Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Vacation time? No

This is one of the busier months of August that I can remember, and the reason why there haven't been any updates in the last few weeks. In addition to the current filming of the Bathroom Divas second season, I'm also one of the two reps (new hip abbreviation of repetiteur) for Tapestry's 11th Composer/Librettist Laboratory, the other being fellow Eastman grad Jennifer Tung. The writers this year are Leanna Brodie, Dave Carley, Lisa Codrington and Krista Dalby, and the composers are Craig Galbraith, Kevin Morse, David Ogborn and Anthony Young. The liblab's resident ensemble are all veterans of the program and consists of soprano Carla Huhtanen, mezzo-soprano Jessica Lloyd, tenor Keith Klassen, and baritone Alexander Dobson. The program is run by Tapestry Managing Artistic Director Wayne Strongman and Michael Albano of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music.

It is always fascinating to follow the composer/librettist partnerships that form out of the liblab and see the works that germinate, sometimes over the course of many years, from the 16 scenes created each year (each of 4 writers partners with each of 4 composers to write these 16 scenes over only 10 days). Above all, the quality of the process in which all the participants engage results in both an awareness of the key elements of opera-writing--there are many--with a view towards building relationships between composers and librettists that can result in future commissions and works for the opera stage.

This is my fifth year as repetiteur for the liblab, and every year has a different flavor and direction determined by the talents and agendas of the participants and their interactions. Another fascinating aspect of this lab as a performer is that for each musical reading session the singers and pianists arrive without music, rehearse the scores--at sight--that have just been written, and perform them in a dramaturgical master class after only a short period of rehearsal.

Selected works from this workshop will then be selected for Tapestry's Opera Briefs program to be performed in the Distillery District on September 22 and 23, with an additional performance at Toronto's Word on the Street Festival on September 24th.

Needless to say, no holiday this August.

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