Spoleto Festival USA Box Office Opens Today


The American counterpart to the  Festival dei Due Mondi in Italy takes place every year in Charleston, SC.  This year the opera offerings include Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, Menotti’s The Medium, and a newer opera by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho called Emilie.  (Lyon 2010 review above) 


Kaija Saariaho, Composer
Amin Maalouf, Librettist
American Premiere

Venue: Memminger Auditorium

Price: Price: $25 – $80

Description: Émilie du Châtelet was larger than life: lover of Voltaire, among others; esteemed physicist who first defined kinetic energy; respected mathematician and translator of Newton’s Principia Mathematica; author of a treatise on the happiness of women; inventor of the concept of financial derivatives in part to pay off $1 million she lost to card sharks in a night of gambling—all of this achieved before she died in childbirth at the age of 42. Revered Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, internationally extolled for her contemporary operas, together with librettist Amin Maalouf, focuses on her heroine’s ruminations on love, fame and science during the last days of her life. World-renowned soprano Elizabeth Futral makes her Festival debut in this highly anticipated American premiere of a work described as “an international event” by The Times of London. Directed by Marianne Weems. Conducted by Spoleto Festival USA Resident Conductor John Kennedy.

Duration: Approximately 1 hr. 15 mins.

Lee Hoiby – “Where the Music Comes From”

American opera and song composer Lee Hoiby passed away this week.  He wrote both the music and text to a song that I have performed in recital and find very inspiring.  It’s strophic and straightforward, but profound in its song form.  You can find it on a recording called “Continual Conversation with a Silent Man.”  (baritone Peter Stewart and accompanied by the composer)
Where the Music Comes From – Lee Hoiby (1973)

I want to be where the music comes from, Where the clock stops, where it’s now.  I want to be with the friends around me,  Who have found me, who show me how.  I want to sing to the early morning,  See the sunlight melt the snow.  And oh, I want to grow.

I want to wake to the living spirit  Here inside me where it lies.  I want to listen till I can hear it,  Let it guide me, and realize  That I can go with the flow unending,  That is blending, that is real,  And oh, I want to feel. 

I want to walk in the earthly garden,  Far from cities, far from fear.  I want to talk to the growing garden,  To the devas, to the deer,  And to be one with the river flowing,  Breezes blowing, sky above,  And oh, I want love.

Published: March 29, 2011
Mr. Hoiby composed operas and songs that balance unabashed lyricism and careful craftsmanship.

// http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/arts/music/lee-hoiby-opera-composer-known-for-lyricism-dies-at-85.html

Daron Hagen’s View

Seattle Opera premiered Daron Hagen’s opera Amelia in May of 2010.  Hagen is an American composer who writes not only opera and art song, but symphonies, concerti, ballets, and chamber works.  I find his words about the voice written within the liner notes of his CD “Love in a Life” incredibly sympathetic.

“When a singer sings, he has nowhere to hide.  He is the matador to the listener’s bull.  A pianist can still depress the keys, a violinist still stop the strings, even a wind player can still count on the instrument to respond if they are ill.  But a singer’s body is his instrument – an unpredictable one at that.  A cold, a tickle, even a stressful day, can turn a singer’s instrument against him.  Since even the tone-deaf can sing, the potential exists for there to be enjoyed a more immediate, stronger sense of identification between singer and listener than possible with any other instrument.  How moving and human the singer’s lot:  as his experience and artistry grows with time, his instrument decays!”  -Daron Hagen