"Intimidated by Mozart's Ghost? Not Anymore"
The New York Times, August 10, 2008
An article about Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, whose second opera, Adriana Mater, has been running this summer at the Santa Fe Opera, and whose oratorio, La Passion de Simone, receives its American premiere at the Mostly Mozart Festival on Wednesday (August 13).
I'm just back from a long weekend in Cooperstown, and will be linking up my Glimmerglass reviews shortly. (The short version: Everything's entertaining and well-performed; Laura Vlasak Nolen and Lyubov Petrova are sensational in Giulio Cesare, as is Lisa Vroman in Kiss Me, Kate.) I note with some gratitude that my friends Lisa and Sid have actually already circulated the Saariaho link; Lisa also has a useful roundup of Adriana Mater reviews, including her own excellent piece from San Francisco Classical Voice.
As for my article, talking with Ms. Saariaho (seen above left in a lovely photo by Rick Scibelli Jr.) was a real privilege and a pleasure, as well. My only real regret is that space and flow forced me to cut a tiny anecdote of which I was quite proud, since it was something I'd genuinely never known about the composer before. I'll include an excerpt from the original interview transcript here as a bonus track. The question to which she is responding had to do with why she started composing with a computer while at IRCAM; I anticipated an answer having to do with sound manipulation. No:
I started because I’m left-handed. I started for the practical reason that, you know, I couldn’t write with ink because… [makes a sweeping motion with her left arm, which would clearly wreck an inked page]. So I was writing with pencil. And to get printable copies, I’d need to push really hard, so that I had this kind of tennis-elbow syndrome.
For some reason I just really love that explanation.
Nas - Nas (Def Jam)
Wale - The Mixtape about Nothing (no label; download here)
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line (Barsuk)
Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (Decca)
Vincenzo Bellini - I Capuleti e I Montecchi - Antonietta Pastori, Fiorenza Cossotto, Renato Gavarini, Italian Radio Chorus, Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Lorin Maazel (Opera d'Oro)
Richard Wagner - Das Liebesverbot - Hilde Zadek, Anton Dermota, Kurt Equiluz, Heinz Imdahl, Austrian Radio Chorus, Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Robert Heger (Opera d'Oro)
Grateful Dead - Dick's Picks, Vol. Vol. 12: Providence Civic Center, June 26, 1974 & Boston Garden, June 28, 1974 (Grateful Dead)
Coheed and Cambria - No World for Tomorrow (Columbia)
Helms Alee - Night Terror (Hydra Head)
Andrew Russo - Mix Tape (Endeavour Classics)