Selected Works 2018

Winning Projects

The call for applications of the 4th Music Theatre NOW edition ended June 30th 2018.

436 participants from 55 countries registered for this edition.


10 first productions of new works, which were realized anywhere in the world since July 2015 were selected by a jury made up of internationally renowned theatre makers from five continents. Operas and music theatre large and small, works made for large opera houses, or works created for tiny venues, which are aesthetically innovative and reflect new developments in this genre from the various corners of the world, have been chosen.



وَ/یا/پُرو/ ِمتِه (And/Or/Pro/methe): Agahikeshe (Director, Iran) / Gohari (Music Director, Iran)
Agahikeshe (Director, Iran) / Gohari (Music Director, Iran)
AQUASONIC: Between Music (Skovmand, Denmark and Karlsson, Sweden)
Between Music (Laila Skovmand, Denmark and Robert Karlsson, Sweden)
THE CAVE: Papakonstantinou (Concept / Libretto / Directing, Greece) / Mousas (Musical composition / Orchestration, Greece)
Elli Papakonstantinou (Concept / Libretto / Directing, Greece) / Tilemachos Mousas (Musical composition / Orchestration, Greece)
FALLING AWAKE: Schwanenflügel Piasecki (Composer / Text / Staging, Denmark)
Lasse Schwanenflügel Piasecki (Composer / Text / Staging, Denmark)
#FREEBRAHMS: Baumann (Choreographer, Luxemburg) / de Marco (Artistic / Musical Director, Germany) / Duncan (Co-Composer / Scotland)
Ela Baumann (Choreographer, Luxemburg) / Juri de Marco (Artistic / Musical Director, Germany) / Alistair Duncan (Co-Composer / Scotland)
THE HOWLING GIRLS: Ricketson (Composer, Australia) / Jacobs (Director / Australia)
Damien Ricketson (Composer, Australia) / Adena Jacobs (Director / Australia)
IYOV: Troitskyi (Director, Ukraine) / Hryhoriv (Conductor / Composer, Ukraine) / Razumeiko (Piano / Composer, Austria)
Vladyslav Troitskyi (Director, Ukraine) / Roman Hryhoriv (Conductor / Composer, Ukraine) / Illia Razumeiko (Piano / Composer, Austria)
JIGOKUHEN: Li Jingyuan (Composer, China) / Xu Ying (Libretto, China)
Li Jingyuan (Composer, China) / Xu Ying (Libretto, China)
MITRA: Reiter (Composition, Austria) / León (Staging, Belgium)
Eva Reiter (Composition, Austria) / Jorge León (Staging, Belgium)
MUSRAROPERA: sounding situations (Janek, Italy / Kipfmüller, Brazil / Germany)
sounding situations (Klaus Janek, Italy / Milena Kipfmüller, Brazil / Germany)

Special Awards

2018 Operadagen Award 

Operadagen Rotterdam is a worldwide opera and music theatre festival featuring contemporary, innovative, and ground-breaking productions by established international makers as well as young and adventurous talent. The festival presents stories about pushing back frontiers and the search for a new identity under the central festival theme Lost & Found from 2017 through 2020. Operadagen Rotterdam lets the audience rediscover classic operas from days long gone in brand-new arrangements as it leaves the beaten tracks with new music theatre performances, and points to exciting and unknown horizons. 

 As special award the following winning productions were shown in full staging during the 2019 edition of the festival:


The Jury

The international jury for Music Theatre NOW 2018 consisted of:

Krystian Lada, Dramaturg, Brussels

Neo Muyanga, Composer, Cape Town

Shoshana Polanco, International Producer, Mexico City

Liu Sola, Composer, Beijing

Limor Tomer, General Manager of Concerts and Lectures at  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City


