Opera Parallèle presents the world premiere this week of Laura Kaminsky’s chamber opera Today it Rains, telling the story of a pivotal journey that artist Georgia O’Keeffe made in 1929. She left the art world of New York, and her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, on her way to becoming the iconic painter of the American Southwest. Artistic Director and Conductor Nicole Paiement and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel give a preview.
There’s more information at the Opera Parallèle website.
“When you decide to do an opera that focuses on a character, you want to bring kind of a theme that is universal,” says Nicole Paiement. And the decision that Georgia O’Keeffe made to restart artistically on the other side of the country is one that many can understand the bravery of. “What we are celebrating with this opera is the courage that when sometimes in life you know, you take a bend and you make a decision and it transforms your life. Georgia O’Keeffe did that, which was a very courageous thing to do for women at that time. For her, in order to be the artist that she needed to be, she needed to live away from New York City, she needed to leave Stieglitz behind, though they remained married all their life, and had a relationship there, but it was a different kind of a relationship. That kind of courage of making that decision, transformed and made her bloom.” Laura Kaminsky’s score reflects that change too – beginning with an urban sound, travelling through the Jazz of Chicago, and finally the open melodies that reflect the open skies and landscape of the Santa Fe desert. “It also follows O’Keeffe’s emotion of going from being very tense of this decision, leaving New York, and then arriving there and feeling freed,” Paiement says. “So the score and the musical language follows that too, which is a really interesting parallel.” Brian Staufenbiel describes the set as a “fractured version of a train, that fragments and morphs into all sorts of different places.” He says there’s also a rear projection screen, which will use video to convey location and motion, and during flashbacks, there will be stills of O’Keeffe’s earlier art. “You’ll discover the O’Keeffe that not a lot of people know. The O’Keeffe that was doing charcoal drawings as a student, the O’Keeffe who met Stieglitz as a younger woman, before she became the famous O’Keeffe that everyone else knows.”