PREMIERE: Feb. 20, 8:00p ET
The video premiere will go live here
ABOUT the OPERA
Pandora Jones – mezzo soprano
The Trunk – baritone
Aria singer- soprano
Chorus - green taffeta, lovers (tenor and bass), fruits, animals, putti
A space, non-descript, out of time. Pandora Jones is there. With her is an old, well-worn steamer trunk. Nothing else inhabits the space.
Pandora reflects on her past life on the road as a traveling performer. As pandora hears distant echos of “Then You’ll Remember Me”, by M.W. Balfe (found in Heart Songs “Dear to the American People and by them contributed in search for Treasured Songs. Initiated by the National Magazine. The Chapple Publishing Company, Ltd. Boston, MA, U.S.A. for World Syndicate Company, 110 West Fortieth Street, New York City. 1909. As sung by Emma Abbott, celebrated Diva.) more songs, scenes, and past loves flood her mind as she revels in the company of her lone physical companion, her steamer trunk.
COMPOSER & POET
Libby Larsen (b. 24 December 1950, Wilmington, Delaware) is one of America’s most prolific and most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 500 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Her music has been praised for its dynamic, deeply inspired, and vigorous contemporary American spirit. Constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles and orchestras around the world, Libby Larsen has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.
Larsen has been hailed as “the only English-speaking composer since Benjamin Britten who matches great verse with fine music so intelligently and expressively” (USA Today); as “a composer who has made the art of symphonic writing very much her own.” (Gramophone); as “a mistress of orchestration” (Times Union); and for “assembling one of the most impressive bodies of music of our time” (Hartford Courant). Her music has been praised for its “clear textures, easily absorbed rhythms and appealing melodic contours that make singing seem the most natural expression imaginable.” (Philadelphia Inquirer) “Libby Larsen has come up with a way to make contemporary opera both musically current and accessible to the average audience.” (The Wall Street Journal). “Her ability to write memorable new music completely within the confines of traditional harmonic language is most impressive.” (Fanfare)
Libby Larsen has received numerous awards and accolades, including a 1993 Grammy as producer of the CD: The Art of Arlene Augér, an acclaimed recording that features Larsen’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. Her opera Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus was selected as one of the eight best classical music events of 1990 by USA Today. The first woman to serve as a resident composer with a major orchestra, she has held residencies with the California Institute of the Arts, the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, the Philadelphia School of the Arts, the Cincinnati Conservatory, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Colorado Symphony. Larsen’s many commissions and recordings are a testament to her fruitful collaborations with a long list of world-renowned artists, including The King’s Singers, Benita Valente, and Frederica von Stade, among others. Her works are widely recorded on such labels as Angel/EMI, Nonesuch, Decca, and Koch International. As a past holder of the 2003-2004 Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education at the Library of Congress and a recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Peabody award, Libby Larsen is a vigorous, articulate champion of the music and musicians of our time, and the Frederick Lowe Medal for American Music from the Frederick Lowe Symposium in 2015. In 1973, she co-founded (with Stephen Paulus) the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composers Forum, which has been an invaluable advocate for composers in a difficult, transitional time for American arts. Consistently sought-after as a leader in the generation of millennium thinkers, Libby Larsen’s music and ideas have refreshed the concert music tradition and the composer’s role in it. www.libbylarsen.com
Eleanor Wilner (née Rand) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 29, 1937, and holds an interdepartmental PhD from Johns Hopkins University.
She has published several collections of poetry, including Tourist in Hell (University of Chicago Press, 2010); The Girl with Bees in Her Hair (Copper Canyon Press, 2004); Reversing the Spell: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1998); and Otherwise (University of Chicago, 1993).
Her other works include a verse translation of Euripides's Medea (Penn Greek Series, 1998); and a book on visionary imagination, Gathering the Winds (Johns Hopkins Press, 1975). Her work has appeared in over thirty anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1990 and The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Fourth Edition).
About Wilner's work, the poet Tony Hoagland has said, "[Wilner] has a deep and heroic belief in the transformative power of language and myth. She paddles her surfboard outside the reef where most poets stop; she rides the big waves."
Wilner has been the recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Juniper Prize, and two Pushcart Prizes.
Wilner, who was formerly the editor of The American Poetry Review, is currently an advisory editor of Calyx. She has taught, most recently, at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Smith College. She is currently on the faculty of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and lives in Philadelphia.