Real Time Opera is a performing arts organization dedicated to the production of new opera. Founded in 2002, it is based in Oberlin, Ohio, and produces opera across the United States, engaging professional singers and a range of instrumental ensembles for performances at a wide variety of venues. Previous productions include the world premieres of Korczak's Orphans by Adam Silverman and Susan Gubernat (2003); Hawaiian Tan Ratface, with words and music by John Trubee, at San Francisco's Studio Z, accompanied by the Ugly Janitors of America and featuring choreography by Carl Franzoni (2004); and Feynman (2005), by composer Jack Vees and librettist Paul Schick, at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and at The Knitting Factory in New York City, featuring Sō Percussion. RTO's co-production (with the Oberlin Conservatory) of Leave me Alone!, written by Harvey Pekar and Dan Plonsey and performed at Oberlin's Finney Chapel in 2009, was the first-ever world premiere opera to be webcast live. The widespread attention it received included a segment on NPR's Weekend Edition.
RTO commissioned Evan Ziporyn to compose A House in Bali; performances during the 2009-2010 season took place in Bali, San Francisco, Boston, and at BAM in New York City, featuring the Bang on a Can All-Stars. The 2012-2013 season featured four "pop-up" operas designed by Don Harvey and filmed by Ted Sikora, among them Double Figure, which premiered on Detroit Avenue outside the Cleveland Public Theatre. Frozen Community, a high-energy theater piece brought together composer Randall Woolf, the musical ensemble The Bits, and dance by Ladia Yates; it premiered on South Main Street in Oberlin in May 2013. The season's series continued in Pittsburgh with Silent Chorus by composer David Mahler, featuring tenor Stephen Ng (June 2013). RTO's most recent production was an American Sign Language (ASL) opera, Paradox, composed by Larry Polansky and signed by Monique Holt, at the Transformer Station in Cleveland. In February 2014 RTO premiered NOVA, by Lewis Nielson to a libretto by Paul Schick, as part of the Big Box Series at Cleveland Public Theatre. Among RTO's current commissions is Hu Tong by composer Kui Dong and librettist Paul Schick to a text by Monica Datta.