Friday, September 27, 2013

WE WANT YOU... to participate in the 24-Hour Opera Project!

Calling all composers, lyricists, stage directors and opera singers!

The Atlanta Opera is now accepting applications for the fourth annual 24-Hour Opera Project®, November 1 & 2, 2013. Think of it as a creative science project where Verdi meets reality TV!

Applications are due September 30!

Who can participate?
Composers, lyricists, stage directors and singers may apply (experience required, must be at least 18 years of age). Download the appropriate application below:

What are we talking about?
Composers and lyricists selected to participate will be randomly paired together, and will have 12 hours to write an opera scene. At the end of 12 hours, the pieces will be assigned to participating stage directors, who will draft singers from a pool of applicants, and have 8 hours to rehearse before presenting the pieces in a showcase-concert 24 hours after the project begins. Compositions and performances will be judged by a panel of judges, as well as the audience. Prizes will be awarded to the judge’s choice and audience favorite. No travel, housing, or per diem provided. No cash prizes awarded.

Where will the event take place?
The 24-Hour Opera Project® kick-off event, composing, and rehearsing will take place at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. The showcase performance will take place at the Woodruff Arts Center’s 14th Street Playhouse.

When will this happen?
Friday, November 1
First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta
Kick-off event @ 5PM

Saturday, November 2
14th Street Playhouse
Showcase performance @ 8PM

Admission to the performance is FREE and is open to the public, but registration is required. Info at

Why are we subjecting ourselves to such madness?
Because we’re crazy! (And we want everyone to see how cool opera is!) We are also joining other opera companies around the country to celebrate National Opera Week.

Still have questions? Please visit

See the craziness for yourself! Check out news coverage, photos, and videos from last year’s 24-Hour Opera Project®!
Watch the Webcast >>
See Photos >>
Watch Confession Cam Footage >>

Photos Courtesy of Jeff Roffman (1) and Tim Wilkerson (2 & 3).

Usage of any images on this blog is restricted to The Atlanta Opera and approved news websites. Any other usage, particularly for professional purposes, must have written permission. For additional information, please contact The Atlanta Opera's Marketing Department at 404.881.8801.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dining with the Devil: A Foodie's Guide to Tosca...

The setting of Tosca in Rome opens up so many gastronomic possibilities! In the case of Tosca, it's fun to speculate about what the characters were actually eating, and in the case of a fantastic evening with friends, we would like to propose a few recipes to get you in the mood before you come see it at the Cobb Energy Centre, October 5 to 13.

Cavaradossi’s Lunch Basket

Tosca's lover, Cavaradossi, had a basket lunch brought to him by the church sacristan. According to master-chef, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, this lunch was probably not very different from what is eaten in Rome today. It would have had a loaf of white bread because Cavaradossi was a nobleman (peasants ate dark bread), and a local sheep cheese. There would have been a farm-cured salami and a jug of white wine from Orvieto.**

Farm-cured salami, local sheep cheese, and good bread would also serve as a lovely appetizer, along with some celebratory white wine pairings…

Scarpia's Dinner

At the beginning of Act IV of Tosca, the evil Baron Scarpia is eating supper in a room lit only by two candles and a candelabra on his table. But what could Scarpia have been eating on that fateful night?

As the police chief of Rome, he would have eaten in the style of Roman nobility. Since it was evening, his dinner was a lighter version of the main meal of the day, eaten at mid-afternoon.

 Food was status for people like Scarpia. His dinner earlier in the day would probably have begun with a tray of artfully arranged small appetizers like prosciutto wrapped in colorful marzipan, savory tartlets of nuts and greens, and small fritters of sweetbreads or, perhaps, oysters.**

A soup would follow this course - possibly a capon broth with tiny ravioli floating in it, with the filling consisting of breast of capon, cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, marrow, and herbs. Then there would be either a roasted whole fish stuffed with truffles, or hare cooked in a pungent sweet/sour sauce of black pepper, sugar, vinegar, nuts, fruits, and red wine.**

Once this dish was removed, the servants would present a large silver platter with a whole baby lamb roasted and turned on a spit over an open fire until glazed to a mahogany brown. The tender meat would have been laced with strips of prosciutto and basted with wine and herbs.**

For a yummy, Tosca-themed main course, we would suggest a Saltimbocca Barone Scarpia with a classic Roman Salad Puntare.

Il Postre…

For dessert, Scarpia probably had trays of tiny cookies and fanciful marzipan and, perhaps, an elaborate molded frozen dessert layering cake and iced cream. When Tosca enters, we always imagine that Scarpia was just finishing the dessert.

In honor of our tragic heroine, Floria Tosca, ending the evening on a sweet note with an Almond Tosca Cake should be just the ticket….

That Spanish wine referred to in Tosca might have been a sweet one - possibly a dark golden and rich Oloroso Sherry, which would be a lovely aperitif….

You can continue to celebrate at intermission with Tosca-themed cocktails available at Cobb Energy Centre concessions made with the appropriately named Double Cross Vodka

Tosca Truffle Martini

Double Cross Vodka, Vermouth, Blue Cheese Truffle, and Olives.

