Darling, do you write prose? Can you write a libretto for a commissioned opera? Alexandra Babbel, Artistic Director, Opera Kelowna.
And so the conversation began, in early winter, 2014. Opera Kelowna commissioned Lesley-Anne Evans to write a libretto, and enter into a creative collaboration in which a visual art installation by Jane Everett, and filmography by Daniel Cameron, would come alive in a new Canadian operatic production, to a musical masterpiece created by one of Canada’s most renowned composers, Imant Raminsh.
A little background.
Before an opera is performed, a narrative or story is written, perhaps based upon a theme, and for an assigned performance length. Before any musical notes dance in a composers mind, characters and symbols and themes come to life in a librettists imagination. Time, research, input, editing, testing, editing, and a story begins to morph and solidify. Characters are named. Personalities are developed. Relationships grow. A story line is committed to, and written down as truth, in a format called a libretto. The libretto is the script of the operatic work.
Then, a magical melding of words and music takes place, as the composer takes the libretto and sets all dramatic conversations and clever pronouncements and interactions between each character to a new musical score. The composer creates each character’s identifying melody, makes audible the sound of hopes and dreams and conflicts, writes the connecting musical themes between acts, and the openings and closings of the overall work. The composer makes the words…SING! Yes, and he has the power to make the librettist and the future audience weep with the beauty of his music.
And then, finally, after much application of time and gift and patience and input, a new operatic composition is born, with words and music blended seamlessly into a score.
Meanwhile, brilliant artwork is created, filmography is envisioned and shot, funds are raised, singers and orchestra members are hired, costumes are dreamed alive, custom jewelry ‘vial-of-tears’ is handmade, and the collaboration of a large team of creative individuals continues to synergize, mold and develop to bring the work to the stage in a huge outlay of time and energy and excitement. Opening night is anticipated by all, and it is almost here!!!
Alexandra Babbel’s idea, has become a reality!!!
Following is the narrative of LAKE OF TEARS, a new Canadian Opera, to the libretto of Lesley-Anne Evans. And very soon, the gorgeously haunting music of Imant Raminsh’s score will be heard as LAKE OF TEARS is performed for the very first time, in Kelowna, British Columbia. Jane Everett’s installation of luminous canvases and iconic art pieces, along with Daniel Cameron’s filmography, will create an sensuous stage for the audience’s experience of an Okanagan fantasy. You won’t want to miss it!
LAKE OF TEARS
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, the Loon people transformed at will at the water’s edge, and enjoyed living on land in human form, or on the water as loons. Brothers Turmoil and Gavia, both in line for the Throne of Loons, and for the rule of the Loon people, are secretly in love with the beautiful Viviana whom they hope to marry, and with her produce a royal heir. The brothers pursue Viviana to win her love, and Viviana gives her heart to Gavia.
Rejected by Viviana, and now filled with hatred for his brother Gavia, Turmoil seeks power through dark magic. Turmoil curses Viviana and Gavia to live separate lives forever; Viviana, to remain on arid land in human form with all the Loon people; Gavia, to live alone on the great lake as a loon.
Heart broken, Viviana secretly collects her tears of love in a magical vial she wears around her neck. According to ancient legend, a royal heir has power to lift the curse, but only in their 16th year on the anniversary of their birth. Before sunset on that day, the heir must pour true love’s tears into the headwaters of the sacred pool to set the Loon people free.
With Viviana and Gavia now cursed to live separate lives, Turmoil vows to destroy the sacred pool, preventing the Loon people from ever transforming at the water’s edge, and any possibility of the lovers being reunited. Turmoil is unaware of the existence of an heir. Masika, the secret love child of Gavia and Viviana, and their royal heir, carries power to end the curse and strip Turmoil of his dark magic.
Sixteen years have passed, and Masika is now coming of age to fulfill the ancient prophecy and free her people. Join Masika as she goes on an extraordinary journey and discovers the power of true love.
Lesley-Anne Evans, SDG