A FLEETING ANIMAL 2000

 


VERMONT OPERA THEATER

presents

A FLEETING ANIMAL

 

An Opera from Judevine

 

 

music by Erik Nielsen

libretto by David Budbill

Anne Decker, Music Director/Conductor

Tim Tavcar, Stage Director

with

The Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble

 

The Cast:
Joseph DiSalle, Lisa Jablow, Simon Chausse, William O. Beeman, Ann E. Fitch, Eric K. Brooks, Micheal Henderson, Elizabeth Page, Nora Zablow, Pamela Hurst, Celina Moore, William Pelton, Rob Rohr, Rebecca Smith, John Tisbert
 

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WORLD PREMIERE PERFORMANCES
 

Friday, October 20, 2000. 8 pm. Montpelier City Hall Arts Center

Saturday, October 21, 2000. 8 pm. Montpelier City Hall Arts Center

Sunday, October 22, 2000. 3 pm. Montpelier City Hall Arts Center

Friday, October 27, 2000. 8 pm. Vergennes Opera House

Saturday, October 28, 2000. 8 pm. Vergennes Opera House

Sunday, October 29, 2000. 3 pm. Randolph. Chandler Music Hall

 

 

* * *

TWO REHEARSAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND SOUND SAMPLES

The Angel of Depression (Elizabeth Page) brings Tommy (Joseph DiSalle) and Grace (Lisa Jablow) together.

 

tomgrace

 

Grace comforts Tommy. (photo credits: Stephan Hard)

 

* * *

SOUND SAMPLES

“Don’t Talk To Me”
(1.1MB)“And Then The Night Birds Sing”
(1.2MB)
 

* * *

A FLEETING ANIMAL: AN OPERA FROM JUDEVINE tells the tragic story of the lives of Tommy Stames, a Vietnam Vet returned to Judevine, and Grace, the angry and put-upon welfare mother accused of abusing her children, and how their ill-fated union leads to suicide and madness. As someone said, “Ah, just the run-of -the-mill opera.”

Both Tommy and Grace are well know characters from David Budbill’s widely produced and acclaimed play JUDEVINE.

A FLEETING ANIMAL, however, expands and deepens Tommy and Grace’s story and includes major roles for new characters such as William and James, two friends of Tommy’s from Vietnam, and The Angel of Depression.

Other characters, well known to fans of JUDEVINE, such as the irrepressible and indomitable, Antoine–the town wag, Edith–logger and racist, Doug and Doug’s wife, Bobbie also take on major singing roles.

With eight principal singers and a chorus of twelve–representing the townspeople of Judevine–plus The Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble’s chamber ensemble [more on second page]–consisting of two violins, viola, cello, clarinet/bass clarinet, piano and percussion–this new opera takes opera goers into new and as yet uncharted operatic territory.

Erik Nielsen’s score [more on second page] has, as all his work does, the marks of the contemporary composer whose eclectic interests take him virtually everywhere for inspiration.

A FLEETING ANIMAL has music inspired by French Canadian fiddle tunes, the blues, jazz plus more traditional and contemporary forms of operatic musical expression.

* * *

SHORTER QUOTES FROM REVIEWS

There is a tremendously heroic quality to David Budbill and Erik Nielsen’s new operatic adventure, A Fleeting Animal . . . . The production was a revelation to me . . . and a wonder. . . . A Fleeting Animal is a great testament to the process of collaboration between two artists of power.

 

Jerome Lipani
WILD MATTERS
January 2001

 

 

A Fleeting Animal, . . . celebrates the stark beauty of Vermont’s “Northeast Kingdom” and the harsh lives of its people . . . . The music, wedded to powerful theatre, transports the listener.

 

Zeke Hecker
OPERA NEWS ON-LINE
February 2001

 

A Fleeting Animal creates a portrait of rural Vermont that not only rings true but tears at the heartstrings . . . . with a powerful score that combines spicy modern styles and real operatic emotion, . . . A Fleeting Animal [is] a powerful and often beautiful experience. . . . [It’s] the real thing.

 

Jim Lowe
RUTLAND DAILY HERALD
October 27, 2000

 

. . . two hours of evocative and often very beautiful music. . . . . . . a serious and dramatic script . . . Nielsen’s score was thoroughly modern but eclectic at the same time, not afraid of tonality and not averse to atonality either; so that the whole question of tonality-the great bugaboo of “modern” music-became nearly irrelevant.

 

M. Dickey Drysdale
THE HERALD OF RANDOLPH
November 2, 2000

 

[Erik Nielsen’s] vocal writing, for soloists and chorus alike, is filled with Nielsen’s . . . love of the human voice and of words. It has the certitude that guided Benjamin Britten in his vocal writing. . . .[and the] exemplary libretto–simple, tightly constructed . . . finds David Budbill at his best crafting of words. This is a keeper.

 

Dan Wolfe
SHELBURNE NEWS
November 2, 2000

 


 

A LETTER TO ERIK NIELSEN
Dear Erik,

Do you remember our conversation about “high art”? Well, I think you and David Budbill have achieved it. In truth, I am certainly no art critic–I simply judge with my heart–but the other night, Erik, my heart was very moved by your opera in a way that does not often happen. It was more than just a sentimental reaction. Through the truth portrayed in the characters and brought out in the power of your music, I was touched on a profound level. It cut deeply with both the tragedy and the beauty of the human soul. The whole thing was truly remarkable. I’m sorry I did not tell you in person the other night how highly I thought of it, but I was really so affected that I just wanted to leave without having to talk to anyone. It seemed any words I could have said would have been trite compared to what I had just experienced.

Ann Regan