Learning about performance companies leaping into bold adventures and rediscovering the impulse of sharing their art in new creative ways has never been more welcome.
Opera Lafayette, a company known primarily for its performances of lost operatic masterworks staged in period costumes with accurately reconstructed choreography, has busted out of its well-accoutered walls and heads for the wide open spaces. Just imagining what Artistic Director Ryan Brown and company will discover has put a smile to my face. What a little fresh air can do!
October 9-11 performances of The Blacksmith (Le Maréchal ferrant) will take place at the Reddert Ranch, outside Mancos, Colorado. The historic Menefree Barn and Blacksmith Shop will serve as backdrop, and bales of hay will provide safely-distanced seating in the meadow. I imagine the late afternoon light carrying the audience through the delightful recasting of an 18th century French opéra comique.
Washington area director Nick Olcott has translated the work into English and worked with Founding Director Brown on the adaptation that updates and Americanizes the work, including audience sing-alongs with old-time folk “cowboy” numbers such as “I Ride an Old Paint” and “Red River Valley” from Library of Congress’ Alan Lomax Collection. Olcott also directs the work.
Maestro Brown will lead the cast for this production, which includes Dominique Côté(Marcel), Pascale Beaudin (Claudine), Sarah Shafer (Jeannie), Arnold Livingston Geis (Cody), Frank Kelley (Slim MacBride/Banjo), and Joshua Conyers (Eustis). The Blacksmith musicians feature Doug Balliet on contrabass and two-time champion of the International Finger Style Guitar Competition Adam Gardino on guitar and banjo.
Opera Lafayette, safely quarantining at the ranch in preparation, promises this to be a rollicking live production with local community instrumentalists participating. The company has also promised the production will come to this area in the future, but I am just as excited to see the streamed version this winter of what promises to be an idyllic performance en plein air.
Meanwhile, Maestro Ryan Brown, director Nick Olcott and the cast of The Blacksmith tease you with this.
For further information, visit OperaLafayette.org/the-blacksmith.