What a pity, then, that Zingg and Pynkoski’s production couldn’t be showcased on a traditional stage, like that of Koerner Hall—where this production was originally set to premiere in April 2020—or the Elgin Theatre, Opera Atelier’s de facto home.
Though distinctly modern in all respects, Girl In The Snow possesses a timeless patina. Ordway's ambitious and naturalistic poetry, both dreamy, even fancifully at moments, is also marked with underlying tension and foreboding. Such variety seasons the work. His composition, written for solo piano accompanying mezzo-soprano voice, is resonant, often propulsive and grippingly abstract.
Dawson is committed to video. "These videos were a way that we could come together as a community and make musical offerings to people in the midst of the pandemic. By embracing the constraints of 2020 and leaning into the medium of video, I've seen the richness of expressive possibility that is available."
How inspiring to think that even despite our limitations, creativity has a hard time being quelled. If you are craving some relief from the monotony of your day or are in need of a pause to enjoy some music, both concerts are currently streaming and are available to watch until May 13th.
The star of this particular show, composer Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, was hardly left in the shadows. Having gained the support of Lous XIV, she was highly visible with frequent performance of her work. More importantly she enjoyed the rare privilege of having her work published.
The additions are debatable but the film stands as a considerable artistic achievement and is testament to the resilience of opera in the pandemic era. At its core it is quite a luxury in and of itself.
When contemplating the content for Confessions, soprano, Laura Strickling's recent recording of contemporary art songs by American composers, all of whom occupy the highest ranks of the genre, she was guided by a keen ear for quality and vocal suitability. She was also guided by a commitment to create, out of these fragile entities, a strong and satisfying musical program.
It is a journey that does evolve over the course of the three songs, and textually speaking it is such an interesting journey I honestly wish there were more songs devoted to it.
In a recent Zoom conversation, Yankovskaya's pride and enthusiasm in the COT administrative and artistic staff was evident from the start. She praised their collective grit, acknowledging that their upcoming digital release, Rimsky Rebooted represents not just a "Plan B" pivot from live performance, but is rather a "5th or maybe 7th reimagining" of what they hoped to originally present to Chicago audiences.
Some listeners may prefer moderation when it comes to the tenor based pyrotechnics that ignite this recording. Soaring high notes and vivid vocal coloring create sure-fire thrills but thrills depend on relative rarity and risk being diminished by such concentrated exposure.