Francis Schwartz's music theatre
Recent advertisements etc for Francis Schwartz's music theatre presentations and a review of his Damon II at Luxembourg:
I THINK THAT FRANCIS SCHWARTZ IS GROPING FOR A NEW STYLE IN OPERA AND ANYONE WHO GROPES ARTISTICALLY CERTAINLY MERITS MY HIGHEST ESTEEM.
I BELIEVE THIS COMPOSER HAS THINGS THOROUGHLY IN HAND...SO TO SPEAK.
"DALI & GALA" MARCH 14, 2004 SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM ST. PETERSBURG
6 P.M. CAVEAT: All members of the general public who do not want to actively participate in this unusual artwork should NOT attend.
DALI AND GALA
Opera sì.Opera no by Francis Schwartz
I like opera. And, yet, there is much about it that I don't like. Opera is many things to many people. To some, it is the quintessential melding of elements: music, acting, costumes, scenery, lighting, etc., among the many aspects of sensorial perception and gratification rooted in human activity
To some, it is an opportunity to 'elevate', to join the devotees of ART (Hoch Kultur according to Ferdinand von der Vogelweide); to others, it is an opportunity for socializing, for exhibiting finery, for statistical comparisons of automobile essence, for a poetic exploration of couturiers and fashionability (Daniel Charles, the distinguished French philosopher-musician, has raised serious doubts as to the appropriateness of linguistic distortions in the hands of composers).
Microvisionists whose Webernian propensities dominate their taste in music (in Life, I would say ), frequently regard OPERA as a type of artistic flatulency; Macrovisionists , rooted in the ancient practice of Gesamtkunstwerk, take a more gargantuan approach, wanting more and more and more stimuli, a type of sensorial-technocratic Liebestod , an all-consuming lust-thrust-SUV-gas-gurgling, makes-priapism-nymphomania-seem-tame-NEED that can never be sated. . . but that's a theme for my NEXT opera.
As I said, I LIKE opera. I grew up on opera: Houston , San Antonio , New York City, Vienna , London , Paris , Budapest , San Juan ,
St. Petersburg (the OTHER-ONE-on-the-Baltic). I score-desked my student days at the Met seeing and living dozens of performances with some of the world's greatest singers, conductors, stage directors, stage designers. . . and it always left me with a strong desire to write a work that would be part of this world. Ergo . . .
"DALI & GALA"
Salvador Dalí, yes, that's Dalí, with an accent on the second syllable, thank you. Salvador Dalí was a great artist and one of the most brilliant arts promoters in history. I admire that. And he has graciously acceded to this very flexible, somewhat ambiguous form that I have structured from my imagination. You, gracious reader and public, may find elements of the GRAND TRADITION: Monteverdi, Mozart, Gluck, Verdi, Puccini, Mussorgsky; and you may even detect a didactic intention during the operatic discourse. All that is as it should be: FINE.
But for decades I have sought the direct, active participation of the attending public in my works. SO.do not think that you will simply sit in your seat where you can cavalierly consume the product of our (we, the musicians, not the IMPERIAL WE, although it is tempting) creativity and efforts. NO, NO...even if you DO NOT WANT TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE; an atmosphere will be created around you so as to alter your previously comfortable social role as CONSUMER WITHOUT RISK. As the great writer Jorge Luis Borges said in a cryptic moment: "He who is too comfortable and shuns participation in Life, places himself directly under the Sword of Damocles." (Possibly apocryphal).
Thus YOU and I are co-conspirators and we are joined in communion. What type? AHHHH.that will be determined during the unfolding of "DALI & GALA".
March 14, 2004
THE PRESIDENT DISCOVERS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN FRANCIS SCHWARTZ'S OPERA "DALI & GALA"
A STEADFAST OPPONENT OF ABORTION, PRESIDENT BUSH WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THE MUSICAL WORK WHILE IN ITS PERIOD OF GESTATION, THE PREMIERE BEING ONLY 2 WEEKS AWAY.
"iT'S A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE..." SAID HE. BUT AS FOR THE PROVOCATIVE CONTENT OF THE SCHWARTZ WORK, THE PRESIDENT DEFIANTLY STATED:
" BRING IT ON!"
FRANCIS SCHWARTZ'S "DALI & GALA" ENCOUNTER "THE BIRTH OF LIQUID PLEASURES"
"DALI & GALA"
SUNDAY, MARCH 14, 2004 6 PM
SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM
ST. PETERSBURG , FLORIDA
A zany, emotionally charged work that challenges the concept of traditional music theater.
CAVEAT: ANY PERSON THAT FEELS THREATENED BY ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN THIS ARTWORK SHOULD NOT ATTEND.
PLEASURE, PRURIENCE AND PROVOCATION
A PROJECT TO SAVE THE NATION. . .
SCHWARTZ'S "MAD LADY
Video of this and another of Francis Schwartz's pieces received with thanks May 2003.
Francis Schwartz is a genial composer of anarchic music-theatre events whose company we enjoyed at the ISCM Music Days in Luxembourg:-
- - It took Francis Schwartz, an American composer and noted 'polyartist', to open the windows on this occasion to let in a breath of fresh air. For his Daimon II the performers had to communicate through body language beyond their particular musical instruments. Rhythmic audible breathing, clapping and stamping added to the sound picture. Grimacing, including silent screaming, made us aware that what is not articulated in a given context is as important as what is worked out explicitly and audibly. The audience was drawn into the performance by Joel Sachs, encouraged to participate with loud breathing and noisy stamping. Even in its limited way (we remained rather decorous and muted) this was liberating. Schwarz had opened the door as if to say 'we are here, come in and have some fun. It is not all doom and gloom inside this ivory dungeon!' This work also leads one to question classical music's staid conventions, or rituals, of audiences sitting silently in rows, immobile and passively receiving earfuls of sound. - - (AW)
Flutist-dancer Ulla Suokko strangling the composer Francis Schwartz
"Composer Francis Schwartz's terrifying music drama "Mad
Lady Macbeth" will be the closing work of the 2003 Roaring
Hooves Festival, in Ulan Bator, Mongolia on Saturday, June 21,
Originally conceived to include a public bathing in blood dropped from the theater rafters during the section celebrating the murder of innocents, the composer withdrew this production element alleging that the world was already covered with too much blood and that he preferred to communicate the horror of homicide in a less graphic manner.
Ulla Suokko, one of the finest new music interpreters on the world scene today, commissioned "Mad Lady Macbeth" and will take it on tour during the 2004 season.
The Roaring Hooves Festival is now considered a world class event
which features leading musical ensembles from around the world."