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First Look Sonoma

Sebastopol, CA      

First Look Sonoma
General Director/Tenor John Duykers & Artistic Director Melissa Weaver
Duykers has had a 50-year career performing both ‘cutting-edge’ and standard opera with major companies throughout the world. As a noted interpreter of new music, he has collaborated with the 20th and 21st centuries’ most vibrant composers and stage directors in more than 100 world premieres.

Duykers and director/designer Weaver’s long history of collaboration began in the early ‘80’s with a staging of Henze’s El Cimarron, given the LA Times Beckmesser Award for Outstanding Contemporary Performance of 1983; and with extensive touring of Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King. They have created more than 50 new works with artists such as Miguel Frasconi, Paul Dresher, Rinde Eckert, Jay Cloidt, Erling Wold, Kurt Rohde, and organizations such as George Coates Performance Works, Paul Dresher Ensemble, West Edge Opera and California Institute of the Arts.

Early works include Bay Area premieres – A.ga.pe, a Japanese-American cultural-clash in 1990 and Trespass Knot, concerning land ownership in ‘95, both with composer Miguel Frasconi, co-produced with the Paul Dresher Ensemble; Kurt Rohde’s Bitter Harvest, a farmer’s oratorio, commissioned by Kent Nagano and the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra in 2005, Erling Wold’s Sub Pontion Pilato and a solo opera with interactive video – Mordake; Dresher’s The Tyrant with librettist Jim Lewis; writer/performer Amanda Moody’s Winchester Rosary, D’Arc- woman on fire with composer Jay Cloidt, and Serial Murderess, awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s BEST OF 2000 Upstage/Downstage Award for great solo performance and 2001 Dean Goodman’s Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre.
Recent projects include the premiere of Clark Suprynowicz’s and Moody’s Caliban Dreams, partnering with West Edge Opera and Cinnabar Theater; Daughter of the Red Tzar with ScolaVox Productions at San Francisco’s Thick House. FLS is currently developing Hand to Mouth “following the journey of the seed from soil to plate” with Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, SAGA of the 21st Century Girl with Rockit Opera, and Holodomor – Red Earth. Hunger with Troppe Notte in New York and Kiev, Ukraine.

Sonoma County residents, partners Duykers and Weaver, are enthusiastic champions of the new and unusual in vocal performance arts and have lived on a farm for nearly 2 decades. They established First Look Sonoma in 2010, to provide a laboratory workshop environment dedicated to the evolution of the new music theater/operatic form. Their mission is to involve the next generation of composers, writers, performance artists and designers to incubate and cultivate what is yet unimaginable.

FLS’ Duykers and Weaver are members of PACT (Performing Artists Coalition for Theater) forming a revolving circuit for co-presentations in Sonoma County at Main Stage West in Sebastopol, at Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, and at the Imaginists Theater Collective in Santa Rosa. FLS also has a co-producing partnership with ArtBeat Shows for touring new works throughout the country. Their projects have been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Zellerbach Family Fund, Jerome Foundation, American Composers Forum, SonomaArts, Opera America and ArtPlace of the Creative Work Fund.

Daughter of the Red Tzar – excerpt

John Duykers as Winston Churchill, prepares to meet Stalin at the Kremlin in 1942.
Directed by Melissa Weaver, Martha Stoddard, conducting. Video by Dan Friedman.
Thick House Theater, August, 2012. A ScolaVox and First Look Sonoma Production.

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Caliban Dreams – excerpt

Excerpt from the Berkeley West Edge Opera production of “Caliban Dreams”. Music by Clark Suprynowicz, libretto by Amanda Moody. Conducted by Jonathan Khuner, directed by Melissa Weaver.

Ariel: Laura Bohn, Caliban: John Duykers, Fury Vesta: Aimée Puentes, Fury Pedrera: Alexis Jensen, Fury Dolores: Scott Graff.

Recorded at the Performing Arts Center, El Cerrito, California, August 2011 by Jeremy Knight.

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Apricots of Andujar – excerpt

Apricots of Andujar – Concert Music/Theater Hybrid composed by Max Giteck Duykers with original libretto by Philip Kan Gotanda. Composed for John Duykers, tenor, and Joel Davel, Marimba Lumina & Lightning. Stage Direction by Melissa Weaver. Workshop performance with Birds On a Wire at Western Michigan University; David Colson, conductor. March 28th, 2012. Commissioned by the Jerome Foundation for New Music.

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