FIRST LOOK SONOMA
Co-Founders John Duykers and Missy Weaver
The Start of the Organization
Melissa (Missy) and John moved to Sonoma County (Sebastopol) permanently in 2003. Since then, they have had a desire to create their work for their community. They have been presenting new works since their arrival – Bitter Harvest (Kurt Rohde/Amanda Moody); Caliban Dreams (Suprynowicz/Moody), Paul Dresher’s The Tyrant, The Astronaut Songs (Jeff Langley), D’Arc, Woman on Fire (Cloidt/Moody), collaboration with Sonoma City Opera on the opera Everyman Jack (Libby Larsen) and the original Hand To Mouth previews (Frasconi/ Duykers). Missy and John co-founded PACT with several other interested parties to save the Main Street Theater in Sebastopol.
The History of Their Partnership
Missy and John met in 1980 when John was in residence at University of Texas Austin. Missy was a graduate student in Theater Direction/Design. John performed Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King. Their first project together was Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimmaron, which Missy designed and directed. John performed in the work while it toured to Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco. It received the Bernheimer Award for best contemporary performance in 1981. Missy directed Puccini’s Tosca, with John as Cavaradossi, with Opera Las Vegas, conducted by Virko Baley in 1982. Beginning in 1982 they co-founded George Coates Performance Works, collaborating with George Coates, Paul Dresher, Leonard Pitt, Rinde Eckert and Jerome Sirlin.
From 1982-87 they created The How Trilogy and RareArea. In 1990, Missy and John founded Agape Performance Group, creating A.ga.pe (1990), Last Stand (1991), and Trespass Knot with Miguel Frasconi in 1993. Missy has collaborated with writer performer Amanda Moody on several projects including Winchester Rosary (1997), Serial Murderess (2000-2002) and the initial presentation of D’Arc, Woman on Fire (Premiere will be in 2014). In 1998 and 1999 they collaborated with Paul Dresher in the creation of Power Failure and Pioneer, with Eckert and Terry Allen. From 1999-2004 they collaborated with Pianist/Conductor Lisa Sylvester to create Opera Theater Performance Project at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. In 2003 they collaborated with Erling Wold on the creation of Sub Pontio Pilato with John creating the role of Pontius Pilate. In 2005 they collaborated with composer Paul Dresher on the creation of The Tyrant, a solo opera for John Duykers. Missy has designed and directed several productions of Eight Songs for a Mad King for Duykers – Seattle Chamber Players, USC Nextet, Astoria Music Festival, Spokane Contemporary Music Players. They worked with Amanda Moody and Clark Suprynowicz from 2001 for eleven years on the creation of Caliban Dreams. In 2007, they developed a training program for opera singers called OperaPALS (Opera Performance Articulation Laboratory for Singers) at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. They stayed in Miami for one year before deciding that they wanted to spend more time in Sonoma County and work at home.
Missy has a wide experience in stage direction, dramaturgy, production management, visual design and artistic vision and instincts that contribute an immense amount to John and Missy’s ongoing desire to create new vocal performance art works. John has had a long, wide experience in the vocal performance world as an opera singer, contemporary music performer and actor. Both Missy and John have taught performance and vocal techniques, and they are committed to creating opportunities for their students and other young artists to achieve their mission.
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