Krystian Lada

… is a dramaturge, librettist and stage director, active in the fields of opera, classical music and theatre. His work explores alternative forms of artistic collaboration and art curating, and aims at developing new platforms for social interactions in post-migrant societies. Lada is the founder and artistic director of The Airport Society — a nomadic cooperative of artists, activists and social entrepreneurs that initiates projects connecting recent developments in opera, technology and society. 2013-2016 Lada held the position of Director of Dramaturgy, Empowerment and Communication at the Belgian Royal Opera La Monnaie in Brussels. Prior to that, he studied dramaturgy and literary studies at the University of Amsterdam. As a dramaturge he has been collaborating with a range of stage directors and visual artists, incl. Pierre Audi, Ivo van Hove, Mariusz Trelinski, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Tobias Kratzer, Yuval Sharon and Kirsten Dehlholm (Hotel Pro Forma). He collaborated on opera and theatre projects with, a.o. La Monnaie, The Dutch National Opera, National Theatre of London, Polish National Opera, Opera in Poznan, National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, International Choreographic Centre in Amsterdam, and Studio Minailo. He wrote libretti such composers as Katarina Glowicka, Dariusz Przybylski, Andrzej Kwieciński and Annelies Van Parys. Lada initiated and curated several series of events and programmes, incl. United States of Opera (a forum for contemporary opera makers) and Fringe FUEL (a creative activism and professional empowerment programme for artists). 


Neo Muyanga

…is a composer, musician and librettist. Born in Soweto, he studied madrigal singing in Trieste, Italy. In 1996 he co-founded (with Masauko Chipembere) the acoustic pop duo, Blk Sonshine, and in 2008, co-founded (with Ntone Edjabe) the Pan African Space Station, a platform that hosts cutting-edge Pan African music and sound art on the internet. His recorded albums include: Blk Sonshine (1999), the listening room (2003), fire famine plague and earthquake (2007), good life (2009), Dipalo (2011),  toro tse sekete (2015) and Second-hand reading (2016). His other published works include the music plays, memory of how it feels (2010), the flower of shembe (2012) and the opera, heart of redness (2015). An alumnus of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD (2016), he was also named Composer-in-residence at the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (2017) and the National Arts Festival of South Africa (2017). He tours widely both as a solo performer, bandleader, choir conductor. He is a research affiliate at the University of Cape Town’s Drama School and the Centre for African Studies.


Shoshana Polanco

…is a Buenos Aires born, Mexico City resident, and former NYC resident creative producer. She currently works at La Teatrería in Mexico City. She is in charge of developing new collaborations between the theater and other local institutions as well as international networking. Because of her international scope as a citizen and arts worker, she has been invited to be part of the programming panel of the 2016 Made in Scotland showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, participate of the international advisory panel of PAMS choice 2015 in Seoul, Korea, and served as curator for Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation ́s Southern Exposure in 2015 and 2017. Shoshana is an active member of ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) since 2014 when she was one of their global fellows. She currently seats in their membership committee, was part of the planning committee of the 2017 NYC Congress, and co-chair of the 2016 NYC Congress. Wherever she goes, she loves to build bridges – not walls – that bring together artists from all over the world, and loves to present innovative work to audiences who may not have been exposed to that type of work before. She is a firm believer that art can make us better people, and thus allow us to live in a better world. 

She holds a BA (Magna Cum Laude) from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, Area of Concentration: Women in Performance.
She is the mother of Anais and Aaron.


Liu Sola (aka: Liu Suola)

…is a composer, vocalist, music producer, and author. 

After graduating from the Central Conservatory of Music with a degree in composition, she published her award-winning novella You Have no Choice. Since 1980’s, Liu Sola has scored many Chinese and international film sound tracks, as well as TV and drama productions. She has composed music for orchestra, ensemble, opera, modern theatre, modern dance, and art exhibitions. Her range of musical styles include classical music, jazz, early music, rock, traditional and contemporary music. In 2003, she founded the Liu Sola & Friends Chinese Ensemble, teaming up with Chinese instrumental virtuosos. The Ensemble has toured internationally,  and from 2017 onwards, an annual national tour will be a part of its program. Liu’s music works include the chamber opera Fantasy of the Red Queen (2006), performed by Ensemble Modern and the Liu Sola & Friends Ensemble. Liu Sola is the dramaturge, librettist and music composer, artistic director, costume designer and leading vocalist. The chamber opera The Afterlife of Li Jiantong (2009) was performed by Theatre of Voices, conducted by Paul Hillier. Liu Sola wrote both the libretto and the music.

