Thursday, July 23, 2009

One Last Thing Before I Go...

I'm leaving this coming Monday to move our stuff from Antwerp to Amsterdam which will now be home. Before then though, I will be spending the weekend at first staging rehearsals with the dynamic-duo sopranos Rebecca Duren and Emily Noel. In October they will be performing a new concept piece called "Annunciation + Visitation" at Indiana University and funded through the New Frontiers Foundation. The music is in two parts, the first being song cycles by George Crumb and then the Tenebre Lessons of Francois Couperin. SO...that will keep me pretty occupied this weekend.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I never went to Artscape until this weekend. I always thought it too hot and, in what now seems cynical folly, always thought that is was either light on the arts and heavy on the funnel cake, or too esoteric. I'm happy to admit I was wrong, and I'm super proud of my city. Artscape, from the perspective of the AOT booth, was a great melting point. I got to meet folks from all different backgrounds and all different ages. Right outside our booth on Sunday an African drumming circle and I saw people of different races, ages, and creeds dancing with each other. For all the talk that goes around the opera community about reaching out to new audiences, this weekend I felt we were really doing it as all sorts of people visited us, expressed their joy at opera surviving in Baltimore, and signed up for tickets for next year. Even more, at our, admitedly difficult, performance on Sunday the diverse group of young and old and black and white and rich and poor that were enthused by the performance gladdened my heart. So, I can't believe I'm going to be so hokey as to write this, but BALTIMORE BELIEVE!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Artscape Away

I am sitting at a Cafe enjoying a few moments of quite before the last day of Artscape begins. I love being part of this enigmatic festival that brings together so many people from so many diverse backgrounds! AOT has been able to tell literally hundreds and hundreds of people about what we are doing this year. Time and time again we hear "I thought opera was dead in Baltimore." And it is my delight to tell them about whats going on.

Today we will present two short performances of "A Pilgrime's Solace" at 2pm and 5pm. Come out to Artscape if you can - great weather for the first time in years!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Artscape and in the news!

Here is a great little picture that was sent to me recently. It is from the cover of a magazine that had an article about the workshop I was honored to be Artistic Director of with Sophie-Roland...and here we are having a great time. It is also a perfect AOT image because it shows the two directors of the company doing what we love to do most, have fun.

I'm in the midst of rehearsals for "A Pilgrime's Solace", which is AOT's offering in Artscape this year. This is a collection of 12 songs by John Dowland, the 16th century singer-songwriter that wrote songs of unparalleled deep of emotion. I've compiled these songs roughly into a piece that explores the human grief cycle, for mezzo soprano and guitar. I'm thrilled to finally be working with Monica Reinagel, who has performed so much in Baltimore, but not yet with AOT. Andrew Dickenson, a Peabody alum (and incidentally from my home town!) is our guitarist. We finished staging this weekend and it is a powerful and moving piece. It is only 45 minutes, and 45 minutes that fly by, but the ocean of feeling explored is deep indeed. There are two performances on Sunday the 19th, at 2pm and 5pm. They are both free and I hope to see you all there (Corpus Christi Church across from MICA).

Incidentally Dowland is one of the great poets of all time. I'm going to try to share some of his poetry here in the days leading up to the performances.

Now Oh Now I Needs Must Part

Now, oh now I needs must part,
Parting though I absent mourn.
Absence can no joy impart:
Joy once fled cannot return.

While I live I needs must love,
Love lives not when Hope is gone.
Now at last Despair doth prove,
Love divided loveth none.

Sad despair doth drive me hence;
This despair unkindness sends.
If that parting be offence,
It is she which then offends.

Dear when I from thee am gone,
Gone are all my joys at once,
I lov'd thee and thee alone,
In whose love I joyed once.

And although your sight I leave,
Sight wherein my joys do lie,
Till that death doth sense bereave,
Never shall affection die.

Sad despair doth drive me hence;
This despair unkindness sends.
If that parting be offence,
It is she which then offends.

Dear, if I do not return,
Love and I shall die together.
For my absence never mourn
Whom you might have joyed ever;

Part we must though now I die,
Die I do to part with you.
Him despair doth cause to lie
Who both liv'd and dieth true.

Sad despair doth drive me hence;
This despair unkindness sends.
If that parting be offence,
It is she which then offends.