Tuesday, September 18, 2012
1040 King Duncan I is killed in battle by his cousin and rival, Macbeth, who succeeds him as king.
I painted her with a bronze colored semigloss latex paint and then sprayed metallic gold paint from a distance so that the mist of gold would settle gently into the wet latex to provide a warm highlight on the dark mass.
A seventeen foot long strip of red material, the plinth for the statue and a simple wooden bench completed the set, allowing the pure, clear voiced soprano Kristin Watson to dominate the stage as she should, yet always in relation to the enigmatic Goddess of Love.
Richard Henry Hart from the play of the same name by Swedish playwright August Strindberg. Two women meet by chance in a chic New York restaurant on Christmas Eve. They have had a difficult history in the past and the main character, Estelle (soprano Janna Baty, left) suffers a slow but relentless meltdown during the half hour course of the action. Insecure in her marriage and suspicious that Lisa (actress Louise Hamill, right) has had an affair with her husband. The silent Lisa's reactions are presented only in physical attitude and facial expressions and serve as a passive aggressive goad to drive Estelle into greater frenzy.
At last, the slightly drunk Estelle declares herself to be the stronger woman and wishes Lisa a condescending "Merry Christmas" as she sweeps out the door. Janna Batty is a visceral performer with a large, exciting dramatic soprano and a fine theatrical intelligence. Kirsten Cairns directed The Stronger and the final opera with attention to detail and great character work with her performers.
The big job in this set was to build the tall clock, one of many clocks in the house that Miss Havisham had smashed or disabled in some way in order to stop time. As the clock has to be damaged and attacked again during the action, it could not be a borrowed clock. I had a lot of fun doing it, as well as making the unrealistically tall gauzy drape (out of cheese cloth, not the easiest material to sew on a machine) and to age everything on stage to a dusty, cobwebbed finish.
We had good, very appreciative audiences for the two performances. Reviewers from the Boston Phoenix and The Globe were present although their notices have not yet appeared. This comment comes from the Boston Classical review on the web:
"The sets used for the performances were practical but effective (headless statue for Venus, cafe tables for The Stronger, old furniture and ready-made, smashed-looking grandfather clock for the Argento work). William Fregosi, the designer, used generous portions of red in the sets for the first two works. And the sepia tones in Miss Havisham encapsulated the character’s decaying world successfully.
Given the massive coverage of Mitt Romney's contemptuous dismissal of virtually half the American population, this graphic is offered without further comment:
Now, if the Met's budget runs into trouble, you'll be on their list to call! :-)
I wish I could have the second piece. I am intrigue that, conceptually it is a dialog but practically one is singing all or most of his half of the conversation while the other is silent.
I think Miss Havisham looks terrific but, at the risk of offending Spo, she is awefully ecru.
PS - I'm just trying to prove I'm not a robot for the fourth time. Google's ID scheme is turning a lot of would-be commenters off, I know from my own recent experience.