SEASONS OF SONG
Journey throughout the cycles of the year in sacred and secular hymns, spirituals, popular, & art song.
Lisa Daehlin soprano ~ Anja-Christin Nielsen trumpet ~ Richard Pearson Thomas pianist
Tuesday, July 21st, 2015, 12noon–1pm
St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University [Amsterdam at 116th ]
Music at St. Paul’s Concert Series free admission, all are welcome
Du er inviterer til en inspirerende forsommerkveld i kommunehuset på Granavollen, tirsdag 16.juni kl 19.00
Lunner, Hadeland Husflidslag, Gran, Norway, June 16th, 2015, Tuesday, 7pm
IMPROVISATIONAL LACE KNITTING
Last spring (2014), I attended an open mic evening at Sjømannskirken i nyc. Wonderful evenings, those open mic gatherings. The staff at the kirke (that’s “church” for the non-Norwegian-speakers who might be reading this ;-) are quite a talented bunch of folks, fostering the spirit and also nurturing the music of the flock (n.b. word choice here could be a foreshadowing of upcoming mention of yarn…just saying’..), but, back to the evening of the open mic….
One of the performances featured some very special guests. In town for a performance at the Scandinavia House related to the exhibition Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People, Marie Boine and her band provided an element of extra magic to the open mic. I must admit, I was transfixed by their performance. It left my face wet and my heart in my throat. That word “transfixed” I’d never thought too much about it until typing it now and in this context…. it calls to mind being “transformed” and/while being in a “fixed” state/place. …. I’ll have to ponder that one further… but, back to that music… Hard to describe what music can do to a person. I can only describe the feeling (from a year ago, but it stays with me) as reaching down into my body and guts and grabbing hold of and shaking me in a way most visceral. THIS is what music can do to a body. And I DO mean “body” in its metaphorical sense as in “somebody” AND in it’s literal sense: the flesh body/house in which a spirit lives. Music vibrates/activates/agitates us (our human bodies) at the level of our very atoms. Sounding a bit dramatic? ha! ;-) It is those atoms that connect us to the each other, to the earth, to the drops of water, to the sky, and (here it comes) to the heavens.
So… enter (stage left) the knitting improv. After the concert, I had the chance to speak with the singer who left my face coated with tears. She’s quite something, the spirit she invokes. And that piece of jewelry she was wearing… wow! My mother has one in a similar style. But this Sølje had gold and silver and was large and caught and splayed out the light shining on it so that it scattered onto those standing in its midst.
That concert (and it’s atom-shuddering impact) stayed with me for quite some time. I began knitting the piece in these photos. Knitting during SyttendeMai in nyc, knitting on the plane to Minnesota, knitting and lacing the sun, the stars, the water, the lilies. By the time I got to MN, I had finished most of the water. It’s good exercise for the brain: knitting with linen (which has a mind of its own on how it intends to make a stitch, I like that it has a will), making up the lace work as you go (storing it in short term memory, 8 wedges of the circle at a time), and then repeating what might seem random, but is the result of some choices, perhaps related to innate…
When I knit, I sometimes set up parameters for myself (e.g., this will be about ….., this project will be done when I run out of those…. skeins of yarn, I bind-off when the plan lands…, etc.). In this case, my rule was to use the two skeins of yarn I had on hand (the gold and the blue). BUT… then I stopped in to Northfield Yarn and saw the most enchanting color of silver/grey/clouds on water/glistening salt-ish. That, I realized, was my third color.
I had thought that the knitting told me (yes, fiber DOES speak to us, just go with me on this :-) ) to go from the sun, spiraling out into the waters, coming down to earth in the tumultuous waves of water and then the to dirt of the earth. But the knitting had a different idea: it was more water and in a different form, and then led me to what grows at the water’s edge (I tend to like things living in the land of the liminal). The pattern of how to finish that outer section came to me on a visit to the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.
