Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013 6:17 am by M. in , , , , ,    No comments
Louis Karchin's Jane Eyre opera project is again in the news because three scenes from the first act have been presented at the Fort Worth Opera Frontiers initiative. We read on TheaterJones:
“The challenges are many. [Getting interest from] directors and opera companies in producing new opera means that one must already have a convincing rendition of at least a good part of the work,” said Louis Karchin, composer of one of the works chosen this year, Jane Eyre. “And of course, to receive a convincing rendition, someone in the opera world must already be convinced of the work and create conditions for a compelling recording. So there's a little Catch-22 about the situation. The more you work in the genre and get to know people, the easier it is; but for very large projects, you're asking for a sizable commitment from a company—so it will not happen overnight.” (...)
Jane Eyre is a daunting undertaking for the operatic stage, but composer Louis Karchin and librettist Diane Osen are writing a full-scale setting of the Brontë novel. This is also a work in the neo-romantic side of the fence, as behooves the subject. To keep in the Frontiers time limit, we saw three scenes from the beginning of act one. They are off to a good start and many in the audience were wishing that we could hear some more. (It is my recollection that these three scenes were all that had been completed at the time of this performance.)
Quote from Karchin: “Jane Eyre is a large project—an opera in three acts for 13 singers and orchestra. During the past year, I've been able to complete the composition of the work including the final orchestration. The Frontiers Project, although not a full-scale production of the opera, was certainly incentive to push ahead, even with competing projects on my desk with full realizations looming. It meant someone in the opera world was on the same wavelength as me, and there was some confirmation that what I was doing was worthwhile and reaching other people. This is very necessary in the world of the arts. I try to help younger composers this way, and it's great to be helped from time to time, also.” (...)
Karchin added that the Frontiers experience is important because it provides that first step. “I hope it gives my opera, Jane Eyre, some additional positive momentum and exposure,” he said. “Also, the feedback aspect is very important. Composers work out of sight in their houses or apartments writing this stuff; it's easy to overlook some significant aspect of the project, and hearing comments and suggestions from people who have gone through the process is invaluable.” (Gregory Sullivan Isaacs)
The Columbus Dispatch talks about the new Available Light Theatre Jane Eyre production:
“It’s truly a fever dream,” director Acacia Duncan said.
Jane Eyre is a great love story, but it’s also got danger and drama. Love isn’t easy in this story; love is fraught with death.”
Daniel Elihu Kramer adapted his 95-minute one-act from Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel about a lonely, self-reliant British woman who falls in love with her rich employer while serving as governess to his daughter.
“There’s a special energy to the story because it feels like a new idea that a woman demands the right to tell her own story and finds her opportunity to do so,” said Kramer, who plans to attend the opening-night show with his wife and 11-year-old son. (...)
“There was a time when people expected to grow up and live their lives where they were born, but that was never a possibility for Jane Eyre,” Kramer said. “Because she is without a home and is trying to find and make a home for herself, that becomes a very powerful and modern theme for us: The need to make your own home.”
Robyn Rae Stype plays the young Jane opposite Michelle Schroeder as the Narrator (the older Jane).
“Jane has a serious backbone,” Stype said.
“She doesn’t have a home or any close relatives to turn to, so Jane seeks employment in a place where she has to learn to provide for herself.”
Stype, 22, plays the title character as a child at the age of 10, then from 18 to 20 as an emerging young adult.
“Jane has been pretty much her own best friend for much of her life and learned over and over again not to rely on others,” she said. “That makes her extremely wary in new situations.
“Her first experience of having romantic feelings for another is with Rochester, someone who also has learned that he can’t really trust anyone. . . . A lot of their challenge is lack of communication and lack of honesty.” (...)
What makes Kramer’s version of Jane Eyre distinctive — and quite different from Pride & Prejudice, Duncan said — is its dreamlike atmosphere and strong central voice.
“The play and book of Jane Eyre,” she said, “are really about how we remember things and how the act of remembering is intensely personal and very important.” (...)
“The voice in which Jane Eyre tells her story is so intimate, reflecting her desire to say, ‘I have a right to a place in the world; I have a right to be happy,’ ” he said.
“Her belief that she deserves to make her own choices and have a home where she can love and be loved is part of what gets me going.” (Michael Grossberg)
The New York Times reviews the film Augustine and delivers the following not-easy-to-forget statement:
You wonder if the film will resemble a lost Brontë novel or “The Story of O.” (A.O. Scott)
Paterson Joseph talks about British black actors on TV in The Guardian:
Finally, it cannot be a coincidence that we had a year of great period dramas and a dearth of black talent represented in the subsequent awards. As I know from my own experience, I may have the skill and the training to wield, say, a Brontë hero's finely turned phrases, but it'll be a cold day in hell when I'm even in the room for the Mr Darcy auditions.
We wonder if he remembers that precisely the most recent Brontë film featured a black actor playing a Brontë 'hero': James Howson in Wuthering Heights 2011.

The New York Times interviews the writer Hilary Mantel:
What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?
When I was 9, I was given a set of slightly abridged classics for Christmas, and the same again when I was 10. My mother got them from a mail-order catalog. We weren’t a household that owned many books so it was a novelty to fill a whole shelf. There were plain cloth bindings and no pictures. (That’s just the way I like it; I make my own pictures, thanks.) That’s when I became enthralled by R. L. Stevenson, and failed to like Dickens, and met the Brontës. They were clever abridgments, too, as I came to realize when I read the full texts later. (Imagine, “Jane Eyre” without the embarrassing bits.)
No, we can't imagine it... and we don't want imagine it. (Furthermore, let us add that there is no such thing as a clever abridgment).

Financial Chronicle talks about one time wonder books:
However, there are some authors whose single great success becomes their only one. Usually, it is death that arrests their forward movement, as was the case with Margaret Mitchell, Pulitzer prize-winning author of Gone with the Wind, Emily Brontë with her classic Wuthering Heights and Anna Sewell who wrote Black Beauty at 51 and died of hepatitis shortly thereafter.  (Zehra Naqvi)
USA Today's Happy Ever After interviews the author Mary Costello:
Writers like the Brontës and Elizabeth Gaskell wove endless attractive variations on the manly theme, and the best thing is, these heroes translate brilliantly to TV and film. Who hasn't drooled over modern-day Darcys, Colonel Brandons, Rochesters or Heathcliffs? (Joyce Lamb)
The Times, The Guardian or BBC News report the death of the actor Aubrey Woods who was Joseph in Wuthering Heights 1970; Inside Life reviews the Wild & Wanton edition of Wuthering Heights; Amanda White shares some more of her Haworth paintings; Ayushee's, Espirit con destino likes Ralph Fiennes in Wuthering Heights 1992.


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