MARILYN FOREVER to Make U.S. Premiere with Long Beach Opera, 3/21 & 29
Long Beach Opera (LBO) takes on the private world of the most public life ever lived. The U.S premiere of Gavin Bryars' Marilyn Forever will be performed March 21 and 29, 2015 at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro.
More reverie than reality, Marilyn Forever is a meditation that pivots between real-life moments and otherworldly reflections - between Marilyn's tabloid life and Miss Norma Jeane's private world. "To more deeply understand this polarity and explore the inner struggle, I decided to cast Marilyn with two performers who will represent her public and private persona," says stage director Andreas Mitisek.
The action of Gavin Bryars' sixth opera focuses on the relationships that Marilyn forged with the men closest to her - lovers, colleagues, directors. Bryars writes, "Of her three marriages, Monroe's most interesting relationship was with Arthur Miller. That was the one that unleashed her intellectual capacity. The opera pays more attention to that - and to her death - than to anything else."
The libretto, an adaptation of Canadian author Marilyn Bowering's 1987 poetry collection Anyone Can See I Love You, is the result of a long-standing interest in Monroe's intriguing personality. Says Bowering, "What fascinated me was that Monroe was sexy, but not coarse-and she not only had a sense of humor, but clear ideas about how things should be in terms of love and art and beauty; and she never caved to conventional ideas about women."
The jazzy, ethereal language of the sultry score is realized by an onstage jazz trio and pit orchestra. Bryars says, "Marilyn was a product of popular film and music. The opera places her in an environment which relates to the music of her time." Gavin Bryars will play the double bass onstage at the opening night performance on March 21st.
Marilyn Forever is set on the evening of Marilyn's death as she reflects, in flashbacks, on her life and the men in it. Three male characters take the star back in time to the husbands and colleagues who influenced her and the defining moments of her career. Reality fuses with memory and reflection before Marilyn ends her lonely life.
This U.S. premiere is the second LBO production of a Gavin Bryars opera. In 2012, LBO staged Paper Nautilus, an opera/song cycle based on texts about the ocean presented in the site-specific Great Hall of the Long Beach Aquarium. Also a U.S. premiere, Paper Nautilus was the first production of LBO's Outer Limits series of musical outliers performed in small, intimate venues.
Performances run at the Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro, CA. 90731 on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 2:30 pm. Prices range from $29 to $160. Student tickets are available for $15 at any time with valid student ID. Tickets can be purchased by calling LBO Ticket Services at 562-432-5934 or online at www.longbeachopera.org/tickets.
Marilyn Monroe: Danielle Marcelle Bond - With LBO: The Death of Klinghoffer (British Dancing Girl/Austrian Woman/Swiss Grandmother), King Gesar (Narrator), Tell-Tale Heart (Neighbor), and Macbeth (Second Witch). Other roles include: Carmen, Dido in Dido & Aeneas, Hermia in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Siebel in Faust, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Cornelia in Handel's Giulio Cesare, Amahl's Mother, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Flora in La Traviata, and a Reporter in the world premiere of Stephen Schwartz's Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Ms. Bond also has an extensive oratorio repertoire and has recorded for film, TV and video game scores. www.DanielleMarcelleBond.com
Marilyn Monroe: Jamie Chamberlin - Soprano Jamie Chamberlin was last seen at LBO as Lucy in Moscow, Cherry Town. Chamberlin made her LA Phil debut in Salonen's Wing On Wing and her LA Opera roles include the Cretan Woman (Idomeneo) and High Priestess (Aida). She has sung with LBO, Pasadena Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Opera Santa Barbara, Fort Collins Symphony and Opera UCLA. She received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Anne Sexton (Transformations) in the Merola Opera Program (SFO). Most recently, Opera News praised her "fresh sounding, expressive soprano" in Terrain of the Heart, song cycles of Mark Abel. www.jamiechamberlin.com
Rehearsal Director/ Men: Lee Gregory With Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater: Captain, The Death of Klinghoffer and William, Fall of the House of Usher. Other roles include: Silvio, Pagliacci (Arizona Opera, Opera Omaha); Nixon, Nixon in China, Leporello, Don Giovanni, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro (Eugene Opera); Schaunard, La bohème (Michigan Opera Theatre); title role, Il barbiere di Siviglia (Opera Theatre of the Rockies); Junius, Rape of Lucretia, Maximilian, Candide (Toledo Opera); Mercutio, Roméo et Juliette (Opera Columbus); Prince Paul, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, (Opera Boston); Carl Magnus, A Little Night Music and Wilhelm, The Ghosts of Versailles (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis).
