Don't miss: l'homme et le cielInterview
Next month, Canadian composer Adam Scime will see the world premiere of his chamber opera, l’homme et le ciel. Amanda Smith, artistic director of FAWN Chamber Creative directs this co-presentation with FAWN and The Music Gallery. Scime’s atmospheric story of “inescapable visions” and “sexual impulses” is scored for chamber ensemble, electronics, and three voices; the libretto by Ian Koiter is adapted from The Shepherd of Hermas, a 2nd-century Christian literary work. On December 3rd and 4th at The Music Gallery, the debut performance of l’homme et le ciel will feature an all-Canadian cast: baritone Alex Dobson sings the role of Hermas, soprano Larissa Koniuk is Rhoda, and soprano Adanya Dunn sings The Messenger.
For Scime, the story “is more or less a cautionary tale warning us of the implications of our desires. Throughout Hermas’ journey, one receives a glimpse of a so-called righteous existence as promised through the teachings of a Messenger. There is a fire that burns within Hermas, a staggering dissension continuously pulling on his moral centre; a centre that is stretched from one direction to another.”
Scime feels the story speaks to humans and their daily lives. “The lessons taught to Hermas through the mysterious Messenger are of course in some way relevant to all our lives. It is through art - and through opera - that one may be allowed to reflect on the human condition in a way that perhaps wasn’t a consideration prior to a given artistic experience.”
“The one variable that has been able to grow is my relationship, understanding, appreciation and respect toward the performers we have chosen to work with.” l’homme et le ciel had a workshop production last spring, and it too featured sopranos Larissa Koniuk and Adanya Dunn (he tells me that he wrote the parts of Rhoda and The Messenger specifically with their voices in mind). “I have come to know the stunning performance capabilities and inspiring work ethic of these fantastic singers over the workshop period. We have some new team members since the workshop presentation; however, each artist along the way has made an indispensable contribution and has inspired me to become a better musician. This, to me, is the most rewarding aspect of the operatic collaborative adventure.”
Still curious? Check out FAWN Chamber Creative’s teaser video for l’homme et le ciel.
l’homme et le ciel plays December 3rd and 4th at 8pm at The Music Gallery, 197 John St., Toronto. For details and tickets, visit the box office links below. Bonus: after the show on the 4th, you can hear a live set by TOKKA, featuring BSMNT and Dr. Draw.