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Snapshot is an opportunity to see new works of opera in an informal concert setting

Call for Scores for 2020 has ended

West Edge Opera (in Berkeley/Oakland, CA) is soliciting excerpts of unproduced works combining music and theater to present in Snapshot - a series of performances presented to the public in a professional concert setting. Collaborating with San Francisco-based Earplay ( as the instrumental ensemble, Snapshot is an opportunity for West Coast Composers and Librettists to get shorter works or excerpts of longer works on their feet with world class vocalists and instrumentalists. The performances are attended by the general public and are profiled and reviewed by high profile publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, KDFC, and KQED.

Snapshot seeks to champion both established and emerging West Coast composers and librettists and ultimately create a collaborative and supportive community for creators, performers, and audience members who are passionate about the future of opera and music theater.

Call for Submissions Opens: June 21st, 2019 Call for Submissions Closes: September 16, 2019 Choices will be made by: October 15th, 2019 and announced later in the month.

Successful submissions will be asked to orchestrate for our small ensemble of piano and up to 6 instruments (one each of violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, and clarinet).

Successful submissions will also entail participation in an interview video to be shown before each excerpt during the program, and put on our website.

After the performance, composers and librettists will be provided with an audio recording, and the opportunity to pick video excerpts which West Edge Opera will host and can be linked to.

The program will be during the weekend of Jan 31-Feb 1, 2020


  • ●  Works must have not received a fully staged production.

  • ●  Either the composer or librettist must have resided on the west coast (CA, OR, or WA) for at least 4 years in

    the last 20.

  • ●  Excerpts should be between 10 and 20 minutes long and use a maximum of 4 performers/singers.

  • ●  Excerpts that show dramatic interest are preferred. 15 minutes that show a development of character or

    situation are preferred to static or expository arias.

  • ●  If there are multiple excerpts from the piece that you think would work, you may suggest up to TWO

    excerpts. If you are attaching the entire score, make it very clear which excerpts are to be considered.

  • ●  Composer or Librettist must be present in the San Francisco Bay Area for the week of the performance to

    participate in rehearsals (we are unable to offer a travel stipend, but can help arrange home stays).

  • ●  Performance ready vocal scores must be completed by Nov 1, 2019.

  • ●  Score and parts (orchestrated for Snapshot ensemble) must be completed by Dec 1, 2019.

  • ●  Applicants may be of any age or nationality.

  • ●  Please note, this is not a workshop. Excerpts will be performed as they were submitted.

A marvelous achievement.
— Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Innovative and wonderful in all ways.
— Jaime Robles, Repeat Performances

2019 featured a program of four new works:


Music by Nathaniel Stookey and libretto by Jerre Dye. Ivonne is a haunting solo opera in three scenes inspired by an abandoned Sears building and the stories kept within its stately, dignified spaces. It follows the head secretary of a steno pool as she prepares for yet another day at the office. Her preference for order and structure is upended by a co-worker’s medical emergency that threatens to shatter her well-groomed exterior. Celebrated soprano Marnie Breckenridge will portray this complex and affecting character from a bygone era. Stookey is perhaps best known for the orchestral whodunnit The Composer Is Dead, which was written for the San Francisco Symphony in collaboration with Lemony Snicket.

The Road To Xibalba

Music by Cindy Cox and libretto by John Campion. This hybrid music theater piece uses whimsical soundscapes, spoken word, song, and dance to tell the story of The Popol Vuh, the Mayan myth of creation. In this ancient tale, two athletic brothers travel to the Xibalba (the Mayan underworld) to challenge the all-powerful god of Death to a match. Along the way the duo encounters a parade of animal characters and charmed figures that invoke a world of physical, cosmological, and spiritual connectedness. Cox and Campion are a husband and wife team at UC Berkeley where Cox is the chair of the music department and Campion is a lecturer with the english department.


Music by Shinji Eshima and libretto by Tony Asaro. Zheng tells the story of San Francisco mezzo-soprano and Adler Fellow, Zheng Cao, whose tragic death at the age of 46 after a four year battle with lung cancer impacted much of the opera world (including Snapshot composer Nathaniel Stookey, whose work Cao premiered in her last public performance). Dramatizing events that occurred very recently, the work will portray characters whose real world counterparts are likely to be in the audience. Eshima, who plays Double Bass with the San Francisco Opera, brings personal knowledge and passion to the work, a moving tribute to an indomitable talent.

Medicus Mortem

Music by Beth Ratay and libretto by Andrew Rechnitz. This work explores the ethics of euthanasia and the limits of compassion as a doctor struggles to ease the suffering of his terminally ill daughter. Despite his intentions, he’s branded a monster by a damning public and a hectoring prosecutor as he is placed on trial for his actions in a nightmarish scenario.

Featured Performers:


The historic meeting hall of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Berkeley Lodge, 2288 Fulton Street ( google map )

The historic meeting hall of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Berkeley Lodge, 2288 Fulton Street (google map)

The Taube Atrium Theater in the Wilsey Center for Opera, San Francisco, 401 Van Ness Ave ( google map )

The Taube Atrium Theater in the Wilsey Center for Opera, San Francisco, 401 Van Ness Ave (google map)