Royce Vavrek, the most involved collaborator on this year's festival, explains how he came to be a librettist.
I often get asked just how I became a librettist. A son of grain farmers in northern Alberta, Canada, I had little access to opera, and the classical music I consumed was largely introduced by my childhood singing teacher, Ellyn Otterson, and her inspiring, eclectic taste in vocal music. I spent my high school years writing over ten plays (often with original songs) and my undergraduate days making films (also often with original songs) at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University in Montreal. For graduate school I returned to the theater and studied musical theater writing at NYU, before being given the opportunity by American Lyric Theater to enter their Composer/Librettist Training Program, training me specifically how to write words for contemporary opera. A series of fortunate events brought me to the land of libretti.-Royce