I'm stoked after a great meeting with the pros! It didn't go exactly how I had expected - I thought we'd play through the piano score and I could get some suggestions on vocal writing while discussing my philosophy on modern opera - but instead, the pros (Howard and Brad) gave me something far more valuable: encouragement.
We had a seat in their gorgeous home and discussed options for getting a production - about three steps ahead of where I thought I was with this project. They liked the libretto and they agreed that the tesseturas were in the right places, they had praise for the sense of rhythm and character and had some wonderful suggestions for vocal writing, but they were more excited to let me know about workshops, contacts, venues, and how to get a performance. In the end, Howard and Brad agreed to show my piano score and libretto around to some influential people.
My fingers are crossed and I remain cautiously optimistic. These are the first people to actually read through the libretto without giving up at page 20, which is very heartening, but even more, they really seemed to be excited by the material. Another bonus: no opera hostility. They were excited for me, which is a reaction I've been awaiting for a long time.
We'll see where it goes from here, but in the mean time, I'm making a new recording from my computer and am busy making revisions based on Howard and Brad's suggestions.