Puccini Limonata Rosa

Double Cross Vodka, Fresh Lemon Juice, Cranberry Juice, and an Orange Twist.

See you at the Opera! For tickets and info, please visit

** Content quoted and paraphrased from "Food to Accompany the Opera: 
Bring Tosca Home for Dinner" 
By Lynne Rossetto Kasper, 
September 27, 1998.

Usage of any images on this blog is restricted to The Atlanta Opera and approved news websites. Any other usage, particularly for professional purposes, must have written permission. For additional information, please contact The Atlanta Opera's Marketing Department at 404.881.8801.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Get to Know Boyce and Shepard Ansley, the Honorees of The 2013 Atlanta Opera Ball: Puccini’s Palazzo

Shepard and Boyce Ansley

The Honorary Chairs of The 2013 Atlanta Opera Ball: Puccini’s Palazzo are Boyce and Shepard Ansley, long-time supporters of The Atlanta Opera. Through their time, generous gifts and fundraising efforts, they have taken an active role in ensuring the success of the Opera throughout its 34-year history.
The Atlanta Civic Opera, later renamed The Atlanta Opera, was created when two local opera companies merged in 1979.  Financially struggling from the on-set, a planned season was cancelled in 1982.  Boyce Ansley along with friends Nancy Green, Sally McDaniel, and Victoria Mooney, launched a fundraising effort for the troubled company in 1983. In subsequent years, when the company was seeking a new executive director, Boyce and fellow board member Hazel Sanger asked Alfred Kennedy to take the position of General Manager on a temporary basis. (Little did Kennedy know then that he would hold the post until 2004!)  Boyce continued to raise money for the fledging opera company and has been an active member participant behind-the-scenes of The Atlanta Opera since the beginning.

Alfred Kennedy (second from left), Boyce and Shepard Ansley (right) and others entering the Fantasies of the Opera Ball at The Fox Theatre in 1996.

Boyce has served on The Atlanta Opera Board of Directors since 1982, as President from 1987 to 1990, as Chair from 1990 to 2006, and as Chair Emeritus since 2006. She helped lead the Board and the Opera in achieving a national reputation for artistic excellence and in its audience growth, from 3,000 to 5,000 in the early 1980s to 48,000 in 1998. In addition to serving as a board officer at various times, Boyce has headed up the nominating committee and has been an active fundraiser and contributor while serving on the executive committee. She has chaired The Atlanta Opera Ball, which is the single largest fundraising event for the Opera, and is very proud to serve, alongside her husband, as Honorary Chair this year.

In 1997, Boyce was awarded the Volunteer Fund Raiser of the Year Award by the Georgia Chapter of the National Society of Fundraising Executives. She was nominated for her work with the Opera, Atlanta Botanical Garden, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta Preservation Center, REACH, the Cator Woolford Gardens, and the Davison School in Georgia. Currently, Boyce serves on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta Preservation Society, The Trust for Public Land, and several other organizations. She is a member of the Junior League of Atlanta and was Senior Warden of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Boyce also has been active on out-of-state boards, including Chatham Hall and Hollins University. In recent years, she was asked to join the Board of Regents of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, an extremely prestigious group of women responsible for the financial well-being of the home of George Washington outside of Washington, D.C.

Boyce and Shepard Ansley are generous lifetime donors to The Atlanta Opera and have designated The Atlanta Opera as a beneficiary in their estate plan.  The Atlanta Opera thanks Boyce and Shepard Ansley for their continued service, support, and dedication to advancing opera in Atlanta.
Boyce and Shepard Ansley dancing at the Fantasies of the Opera Ball at The Fox Theatre in 1996.
The Ansleys will be honored at The 2013 Atlanta Opera Ball: Puccini’s Palazzo on Saturday, October 26, at the St. Regis Atlanta in Buckhead.

Details about The 2013 Atlanta Opera Ball: Puccini’s Palazzo are listed below and at Tickets can be purchased online here.

* * *

The 2013 Atlanta Opera Ball: Puccini’s Palazzo will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the St. Regis Atlanta in Buckhead. The evening will be themed after the season’s opening production, Tosca, and will feature a gourmet dinner, dancing, and luxury items in the silent and live auctions.

This year’s ball chairs are Chris Casey and Doug Weiss, and the emcee for the evening will be WSB-TV's Jovita Moore. Tickets are currently available for purchase. Sponsorships may be purchased for $3,500 (includes 10 tickets to the event) or $1,500 (includes 2 tickets). Individual event tickets are available for $350 each. 

To learn more about The Atlanta Opera Ball, 
sponsorship opportunities, or to purchase tickets, please contact Allison Deniro at 404-591-2928.

Usage of any images on this blog is restricted to The Atlanta Opera and approved news websites. Any other usage, particularly for professional purposes, must have written permission. For additional information, please contact the Atlanta Opera's Marketing Department at 404-881-8801.