Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2017

Yuval Sharon

Photo by Casey Kringlen Photography.
  • 2017 Grants to Artists
  • Performance Art/Theater
  • Stage Director, Artistic Director
  • Born 1979, Naperville, IL
  • Lives in Los Angeles, CA
  • Additional Information

The FCA [grant] became a kind of constant 'emergency fund' for all the projects that happened this year. Having this contingency to fall back on when I needed it allowed me to focus first and foremost on the creative development of these works. It also took pressure off The Industry, as I could supplement the work being produced by my company without needing to do additional fundraising. It was a source of security that came to the rescue time and time again throughout the year, and I have no doubt it contributed to the success of each of these endeavors.

- Yuval Sharon, January 18, 2018

Artist Statement

I view opera as an audacious and contemporary genre: as the first interdisciplinary art form, opera is an ideal platform for 21st-century exploration. My work is fueled by this belief and characterized by instability and the pleasure in complexity at the heart of opera.

Instability is fundamental to an opera's construction, with its three levels of potential meaning—via music, text, and visual realization—vying for dominance. The audacious collaboration of disparate artists—composer, a poet, designers, choreographer, singing artists—gave opera an air of the unprecedented and undefinable in 16th-century Italy, and even today, it demands a unique methodology beyond the ordinary for all the artists involved.

Opera offers a complex way of seeing and hearing that I consider refreshing. Unusual ways of listening and viewing challenge us—but that challenge is a pleasure, because that complexity has the potential to expand our senses and transform our assumed view of the world.

Opera has historically been accused of cultivating a "passive" audience. I see this as a critical fault of operatic production but not the genre itself. Attempting to sidestep the too-simple dichotomy of passive/active spectatorship, I want my work to cultivate an audience's curiosity through productions that heighten a work's instability and complexity, and by employing surprise to constantly eschew expectation.

- December 2016


Yuval Sharon is a director and producer creating unconventional work that seeks to expand the operatic form. His productions allow opera to escape the traditional sphere of the theater, inviting his audiences to engage directly with the works by taking to the streets and public spaces.

Sharon is founder and Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles, and has directed and produced the company's acclaimed world premieres of Crescent City (2012), the story of a mythical town loosely based on New Orleans; Invisible Cities (2013)an opera performed in Union Station; and Hopscotch (2015), a musical journey where audience members take car rides across the city with the performers. He also devised and directed the company's two performance installations, In C (2014) at the Hammer Museum, and Nimbus (2016) at Walt Disney Concert Hall. During Sharon's grant year, The Industry produced a number of performances including War of the Worlds, a new piece written by Sharon and Annie Gosfield that took place simultaneously at Walt Disney Concert Hall and on the streets of Los Angeles.

Sharon directed John Cage's  Song Books at the San Francisco Symphony and at Carnegie Hall (2012) with Joan La BarbaraMeredith Monk, and Jessye Norman, and produced Peter Eötvös's Three Sisters at the Wiener Staatsoper (2016).

Sharon is the recipient of a Götz Friedrich Prize for his production of John Adams's Doctor Atomic (2014), and was awarded a three-year residency at the Los Angeles Philharmonic (2016-19). He serves on the board of Opera America, the Artist Council for the Hammer Museum, and as a Fellow for the Los Angeles Institute for Humanities.

A crowd stands and sits around circular benches surrounded by white walls with TVs and an open ceiling.

Performance still from Hopscotch, produced by The Industry, at the custom-built Central Hub, Los Angeles, 2015. Photo by Dana Ross.

Four performers in silver leotards hold the legs of an orange spider-like machine as a seated audience watches.

Performance still from FCA-supported War of the Worlds, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and streets of Los Angeles, 2017.

A face frozen in shock is projected on a black stage. Next to it on the right on stairs lighted white sits sideways a figure dressed in black.

Performance Still from Die Walküre, at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Germany, 2016. Photo by Sebastian Hannak.

A figure in black pants and a white button accompanied by a black hat, stands on top of stairs with their hand upwards holding a bell. On top of them clouds of white and blue.

Performance still from Nimbus, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, 2016.

“After-movie" of Hopscotch, The Industry, Los Angeles, 2015.

Trailer for Doctor Atomic, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Germany, 2014.

An orchestra performs as behind them on stage a projection of an astronaut surrounded by various animals and on top of them the phrase

Performance still from Cunning Little Vixen, at the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland, 2014. Photo courtesy Cleveland Orchestra.

Trailer for Invisible Cities, The Industry, co-produced with LA Dance Project, Los Angeles, 2013.

The back of a person dressed in emperor like ancient costume adorned with gold and red walks on a hall full of people.

Performance still from Invisible Cities, produced by The Industry, at Union Station, Los Angeles, 2013. Photo by Nim Sharon.