A new opera for the Butlers and a big art prize for Beili Liu
• The University of Texas' Butler School of Music has commissioned a new opera from Mexican composer Daniel Catán in honor of Sarah and Ernest Butler, the school's longtime patrons. Catán, "one of the most significant operatic composers today," according to Butler Opera Center Director Robert DeSimone, will compose an opera based on the 1941 film Meet John Doe, written by Richard Connell, Robert Presnell, and Robert Riskin and directed by Frank Capra. Of the Butlers, Catán says, "They've done so much for music and musicians that I am moved to write my very best work." He will complete the opera and workshop scenes while in residence at the school this coming spring, when he will also assist with the Butler Opera Center's production of his La hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini's Daughter). Opening Feb. 25, 2011, the production will premiere his new orchestration of the work for two pianos, harp, and percussion. Meet John Doe will open the center's 2012-13 season.
• Beili Liu has won third place and $50,000 for her work Lure/Wave, Grand Rapids in the 2010 ArtPrize competition. The assistant professor in the University of Texas Department of Art & Art History was one of 1,713 artists from 21 countries and 44 states who entered the open competition, for which there is no formal jury, curator, or judge; winners are determined by the public in electronic voting; and $449,000 in prize money is distributed. The work was displayed at 192 venues in a 3-square-mile district in Grand Rapids, Mich., and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people during the 15-day competition. Almost 45,000 people registered to vote on the prizes and cast 465,538 votes. The $250,000 first prize went to Chris LaPorte of Grand Rapids for Cavalry, American Officers, 1921. The $100,000 second prize went to Mia Tavonatti of Santa Ana, Calif., for Svelata. For more information, visit www.artprize.org.