Tobias Picker is kinda a big deal. It’s safe to say that any composer who gets an opera commission from the Met is kinda a big deal. Any composer who gets an opera produced more than once is kinda a big deal. You can count the number of living composers who have had multiple operas professionally produced more than once in their lifetime on one hand. (John Adams, Jake Heggie, uhh… help me out here…)
I would venture a guess that this weekend marked the first time in his life that Mr Picker celebrated the opening night of one of his operas at Applebee’s.
We opened Emmeline this weekend at Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, and the production is proving to be quite a success. Mr. Picker himself has been incredibly generous with his time, making himself available for consultation during tech week and participating in several Q&A sessions after the performances. And he’s had nothing but wonderful things to say about our modest production (certainly modest by Metropolitan Opera standards). He’s particularly smitten by our own Emmeline, Carrie Hennessey, and with good reason. Her performance is nothing short of breathtaking, certainly worth the price of admission and a two hour drive alone. The remarkable girl’s chorus from Cinnabar’s Young Rep program also garners special praise. Never before has this very difficult music been performed by a group of girls aged 13-16, and they sound great.
But for all his gracious words and generosity of spirit, I think none of the cast or crew expected Mr Picker to actually join us for our post show celebrations at the local Applebee’s. But join us he did, as we all enjoyed some celebratory spinach artichoke dip and deep fried mozzarella sticks (compliments of the house, thanks Applebee’s!)
Here’s photographic evidence of a table consisting of teen age girls, spinach dip, and one of the most successful opera composers alive. At the Applebee’s off of the Old Redwood Highway in Petaluma, California. This is made entirely of win.