My brother, Mark Daehlin, is a painter. His work is exquisite. Some of the many gorgeous images that have come from his brushes is a series of paintings of the waterfall in that idyllic place. We took a hike there, and, for the first time, I saw the home and habitat of the Dwarf Trout Lily. It was not at that time blooming, so I had to rely on images for its inspiration to speak to me. But seeing from whence it blooms is a lovely thing indeed. That particular species of lily is found ONLY in that small area of Southern Minnesota (in all of the world). Due to several reasons, including its brief reproductive cycle, it is and endangered species.
While I do not claim that this knitting replicates the bloom exactly (only it itself can do that), it IS inspired of and by it. The bind-off is my own special invention (as with all inventions, no doubt someone else thought of it before, but I am not aware of that in this case) that revealed itself to my fingers a few years back. I find it to be especially suited to finishing the edge of a piece of lace knitting as it gives room for stretch (or not) and helps that infamously curling edge to calm down and be restful.
Syttendemai Konsert i Sjømannskirken i New York
NACUSA Annual Concert. The National Association of Composers, USA presents its annual concert featuring vocal and instrumental music by Allen Brings, Stefania de Kenessey, Max Lifchitz, Barbara Wesby and Betty Wishart.
Monday, May 18th, 2015; 8pm
Hark! What Schtick through yonder window breaks? Is this a cabaret act I see before me? Cornelia Street Cafe, Monday, April 13th
SWING BUCKLE THE BARD with the honey-tongued, operatic chanteuse LISA DAEHLIN and pianist nonpariel RICHARD PEARSON THOMAS. Using Shakespeare’s verse as anything but a roadmap, we will wag our way through an alternate Paradise of songs, snippets and abominations. Carouse with Ophelia, the Macbeths, Juliet, Romeo, la tête d’Anne Boleyn, and a fairie-dusting of sass from the churlishly anachronistic Dorothy Parker.
LISA DAEHLIN, soprano, has performed numerous roles including Amelia (Un Ballo in Maschera), Fiordiligi (Cosi Fan Tutte), Tatiana (Eugene Onegin), Angelica (Suor Angelica), Madame Lidoine (Dialogues of the Carmelites), First Lady (Magic Flute), High Priestess (Aida) and Wellgunde (Das Rhinegold). In New York City, Lisa performs frequently at St. Paul’s Chapel, Cornelia Street Café, and The Players Club. Her concert repertoire focuses extensively on Norwegian, French and American Chanson, Cabaret and Art Song. European concerts in Italy, Germany, and upcoming this summer, as an invited singer for the International Edvard Grieg Society in Bergen, Norway. Lisa has performed at the Algonquin’s Oak Room, at City Center, at Lincoln Center. Her one-woman show Twisted Stitch: Songs of Love and Knitting, featured a world premier cycle of songs by Stefania de Kenesey. Awarded an MA from Columbia University, Lisa operates a private voice studio in New York City. www.lisadaehlin.com
STEFANIA DE KENESSEY is a leading figure in contemporary music, and her CD “Shades of Light, Shades of Dark” received rave reviews as “fully worthy to share a program or disc with the masterpieces of Mozart or Brahms” (Fanfare). She is delighted to continue an ongoing collaboration with soprano Lisa Daehlin, who has commissioned and premiered several of her songs, including the knitting cycle “Twisted Stitch”. A professor of music and former dean at Eugene Lang College, the undergraduate division of The New School, de Kenessey recently completed “Influence”, her first feature-length film score, and her opera adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities” (bonfiretheopera.com) premieres Oct.9-10, 2015. For further information about her music, please visit her website at www.stefaniadekenessey.com
SVEN TRYGVE HAABETH is a Norwegian singer/songwriter and actor. With a versatile voice, he’s done everything from punk to folk music. This summer finds him in New York, having crossed the pond, for a second season of Shakespeare in Riverside park!
