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Encompass New Opera Theatre prides itself in creating a home for culturally diverse American artists in adventurous productions of contemporary American music theater and opera based on classic plays or written by new writers. Encompass strives to feature important pieces of 20th century American theater, nurture emerging artists, and premiere groundbreaking new productions. The company's artistic teams combine their own cultural diversity to form a shared dramatic vision that is truly American in spirit and through a focus on the human condition, international in scope. Encompass has, since its inception in 1975, presented over 40 fully mounted productions with orchestra, and staged readings of over 100 new works.

Inherent in the Company's mission is a profound commitment to offer compelling theater that embraces the unique spirit and character of American culture. This philosophy is clearly illustrated in the production of new works as well as those not well known to contemporary audiences. Through this holistic focus on the theater arts, Encompass is able to reintroduce the world to works that resonate with pertinent social themes today.

Encompass New Opera's primary focus is to nurture emerging new talent while rediscovering playwrights, composers and librettists whose works received world premieres but who have thus far been denied contemporary recognition. Among the contemporary composers whose careers Encompass has helped galvanize are Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel and Michael John LaChuisa, all winners of the Stephen Sondheim award. In achieving our mission and vision, Encompass New Opera is guided by the following goals:

To bring wider recognition to American dramatists, composers, and performers:

To create and produce original music theater and opera by American dramatists and composers;

To make the work of these artists accessible to new and diverse audiences by including the members of these audiences in a process of active engagement from the beginning of the creative process; and

To build a strong financial base to enable the company to achieve these goals.


History and Background:
Encompass New Opera Theatre, founded in 1975, was formed by the internationally renowned theater and opera director, Nancy Rhodes. During the more than two decades of work that have followed, the Company has produced some of the most important American lyric theater works on both American and international stages. Operating on three continents and in five different countries, members of Encompass have consistently worked to support and expand the breadth of audience and material touched by their art form.

The Company's outstanding critical reputation and dedication to American artists has earned it considerable international recognition. In 1982, Encompass was invited to one of Europe's most prestigious venues, the Holland Festival, to present a portrait of contemporary American music theater. After the production in Amsterdam was met with critical acclaim, the Company's Artistic and Producing Director, Nancy Rhodes, was provided with a base from which to introduce European audiences to a wide spectrum of modern American theatrical and operatic pieces. Her accla imed productions throughout Europe, specifically in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland and Turkey, brought considerable attention to the high caliber of American theatrical work.

After ten years of international success, Nancy Rhodes returned to New York to re-establish Encompass Music Theatre, now Encompass New Opera Theatre. Since the early 1990s, the Company has renewed its work in New York City and with the acceptance of commissions and new productions, revivified its role as the standard bearer for American opera and music theater.

Unique to Encompass New Opera Theatre has always been the care and attention given to the creative process, and the importance placed on engaging an audience from the inception of an artist's vision. Encompass seeks to build long-term commitments to artists and new works by including audiences in the creative development process. Encompass' audiences return year after year to engage in Salon discussions and, as knowledgeable participants, to attend full-scale mainstage Company productions.

Encompass has steadily built its audiences on two continents in this way, an approach that is personal and, in the long run, of significant consequence to the arts. Encompass believes that this nurturing of audiences will lead to a deeper commitment and appreciation for the creative process. Together, artists and audiences can link their dreams and expressions at the highest levels of quality and creative imagination.

Encompass Production History:
Encompass has produced the world, American, or New York premieres of more than forty fully mounted operas and over 100 new works in the Encompass New Composers Salon series, which selects and fosters new composing talent. Encompass New Composers Salons help prepare pieces for full-scale production, while benefiting audiences and artists alike.

n May 2000, OPERA America honored Encompass and founding Artistic Director Nancy Rhodes for "25 Year of Dynamic Leadership" in opera. Under the direction of Ms. Rhodes, the company has staged groundbreaking new works, including the world premiere of Michael Stewart, Richard Engquist and Doug Katsarosı Elizabeth and Essex, starring Estelle Parsons; American premieres of George Antheilıs operas Transatlantic and Venus in Africa; Heinrich Marschnerıs Der Vampyr. Other notable productions include the Encompass award-winning production of Virgil Thomson's and Gertrude Stein's The Mother of Us All.

Productions in 2000-2001 included Un Racconto Fiorentino by Louis Gioia presented at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and Only Heaven by Ricky Ian Gordon presented at the Connelly Theatre. In 2003, Encompass presented a double bill of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbisonıs A Full Moon in March, based on a play by W.B. Yeats, paired with the New York premiere of composer Hans Werner Henzeıs The End Of A World, libretto by Wolfgang Hildesheimer (translated by Wesley Balk). In February, 2004, Encompass presented (as a co-production with After Dinner Opera) the premiere of Seymour Barabıs comic opera (freely adapted from a play by W.S. Gilbert), with performances at the Nimoy/Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space. Most recently, the New York premiere of Grigori Fridıs compelling opera, The Diary of Anne Frank, which went on tour in 2004 to the Cleveland Opera.

What the critics have said about Encompass:

"Encompass deserves the most vociferous praise for being so dedicated to the promotion of the American lyric theater."
The Village Voice

"This [Wise Woman] was one of the most enchanting events in memory, a musical dream, theatrical magic, ...[the production] was proof that you don't need big people and big places to accomplish big things- you only need big imagination and talent."
Robert Jones, Cue Magazine

"[Postcard from Morocco]... was thoughtfully conceived and executed with the kind of ensemble polish one has come to expect from an Encompass production."
Peter G. Davis, The New York Times

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