October 17th, 2013
Today, the Boston Music Intelligencer ran my feature on Boston Opera Collaborative. You can read the feature in two parts: a short history of BOC, including remarks on their current season, and an interview with BOC’s music and general directors Andrew Altenbach and Chelsea Lewis.
Thanks to Andrew, Chelsea, and all of the other BOC staff and general members who agreed to be interviewed for this feature!
October 14th, 2013
There’s a lecture that I give to my world music students called “Music on the Edge of a Junkyard”. This title sounds nicer than the more literal rendition, which would be “Music on the Edge of a Trash Heap”. The lecture describes how music is such a fundamental and important part of human existence that people who have almost nothing treasure and pursue it, including building instruments from salvage and devoting meager funds to paying for lessons or transportation to lessons.
As bad as the starting circumstances may sound (my own example is based on living next to the largest shantytown in Mauritius, on the outskirts of Port Louis), you can do worse. There are shantytowns built on top of landfills, or even on top of an active dump. One such example can be seen in Paraguay, where a Landfill Harmonic orchestra has been formed to bring music to this impoverished place:
The sound produced from the improvised cello seen in the video (0:33) is impressive.
October 3rd, 2013
One of my former students, Chelsea Basler-Aston, is singing the role of Papagena in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. This new English adaptation of the classic Mozart opera includes a new libretto, a novel setting, all-new staging, and (of course) the lovely soprano above. The Magic Flute plays at the Schubert Theatre on October 4, 6, 9, 11, and 13.
Update: the press verdicts are in and they are universally glowing. Here’s a sampling:
- MIT’s The Tech said that Chelsea’s performance “showcased her comedic talent and warm, mellifluous singing”.
- Boston Classical Review noted, “Chelsea Basler’s bright soprano was a delight in the brief role of Papagena”.
- The Boston Globe put it as, “Chelsea Basler’s Shakespeare-quoting Papagena is sweetly insinuating”.
- New York Arts declared that this “delightful soprano”‘s duet with Papageno was “charmingly sung”.