ELLEN MANDEL has created music for over sixty plays. Currently: Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s Medea at the Wild Project through May 3; last season Phoenix’s Don Juan in Hell (NYITA Best Revival 2014, Best Original Music nomination). Her music for Top Girls at the Antaeus (LA) received the 2014 Scenie Award. Ellen has written many songs to poems and released four song CDs: There Was a World, a wind has blown the rain away, the first of all my dreams, and The Cat and the Moon. http://ellenmandel.com
FLASH ROSENBERG is a Guggenheim Fellow and “Attention Span for Hire” who draws, photographs, writes and performs. As artist in residence for LIVE from the New York Public Library she drew literary discussions in real time to create original “Conversation Portraits.” She is a full service photography, motion picture, merriment, and mischief factory, living with three turtles and infinite questions.
HILDE SKAPPEL is a New York based Norwegian actress, soprano, translator and writer. In 2013, she received the American Scandinavian Society’s Grant Award for outstanding achievements in her field and for her dedication to Scandinavian Culture. She earned her Musical Theatre Certificate from The Baardar Academy in Oslo, and her Acting Certificate from The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, where she currently works as an actress in Film, Theatre and Musical Theatre. She performs regularly at The Norwegian Seamen’s Church in several concerts and events, creates children’s theatre for The Norwegian School and has been a vocalist in a rock band. In Norway, her performances in musicals includes: Jesus Christ Superstar, When Midnight Strikes and A Chorus Line/Into The Woods. She has translated many Musical Theatre Productions for Norwegian theatre companies, such as Legally Blonde, Spelling Bee and Grand Hotel. Hilde is currently working to write and produce Musical Theatre pieces in collaboration with the Norwegian New York-based composer Christian Stahr, as well as writing her own solo projects. http://hildeskappel.com/
CHRISTIAN L. STAHR is a composer, orchestrator, music arranger and pianist from Sarpsborg, Norway. He studied musicology and composition at the University of Oslo, Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He worked as an orchestrator and music arranger for smaller ensembles as well as large symphony orchestras in Norway. He has also worked as a studio musician and keyboard player for bands and singers throughout Norway. He holds an MFA in musical theatre writing from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. His New York debut as a composer with the short musical “You Can’t Sing” premiered at Sticky’s Poetry Club in the fall of 2010. In 2011 he wrote music for the short musical “The Call” for Sticky’s, and for the short musical “The Champagne Fountain” at Duplex’s “Funny Business” night of works. His full length musical, “Let’s Be Frank” received an Equity reading in 2012 featuring the talents of Alex Gemignani, Hannah Elless and Doreen Montalvo among others. http://www.stahrmusic.com/
RICHARD PEARSON THOMAS, composer and pianist, has had works performed by the Boston Pops, Covent Garden Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Portland Opera, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Banff Centre, Skylight Opera Theatre, Riverside Opera Ensemble, Encompass Opera Theatre and Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. His songs have been sung in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Joe’s Pub, and before the U.S. Congress. Mr. Thomas’s operas, Blood of Angels, and A Wake or a Wedding, have been produced by Encompass New Opera Theatre in New York City. As pianist, Mr. Thomas has concertized with singers worldwide. He is on faculty at Teachers College/Columbia University and has taught at Yale and the University of Central Florida. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the University of Southern California, and is a native of Montana. www.richardpearsonthomas.com
Opera Index & Manhattan School of Music present
FROM PAGE TO STAGE With Midge Woolsey
New American Opera Previews
ENCOMPASS NEW OPERA THEATRE / OPERA IN DEVELOPMENT
BLOOD OF ANGELS
Music & libretto by Richard Pearson Thomas
Directed by Nancy Rhodes, Conducted by Mara Waldman
(30 minute excerpt in a staged reading, full cast shown below.)
Manhattan School of Music – Greenfield Hall
122nd Street & Broadway, New York, NY 10027
For more info about the opera: http://www.encompassopera.org