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Video Excerpts

ALBERT HERRING (Benjamin Britten & Eric Crozier)

Act I, scene i

Lyric Opera Cleveland, August 11, 1987          


Act I, scene i from final dress rehearsal of the Lyric Opera Cleveland production I directed in the summer of 1987 (Martin Kessler conducting).  Featured in this scene are Hillary Nicholson as Florence, Priscilla Bodi as Lady Billows and Marla Berg as Miss Wordsworth.  Gary Briggle was the Mayor, Timothy Clarke was the Vicar, and Superintendent Budd was sung by Peter Atherton.  The clever set was by Peter Dean Beck.  Michael Baumgarten's excellent lighting, given the technical limitations of this archival video, can't be fully appreciated here.
POSTCARD FROM MOROCCO (Dominick Argento & John Donahue)
Final Scene
Florida State Opera, June 11, 1999

To work on Dominick Argento's vivid musical depiction of John Donahue's brilliant and insightful exploration of time, talent, fear and reckless joy was one of the most rewarding projects I was lucky enough to have been assigned, and this Florida State production featured one of the most talented and fearless student casts in my experience.  Simeon Esper was an incredible Mr. Owen, who, in the terrifying then uplifting and, finally, mystical final moments of the opera, is forced to reveal that his luggage, his precious paintbox, is empty.  His secret revealed, he determines to face difficult facts and overcome a lifetime of fear.  The wonderful physical production (ironically, partially obscured here in the video by the same lights that were, in the theater, so beautifully evocative) was by Russ Borski.  Douglas Fisher conducted. 

MRS DALLOWAY (Libby Larsen & Bonnie Grice)
Septimus Breakdown & Suicide
Lyric Opera Cleveland (World Premiere), July 24, 1993

It was my great pleasure, while at Lyric Opera Cleveland, to produce and direct the world premiere of MRS DALLOWAY which we commissioned (at the urging of Bonnie Grice, who would write the libretto) from the wonderful Libby Larsen.  This scene is the backbone of the main subplot of Woolf's novel, the tragedy of Septimus Warren Smith, which unfolds in tandem with the events that surround Mrs. Dalloway and her party.  Septimus, a veteran of World War I, is also its victim after the fact.  Unbeknownst to him, he suffers from the cumulative effects of shell shock, which is robbing him in an ever-more alarming way of what has become a very tenuous grip on reality.  Though he has moments of lucidity, his situation becomes increasingly desperate, not only for him, but also for his young, Italian wife, Rezia, whose status as a foreigner in a strange city (London) and her basic mistrust of Septimus's unsympathetic doctor are increasingly worrisome.  Fontaine Follansbee was Rezia, Mickey Houlihan, the doctor, Mary Elizabeth Poore, Clarrisa Dalloway and Quentin Quereau her husband, Richard.  Gary Briggle was the heart-wrenching  Septimus.  Steve Parry designed the set and clothes.  Benton Hess conducted.

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