Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Elysium in Ordo Virtutum

By some wonderful coincidence all the members of Elysium were hired to sing in a repeat production of Hildegard von Bingen's "Ordo Virtutum" with musical director Stefan Morent. Stage director Enrico Masseroli was also part of it as well as most of the singers that took part last time. 2 singers joined us, Rebecca Bain as Anima, who I've performed with before in Sequentia's production of OV and Katherine Ross, who I'd never met before, but who made a wonderful Humilitas. Amy was hired to replace one of the singers who couldn't do it and so it was like a big, happy family reunion! We performed as part of the concert series "Vocal music along the Romanesque Road" (Vokalmusik entlang der Romanischen Strasse) during the summer festival in Rhineland-Palatine (Kultursommer Rheinland-Pfalz). We were in a beautiful romanesque church in a place about as far out in the boondocks as you can get in western Germany - Offenbach-Hundheim. A tiny village where the shops are hardly ever open and almost never when we had time to go in them and which had only 3 restaurants. But it was a pleasant enough 4 days. We were busy anyway!

We managed to put the whole thing together after having last performed this version of it 4 years ago in San Diego. It was hard work, but the end result was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself! I think Enrico has an amazing eye for space and movement (not surprising since he's a dancer), but he prefers to do everything on the spot and try things out first. We didn't really have enough time to do that method justice, so it was a bit nerve wracking. I was doubly nervous - I don't know how it happened but I had a ton of spoken text which I had to deliver memorized (since it was staged). And that's not one of my fortes! However, by the grace of God, I didn't forget anything, and feel like I did a pretty good job! Magnus came to the performance and was moved. He thought that the staging was beautiful, using the space (around the altar) wonderfully. He likes Hildegard's music too.

After the concert, we took Anna with us and returned to Oftersheim (home). We flew to Italy the next day! More in another post.

Cistercian Elysium

OK, now that my busy performing period is over I'm just as busy as I was before! Don't ask me what I'm doing - it doesn't seem like much. Teaching and travelling that's it basically.

However, I will attempt to catch up on the last few gigs and interesting things that have been happening lately.

Elysium had a concert in early September in Heiligengrabe again. (Allegra, Amy and I had performed there without Anna in May) We performed the same program but this time we had Anna with us, which is much better, plus the rest of us had done the program once already, so it was that much more together. We had a few days of rehearsals in which we integrated Anna and added a new piece. The concert was part of a bigger event this time - the opening of the museum on the convent premises. The church was full - full of politicians and cultural ambassadors. Before our performance there were 5 (!) speeches by various important people. It was nice to perform for a big audience but I could have lived without sitting in the back of the cold church for 45 minutes before beginning! Oh well. The performance went really well and I really enjoy that program. I think we might expand it into a full-length program for us. We performed with an organist in Heiligengrabe and only had to have about 30 minutes of music for ourselves.

After the performance there was a reception where we met several interesting people from various cultural offices. One man was particularly keen on having us record the program at the convent to sell there as a promotional thing for the convent. I'm not sure what's going on with that now, I hope it comes to fruition!