A new production of Brecht
I am writing this from Montreal where a new production of the Bertolt Brecht “Good Person of Sechuan” (“La Bonne Ame de Setchouan” in French) is taking place tonight (the dress rehearsal was last night and there is a preview this afternoon). The production is by Antoine Laprise who directed a previous production at the Theatre du Trident in Quebec City a few years using my newly commissioned score. My Brecht Suite was fashioned out of that music and this was subsequently performed by Laila Salins with accordionist Bill Schimmel and the New Tango Project at the Southampton Cultural Center, as part of the Accord/Discord program produced by the Center for Contemporary Opera at the cell in the Chelsea district of NYC and then on tour in Eastern Europe. Now the score has been re-adapted for this new production at the theater school of the College Lionel-Groulx in Sainte-Therese in the outskirts of Montreal (perhaps the major theater school in Quebec, equivalent to Yale Drama or Juilliard).
This is indeed a new production — completely reimagined by Antoine with this excellent cast of young performers. To give a small idea of the differences: the gods of the original are now three goddesses who come down to earth to look for a good woman but also to go shopping. Instead of a tobacco store, the heroine runs a shopping mart filled with cheap consumer goods. The Opium Song is still there along with a bit of the Brechtian revolutionary fervor but the whole social-political aspect of the work comes into sharper focus. Instead of the violins and accordion of the earlier production, there is a rock band with guitars, keyboard and drums so the music now has more swing (although that was already in the original version) and, on many occasions, a strong rock feeling (not there before). It was all a bit startling but thought-provoking and a lot of fun.
La Bonne Ame de Setchouan in Montreal with Salzman score
Antoine Laprise is rehearsing a new version of his production of “La Bonne Ame de Setchouan” (“The Good Woman of Szechuan” by Bertolt Brecht) with my music. The production is scheduled for Montreal in mid-March. The score was originally written and performed for a production by the Theatre du Trident in Quebec City in 2002-03.
Upcoming Performance of The Opium Song
The Opium Song—a setting from the French-language production of La Bonne Ame de Setchouan by Bertolt Brecht—will be performed on May 27th as part of 21st Century Salon Series: Aria, produced by Beth Morrison at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo, Brooklyn and performed by Laila Salins and Bill Schimmel with a string ensemble.
Center for Contemporary Opera Benefit and Gala
The Center for Contemporary Opera’s benefit and gala at the Cell Theatre on Friday, February 19, 2010, will feature the Chanson de l’Opium from Salzman’s score for a French translation of Brecht’s La Bonne Ame de Setchouan. It will be performed by Laila Salins, mezzo-soprano, and Bill Schimmel, accordion, who gave the concert premiere in December. The program also includes excerpts from Michael Dellaira’s The Secret Agent, Susan Hurley’s Anais, and a short opera buffa called Review, based on a New Yorker story by Patricia Marx with music by Jeremy Beck. For ticket information go to www.brownpapertickets.com or call 1-800-838-3006.
Performance of Salzman’s Music for La Bonne Ame de Setchouan
A new suite taken from Eric Salzman’s music for La Bonne Ame de Setchouan—a French-language production of the Bertolt Brecht “Good Person of Sezchuan” at Quebec’s Theatre du Trident—will be performed on May 16th at the Southampton Cultural Center by mezzo Laila Salins and accordionist William Schimmel.