It takes fifty minutes to get from my house to Cinnabar. And that’s without traffic. That should give you a sense of how much I enjoy working with this company. Lord knows I wouldn’t make that drive otherwise.
Cinnabar is an absolute gem, producing professional productions of operas that are often contemporary and always in english. I’ve performed in their productions of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West and Menotti’s The Consul. They were also the first company to commission a piece from me (I wrote the music for their adaptation of Alice in Wonderland a few years ago). The converted barn that serves as their theater is my favorite performance space in the Bay Area: comfortable, intimate, and unassuming. As an extra bonus it’s right next to a goat farm. And goats are cute! The residents of Petaluma better appreciate how few small towns have their own opera house, much less an opera house capable of staging the West Coast premiere of a fairly significant addition to the repertoire.
Tobias Picker’s Emmeline had its world premiere at the Santa Fe opera in 1996 and was then picked up by the New York City Opera in 1998. It’s unabashedly tonal (with some notable exceptions during moments of emotional stress and turmoil), unspeakably tragic, and deeply moving. We haven’t managed to get through the piece without breaking into tears yet. (I’m using the royal we.)
The vast majority of the heavy lifting is handled by Carrie Hennessey in the title role. If the curtain is up, you can be sure that she’s on the stage. The rest of us all are largely supporting players. In a particularly awkward turn of events, I get to play Carrie’s father (umm, I am older than Carrie, but not THAT much older) and Will Hart Meyer’s GRANDFATHER (ummm…Will is roughly the same age as Carrie… soo… uhhh… do the math). I suppose those sorts of casting problems are bound to crop up when 20 years pass between the first and second act.
Anyways, Tobias Picker himself is going to be at the first dress rehearsal tonight. So I should, you know, probably make sure I actually know my part. Ya know. Like a professional and all that.