Wrapping his selection of American art songs with works from poets who are celebrated and time-honored masters may partially explain why Powell has arranged the songs somewhat thematically rather than by composer. Whatever his rationale, "Billy in the Darbies" remains the soul of this undertaking.
On the micro level, the Twin Cities has a thriving opera and theater community filled with small grassroots companies. I hope these companies survive and continue to engage their audiences until live performances are safe.
Throughout his career his dedication to Shakespeare was unwavering. It was said that he could recite extended passages from Shakespeare's work with eloquence often surpassing that of cultivated speakers in his England, his adopted homeland.
Thankfully, Odyssey Opera thought a little ahead of the curve: for the next album in their recordings of newer opera, they have opted to put The Trial at Rouen on Boston Modern Orchestra Project's recording label, BMOP/sound, and with the same cast that performed it in December 2017, no less!
These are strange times, and I am still not convinced that going virtual is the way. Has it afforded us some opportunities we would not have had otherwise? Sure. Has it required us to get creative in ways we could not have imagined? Certainly.
This was a piece that did not feel as though it existed musically as a complete score but more so in the gathering of people together, in the physicality of the performance space, and in the unknowable magic that occurs in the moment of performance itself.
How do you stage something that is so static in tableau and also has so few characters? And more to the point, how does a company stage it in a time when theaters are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Renée Fleming knows her audience, or in this case, the lack of one. Creating a sense of intimate occasion in the elegant music salon at Dumbarton Oaks, a Georgetown estate with a musical pedigree of its own, Fleming made her contribution to the Metropolitan Opera's MET Stars Live streaming concert series feel like a musical get-together.
With no performances scheduled in the United States scheduled for the next six months will there still be an audience? I think so, and I hope so. Cautious performances like those put on by Northern Lights are essential to keeping the spirit of opera alive in the United States. Let us hope for more innovation and live music making in the coming months.
Chordless has created an intriguing piece of art with this Crumb video, and it'll be a neat experience to view it, and then have an immediate face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) with the folks who made it.