Sesaya specializes in music and arts education.
If you want something done, give it to a busy person, right?
Well, this is certainly true of sought-after conductor Leslie Dala, in Toronto for Julie, a one-act chamber opera by Philippe Boesmans, currently playing at Canadian Stage. This engagement is momentous for several reasons:
So who better to ask about the significance of this work than Dala, who – much in demand and busy, busy, busy – is serving as the production’s music director AND also conducting the orchestra? We caught up with him for a quick Q&A.
I would say that it is a stunning 21st century setting of a landmark 19th century play by a composer who should be much better known than he is.
New works are important because there are wonderful composers and librettists in our midst, and art can only thrive when it is alive, and new work is being created. It is great to perform the classics, but we are richer for embracing new and lesser known pieces.
You would have to ask the composer why he chose to set it, but I would guess that it is because he saw the play as a vehicle for an operatic setting. In my opinion, opera is a way of heightening a story, and by writing music for voices and instruments, the composer creates a musical landscape to support and intensify a story.
The treatment you speak of has been happening since the beginning of the art form of opera. There have been so many treatments of legends about Orpheus, Faust, etc. . . .The impact of a work is something that is extremely subjective, but I can tell you that in the case of Julie, Boesmans has stripped away anything that is not essential to his telling of the story and has crystallized the work into a compact and taut drama with remarkable music.
I hope they will wonder why they had never seen of work of Boesmans before.
There is an extended passage for bass flute in the orchestra while Jean and Julie are discussing their dreams. I find the music hypnotic and magical.
I myself play four instruments and studied singing, composition and orchestration. I don’t know that any of my colleagues play every instrument in an orchestra, but it is important to know as much as possible about how the instruments work and how they produce sound.
I have a wonderful family. My wife, Rosalind, who is also a singer, is extremely supportive and takes on the role of single parent to our two boys when I have to be away for projects. I owe a whole lot to her!
News you Can Use
What: Julie, composed by Philippe Boesmans, libretto by Luc Bondy and Marie-Louise Bischofberger
Who: Audiences 13 and up
When: Running until Sunday, November 29, 2015
Where: Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. East, Toronto ON M5E 1B4
For Information and tickets: CanadianStage.com and 416.368.3110
© 2015 Arpita Ghosal, Sesaya