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Monday, August 8, 2011

Lunch with Stewart Wallace

Stewart Wallace

Last week director of artistic planning Tom Wright and I met with composer Stewart Wallace to talk about his opera The Bonesetter’s Daughter.   

After a tour of our new facility, The Michael and Inna O’Brian Centre for Vancouver Opera, we lingered over a long lunch at Arriva Ristorante on Commercial Drive (I had a delicious Risotto con Salsiccia) and talked about the opera, his creative relationship with the novel’s author and the opera’s librettist Amy Tan, and any prospects for a developing a new production of the work.

The Bonesetter’s Daughter premiered at San Francisco Opera in 2008.  I, along with VO’s Director of Marketing and Community Programs Doug Tuck, saw a performance and both liked it very much. A stumbling block, though, was the scale of the physical production: very large and very expensive! It would be quite difficult if not impossible for most regional companies in North America to produce. A new production must be developed if the work is to have a well-deserved life after the premiere.

We at VO are considering the possibility of doing the work if we can find enough interested partners to go in on a new production; our target date to produce it would be sometime after 2013. We have not made a definite commitment to move ahead, but are intrigued by the work:  its subject matter, its basis in a very popular and moving novel, and – of most import – the music itself, which I find quite interesting and appealing.

Stewart Wallace with Amy Tan
With only four opera productions a year, it is a challenge to find sufficient opportunities to produce contemporary opera, but I feel we must always be considering new or recent work to do our part in refreshing the operatic repertoire and to provide BC audiences with a wide range of great opera. I will write again about this work and our thinking concerning producing it, and would be happy to hear any comments about the idea. 

What do you think about a VO production of Bonesetter's Daughter? Leave your comment below.

- James Wright, General Director

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