Ten years ago, in VCCA (Virginia Center for the Creative Arts), self was working on a novella called Marife, loosely based on the events of the Oklahoma City bombing.
A composer named Drew Hemenger, who she met at VCCA, worked with her to turn it into a full-length opera.
The orchestral suite was performed by Hampshire Symphony two years ago. In her most woebegone moments, Drew would direct self to this or that opera (Porgy and Bess?) which took 20 years to be performed. And self would say, “Drew. I do not have 20 years.”
Dear blog readers, this is just to let you know that two people, if they are determined enough, even with no money, can create an opera. The problem has always been finding people who want to stage it. So self is doing this blog on the opera, for the first time. In case someone has any ideas to share?
Here’s how the libretto begins:
They were talking and talking and talking.
How do I know? What men talk about. Fishing, maybe.
Self remembers when she first presented the libretto to Drew, he looked at the 80 pages and said, “That’s going to take three days to sing.”
So self chopped off all the lines to about half their length.
Is that how one writes a libretto? Self doesn’t know. She never wrote a libretto before.
“And just put in the word love, as many times as you can,” Drew said.
“I am not that kind of writer,” self declared.
“This is opera! Do it!”
Right after the Las Vegas shooting, self saw so many parallels with the Oklahoma City bombing. She asked Drew, “Didn’t it strike you as eerie? The ammonium nitrate? The Filipina?” Drew said: “I don’t know. I’ve been trying to stay away from all the Las Vegas shooting news.”
At one point, Drew met someone who said we could have it staged in the CCP, the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He nearly flew over to Manila.
And self asked: Who was she? And then: Drew, this is one walk you’re going to have to take alone.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.