ABOUT THE COMPOSER:
Gavin Bryars has attracted popular attention in his collaborations with artists such as Robert Wilson, Merce Cunningham, Brian Eno, Tom Waits and others. Bryars combines innovation and approachability of his compositions, and writes articulately on a wide variety of music and musicians. His first love in music was jazz, and he performed as a bassist with Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley. In the late 1960s, he began to study and work with several other innovative composers, including John Cage and Cornelius Cardew. In 1969, he began teaching at the Portsmouth College of Art, where he helped found the Portsmouth Sinfonia, and also wrote his first major composition, The Sinking of the Titanic. This first foray into musical conceptual art was inspired by his considering what the sounds of the band that continued to play as the ship sank would have been like in the watery environment. Two years later, he composed Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, a work in which he combined a tape looping the voice of a man in a homeless shelter, singing the title phrase, and a musical background.
He wrote his opera, Medea, in 1984 which premiered at the Opera de Lyon in a Robert Wilson production. In 1998, the English National Opera premiered his second opera, Doctor Ox's Experiment, based on a story by science fiction writer Jules Verne, and in 2002, he wrote his third opera, G. Since 2006 he has collaborated with Opera North Projects, initially with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) on Shakespeare sonnets Nothing like the Sun (2007) and subsequently on Mercy and Grand (2007-8) - a project on the songs of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan.
His hugely successful collaboration with Merce Cunningham, Biped, was in the Cunningham Company's repertoire and played world-wide - Biped was the last work performed on the Cunningham "Legacy Tour", which ended the life of the company in December 2011.
(The above paragraphs have been excerpted from GavinBryars.com)
Bryars also composed a section of the CIVIL warS: a tree is best measured when it is down, a Robert Wilson project for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The music was composed by Gavin Bryars, Philip Glass and David Byrne. The vast five-act work has never been performed as a whole.
Gavin Bryars is a member of Long Beach Opera's Artistic Advisory Committee.
ABOUT THE LIBRETTIST:
Marilyn Bowering is a poet and novelist who lives in British Columbia. She has received many awards for her work including designation of Notable Book by the New York Times, short-listing for the world-wide Orange Prize and the recent Gwendolyn McEwen poetry prize. In 2008, she was a Fulbright scholar. Her latest publications are the poetry book, Soul Mouth, and the novel, What It Takes To Be Human. Current projects are a novel, Pearl and the Storytellers Academy, and Threshold: an encounter with the 17th century Gaelic bard, Mairi McLeod. Marilyn Bowering has a personal connection to Long Beach through her maternal great-grandfather who left his Ontario farm to move his family to the area in 1921.
ABOUT THE LONG BEACH OPERA:
Founded in 1979, Long Beach Opera (LBO) is the oldest opera company in the Los Angeles/ Orange County area and has a national and international reputation for its interpretations of unconventional repertoire in inventive and often boldly avant-garde stagings. Productions take place in a variety of venues, from traditional theaters to non-theatrical spaces. Recent site-specific productions include Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus & Euridice in and around an Olympic swimming pool, Grigori Frid's The Diary of Anne Frank in parking garages, Viktor Ullmann's Emperor of Atlantis with Carl Orff's The Clever One in the hull of the Queen Mary, and Ernest Bloch's Macbeth at the Port of Los Angeles. The company's 2015 season features the Los Angeles premiere of Tobias Picker's Thérèse Raquin, the U.S. premiere of Gavin Bryars' Marilyn Forever, and a new, site-specific production of Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox, set to take place across multiple stages in a San Pedro warehouse. With a production history of over 100 operas, the company is known for the number of its world, West Coast, and U.S. premieres and is unique in presenting most of its performances in English. LBO has been led by two visionary leaders: founder Michael Milenski during LBO's first 25 years and Austrian conductor Andreas Mitisek since 2003.