Delay Makes “The No One’s Rose” Premiere Even More Poignant
The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s multigenre work “The No One’s Rose” in October 2020 was among many expected performing arts productions to be disrupted due to COVID-19. Yet the pandemic has brought new meaning to Aucoin’s rich mosaic of music, poetry, dance and theater, which is finally making its debut at Stanford’s Bing concert hall this week.
The PBO displayed “The No One’s Rose” – also the name of a collection of poetry by Holocaust survivor Paul Celan that inspired Aucoin, co-founder of the American Modern Opera Company – as a “meditation on loss. and recovery “when he promoted the roster in 2020. Since the pandemic, there is another poignant relevance.
“‘The No One’s Rose’ is the story of a group of people in a community, who each share individual stories,” Aucoin, 31, explains of his latest album. “These stories are very different from each other, but what they have in common is that they are about how to recover and rebuild the world after a disaster – in our case, the year and a half of loneliness and separation that we have experienced. everything has just experienced because of the pandemic. “
Aucoin compares the stories of “The No One’s Rose” – a collaboration presented by PBO, AMOC and Stanford Live directed by AMOC co-founder Zack Winokur – as a series of portraits, the way Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” speaks of “traveling pilgrims who each tell their own story as they travel.
Yet it is the German writing of Celan, who was born Paul Antschel to a Jewish family in Romania in 1920, that most energizes Aucoin’s work. (“The Person’s Rose” was originally meant to coincide with the centenary of the poet’s birth.)
After the Holocaust, Aucoin says, Celan felt alienated from his own mother tongue and German artistic traditions: it felt true to him. And he did it by turning language into music. He empties language of its familiar qualities; he treats individual words as mysterious musical objects, ”Aucoin says.
For Aucoin, Celan’s work also provides an “exploration of how to rebuild the world and rebuild a sense of community after a disaster”. He calls Celan “our spiritual guide”.
Another of Aucoin’s inspirations is the poem “Deep Water Trawling” by his teacher Jorie Graham, which is woven into the intermission of “The No One’s Rose”, mainly English. (Subtitles are provided for short portions in German.)
Aucoin, who will lead PBO’s period instrument ensemble, has eclectic, sometimes even close to home, reasoning in his instrumental choices, mentioning that her husband is a baroque bassoonist.
“I had an internal consultant on how to write for period instruments,” Aucoin says, adding, “Woodwind writing is the aspect of the piece that is most different from writing for instruments. modern. I worked with a palette of very dark hues: three oboes, including the oboe da caccia, plus the flute and bassoon, but no clarinets. And there is a particular crunch in the baroque winds. I love the baroque double bass, which has a fabulous hum quality and is so high that it takes a 10 foot ceiling to bring it into the house.
While Aucoin says that the basic musical language of “The No One’s Rose” has an “explosive tone” much like his operas “Eurydice” (2020) and “Crossing” (2015), it is also steeped in influences. wider, from Bach to Sam Cooke. . A song by Cooke underlies bass-baritone Davóne Tine’s role in the piece, which also features soprano Julia Bullock, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and tenor Paul Appleby.
“My role is deeply personal because it is based, like the other roles, on the in-depth group conversations that we have had for many years and the relationships that we have built,” says Tines, PBO’s very first artistic partner. . “The ‘Canterbury Tales’ structure allows my personal vignette to live in community with the vignettes of my fellow collaborators. Structure allows our stories to connect, juxtapose, counter and strengthen. It is a breathtaking tapestry.
For ballet dancer Bobbi Jene Smith, who choreographed “The No One’s Rose,” the production has become dearer to her due to the strains caused by the pandemic.
“It’s full of so many beautiful artists that I hold dear and have missed being in the same room with over the past two years,” Smith said. “The choreography is full of this desire, ranging from the extremes of expectation and despair, to something ecstatic and joyful; the process is very collaborative and intuitive, and it’s so exciting to dance to Matt’s new work.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
Or: Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford
When: 7:30 p.m. August 25-26; 2:30 p.m. August 29
Tickets: $ 15 to $ 225
Contact: (650) 724-2464, stanfordlivetickets.org