, fast.”

Composers Monica Pearce and Philip Seward and writers Chloe Gilligan and Traix Heiden learned Thursday who’s working with whom, said Chris Burton, a composer and conductor who founded New Fangled Opera in 2012 with his wife, singer Shelley Burton.

Composers and librettists had the afternoon and evening to come up with a scene less than 15 minutes long and songs to show and tell what’s happening.

Then singers Christina Paz, Laura Booras, Sarah Aragon, Molly Dahlberg, Cara Williams, Daniel Foltz-Morrison and Xavier Joseph have to learn the songs and Directors Alexander Trice and Shelley Burton have to work out the staging in time for the performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the University of New Orleans. Burton said they get their scores by 9 a.m. Friday.

Artists came from all over for the project, paying their own travel costs. Singers get $100 and a discount on housing. Composers, directors and librettists who asked for it were provided housing.

Pearce is from Toronto and Seward from Chicago. Heiden is studying music composition at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and Gilligan is a student at the University of Kansas, where she’s majoring in tuba performance with a minor in creative writing.

Paz, Williams and Booras are from New Orleans, though Paz is working as assistant music director at a church in Austin, Texas. Dahlberg’s from Baton Rouge, Aragon is studying voice at Indiana University in Bloomington, Foltz-Morrison is from Little Rock, Arkansas; and Joseph is from Dallas. Trice is originally from Oxfordshire, England, but moved to Detroit in 2003.

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Online: https://www.newfangledopera.org/2015-opera-presto-project/

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