After being dormant for the last three years, San Francisco Lyric Opera returns next month with David Lang's the little match girl passion. Tonight I unexpectedly ran into Chip Grant at a rehearsal for Ensemble Parallele's upcoming The Great Gatsby and I asked him what he was up to lately. Grant is the driving force behind the brilliant Urban Opera, whose Dido and Aeneas and The Witch of Endor were highlights of the Bay Area opera scene in recent years. Dido made both mine and the SF Chronicle's Joshua Kosman's top ten list in 2009. Urban Opera rose from the ashes of SF Lyric, and now events have come full-circle. This is good news for people in the Bay Area looking for well-staged, intelligent, provocative opera productions.
Lang's work, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, won the Pulitzer for music in 2008. Co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Perth Theater and Concert Hall, the work is inspired by Bach's Matthew Passion and the recording on Harmonia Mundi won a Grammy in 2010 for Best Small Ensemble performance. Tim Page of the Washington Post wrote "I don't think that I've ever been so moved a new composition as I was by David Lang's the little match girl passion, which is unlike any music I know."
Grant just finished casting the show, which will feature a shear, minimalist style with a quartet of singers doubling on percussion. The story will be told Butoh-style, with choreography performed by Anastazia Loiuse/Bad Unkl Sista. Barnaby Palmer will conduct and Grant will direct the production. Casting details will be forthcoming.
the little match girl passion will be performed in the intimate ODC Theater on March 23, 24, and a matinee on March 25. Consider it not to missed.