Previous month:
April 2021
Next month:
June 2021

Colleen Quen Interview

Colleen-quen-ncco-1-2021Couturière Colleen Quen (pictured left with her work, photograph by David Law) has collaborated with New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) on a multimedia piece that debuts on Thursday, May 27 at 12pm.

The work opens NCCO's new film venture entitled the Resonance Series, which explores Bay Area artists from different disciplines alongside particular chamber music pieces.

Quen created a mixed media sculpture inspired by a performance of Debussy's Danse sacrée et Danse profane for harp and strings. Meredith Clark is the harp soloist and the ensemble includes violinists Iris Stone and Karen Shinozaki Sor; violist Elizabeth Prior; cellist Michelle Djokic; and bassist Anthony Manzo.

The delightful and effusive Quen spoke to me on the phone last week from her atelier in San Francisco.

How did you get involved with this project with New Century Chamber Orchestra?
They reached out to me to ask if I was interested in collaborating with the orchestra. One of the violinists, Iris Stone, has been a client of mine. I like to keep unfolding as an artist, so this was a perfect opportunity.

Colleen-quen-ncco-2-2021Tell me about your inspiration for the multimedia sculpture and how it came together.
(Executive Director) Richard Lonsdorf chose the Debussy for me. He just knew it was right for me, it is romantic and French, both of which I love. I create through paper first, and for this I put together the 90-piece sculptural couture creation in about 2 days. I went into the composer's world, cutting out shapes spontaneously. It was very meditative, translating the notes onto the dress form.

For the filming, I painted the paper pattern as the musicians played Danse sacrée et Danse profane. It felt like the musicians were wrapping their love around me and it was very healing. We've all been starved for togetherness in this pandemic, I feel.

How have you coped with the pandemic?
Covid has made an impact on me. I felt so suppressed as an artist, since my medium is human beings. I didn't design for about 6 months and all of my projects stopped, though I have continued teaching through Zoom. NCCO awakened me, the collaboration was a gift that I'm so grateful for.

I'm a fourth generation Chinese American from the Bay Area, so I was caught off-guard by the upsurge of hate crimes against Asians. Covid has made us so fearful of each other and all the more so for our Asian elders.

Based on your Instagram it looks like you've spent a lot of time hanging out with your super cute French bulldog Libai. Is he named after the poet?
Yes! My Frenchie has a Chinese name, it's true.


Washington National Opera's 2021-2022 Season

Washington-national-operaNovember 6–14 2021: Come Home: A Celebration of Return (concert)
March 5–25 2022: Written in Stone
March 12–26 2022: Così fan tutte
May 14–28 2022: Carmen

The 2021-2022 season at WNO was announced today. The season opens with a concert featuring sopranos Pretty Yende and Alexandria Shiner; mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard; tenors Lawrence Brownlee and David Butt Philip; and bass-baritone Christian Van Horn. Four world premieres open next March composed by Alicia Hall Moran, Huang Ruo, Kamala Sankaram, and Carlos Simon.

Press Release | Official Site


Seattle Opera's 2021-2020 Season

Dreaming-in-ColorOctober 16–30 2021: La bohème
January 12–30 2022: Orpheus and Eurydice
February 26- March 12 2022: Jeanine Tesori's Blue
May 7-21 2022: Le nozze di Figaro

Seattle Opera announced the 2021-2022 season today, which will mark a return to in person performances. Librettist Tazewell Thompson and composer Jeanine Tesori's Blue, an opera about police brutality against African Americans, will open at McCaw Hall next February. The piece features baritone Gordon Hawkins, bass Kenneth Kellogg, and mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter.

Official Site


Merola's 2021 Participants

Carrie-anne-2400x1200Sopranos
Emily Blair, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Catherine Goode, Friendswood, Texas
Magdalena Kuźma, New York, New York
Celeste Morales, San Antonio, Texas
Ashley Marie Robillard, Norton, Massachusetts
Mikayla Sager, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Johanna Will, Dresden, Germany

Mezzo-Sopranos
Gabrielle Barkidjija, River Forest, Illinois
Gabrielle Beteag, Atlanta, Georgia
Jesse Mashburn, Hartselle, Alabama
Nikola Printz, Novato, California

Tenors
Victor Cardamone, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Gabriel Hernandez, Tampa, Florida
Philippe L'Esperance, Grafton, Massachusetts
Tianchi Zhang, Huainan, Anhui, China

Baritones
Thomas Lynch, Lynbrook, New York
Samson McCrady, Tucson, Arizona
Laureano Quant, Barranquilla, Colombia

Bass-Baritones
Ben Brady, Denver, Colorado
Andrew Dwan, Mountain View, California

Apprentice Coaches
Erica Xiaoyan Guo, Tianjin, China
Yang Lin, Shanghai, China
Anna Smigelskaya, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Shiyu Tan, Changsha, Hunan, China
Marika Yasuda, Williamsburg, Virginia

Apprentice Stage Director
Audrey Chait, Menlo Park, California

The Merola Opera Program announced participants for 2021, most of whom were to be in the program last year. The program has a new artistic director, Carrie-Ann Matheson (pictured) and new general manager, Markus Beam.

The 2021 season includes three performances including a recital featuring black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and female composers on July 3, a digital format production from film director David Paul on July 30, and the Merola Grand Finale on July 31. Details for the locations of these performances is still to be determined.

Official Site | Press Release