Every day is opening night.


Press Contacts:
Rick Miramontez / Kendall Edwards
rick@omdkc.com / kendall@omdkc.com
212 695 7400









To download key art, click here.


New York, NY (March 7, 2024) – Catapult Opera announced today that they have commissioned a new opera digital short entitled Telekinetik from multi-hyphenate, Chicago-based artist, Khary Laurent. In this piece, a would-be vigilante, tortured by a telepathic shaman, learns a difficult lesson about justice versus bloodlust, as told through the “hip-hopera” stylings of the daring composer, Khary Laurent. The short was directed by George Cederquist, and stars Khary Laurent and Fresnel Laurent. To watch, visit catapultopera.org/telekinetik.

Catapult Opera also announced that they will host an exclusive virtual watch party and Q&A with Catapult Opera founder Neal Goren, Telekinetik composer and star Khary Laurent, and director of photography Kristina Rodriguez on Monday, March 11, 2024 via Zoom. To RSVP to the event, please click HERE.

To download production stills, click here.

To download lyrics and production credits, click here.

“Neal Goren reached out to me with ideas of commissioning a project after he saw my short film commission entitled Corsair, which was Chicago Fringe Opera’s submission to the Decameron Opera Coalition during the pandemic. We were eager to create a new collaboration with the signature hip opera twist,” said Khary Laurent. “Telekinetik is an exploration into the bravado and psyche of regular citizens who believe that it’s up to them to take control of their streets in the face of violent organized crime syndicates who plunder inner cities. How far would we go? What pieces of our soul are lost in the journey? And should we succeed, how would we get back to being part of a civilized society?”

“I first became acquainted with the art of Khary Laurent during the pandemic when a coalition of smaller opera companies posted his video, Corsair, online. It was by far the best melding of opera and rap that I had ever seen,” stated Catapult Opera founder Neal Goren. “It is a challenging assignment, since the latter is based on speech and the former on song. Because of his operatic training and impressive voice, I thought that Mr. Laurent would be the perfect candidate to continue the exploration of the intersection of opera and hip hop successfully. I was totally correct. His Telekinetic is a brilliant addition to Catapult’s series of video opera shorts that explore the intersection of opera and popular music genres. While each of the submissions to the series is radically different from the others, they each share a seriousness of purpose and an elegance of execution. Mr. Laurent has proven to be the perfect professional in all aspects of the assignment. Collaborating with him has been an unalloyed pleasure and a source of pride for me personally.”

Catapult Opera is a new company working to launch the future of opera. One of their main initiatives is providing grants to singer-songwriters outside the classical realm to create short works at the intersection of their genre and opera. The mission of the company is to project a more dynamic future for opera by broadening the art form and its audience and launching innovative productions that celebrate the classically trained voice. Telekinetik marks the company’s fourth commissioned piece since the company was founded. Other digital commissioned works include Glitch by Nico Muhly, When All I Knew Changed by Celisse, and SWANN by Tamar-kali.

This commission has been made possible by The Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation.



KHARY LAURENT (Composer) (also known as K. F. Jacques) is a classical singer and hip hop producer. He has been featured on the “Rosie Show” aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network, various television and radio networks, and has toured the U.S. and Europe. Currently Mr. Laurent is the head composer and playing the role of Figaro in The Rosina Project which is the “hip hopera version of The Barber of Seville” with a cast of talented rappers, dancers, singers, a beatboxer, and a DJ. The Rosina Project was included in The Pivot Arts Festival two years in a row, featured on ABC 7 News, Chicago SunTimes, and The Chicago Tribune, and thrice received a grant for a citywide summer tour of Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks. His latest composition, L’Assassino, was a hip hop opera film commissioned by Resonance Works Pittsburgh. Chicago Fringe Opera also commissioned K. F. Jacques’ Corsair for The Decameron Opera Coalition’s “Tales From A Safe Distance.” Corsair debuted to rave reviews and was awarded Best New Local Opera Production in The Chicago Reader, Best Music Video by the Aladerri International film fest. Mr. Laurent was born and raised in Chicago Illinois. He holds a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

