Friday, May 2, 2014

Green Sneakers "Dream Team" reuniting in San Antonio

Cellist Kathryn Bates and Jesse Blumberg in Green Sneakers
One of our favorite collaborations in all of opera is coming to Opera Piccola of San Antonio. Barihunk Jesse Blumberg will be rejoining the acclaimed young director John de los Santos and the riveting Del Sol Quartet for a repeat of their powerful performance of Ricky Ian Gordon's Green Sneakers, which played for one night in San Francisco last year. We were at that performance and there wasn't a dry eye in the theater when the opera ended.

Opera Piccola will present two performances on May 10 and 12 in a double-bill with Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice. Tickets are available online.

Green Sneakers, which is broken into nineteen songs and runs about 80 minutes was written with Jesse Blumberg in mind. The piece is scored for baritone, string quartet, and empty chair, with a libretto by the composer. It premiered on July 15, 2008 in Vail, Colorado and has had a number of subsequent performances since, mostly with Blumberg.

Ricky Ian Gordon today wrote the mini-opera as a way of dealing with the loss of his lover Jeffrey Grossi to AIDS in 1996. In an interview with the Advocate Gordon said, "The world is so different now than it was when Jeffery died in 1996. Young people today missed seeing what it was really like at the height of the AIDS crisis so for them they think it’s OK because you just get to take a few pills all the time. Today, HIV is romanticized in a way because you get to be like that character in Rent, but young people need to know that there’s nothing romantic about it."

You can read the entire interview HERE

Director John de los Santos and composer Ricky Ian Gordon
Jesse Blumberg just wrapped up a successful run as Papageno in the famous Barrie Kosky/1927 production of Mozart's Magic Flute at the Minnesota Opera. Blumberg can next be heard performing Schubert's Winterreise at the Kerrytown Concert House on May 17th and Aeneas in Purcell's Dido & Aeneas at the Connecticut Early Music Festival on June 7 and 8.

De los Santos has just brought Bizet's Pearl Fishers to life at the Fort Worth Opera Festival, which has a final performance tonight. From July 16-19, the wunderkind director will work his magic with Rossini's L’Italiana in Algeri at the Seagle Music Colony.

Ricky Ian Gordon has been one of the busiest composers in the world, with premieres of his new operas A Coffin in Egypt and "27." A Coffin in Egypt can next be seen at Opera Philadelphia from June 6-15 and "27" will premiere on June 14 at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

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