Finding the Story

EiO Fellows Shot 9-28


We met up on Sunday September 28, 2014  with our team of composers working on new operas for our April 2015 ‘Story Binge’ at Roulette.  It was a great chance to see where everyone was at with their librettos and treatments for their work. Everyone was in slightly different places as far as how developed the work is, but the range of approaches was quite astonishing.

Gelsey Bell is working through her alphabet of characters, each represented with a rolodex section.  We talked with Gelsey about the challenges of non-linear narrative, overlapping musical materials and the opportunities inherent with musician/singers. Jason Cady has constructed a series of spoken and sung dialogues between the last man and woman on the planet.  Jason had questions about whether his work should be performed by 2 or 4 characters and how to deal with open-ended narratives. Roddy Bottum shared the first three scenes of his opera about Sasquatch.  Roddy’s intricate narrative requires a delicate balance of sharing information about the characters and supporting ‘reveals’ as they happen in the context of the flow of time.

I read my libretto/monologue about a man struggling with the visions he has received.  I am struggling with whether I should perform this role in the event, or whether I should have another performer deliver the text.  Judith Berkson has shifted her approach away from a story about synthesthesia and is instead looking for a poem or series of poems to work with.  Regardless of the text, though, she knows the orchestra will have organ in it.  Nick Hallett and his video collaborator, Joshua Thorson, talked through their approach to a delicate balance of sharing information through sound and video.  For much of their opera collaboration, the flow of the story will be told through the main character’s activity on his personal computer projected on screen. Matt Welch read from the memoirs that have inspired him to dig deeper into his family’s history in a Philipino internment camp.  Looking for a libretto collaborator to help shape his work, Matt also is sitting on a rich series of devastating descriptions of life during wartime.

More from the Story Binge crew as the work emerges…