GEORGE CEDERQUIST (Director). George is the Producing Artistic Director of Chicago Fringe Opera, called “the city’s alt-opera company” by the Chicago Tribune.  Recent directing credits for the company include La Jeteé and Corsair, as well as the company’s long-running hit show The Rosina Project, a Hip-Hop adaptation of The Barber Of Seville. In addition, George has directed new productions and workshops of operas, musicals, and plays with Opera Festival of Chicago, Chicago Dramatists, the Chicago Sinfonietta, Pittsburgh Opera, the Bay View Music Festival and Chicago Folks Operetta, as well as opera scenes at Wolf Trap Opera and Chautauqua Opera. An inspiring mentor, George is the Producing Artistic Director of Opera and Theatre at North Park University, and has taught courses, masterclasses and guest lectures at Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, DePaul University, the University of Illinois and CCM. Now in its ninth season, George hosts “Opera Box Score” [America’s Talk Radio Show About Opera] on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and WNUR 89.3 FM Chicago. The show tackles the week’s opera headlines in an irreverent sports talk radio format. A recipient of the 2022 Best Music Video Award at the Aladerri International Film Festival, as well as two American Prizes in Directing, George’s production of Silent Night was chosen as a winner of Opera America’s 2013 Director-Designer competition.  One of ten Americans to receive the 2011 German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, George served as a Regieassistent at the Staatstheater Darmstadt. George’s training includes residencies with Pittsburgh Opera, the Merola Opera Program, and Wolf Trap Opera, and two improvisation intensives at the Annoyance Theatre. He holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA in Theatre Studies and English from Yale University. George is a member of Steep Theatre Company and the American Guild of Musical Artists, and is a dual US-UK citizen. George lives in Chicago with his wife, their two children, their cat, and their four chickens. To learn more about George, visit gjcederquist.com. He proudly uses zero social media platforms.

CATAPULT OPERA projects a more dynamic future for opera; they seek to broaden the art form and its audience, launching innovative productions that celebrate the classically trained voice. Catapult Opera innovates to accomplish this goal by providing grants to singer-songwriters outside the classical realm to create short works at the intersection of their genre and opera.  One goal of this program is to build a repository of innovative recorded material to which each grantee contributes by allowing access on the Catapult website.

Catapult began by testing the waters with an established opera composer and librettist: composer Nico Muhly and librettist Greg Pierce who created an opera entitled The Glitch, premiered online in February, 2022. The opera was widely celebrated as an example of what is possible when a work is designed for internet viewing, rather than merely captured for it. A more recent Catapult grant has produced a work by singer-songwriter Celisse which premiered in March 2023. Celisse’s extraordinary operatic composition is an outpouring of three women’s emotional responses to the COVID pandemic and its effects on their lives. Another production in the pipeline is from the legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson.

Catapult Opera also promotes the development and acceptance of recorded operatic performance by holding competitions for short, filmed pieces that deliver a visual component as rich, immediate, and compelling as their musical language. To this end, in autumn 2020, they held a team-based competition to produce video performances of specific opera scenes chosen by Catapult. The resulting content was judged by a panel of international opera visionaries and posted on the Internet for open adjudication. The competition offered recognition for innovation as well as monetary prizes. Their intention is to continue this competition in future years to prod the development of visually satisfying opera videos.

Neal Goren, Catapult Opera’s Artistic Director, has long been celebrated for bringing new perspectives to opera. As the Founding Artistic Director of Henry Street Chamber Opera and of Gotham Chamber Opera, he legitimized and popularized the formerly-undervalued genre of chamber opera to where it is now generally credited with possessing equal expressive potential as grand opera. He collaborated with leading puppeteers, visual artists, and theater directors at a time when opera production was generally exclusive rather than inclusive of outside influences. Goren has long presented opera in non-traditional settings, including a planetarium, a botanic garden, and even a burlesque house, celebrating the music and showcasing the singers while popularizing the art form. Catapult Opera is a natural outgrowth of Goren’s forward-thinking attitude to opera, inspired by the needs of our time.


# # #