This week’s Composer’s Log is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge. You’ll find a regular update on my progress below, but first I want to share a couple links where you can check out recorded excerpts of the opera.
First, the Hartford Opera Theater performed excerpts from Marie Curie Learns to Swim this past weekend on their annual New in November festival. An official video will be available in the future, but for now, the live stream can be accessed at HOT’s Facebook page. The excerpt starts about 2:45 in the New in November video and features a ca. 13-minute sequence for Marie and Irene. Marie’s aria “I Take My Life in Measurements” and a duet for the two characters are included.
Second, I recently was a guest on the Original Gravity Podcast hosted by Keith Kirchoff, with guest co-host Eric Honour. This podcast focuses on new music and home brewing, pairing composers with brewers who create recipes inspired by the featured composition. Our conversation was focused on my electro-acoustic work, Concertina No. 1: Cathedrals, but touches on other topics including the opera, and Keith generously offered to record an excerpt of the piano reduction to include in the podcast. That excerpt has not been shared on this site or on social media, so it’s only available in the episode. You can check it out online here or listen via the Podbean app.
And now: the weekly update!
Last week, I was wrapping up the end of the opera, and this week I turned to the opening. The opera begins with mother and daughter arriving at the beach. Irene is exuberant, Marie reluctant. The first line is sung by Irene:
Marie responds with a less enthusiastic assessment of her surroundings, but is gradually drawn out of her shell by her daughter. She reflects on the unfamiliar sensations in a brief aria that starts:
The section that I have left to write includes another short aria where Marie recalls trips to the country in her youth and dialogue between the two women as they move from the shore to the sea, where Irene will teach Marie to sing. I am planning to finish up the vocal lines this week and then fill in any remaining sections of the accompaniment the following week. I’m looking forward to completing the draft so I can start revising and getting the piano-vocal score ready to share.