Her novels include Chaos & All That (1989), Nv Zhen Tang (2000), which has been translated into French and Italian, and Lost in Fascination (2011). Her recent book about her Ensemble The Nomadic Life of Sounds will be published soon.


Limor Tomer

Born in Israel, Limor Tomer moved to the United States at age 13. She earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at Juilliard School and studied for her doctorate in aesthetics at New York University. For 10 years she was a professional classical pianist in solo and orchestral performances throughout the United States and Europe.

Tomer transitioned from performance to arts management, where she worked closely with Harvey Lichtenstein at BAM on projects ranging from BAM Rose Cinemas to launching and programming the BAMCafe.  Following her tenure at BAM, she became Executive Producer for Music at WNYC radio, where she produced such award-winning programs as “24:33,” a John Cage celebration; “A Beautiful Symphony of Brotherhood,” about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; and launched the Peabody-award winning web-based new music station Q2 (recently renamed New Sounds). Tomer served as Adjunct Curator for Performance at the Whitney Museum from 2005-11, and there she created the performing arts department and curated performance shows including “Christian Marclay: Festival, a collaboration with David Kiehl,” “Steve Reich@ the Whitney”  and “Meredith Monk Music @ the Whitney.”

She joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art as General Manager of Concerts and Lectures in July 2011, where she launched MetLiveArts, the world’s largest museum-based performance series, which features >90 classical and contemporary performances ranging from dance, theater, music, sound installations, performance art and hybrids from around the world, many of which are commissions, site specific or premieres.  

Tomer was invited to serve as Performance Curator for the inaugural 2016 and 2017 June Events at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (Athens, Greece) where she presented dance and music performances in multiple venues around the SNFCC campus.  She serves as a member of the National Curatorial Council of The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Sarasota, FL.

Statement of the Jury

"The 2018 edition of Music Theatre NOW competition saw 436 applications by artists from all continents and representing a multitude of strategies within the music theatre field. This cultural and aesthetic diversity is reflected as well in the composition of the jury panel. The plurality of expertise and life-paths that are present among the jury members allowed us to approach and discuss the diversity of the submitted works.


In the diversity of our aesthetic preferences, we see need for productions that take risk. Artists must realise and understand what are the existing expectations in their immediate context and be ready to challenge these expectations. Innovation should be related to the context of the creation. Artistry needs to trust the audience and go beyond the fear-based-programming practice. Therefore, in our evaluation process we privileged artists that trust their communities and audiences, and are not afraid to challenge their perception. We privileged projects that embrace complexity from one or the other perspective, might it be on the political, dramaturgical or production level. We favoured new creations and original material, or original approach to existing forms. We gave our priority to the works that explore themes related to the social challenges of our times.


We didn’t apply a narrow definition of the music theatre genre. Therefore, we allowed the artists’ applications to guide us. We revisited all the works in their national and regional context. Our selection process privileged the projects that pushed the genre beyond where it currently exists in the local context. Many of the submitted projects are pan-national, involving artists from different cultural and aesthetic backgrounds. We focused on the works’ artistic and political manifestation, not on how well-known or established the makers are in the field.


We trust that the artists will re-define and evolve the genre of music theatre through the process of their experimentation. We came to the conclusion to surrender to the variety of forms of music theatre as represented by all works that were submitted to this edition of MusicTheatreNOW competition. We are aware that music theatre comes from the history of clearly defined terms. We searched for new paths of creativity and engagement with the audience. We were looking into how artists link their local context with the international trends and developments. 


While we may not come up with a tightly articulated definition of music theatre, through the process of judging we explored the complexity of the field. We feel that the definition of the music theatre as a genre shouldn’t align to one direction only. Moreover, music theatre today has been fed by the creative tensions present in the field. Intersectionality and heterogeneity is what we would propose as the characteristics at the core of the music theatre practice today."

(Jury of the 2018 edition of Music Theatre NOW competition)



The 10 prize winning teams were invited to present their works (some live and some in short lectures with sound and video excerpts) at the international convention of Music Theatre NOW in Rotterdam in May 2019. Practitioners and presenters from all over the world will be in attendance. Music Theatre NOW and award winners are winning a unique opportunity for international exposure and invaluable networking opportunities and advice from other professionals.



The official programme of the MTN meeting 2019 can be viewed online: