Friday, April 17, 2009

I feel like a plate of tapas...

That is because I have had little more than three hours sleep in the last 36 hours and am getting ready to crash before it gets too late. Barcelona is beautiful this time of year, and it feels great to visit old friends. But, also to meet new ones. Today I have lovely conversations with Calixto Bieito, Pierre Audi, Sir Brian MacMasters, and Thaddeus Strassbourg. It was a full day, with a lively and interesting conversation on opera, creativity and innovation. I decided not to go to the dinner reception at the royal palace tonight, and to instead stay in and prepare for the competition tomorrow. I will duly report on what goes on.

One really nice thing was to sit in on a discussion of opera criticism by young people under 25 led by my friend Peter de Caluwe from La Monnaie. Fascinating and encouraging to see so many eager opera lovers wanting to write criticism.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Where ya goin? Barcelona."

I'm off this morning to the Opera Europa conference in Barcelona, the Liceu is being good enough to host it this year. I will try to post along the way...I'm atleast taking my computer. It will also be a good chance to see lots of friends who live in the area, and to meet a whole host of personalities from the opera world. Most importantly, I will compete in the World Directing Prize on Saturday afternoon. More to come soon I hope...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

AOT's Spring Cabaret Gala "La Vie en Rose"

Home visiting family in Virginia, I finally have a chance to write a bit about AOT's upcoming Spring Gala. What better way to celebrate May Day (May 1st) than with two of American Opera Theater's brightest stars in an evening of cabaret music, fantastic food, delicious drinks, and a silent auction of goodies from all around Baltimore?

French mezzo-soprano Sophie-Louise Roland and Baltimore's favorite baritone Ryan de Ryke (the two stars of AOT's acclaimed "Le Cabaret de Carmen") will perform the most beloved cabaret songs of all time, from the musical lifes of Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf, and of course Kurt Weill. The evening will be full of special guests and surprise announcements, and is a fantastic way to support Baltimore's most innovative and imaginative opera company. Presented in the intimate Hamden setting of The Elms, this is the perfect way to usher in the summer. It will be a summer evening not soon forgotten!

Tickets are only $75, and your attendance will make AOT's largest and most exciting ever a reality. You can purchase tickets online here, or over the phone at 1-800-838-3006. For more information you can call (443) 253 6825.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Back in the USA

I arrived back to Washington, DC last night for what will be a three month stay in America, except for the month of May in Canada (though my European friends enjoy pointing out that Canada is in America...yeah yeah).

Initially I'm only hear for five days beause I fly this Thursday to Barcelona to compete in the international Opera Europa directing prize. I will direct a scene from "Die Gartnerin aus Liebe" (which is the German singspiel version of Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera, and I have propsed to produce the work in German with spoken texts instead of sung recitatives). Then it is back to America to direct Dido and Aeneas with AOT singers at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.

Then on May 1st is AOT's Spring cabaret gala, which I will post more in tomorrow. This is going to be a great event with lots of food, drink, and fantastic cabaret songs sung by Sophie Roland and Ryan de Ryke. That will be followed by a month teaching in London, Canada at the Canadian Operatic Arts Academy - a great new national young artist program at the University of Western Ontario, the looks to be a university music program on the cutting edges of opera.

June will be a month of catch up and preparing for next season and the season after...yes we are that far ahead! And then in July I'm absolutely pleased the AOT will be a part of Baltimore Artscape. I will have the opportunity to produce a work I've been developing for some time. It is a one-person show of 12 John Dowland songs that will explore the human grief cycle, scored just for mezzo-soprano and guitar. I'm really happy to be collaborating with one of Baltimore's most beloved mezzos, Monica Reinagle, on this project. She is a wonderfully sensitive musician, and a fantastic actor. It is great the Baltimore supports these sorts of activities each year, and I hope everyone will come be a part of these free activities.

So, it will be a Summer of posts....I will try to keep up with it all, starting with my weekend in Barcelona.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Some thoughts on Mozart (and La Finta Giardiniera)

"The fascination lies in seeing his dramatic genius in embryo, in watching him learn on the job. La Finta Giardiniera is full of pointers to the future: we recognise the characters and situations, but not yet who they really are and why they are there."

". . . I also heard an opera buffa by that wonderful genius Mozart; it is called La finta giardiniera. Flashes of genius appear here and there; but there is not yet that still altar-fire that rises towards Heaven in clouds of incense -- a scent beloved of the gods. If Mozart is not a plant forced in the hot-house, he is bound to grow into one of the greatest musical composers who ever lived."

Mozart always learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate—the whole informed by a vision of humanity "redeemed through art, forgiven, and reconciled with nature and the absolute".