Monday, December 28, 2009

Going the Distance for Lillian Alling

Photo by Tim Matheson

Continuing the John Estacio/John Murrell props and excitement on VO's upcoming new opera, Lillian Alling, the Globe and Mail's Marsha Lederman reports on the Lillian Alling run-through that took place right before the holiday break.

Lillian Alling , the first full-length piece Vancouver Opera has ever commissioned for its main stage, will have its world premiere next fall, but about 50 VO donors, staff and colleagues got a preview earlier this month. The first run-through of the opera, by a dozen singers, followed an intensive two-year workshopping process.

The opera, written by Estacio and Murrell, is based on the real-life story of Lillian Alling, a Russian immigrant who arrived in New York in the 1920s and proceeded to walk across the continent to British Columbia. While some details are known about Alling, who has become a part of B.C. lore (and who was the subject of Amy Bloom's 2007 best-selling novel Away ), what isn't known is why she embarked on this journey. So Murrell, the librettist, and Estacio, the composer, had a lot of holes to fill. They built what they felt was an opera-worthy story around the character, with elements of passion, tragedy and surprise.

To read more on VO's brand new opera in the works, click here.
Monday, December 21, 2009

John and John: Artists At Work

Photo by Tim Matheson

Librettist John Murrell and composer John Estacio were featured in last Thursday's Vancouver Sun's Artists at Work, a series of special features examining the creative processes of artists, artisans and creative technicians!

Murrell and Estacio has been hard at work to bring the magic with last week's 10 day workshop of their brand new opera, Lillian Alling. The Canadian opera was commissioned by Vancouver Opera three years ago.

Expectations at the workshop were exceeded as the strong, well prepared singers ran through the material, allowing the creative team to explore and refine the music and direction. Curently, 97% of the opera's music is confirmed.

Lillian Alling will have its world premiere with Vancouver Opera in October 2010. Mark your calendars!