Where the Wild Things Are had it’s Russian premiere this weekend. I was really disappointed to miss the chance to go but I’ll get to see it on Saturday In London and can’t wait to attend the performance of this new production at Alexandra Palace.
Apparently I have been quoted publicly after having been asked as a child “What does your Dad do?” with the answer “My dad writes Wild Things”.
As a child I would go into my Dad’s work room pretty much at any time of the day or night and he’d be working on Wild Things or Higglety at his table/desk facing the communal garden in our West Hampstead flat. Many of you came to know West End Lane during that time. In fact, a group of fun young composers (Mark Anthony Turnage to name one) were there copying the score or parts at our living/dining room table with my mum, Sue, also copying from Dad’s beautifully handwritten pencil manuscript in her equally gorgeous handwriting onto transparency paper with rotring ink pens of various widths and razor blades to scratch off mistakes. Meanwhile I played with toys, chatted to everyone as they copied and probably watched tv or videos curled up on the sofa.
I got to take my entire Fitzjohns Primary School class to a performance at the National Theatre when I was seven and the following year (?) weekends were often spent going to Glynbourne or wherever the tour was for the Wild Things and Higglety double bill. It was a super fun time for me. For my parents, it was exciting but also a very stressful time as the pressures of deadlines being missed and everyone knowing it was very much in the fore. I didn’t know that opera premieres were not usually like this and I thought everyone had parents who were up in the middle of the night working after my bed time. Since his death on July 8th, 2018, I’ve become increasingly aware of people mentioning missed deadlines as part of my Dad’s history. It’s not something that I’m likely to mention again as I feel strongly that OK would want to be and should be remembered for what he wrote whenever he wrote it, how he conducted and led rehearsals, mentored
colleagues and students but most importantly how he was a best friend to so many who love and miss him every day...
If you’re free and able to go to see Wild Things on Saturday 26th October 2019 at 3pm then I’ll see you there! I hear that it’s a fantastic new theatre and a fantastic opera company! And I can tell you from personal experience that the music And story is pretty awesome too! Here are the links:
Sunday 20 October, 2019
Today I had my second performance as “Die Alte Nonne” in Hindemith’s very controversial short opera Sancta Susanna. The role is small and perfect for me and marked my debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop. I’ve included a couple obligatory “office for the day” pics from Strathmore Concert Hall in this post.
I highly encourage you all to listen to Sancta Susanna, noticing how import the instrumental colors are to the opera and that the melodic content is carried and driven by them and not the singers for most of the show. For me, this was highlighted specifically when I heard the piano reduction in preliminary rehearsals.
I’ve spent a lot of time backstage in my life. In fact, I’m probably at my most happy in rehearsals whether I’m participating or watching/listening. For me, it’s about taking the music apart, understanding why things are written or staged the way they are and then knowing the piece literally inside out for ever more. It’s been great to do this with Hindemith’s music and to remember how much I like that composer’s music generally.