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A true-crime opera that explores the tragedies and emotions of ordinary people, as it channel-surfs through five different court cases.
A true-crime opera that explores the tragedies and emotions of ordinary people, as it channel-surfs through five different court cases.
148 backers pledged $21,012 to help bring this project to life.

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$21,012

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Dear music lovers, friends and family:

We have the opportunity to record and release a 2-disc album of the critically-acclaimed chamber opera VOIR DIRE, a 1.5 hour true-crime opera with music by Matthew Peterson and a libretto by Jason Zencka, and featuring the original cast from the sold-out 2017 world-premiere production at Fort Worth Opera.

Critical Acclaim

“Voir Dire drills unsentimentally into the tragedies of ordinary people, some of whom have committed terrible crimes. Its power lies in how believably it conveys their emotions.” Ten of ten stars. – Opera Now 

 “Nothing short of brilliant - presenting a bitter critique – sometimes darkly humorous, often brutal – of American culture, complete with vividly drawn characters and a hauntingly eclectic score.” – Texas Classical Review 

“The 90-minute opera is startlingly immediate and journalistic, as gripping as a great feature story, and made memorable by the depth and texture of the music.” – WSJ 

 “Voir Dire is a powerhouse of an opera, engaging the audience from start to finish.” – Theater Jones 

 What is Voir Dire? 

Voir Dire is a “true crime” chamber opera based on and adapted from librettist Jason Zencka’s real-life experiences as crime reporter for the Stevens Point Journal (Wisconsin). 

 “Composer Matthew Peterson and librettist Jason Zencka go beyond the sensational headlines to delve into the inner workings of our system of justice. It’s an unsettling and riveting depiction, with conflicted judges, remorseless criminals, and culpable victims.” –Fort Worth Weekly 

 “Ninety minutes long, with no intermission, this is opera for our attention-deficit age. Its 14 scenes switch back and forth among five legal cases, their back stories and consequences. Based on Zencka's own experience as a court reporter, it's like channel surfing among crime shows, from tragic to comic to zany absurdity. The title, of course, refers to the process of selecting and examining potential jurors and witnesses for a court case.” – Dallas News 

Recording Details 

The recording is scheduled for June 11-15 in Minneapolis, at Minnesota Public Radio’s famous Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser recording studio. The recording artists are the five original cast members and an ensemble of nine professional musicians from Minneapolis, conducted by new-opera-maestro Viswa Subbaraman. 

from Matthew... 

 “We started composing Voir Dire in 2008. From 2010 to 2014, this opera survived three cancelled premiere productions. It would have been easy to give up after that run of bad luck, but we believed we had created something special. 

Luckily, Darren Woods, Seagle Music Colony, and Fort Worth Opera came along, and FWO’s stellar production rewarded us with a sold-out run. Voir Dire is a socially relevant and artistically vital opera. It is important to us to record as soon as possible in order to use the original cast: five phenomenal and young opera artists who are in increasing demand. We will record in Minneapolis, where my journey as a composer began; a great new music city with world-class performers. 

 This ambitious project needs your support. With this album, we can share Voir Dire with the world. Through its release, this 2-disc set will reach music libraries, music stores, and music publications across the globe. A recording will help this work secure future performances, and perhaps even nominations for awards in the US and Sweden.” 

our needs 

We need to raise at least $20,000 to help cover travel, lodging, and fees for the composer, 5 singers and the conductor, to pay 9 instrumentalists union rates, and for the album’s cover art.

 what happens if we don’t meet our goal?

the recording won't be made

what if we meet our goal?

we release a two-disc album in late 2018/early 2019

what if we exceed our goal?

The funds we receive above and beyond our original goal will be used for: mixing and mastering the recording, producing the album, for ads in opera magazines and similar publications, mailing physical CDs around the globe, attending the 2019 Opera America conference and C3 conference in Europe, and for further promotion of the opera in North America and Europe.

 links

Composer Matthew Peterson

Librettist Jason Zencka

Conductor Viswa Subbaraman

Fort Worth Opera 

Seagle Music Colony

The story of Voir Dire 

Risks and challenges

If funded, the recording will happen. In the event of an act of Nature or the cast falling ill, the recording session will simply be rescheduled. This production will be under contract with the Twin Cities Musicians Union, so once we disperse the funds, the project will go forward.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Get DOWNLOAD

    digital download of the entire album!

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Own THE ALBUM

    own the album – a first edition two-CD set featuring cover art and booklet, signed by composer Matthew Peterson, PLUS digital download of the album

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Get AUTOGRAPHED CAST POSTER

    $50 level rewards, PLUS your name in our album as CONTRIBUTOR, PLUS a Voir Dire poster signed by the composer, librettist, five original cast members and conductor

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Own PIANO-VOCAL SCORE

    $100 level rewards, PLUS your name in our album as SUPPORTER, PLUS a copy of the piano-vocal score printed by Svensk Musik and signed by the composer and librettist.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Ask Us QUESTIONS

    $250 level rewards, PLUS your name in the album as SPONSOR, PLUS send us (Matthew and Jason) up to three questions about our work and we’ll answer them (honestly) in a personal video posted to YouTube!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Own ORIGINAL SKETCHES

    $500 level rewards, PLUS your name in the album as PRODUCER, PLUS a framed original taken from Matthew Peterson’s sketches for Voir Dire.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Be an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    $1000 level rewards, PLUS credit in the album as EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, PLUS the opportunity to attend the recording sessions at MPR studios in Minneapolis June 11-14, each session followed by dining and fraternizing with the composer, librettist, conductor, and cast.

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Funding period

- (30 days)