For my second opera at Savannah Voice Festival, Maria Zouves asked if I might try to incorporate a fugue into the finale. This is a video from the premiere at the historic Davenport House Museum. The subject is "Sometimes you need a little knock on the head to move forward." There are playful references to Beethoven and to my previous opera for SVF, ALICE RYLEY. The two operas will eventually be done together, so it makes sense to bring the first opera back around.
This is a demo for a new project, a one act opera about Grant Wood for the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre. Wood's study of Northern Renaissance art changed his style to the one we recognize today. spoken: Munich, 1928. While working on my stained glass window for the Veterans Memorial in Cedar Rapids, I continue my study of Northern Renaissance art. One of the paintings I find most striking is Van Eyck’s “The Arnolfini Wedding.” sung: Endlessly fascinating Brilliantly detailed I can look for hours and still miss things The oranges, the chandelier. The bed, the mirror, the dog, the shoes, The state of the woman. Spoken Is she pregnant? Sung: The hand of her husband imitating the gesture, spoken What’s it mean? Sung: It’s a riddle hidden in plain sight. What do they symbolize, what do they mean? And how brazen to sign your name right there In the center of the painting Spoken: “Jan van Eyck was here, 1434.” Sung: Cryptic, inscrutable Manifold glories Like revelations, Stories within stories Like revelations, Stories within stories. Stories within stories…. Stories within stories… Stories within stories… Ah! Stories within stories within stories... Then it is almost as if the painting pushes him away. And rather than being hurt by that, he understands. It draws you in all the more It draws you in all the more. All that time in Paris But I never found you there. Very briefly, American Gothic is superimposed on it. Blackout