Posts Tagged ‘Cedric Berry’

Another run of Crescent City and things keep improving piece by piece. Today I dedicated myself to the seats between the Dive Bar and the Good Man’s Shack and had the following fantastic views:

We also did some shooting of the Loa for their big scene:

And started putting the musicians into the space:



The visual artists have been making significant progress on their installations, and every new element they complete makes the space feel more and more astonishing. Their work is moving hand-in-hand with the performer’s development: they each get more and more confident, more nuanced, and more open with each rehearsal. Brianna Gorton installed her illuminating columns, which gives fantastic dimension to the cemetery when viewed in a constantly shifting perspective:

Olga Koumoundouros completed her spectacular chandelier for the Dive Bar:

Mason Cooley’s Shack has a jaw-dropping oragami-like roof:

Jeff Kopp diligently continues to add to the Hospital, and Alice Könitz’s swamp is taking beautiful shape, with a series of mirrored plexiglass towers creating an unbelievable landscape for the Swamp.

The total effect of all this great work is nothing short of incredible, and the singers and I are having an amazing time exploring this world:

We had two quite full sessions and continue to move swiftly through the piece. Today we touched upon a couple climactic scenes–the “High Noon” (or in this case “High Midnight”) confrontation between the voodoo barons Carrefour (Cedric Berry) and Samedi (Jonathan Mack):

The showdown between Marie Laveau (Gwendolyn Brown) and Samedi as they fight for the fate of the city:

And Samedi mounting the Cop (also Jonathan Mack!), in a fiendishly difficult Jekyll & Hyde scene that we made good headway on:

And finally, the big Reveler hootenanny number, “A Storm It Is A-Brewin’.”


It was a whirlwind of a day in Crescent City today as we power through the opera scene by scene, and focusing on three individual, virtuosic turns. Today we made it through the first half of Gwendolyn Brown’s monumental first scene, complete with her exciting first entrance in the cemetery:

We then proceeded to explore the bitter drag queen in Timur Bekbosunov–made complete with 7″ heels that he quickly felt right at home in:

The scale difference between the towering Timur and me (of mere average height) made for a pretty entertaining rehearsal:

And finally moving on to the stoic, powerful music for Cedric Berry, who looked so fantastic in and around Mason Cooley’s Shack.

At every step, I am awed at Anne’s primordially powerful and wild score–I think the audience will be astounded at every turn at her musical imagination. I know we are doing our best to match it visually and spiritually (in terms of the performance)!

The highlight of today was a meeting between the phenomenal bass-baritone Cedric Berry and Mason to discuss to the Good Man and his activity in the shack. It was great hearing Mason talk through the components of the shack and what the Good Man will be doing throughout the opera.

I love how Mason sees the shack as an open-ended object that will be filled with Cedric’s performance and his physical impact on the structure. Based on Cedric’s building or taking away of Mason’s pieces, the sculpture will change from the beginning of the rehearsal process to its final iteration on May 27. It’s a piece to be lived in and “taken over” by another artist, a tangible example of the collaboration between a singer and visual artist in the course of this process.

Douglas Kearney‘s libretto describes the Good Man as obsessively rebuilding his home in the wake of the hurricane:

“The Good Man re-builds compulsively. He cannot stop. His house should look like layers and layers of building have gone on. When short on materials, he moves wood from one spot to another, then patches that new void. He has become increasingly isolated as no one returns to the neighborhood he has seen destroyed.”

We went through a number of iterations of the Good Man and his relationship to the Shack. For a while we discussed a tether that keeps him attached to the Shack, which is how several people in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans saved themselves from being taken by the waters of the broken levees. The image of the Good Man still tethered to the shack one year later gives a strong sense of his relationship to his remnant of a home. But although I liked the image, it started to feel too obvious and reductive. Mason’s idea of the Shack involving various abstract shapes and objects I think keeps his process fascinating and never fixed into something predictable; it frees up the associations and possibilities of the Good Man in this more abstract cityscape.

Mason is also playing with a large rotating sculpture that can act as a kind of shed for the Good Man in his “backyard:”