Tuesday, October 16, 8-9:30pm
The Project Room has followed the making of the opera-within-a-film, Magda G, through a public script reading, a musical demonstration, and a series of blog entries about the process. Now, TPR welcomes The Fisher Ensemble back for an open rehearsal as this ambitious and unusual project develops for the live stage. Director and composer Garrett Fisher will share his perspective with the audience on how one goes about creating opera and film together, while Fisher Ensemble members perform exerpts from the opera itself. Expect interesting insights into what it’s like to be a cast member of this remarkable production.
About Magda G:
Infused with hints of the Greek tragedy Medea, Magda (with libretto by Amy Schrader) is based on wife of Nazi Germany’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Magda bore six children, whose names all began with the letter “H,” supposedly out of reverence for Hitler. In 1945, in the war’s waning hours, Magda Goebbels murdered her children in the Führerbunker before committing double suicide with her husband. In Euripides’ play, Medea murders her children to seek revenge against her unfaithful husband. Magda, on the other hand, performed the act as protest against a quickly changing political landscape. The opera explores the similarities and differences between these two figures and their stories.
In 2013-4, this opera will become the key element of a new film, Magda G (magdathefilm.com) directed by Ryan K Adams and written by Garrett Fisher/Amy Schrader. The film centers on the actress Maria Halcón who stars in the production, and who finds herself implicated in the opera’s story and subject matter in unusual (and unfortunate) ways. This Greek tragedy-within-an-opera-within-a-film reveals itself much like a Russian doll, and resonates with our own culture’s struggle to discern what is real and what is propaganda, what is historical and what is fictional, cutting to the very core of our struggle to make sense of a confusing and ever-innovating universe. Magda has received support from 4Culture.
About the Fisher Ensemble:
The Fisher Ensemble (fisherensemble.org) creates music-theater that seeks to be a
vital part of our community and culture. Combining diverse influences into a unique sound, the
Ensemble’s works invite audiences to re-imagine the contemporary world through lenses of myth and history. Since the company’s founding in 1994, the Fisher Ensemble has presented twelve full length pieces which incorporate music, movement and theater in both Seattle and New York City. Seattle-based composer Garrett Fisher creates pieces that highlight the ensemble’s eclectic instrumentation – regularly employing Indian harmonium, 6 string fretted acoustic bass, gongs, Taiko percussion, and flute. The Fisher Ensemble has expanded to garner international recognition as well as critical acclaim from the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Wall Street Journal. The ensemble’s most recent work “Kocho,” was recently produced by Beth Morrison in New York City in 2011.
The role of Magda is performed by José Luis Muñoz (joseluismunoz.com). Muñoz, a Mexican-American countertenor, was described by the San Francisco Bay Times as, “amazing, powerful expression” for his work in the role, El Alma, which he created in Carla Lucero’s world premiere of the opera Juana. This Fall he will make his debut in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis with the Cornish Opera. In 2011 he sang the role of Melissa with the Cornish Opera Theatre in Francesca Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina, under the direction of Stephen Stubbs. In the spring of 2013 José Luis returns to the stage to solo in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Powder River Symphony in Wyoming. He was also a winner in the California Opera Association Competition.