Friday, July 25, 2008

From Santa Fe

Well, I have once again been shamelessly absent from the blog. I am starting to believe that as much as I love Brian Dickie's tireless attention to his splendid blog...mine are never going to be anything except for on a more occaisional basis.
I have been busy in Bloomington, IN, first teaching the Summer Opera Workshop, which this year for the first time, invited students from outside Indiana, University. It was a fantastic group of young artists, good voices, good dramatic instincts, and a good set of scenes. For my part I directed scenes from Cesare, Rosenkavalier, Dido and Aeneas, Calisto, Nozze di Figaro, A Little Night Music, and others. Once that was over I stayed on to help Vince Liotta with the revival of his production of "She Loves Me" for the IU Summer Music Festival.

Now all that is past, and I am enjoying a long weekend with friends in Santa Fe before leaving to Belgium for a month on Tuesday. Fantastic place this Santa Fe! Arriving early to the theater one sits and watches a blue sunset on the desert. But more about that to come...

I spent a wonderful long afternoon with director Peter Sellars. This is a tremendous force of energy and a model of artistic integrity. Of course Peter has been surrounded by controversy all of his life, but this is because he is unwilling to compromise his ideas of opera as a populist and immensely powerful force for change. Sitting with this incredibly friendly and incredibly kind man has been a very affecting experience. He is full of belief, creativity, compassion, humor, and humanity. I gush a bit, but it is so gratifying, and so rare, that one finds their artistic role model to be a role model for how to live as well. I am in awe of what he has accomplished and how he has accomplished it. And, I am inspired by him.

Last night I went with Peter to the dress rehearsal of his project at Santa Fe, "Adriana Mater". This is a collaboration with composer Kaija Saariaho. The sets are by the amazing sculpter and designer George Tsypin. The first highlight of the evening was arriving at the theater, my first time there, to watch the sun set over the desert. These rolling blue and grey and black clouds eventually became the backdrop for the performance. The orchestra was stellar, and the singers, who have been ill, were quite effective. Peter staging showed a real maturity from those fantastic early pieces. It is subtle and understated. I thouroughly enjoyed the performance, though I was going on little sleep, and look forward to seeing it on Saturday.

I am here in Santa with members of the AOT board of directors. Today we go on a nice hike (I will take pictures!) and tonight we she Paul Curran's "Billy Budd"

There have been some additions to the upcoming work load, but I can't mention them here yet. Soon enough though!