I am saddened to report that all performances of Pygmalion’s Maria Vespers (Monteverdi) which were due to take place this month have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
I travelled to Paris on Tuesday last week to begin rehearsing the piece, which we were set to perform in a staged production in Park Avenue Amory in New York at the end of March. The first day of rehearsals went well, but on the morning of the second day’s rehearsals we received the news that Donald Trump had banned all flights from Europe to the USA for the next 30 days. We were due to travel on Sunday from Paris to New York but instead received confirmation that the project must be cancelled and so I travelled immediately back to the UK to avoid becoming stuck in Paris, not knowing if any travel restrictions might be imposed on France or the UK.
My thoughts go out to all friends and colleagues who find themselves in a similar position; it seems we are all to be affected by the spread of the virus. Stay safe and well, everyone!
Following the release of the 2020-21 season from Carnegie Hall and Orchestra of Saint Lukes I am very pleased to confirm the date of my Carnegie Hall debut in March 2021 (cue the joke about getting there…but do bear in mind this is a question I am very likely to have to ask since I am blessed with a terrible sense of direction!).
On 18th March 2021 Bernard Labadie conducts the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with Amanda Forsythe, Matthew Brook, myself and La Chapelle de Québec. The performance includes Handel’s Zadok the Priest, Music for the Royal Fireworks, The King Shall Rejoice and My Heart Is Inditing and Bach’s Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen.
“The story of Orpheus in the underworld is about us all. We all have something of Orpheus in us. Who would not want to turn back the clock every now and then and stick to the happiness of the past? That is why the Orpheus story has always inspired artists of all times.
For this staging, director Monique Wagemakers, choreographer Nanine Linning, designer Lonneke Gordijn from Studio Drift and fashion designer Marlou Breuls created L’ORFEO for the Nederlandse Reisopera. Their vision is that of a Gesamtkunstwerk; stage direction, choreography, sculpture, costume and music are completely merged together.
Nanine Linning and Monique Wagemakers forged the ten singers and ten dancers into one homogeneous group that is permanently on stage. Together with the moving installation “Ego” by artist Lonneke Gordijn (Studio DRIFT) they form a living organism and ever-changing stage image in dialogue with the fantastic music of Claudio Monteverdi.
The tight-fitting mesh costumes by designer Marlou Breuls form a line play with the projections and with the light design by Thomas Hase. The musical direction is in the hands of conductor Hernán Schvartzman (OPERA2DAY) and the opera is accompanied by baroque ensemble La Sfera Armoniosa.”
Well it’s been a very demanding and emotional six weeks here in Enschede for the Reisopera’snew production of L’Orfeo – putting all the various elements together for this quite audacious version of Monteverdi’s wonderful opera. Tonight is the dress rehearsal and we open the tour on Saturday, in the Wilmink Theatre. This show is a real labour of love and a totally collaborative project, incorporating contemporary movement (from both singers and dancers alike), an excellent vocal and dance cast, clear vision from Monique Wakemakers and choreographic wizardry from the force of nature that is Nanine Linning. To top it all, a groundbreaking moving art installation above the stage courtesy of Studio Drift, which aims to mirror the emotion of the human soul. There are photos and a mini-doc (below), there have been tears and there will doubtless be relief to get this beast of a show on the road! Huge congrats to all involved, especially my esteemed stage colleagues. It has been immense and we haven’t even started the run yet! The show will apparently be properly be videoed for a closed channel, so watch this space for more information about that…