Civic Opera Creations is a producer for new innovative music theater and opera created in dialogue and thought exchange between communities and artists. Founded in Vienna in 2020 by stage director and new works collaborator Carmen C. Kruse and cultural manager and music theater maker Leonora Scheib, Civic Opera Creations aims to create new methods of cooperation and reference to establish opera as a representative part of the 21st century and a place for repeated encounters.



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TYPE               Virtual Reality: new music theater performance

DURATION    40 minutes

SPACE            any space


Winner of the CROSS Award 

 World premiere and touring in 2021/2022​

Coproduced in collaboration with Festival Maia, Argentina,
& CROSS Project, Italy.

COMPOSER                      Manuel Zwerger

TEXT/DIRECTOR              Carmen C. Kruse

SET& VIDEO DESIGNER  Ariane Stamatescu​

With the concept of European Kitchen Encounters and its first installment VR-BANIA, the team around librettist/director Carmen C. Kruse and composer Manuel Zwerger won the 5° edition of the CROSS Award in Verbania, Italy. This new 40-minute, immersive music theater composition features two performers (a singer and a musician), live-cooking, and the local community on video in an innovative 360° VR performance.

The core of the composition is the live preparation of the dish most mentioned during a series of community interviews, a risotto bianco con salsiccia in Verbania, - its movements are translated into a piece of acoustic, repetitive actions on prepared instruments and - combined with vocal recitation of original text, woven into an intricate exploration of the cities culture and traditions.



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TYPE               new music theater 

DURATION    60 minutes

SPACE            sight-specific, community spaces

Vienna-edition scheduled for May 2022 in collaboration with CAPE 10, Kulturhaus Brotfabrik & Kunst Haus Wien/Museum Hundertwasser.

Civic Newsroom is a four-day, newsroom feature-inspired new works project that brings national and international artists together in collaborative, innovative forms to reflect on current civic issues artistically. Drawn by lot, four teams, each consisting of a composer, librettist, director, two singers, and two musicians, immerse themselves in a topic of the current discourse and develop a ten-minute new music piece over the course of a weekend. Supported by a music director, set and costume designers, and local organizations with connections to people directly affected, these four works first premiere as solo pop-ups in the urban landscape, before uniting in a site-specific, sixty-minute Newsroom performance.


With composers Alexander Chernyshkov and Anda Kryeziu, librettists Pauline Jakob and Carolyn Amann, director Helena Röhr, costume designer Lara Scherpinski, and researcher Sophie Menasse, among others.





TYPE               Chamber Opera

DURATION    75 minutes (incl. pre-show video installation)

SPACE            black box, sight-specific space


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COMPOSER                    Manuel Zwerger

LIBRETTIST                      Penda Diouf

DIRECTOR                       Carmen C. Kruse

SET DESIGNER                Valentin Mattka


Great Open Eyes is a new chamber opera by composer Manuel Zwerger, librettist Penda Diouf and director Carmen C. Kruse that combines themes from Ibsen’s Little Eyolf with first-hand community accounts to explore the themes of grief and child loss. In an immersive, intimate world with a concentric stage designed for a black box or sight-specific space, three singers, one child, and 36 musicians offer its surrounding audience a unique scenic and acoustic experience that cuts right to the core of this human emotional journey.  


CARMEN C. KRUSE, Co-Artistic Director


Opera stage director and new works collaborator, Carmen C. Kruse, grew up in Carinthia and Hamburg. She now lives in Vienna. Fed by first-hand accounts, her directing work is shaped by an in-depth, psychological exploration of broad societal themes and their effects on individuals. For these she creates immersive, live experiences that change the relationship between orchestra and dramatic action, and present archaic worlds that inspire and empower. She gave her directing debut with Cavalli's L’Egisto at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival in 2017. Further productions brought Carmen C. Kruse to the Osterfestspielen Baden-Baden, Staatstheater Mainz, Staatsoper Stuttgart, and the Ensemble Modern Frankfurt. Kruse won the CROSS Award in Italy (2019), the Osterfestspiele Baden-Baden Directing Competition (2018), and was a finalist of the Fondazione Haydn Stiftung OPER.A 20.21 Competition (2019). She is an Alumna of the Akademie Musiktheater heute of the Deutsche Bank Stiftung (Directing Scholarship, 2017-19), the Women Opera Makers Workshop with Katie Mitchell at L’Académie du Festival d’Aix (2020), and the Lincoln Center Theaters Directors Lab in New York (2018). She collected first opera experiences in Australia, the US, and Canada, before studying music and media management with a focus on opera and innovation in Munich and San Diego. Currently, she is part of the 2020 inaugural BMP: Producers Academy in New York and enrolled in the Executive Master in Arts Administration program in Zurich.

LEONORA SCHEIB, Co-Artistic Director


Leonora Scheib is a cultural manager, dramaturg, and music theatre maker based in Vienna. She completed self-designed bachelor and master degrees in music-theatre and opera sciences at the University of Vienna and MDW, learning among others from Assoz. Prof. Dagmar Abfalter, Dominique Meyer, Prof. Michele Calella, and Peter Konwitschny. During her studies, she worked as assistant and revival director for sought-after directors such as Keith Warner, Moshe Leiser & Patrice Courier, and Kasper Holten at renowned opera houses nationally and internationally, such as Theater an der Wien, Bregenzer Festspiele, Royal Danish Opera, Opéra national du Rhin, Festival d’Arte di Montepulciano, and Guangzhou Opera House. Her master's thesis on the programming of contemporary music theater at European opera houses led to a lecture at the Opera Europa Conference in 2019 and a published article for MICA. With texts, introductory lectures, and advice, she is also repeatedly active as a dramaturg. In 2021, she directs Alexander Moosbrugger's world premiere Wind at the Bregenzer Festspiele. Scheib holds a cultural management scholarship from the Akademie Musiktheater heute (2018-2021). In this area, she is active as production manager for the Lausitz Festival, as project manager for an upcoming world premiere with the Ensemble Modern, as a collaborator with the Duo Nimikry, and now co-founder of Civic Opera Creations.

For more information contact: 

Carmen C. Kruse, ckruse(at), 

+43 (0) 660 32 12 859


Leonora Scheib, lscheib(at),

+43 (0) 699 150 54 677




(c) 2020, Carmen C. Kruse, Civic Opera Creations, Verein für Kunst, Kultur & Soziales, ZVR:1792837722, Austria