Posts Tagged ‘TobiasPicker’

Tobias Picker starts foodie trend in New York

June 2010 Playbill

Apparently, when Tobias Picker eats, broadway listens.  Mere weeks after Mr. Picker was spotted at a Petaluma Applebee’s, broadway heart-throb Hunter Ryan Herdlicka told Playbill magazine that Applebee’s was the perfect spot to catch a post-show snack.  He even singled out the spinach and artichoke dip!

Maybe the New York Times will send a critic to Taste of Petaluma this year to spot next year’s trends…


Jun 2010

Tobias Picker spotted dining at Applebee’s

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.

Guggenheim Fellowship winner Tobias Picker dining at Applebee's (with Cinnabar Artistic Director Elly Lichenstein)

A Picker-eye view of post opening Applebee's festivities (with spinach dip)


May 2010

Woot! Tech Week!

Yep. It’s tech week here in MvT world. We’re in hunker down mode in preparation for this Friday’s opening night performance of Emmeline at Cinnabar Opera Theater up in Petaluma, CA.

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.


May 2010