This is that project I've been feverishly rehearsing for these days. Not to be missed:
The 2009 Fire Arts Festival will feature the world premiere of Dan Cantrell's Rootabaga Opera, a narrative musical presentation inspired by the children’s stories of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and treasured American folk music historian Carl Sandburg. This one-act musical journey weaves individual stories into a narrative arc staged in a theatrical format. The material will be informed by the diasporic culture of American immigrants during the dramatic turning of the 19th century as seen through Sandburg’s stories.
Through a unique blend of early American, Chinese, and Eastern European music, this opera will explore the roots of the Bay Area’s musical and cultural identity. Compositions will be complimented by an interdisciplinary collaboration of fire arts, puppetry, dance and theater. The piece will reflect the ideas, characters and text found in Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories and his collections of American folk music while venturing into new areas of collaboration and musical exploration based on the interaction of the diverse range of performers.
The musical ensemble, directed and conducted by Emmy award-winning composer Dan Cantrell, will feature some of the Bay Area’s finest talent in a dynamic and ethnically diverse folk orchestra. Featured artists will include women's vocal ensemble Kitka, renowned for their specialized vocal technique, described as exotic, elegant and eerie. Co-directors, Larry Reed and Christine Marie of ShadowLight Productions will add another layer to the production with giant projected shadows featuring metal shadow puppets created by Mark Bulwinkle.
The commissioning and production of this world premiere is made possible by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Emerging Composers 2007 Initiative.