Saturday, August 23, 2014

Todd Boyce stars in premiere of Die Antilope

Todd Boyce in Die Antilope
American barihunk Todd Boyce, who is a resident artist at the opera in Luzern, Switzerland, will be starring the world premiere of Johannes Maria Staud's The Antilope opening on September 3rd.

The opera is too difficult to describe, but Boyce does a great job on his blog, where also provides insights into developing the lead role of Victor. Here is a summary of the opera and his role in his own words:
The libretto for Die Antilope is an original creation by poet and author, Durs Grünbein, who, together with the composer, developed the thematic ideas with inspiration from such works as Eleutheria by Samuel Beckett, Herman Melville's Bartleby, as well as Martin Scorsese's After Hours. The characters for our piece are based on cardboard cut-out versions of office colleagues, secretaries, and bosses, as well as detached young adult smart phone addicts, bag-ladies, sadistic doctors, and over-sharing middle-aged women. The opening scene of the opera finds the main character, Victor, at a business party. He is unwilling or unable to join in the celebration or to connect with any of the other characters, and inexplicably throws himself out of the 13th-story window. Before he does so, he sings an aria in which he lists the names of dozens of different types of antelopes from all over the world. The following scenes find Victor in a series of sometimes bizarre, sometimes ordinary situations where he interacts with the other characters or the environment in his own peculiar way.

Playing the part of Victor has posed challenges for me. It's a part so unlike any other part I've played before that at first I was at a loss. During the learning process, I of course knew that Victor would need to be the golden thread which ties the whole production together, but unfortunately for me, he hardly speaks a single coherent word in the whole piece. So I had only a few clues as to his motivations for doing anything at all. The plot (not to be confused with 'storyline' because it's not a story in the normal sense of the word), is a set of abstract scenes, where Victor is present but separate, and in most cases doesn't say anything or speaks in backwards Baudelaire text, or disjointed Esperanto, or just says 'rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.'

Boyce will return to the standard repertory next year when he sings Marcello in Puccini's La boheme and Harlequin in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Visit the Luzerner Theater's website for a complete list of performances.

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