Royce Vavrek

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Royce Vavrek
Born Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Residence Brooklyn, New York; Grande Prairie, Alberta
Nationality Canadian
Occupation librettist, bookwriter, lyricist, filmmaker
Years active 2002–present
Notable work Dog Days, 27, Breaking the Waves, JFK

Royce Vavrek is a Canadian-born Brooklyn-based librettist, playwright, musical theatre writer and filmmaker known for his collaborations with composers David T. Little, Missy Mazzoli, Ricky Ian Gordon and Du Yun, soprano Lauren Worsham, producers Beth Morrison and Lawrence Edelson, and conductors Steven Osgood, Julian Wachner and Alan Pierson.

He has been called “the indie Hofmannsthal,” “a kind of Metastasio of the downtown opera scene,” and “an exemplary creator of operatic prose.”[1][2][3]

Life and Work[edit]

Born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, Vavrek studied piano and musical composition in high school and also sang in a chorus, but was even more drawn to writing for theatre, writing some 17 plays at that time, and filmmaking.[4] But following an undergraduate degree in filmmaking from Concordia University and a master's from New York University in musical theater writing,[5] he enrolled in the American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program which established his career as an opera librettist.[4]

His work has been presented at or performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, The Kitchen, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, Opera America, American Lyric Theater, Beth Morrison Projects, Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Peak Performances @ Montclair, among others. His recent commissions include operas for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera and the Prototype Festival, along with a musical for Signature Theater. Vavrek's filmmaking credits include From Sky and Soil, which was created as part of the Corus Young Filmmakers Initiative for broadcast on the W Network, through a prize administered by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association.

Opera Libretti[edit]

Oratorio and Cantata[edit]

  • The Hubble Cantata (2016, Paola Prestini composer)[14]
  • Naamah's Ark (2016, Marisa Michelson composer)[15]
  • Am I Born (2012, David T. Little composer)[16]

Musical Theater Book and Lyrics[edit]

  • Midwestern Gothic (2017, Joshua Schmidt composer, co-lyricist)[17]


The Coterie[edit]

With soprano Lauren Worsham, Vavrek is the co-founder and co-Artistic Director of downtown opera-theater company The Coterie. Through a series of concerts that often function as incubators for larger projects, the company has presented world premieres by many young operatic and musical theater composers including Rachel Peters, Jeff Myers, Kyle Jarrow, Paola Prestini, Cristian Amigo, Matt Marks, Mark Baechle, Christine Donkin, Joshua Schmidt, Julia Meinwald and Andrew Gerle. In December 2012, the company will premiere new works by Aaron Roche, Mel Marvin, Zach Redler, Aaron Gervais and Conrad Winslow alongside new projects from many returning contributors.[18] Among the many performers to lend their talents to the company are Tony Award-winner Chuck Cooper, Tony nominee Barbara Walsh, actress-singers Theresa McCarthy and Morgan James and actor-singers Greg Hildreth and Zachary James.[19][20]


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  4. ^ a b "So Many Juicy, Amazing Words: A Conversation with Royce Vavreck" by Frank J. Oteri, NewMusicBox, Published: January 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "The Kaleidoscopic World of Royce Vavrek" by Heidi Waleson, Opera News, Published: April 2015.
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  19. ^ BWW News Desk. "'The Coterie Un/Plugged, Volume One: Lauren Worsham and Friends' Premieres at the Canal Room, 2/22". 
  20. ^ "Cooper, McCarthy, James and Moore Will Sing for the Coterie at Joe's Pub". Playbill.