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Jack Perla

Jack Perla

Jack Perla


San Francisco-based composer Jack Perla has forged a reputation for writing engaging, sophisticated, and accessible works using a palette that includes symphonic, operatic and chamber music, as well as multiple jazz and popular idioms. He was recently commissioned by Opera Theater St. Louis to create a new opera for 2015, based on Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown, with acclaimed director James Robinson. In 2010 he was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera for a one-act opera with playwright Eugenie Chan, for “Song of Houston,” a multi-year series of new operas that share the stories of Houstonians who define the unique character of that city. The new work, Courtside, received its premiere run in early 2011, and was part of the “East + West” component of “Song of Houston,” which celebrates the city as a meeting place for Eastern and Western cultures. Courtside was the first in that series, and its successs led to a second commission for the final opera of the series, with author Chitra Banerjee Divarakuni.

His first full-length chamber opera, Love/Hate, with writer Rob Bailis, premiered in 2012 in a co-production with the Opera Center of San Francisco Opera and ODC Theater. Co-commissioned by ODC Theater (San Francisco) and American Opera Projects (New York), the cast featured singers from the Opera Center’s prestigious Adler Fellows Program, under the direction of influential mezzo soprano and educator Sheri Greenawald. In September 2010, Center City Opera presented scenes from Love/Hate as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival of the Arts. In March 2009, Love/Hate was presented in early development by the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) Opera Program, at both MSM and at the Galapagos Artspace (Brooklyn, New York). Other commissions for 2012/13 include a new composition for TwoSense – the duo of pianist Lisa Moore and cellist Ashley Bathgate (Bang on a Can All Stars) funded by the Barlow Endowment; a one act opera entitled Belongings, for the Seattle Opera, with librettist and Atlantic writer Jessica Murphy Moo; a new work for the Oakland Youth Orchestra and a new mini-opera for Opera Memphis. His third jazz CD, Poet’s Cabaret, is due out in 2013 on Innova Records. This is a unique project for the composer, in that he wrote only the music, but also the lyrics for  this collection of twelve original songs on love, loss, fear, fight and hope, featuring an array of San Francisco Bay Area jazz and indie musicians.

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Productions at LA Opera

  • Jonah and the Whale

    Jonah and the Whale