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Experiments in Opera

Brooklyn, NY            

Our Vision

Experiments in Opera is focused on re-writing the story of opera.  We are excited that new operas can be adventurous and fun, focused on strong and intimate storytelling, while also challenging notions of what experimental music can be.  EiO invites composers, directors, designers and performers to create new work that embraces unconventional mediums, a range of durations and production scales, and explores collaboration between all types of artists working to share their visions.  We bring new operas to the stage as quickly as we can, marking the urgency of artists with something important to say and the desire of audiences to be a part of the excitement of risky and rewarding work.

Our Mission

We believe composers are the visionaries of 21st Century opera, and define opera as the activity of telling stories through music. We support artists with unusual stories to tell, and embrace the diversity of their life and musical experiences. Our core programming addresses three areas of activities:

  • EiO supports composers through development workshops and performance opportunities driven by the composers’ ideas and direction.
  • EiO builds community through meaningful partnerships with ensembles, media outlets and presenting organizations.
  • EiO helps to share new operas developed through its programs with a broader audience through advocacy efforts including video materials, contextual writings and robust public programs.

Our Story

The 2019-2020 Experiments in Opera leadership team includes Aaron Siegel (Executive Director), Kamala Sankaram (Co-Artistic Director) and Jason Cady (Co-Artistic Director).

Co-Founded in Brooklyn in 2010 by composers Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch and Jason Cady, Experiments in Opera has commissioned 70 new works in six years, from 48 composers collaborating with over three hundred performers, designers and directors from the New York City artists community.  During that time we have produced events at Roulette and Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, as well as at The Flea Theater, Symphony Space, Merkin Concert Hall, The Stone, Le Poisson Rouge, Anthology Film Archives and Abrons Arts Center in Manhattan.

Experiments in Opera has presented the work of 48 composers since our first presentation including Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch, Kamala Sankaram, Roddy Bottom, Gelsey Bell, Georges Aperghis, Robert Ashley, Joe Diebes, Natacha Diels, Lainie Fefferman, Miguel Frasconi, Anne Guthrie, James Ilgenfritz, John King, Daniel Kushner, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Nick Hallett, Travis Just, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Joan La Barbara, Lukas Ligeti, Charlie Looker, Cristina Lord, Emily Manzo, Paula Matthusen, Anna Mikailhova, Jonathan Mitchell, Nicole Murphy, Jascha Narveson, Pauline Oliveros, Jessica Pavone, Paul Pinto, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Erin Rogers, Dave Ruder, Elliott Sharp, JG Thirlwell, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal, Dorian Wallace, Shelley Washington, Katie Young, John Zorn and the Cough Button collective.


Our 2019-2020 season includes the September 2019 premiere of ‘Looking at You’ by composer Kamala Sankaram, co-produced with HERE and Opera On tap;  the November 2019 residency and June 2020 concert performance of Rainbird by Aaron Siegel; Ongoing work in the EiO Writers’ Room throughout the 2019-2020 season including the workshop performances of ‘Everything for Dawn (Part One)’ in March 2020 featuring new work by Phil Kline, Pauline Kim and Jason Cady; A new production of Anthony Braxton’s Compositions No. 279-282 as part of a program of Theatrical Improvisations at The Flea in March 2020.

Buick City, 1:00 AM

Experiments in Opera is eager to push opera into different story-telling mediums. Jason Cady’s Buick City, 1:00 AM a serial podcast exploration of opera with songs, spoken dialogue, sound design, and music. This audio-only murder-mystery spans four episodes and is available for download or streaming at iTunes, Stitcher and directly from the Experiments in Opera website.

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Chukar Song

A live recording from EiO Co-Artistic Director Kamala Sankaram’s opera “Thumbprint,” which premiered in the 2014 PROTOTYPE Festival in New York City. This work demonstrates Kamala’s genre-bending approach to vocal music and her unique curatorial perspective as a writer of operatic works for a range of performance settings.

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Aaron Siegel – The Wallet

‘The Wallet,’ based on a Short Story by Andrew McCuaig with a Libretto and Music by Aaron Siegel was part of Experiments in Opera’s Flash Operas Program at Symphony Space in May 2017. Like writers working out their ideas in the fewest words possible, Experiments in Opera envisions a kind of opera that embraces efficiency and tackles big ideas playfully.

‘The Wallet’ is a 14-minute micro-opera about a toll booth worker faced with a troubling decision.

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