On May 23, my full length opera, Pandora, will premiere at Toronto’s Geary Lane. This opera-ballet choreographed and performed by Jennifer Nichols (and oh! Opera-ballet is really just opera with a lot of ballet in it!) is part of an experimental collaboration devised by FAWN’s Founder and Artistic Director Amanda Smith, with composers David Storen (Vancouver, BC), Joseph Glaser (Montreal, QC) and Kit Soden (Montreal, QC). The story centres around the development of a character, played by tenor Jonathan MacArthur, who stumbles upon an object and quickly gets drawn into what, and who, is inside.
This was an entirely new experience for me, knowing who I was working with before I knew what I’d be writing (and writing for three different composers). FAWN was exploring a devised creation model, and I felt a responsibility to ensure the libretti honoured the work and relationships that came out of a week long workshop process where we uncovered shared themes, stories, voices, movements, and sounds. I then went away to try and channel that exploration into the stories that have resulted in this full length opera.
The writing process can often feel solitary, but in crafting these stories with the composers, I think we all felt the energy and voices of that first week at every turn. I can now hear it radiating in the music as we begin rehearsals.
Recently, I had the chance to speak a bit about the libretti creation process that I’ve undertaken with Pandora.
For more details about Pandora, which opens May 23-25, here are the event details.