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Spotlight Sunday Feature - Mark Lanz Weiser and Amy Punt

Happy Spotlight Sunday! Hartford Opera Theater is proud to present our second composer feature of the season. Today we are pleased to introduce composer, Mark Lanz Weiser and his librettist, Amy Punt. Mark is the composer of The Place Where You Started, which will be featured at our New in November Festival on 11/18! We hope you enjoy learning about Mark and Amy and reading about what Opera Without Borders means to them.

To learn more about NIN8 and to purchase tickets, visit our website: New in November 8

Composer Mark Lanz Weiser has always had a passion for the combination of music and drama. He explores the ways drama can influence and shape music through his operas, art songs and concert music.

In 2015 Opera San Jose premiered Where Angels Fear to Tread, Weiser’s opera based on the novel by E. M. Forster. It was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “potent and well-made” and “ravishing” by the San Jose Mercury News. Both publications included the opera on their top 10 list of 2015 musical events. The Place Where You Started, a scene from which is being presented this evening, is an opera Weiser wrote in collaboration with librettist Amy Punt. The Place Where You Started was premiered in Portland in November of 2016. Described as a “remarkable opera” in

Northwest Reverb, it was subsequently performed in Shanghai, China.

In 2015, Weiser was awarded the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize for his second symphony (Sinfonia Magalhães), a musical evocation of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. His High Velocity for solo piano won the 2015 Ithaca College International Heckscher Composition Prize, and Anthem for a Doomed Youth, a song cycle for baritone and piano using the poetry of Wilfred Owen was awarded the NATS National Art Song competition. He has held residencies at the Yaddo colony in New York and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and his music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes and Editions Bim International Music Publishing.

Mark Lanz Weiser received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance and master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently Assistant Professor in Composition and Director of Undergraduate Music Theory at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Amy is a screenwriter, essayist and freelance journalist. Her writings have been featured in Salon and The Weeklings, and she has appeared as a commentator on MSNBC. Originally from Chicago, Punt began her career writing and directing original plays for The Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Bailiwick Repertory, and Strawdog Ensemble. After receiving her Master of Directing for Cinema/ TV and Communication at Regent University, she moved to Los Angeles and began working at The Writers Boot Camp where she had the opportunity to develop scripts with Warner Brothers Animation and teach screenwriters professional development of their screenplays. Punt teaches creative writing at Rosemont College and privately coaches professional screenwriters. She lives in Los Angeles.

Here is what Mark has to say about Opera Without Borders and how our mission relates to his opera:

New opera can offer a gathering place for people who perhaps don’t have access to, or reason for attending new works. The Place Where You Started presents contemporary

and timely themes demonstrating that opera can be as relevant as any modern medium. Opera Without Borders offers viewers an experience that transcends traditional opera and redefines

what a culture might expect from this art

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