The heart wrenching scenes we did get were truly compelling, but I found myself getting impatient in the less exciting sections. The brief flashes of forbidden passion just weren’t enough to keep the momentum going, and I just wanted them to skip to the juicy parts!
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.
The virtual start to the Watershed Festival is no compromise, no placeholder for the in-person Festival set for spring 2022. "Going virtual has a number of silver linings," says Burry. "We've got people joining us from around the world, and I would imagine the best aspects of that kind of reach will always be a part of the festival moving forward."
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.
Time passed, life changed. But Mau Mau - the Opera had bitten deeper than I thought. I unburied all I'd written: the blocks of text, the scattered notes and sketches, laid them out, re-sequenced them, dropped and added and wrote a second version.
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.
In case you're curious, I'll keep writing. No, I won't write reviews of my clients' performances, nor will I try and get away with any similar sort of glaring conflict of interest. I know it's not really common for someone to do the jobs of management and criticism at the same time, but being a rare breed is alright with me.