Friday, November 21, 2008

Reports of my death...wait, déjà vu!

Well, once again strange rumors seem to be flying around. I heard from a little bird that there is talk that AOT is canceling its Spring offerings! Nothing could be further from the truth. This Spring AOT present three shows. The first is the Washington, DC premier of Philip Glass' "Hydrogen Jukebox", in collaboration with Georgetown University. Then will be our runout performance of "Venus and Adonis" and "Dido and Aeneas" in Blacksburg, VA (made possible by the Virginia Arts Administration), and finally a double-bill of songs by John Dowland and Kurtag's "Kafka Fragments". Plus, there is a special surprise coming in the summer months.

This is all to gear up for our fifth anniversary season next year, featuring 5 different fully staged productions in Baltimore and Washington. The season will include one revival, a baroque collaboration, and most exciting, the possible participation of one of America's most acclaimed Grammy award winning sopranos. AOT was also just recommended for a large grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a project in 2010. So, AOT is in great shape to continue producing its one-of-a-kind work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I was out of the loop for the last couple days getting work done on other things. I remain completely amazed by Brian Dickie who seems to be able to run a tip-top company and blog atleast once a day! Amazing.

The big news has been the AOT was a awarded an NEA grant to produce John Adam's "The Death of Klinghoffer". We are lucky enough to have a partner orchestra and incredible venue for this performance, but it remains to be seen if we can make it happen just yet. "Klinghoffer" is a tremendous piece, that needs to be done desperately. Unfortunately, it is also an expensive piece and deciding if we can do that, and produce our home season (which is now looking to be 5-6 productions) has taken much time. Nothing is off the table, but I hope to know something in the next couple weeks.

Beyond that it has been detail work - the Heather Lockard, are wonderfully talented costume designer for Hydrogen Jukebox, has been sending me some really exciting renderings. Hannah Crowell and Robbie Hayes who are the set designers for the project have been doing the same. I for my part have been going deeper and deeper into Ginsberg's poetry and Glass' score. It is a great piece and this will be an exciting performance. I'm eager, and I should post more about this, to be working with the students at Georgetown on this. They will bring a unique energy to the production and make it something completely new, not like its premier with "big opera voices" at all.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Sad Day

As announced in the NY Times Mortier has stepped down from City Opera. I knew from his people that this might be happening, but I had held out hope the City Opera would be able, or at least try, to raise the money needed to bring him. As happy as I'm sure Peter Gelb is, this is a sad day for opera in America. Perhaps the message is that we have to save ourselves. Lets hope that it is not back to the dark ages. Saddest is that New York will not see "Einstein on the Beach" or the Messian "St Francis of Assisi".