Royce Vavrek is an Alberta-born, Brooklyn-based librettist and lyricist known as “an exemplary creator of operatic prose” (The New York Times) and “a favorite collaborator of the postclassical set” (Time Out New York). His writing has been called “sharp, crisp, witty” (See Magazine), “meticulous” (Operavore, WQXR Radio), “full-throated” (CulturePOP), “taut” (The New Yorker), “dramatically wild” and “exhilarating” (The New York Times).
His opera “Dog Days”, with composer David T. Little, premiered to acclaim in September of 2012 at Peak Performances, Montclair, in a production co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects and directed by legendary American maverick Robert Woodruff. The work was celebrated as the Classical Music Event of the year by Time Out New York, and was named one of the year’s best by The New York Times and New Jersey Star Ledger. Other collaborations with David T. Little include “Am I Born” for the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Brooklyn Youth Chorus, “Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera” for Bard Conservatory; “archaeology”, commissioned and recorded for The Opera America Songbook; and “Last Nightfall”, premiered as part of the 21c Liederabend at The Kitchen. They are currently working on a grand opera for Fort Worth Opera Festival about JFK’s final hours.
His collaboration with composer Missy Mazzoli yielded the opera “Song from the Uproar” which was presented at the famed New York venue The Kitchen in February of 2012, in a production that the New York Times said “you felt the joy, risk and limitless potential of free spirits unbound.” An original cast recording of the opera was released in the fall of 2012 on the New Amsterdam record label. They are currently adapting Lars von Trier’s Cannes Grand Prix award-winning film “Breaking the Waves,” having premiered the first aria as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in 2013.
In June of 2014 he will premiere “27” with composer Ricky Ian Gordon at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Written for renowned mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe the work explores Gertrude Stein’s salon at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris in the early decades of the 20th century. Other recent and upcoming projects include “Strip Mall” with Matt Marks for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, “Stoned Prince” with Hannah Lash for loadbang, “The Hubble Cantata” with Paola Prestini for Bay Chamber Concerts, “Midwestern Gothic” with Josh Schmidt for Signature Theater, and “No Shirt, No Skirt, No Service” with Marie Incontrera for 21c Liederabend.
Royce is co-Artistic Director of The Coterie, an opera-theater company founded with soprano Lauren Worsham. BFA: Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, Montreal; MFA: Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, NYU; American Lyric Theater’s Composer/Librettist Development Program.
Dog Days (libretto)
Full libretto for “Dog Days,” an opera composed by David T. Little.
His Name is Jan
an aria from the new opera “Breaking the Waves” by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek.