Was I really about to make it through the month of January with only one post? As always I have excuses and as always excuses are never good enough. That said, a large portion of the early month was busy with getting myself, my partner, and my cat back to Spain which included losing my passport, geting new visas, getting vet documents for the cat, taking two seperate flights not knowing if the other one was going to get in or not, and trying to resume life here. And it is that season again...grants! Not fun, and so far I have prepared about seven of them and several more on my list to do. This is never enjoyable and always like pulling teeth to get all the pieces together and formatted to the right specifications. But...it is a necessary evil that will hopefully keep next season intact (any big fans of Calisto out there should send in their donations soon!). And I have had the pleasure to play the last couple days in masterclasses with famed baroque violin teacher Chiara Bianchini who is really wonderful and spot-on musically (spot-on seems to be the phrase of late doesn't it...I think it is something Brian Dickie of COT is secretly spreading). I also had the opportunity to finally see Jordi Savall live with Concerts des Nations. They were very good in a program of French orchestral music - though I was surprised by the use of violins on the haute-contre line (more about that in another post) and no winds. Soon I will have the opportunity to meet Calixto Bieito who is the controverisal Catalan director that started all the neo-con hubub last year. He did a very controversial staging of "Abduction". Anyway, I admire him and look forward to meeting him.
Of course all this work on grants to pay for next season has meant thinking a lot about next season. Gosh it is going to be a great one! For those of you that missed "La Calisto" in 2004, this is a brilliant comic opera as tuneful and funny as "Barbiere" or "Falstaff" any day (that Sun called is "Rollicking Fun!". This production will feature many of the same cast but completely new sets etc. to fit our new home. Something I have been concentrating heavily on is our "Le Cabaret de Carmen" which will be our most adventurous piece next season, and as such will be performed in the Baltimore Theatre Project, our home away from home. I have finished writing an extremely dark and funny script. Script, you say? Thats right, this production will be based on Peter Brook's "Le Tragedie de Carmen" which raised eyebrows in the 80s. Our productions uses the score of Brooks (with no chorus and with events reordered to match the original Merimée novela), but goes much further dramatically. Our Carmen is taken out of Seville and into a 1930s Parisan cabaret. The Theatre Project will be turned into a dark and mysterious nightclub, complete with waiters, and MC, and food and drink. The added dialogue for the Madam and the MC puts the dark tale of seductions and self-destruction into poignant relief. It will be an unsettling and strangely unforgettable evening (and I should mention an incredible cast that features Baltimore favorite Ryan de Ryke as our suave cabaret singer Escamillo, Candian mezzo-soprano Sophie Roland as Carmen, she is also in "La Calisto" as Diana, and Bonnie McNaughton as Michäela, I should also mention Baltimore's own JoAnn Kulesza will be our music director). Then Phillips Glass' "Hydrogen Jukebox", which is a charting out of the rise and fall of the American dream to the poetry of Allen Ginsberg. This is AOT's first step into 20th contemporary opera (I long ambition of mine) and this is a great piece. It is powerful and breathtakingly beautiful. I will have much more to say about it as it approaches. And finally, a revival of our acclaimed "Acis + Galatea". We did not perform it in Washington, DC last time and we have had many requests to bring it back already. It is a terrific show and I am happy to oblige.
And with all that said...we still have one major hurdle to get over before next season, and that is a little thing called "David et Jonathas". Quickly approaching, this piece will serve as our New York premier with our largest orchestra forces yet. Many of you may have missed our workshop of the piece in 2005, but it is a transformative piece - painfully beautiful and with some of the of most glorious mosic of the entire baroque. Through a genorous grant we are able to bring in America's top players to join our company of singers in this powerful opera. I am now in the midst of marking parts to get them out for bowings. This is an important and painstaking process, but worth-it when I step in front of the orchestra and they already know the jist of what I want.
Please forgive any typos...there is a festival of Mallorcan music and dance tonight and I am anxious to get out the door!