Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Do I dare to eat a peach?

Well, as predicted the ideality of a first blog was soon to pass. Yesterday and today, and the days of the foreseeable for the matter, have been full of practicalities (balanced by a bit of creativity).

I have been hard at work searching out and preparing several grant applications for the coming season. Even though private donations make up the largest part of our budget (and we are always in need of support), grants are an important avenue for support to explore. Though we haven't sent out an official press release yet, many of you know the 2007 -2008 will mark AOT's first season as the company in residence at Georgetown University. While there we will perform a three show season in the brand new Gonda Theater of the Davis Center for the Performing Arts. This is extremely exciting for the company and allows us for the first time to have a home season in addition to our touring productions. The possibilities surrounding this new relationship with Georgetown are myriad, and to mark the significance we have created a season of diverse works - old, new, and in-between. We will open in September with our multimedia production "Ground" (originally created in 2006). In December we will present a staged Messiah (more on that later). The season will close with a full production of Charpentier's "David et Jonathas". We workshopped this remarkable opera in 2005 with our young artist program. The reception was so powerful that we knew it was an important piece that needed to be brought back. This is the first professional staging in the United States.

Gonda Theater at Georgetown University

Each of these successive productions is larger than the last, and more involved. The reverse side of this exciting new home and full season, is that we have a lot of money to raise and resources to uncover. From the title Artistic Director, the former word comes more naturally to me. The latter is something I am growing into and learning about along the way. I must admit I do find it fascinating. It is difficult, but in some way inspiring as well. What keeps it from being a drudgery is no doubt how much I believe in the work of AOT. We are creating something quite new and quite special. With each step the company takes we are sculpting a new way of thinking about and presenting opera - AOT is creating a future for opera. That is important, so important that it emboldens. A passion for the art and for witnessing the affect the art can have on a diverse audience is an extremely energizing force.

Still, it is important to balance strategizing fundraising and company growth with the artistic side of the equation. I have taken time out these last couple days to start work on Messiah. I don't want to give too much away, and I'm sure I will risk doing just that in later posts as the production gets closer and the "work" gets into full swing. For now I will say that Handel's absolutely BRILLIANT score, to gush a bit, drives this production and the creative process. Constantly being true to the implied rhetoric of the music is going to be very important, and it is treacherous ground to stage a piece beloved by so many people. Still, there is such power for healing in the words and music, power outside of narrative or specifics or religious barriers, that the potential exists for a very moving piece. Okay...thats all for now.

I have also been finishing contracts for the artists of this season and even planning out the 2008 - 2009 season. I won't give that away for a some time yet, but the next two years are going to see some truly inspired art making from AOT as we introduce new works and new artists, and bring back favorites from the last several years. As our touring season continues to grow I also look forward to widening our audience around the country and around the world.

On top of that, we are enjoying a visit from counter-tenor Peter Thoresen, who played a raucous Satarino in our 2004 "La Calisto".

1 comment:

Clayton said...

Greetings, Tim, and welcome to the blogosphere. I've enjoyed AOT's (or IDO's) past performances at Theatre Project in Baltimore, and I'm looking forward to seeing the company at Georgetown.