The first Production of Suitcase Opera is behind us! We had a small tour with Christmas Opera Amahl och Nattgästerna from G.C. Menotti. We had a great time organizing and performing in Örnsköldsvik, Skellefteå and Umeå. In every city we worked together with another chorus. Our young talented theater director for this project, Åsa Jönsson, worked a whole day with every chorus (they studied the music themselves) and it resulted in an performance open to audience the same evening! We are very grateful for the wonderful response we got from our audience, young and old. Next year we will go on tour again, we already have performances planned!
The project (- more information in Swedish) was our first ‘participation opera project’. It means that we work together with amateur choir singers in a further professional production, the idea is that the choir can learn from this new experience, so it’s actually an educational project. It gave us a lot of energy!
Every year Suitcase Opera will organize one or even two participation opera projects.
Magical Kings and me as the little crippled boy Amahl ( ©Marco Feklistoff)
I am relocated to the north of Sweden. Very different ground. Nature has a bigger influence here. The cold and dark in the winter and the flooding light in the summer makes your inside moves between extremes. From wanting to hibernate inside near the fire to not being able to sleep. It is a new experience for me to be an immigrant. It makes me think different about the subject, less lightly. Although Sweden is a very well organized and friendly society, very similar to the Netherlands, it seems still difficult to adjust to. The rules are clear but the unspoken and invisible parts of the Swedish culture, or any culture, are not. It’s like walking on eggs or a better metaphor for the surroundings: ice! At the same time that I’m learning a new language and finding my way in a new culture I am learning more about my own language and ways of expressing and the Dutch culture that formed me. Society is just a very refined set of morals and behaviors, interpretations and expectations. You learn by participating.
The first thing I learned: fika. An institute it is! Fika are all kinds of in-between-meals bites accompanied by tea or coffee. Fika should be shared but you don’t have to worry to indulge in it on your own. I just ate a thick slice of my self-baked bananacake (first cake I ever made without it collapsing! I obviously have time to bake cakes).
It’s exciting to be in a new place, especially as an artist. I have the possibility to re-invent myself since there is no network of expectations based on things I did before. I can choose and re-ask questions I have because new answers are possible. The downside is that I have to create a new network, and building this costs time and a ton of energy. The energy goes to many things like improving vocally and starting up Suitcase Opera Productions. I started this little opera company with my friend and singer Veronica. I always wanted to create something like this… and now is my chance. First project is a participation opera, a Christmas project. Soon more news about this project.
It’s springtime and things are looking bright outside, I better not forget to go there!
Valborgsfest! Spring celebration.
Who knew that creating websites, with or without WordPress, is such a creative thing to do. I am diving in the world of building and designing websites. This started with the urge of being independent, being able to make my new projects visible for people who are interested. What is better than a good webpage?
My most important project is www.suitcaseoperaproductions.com. And for my wonderful singersongwriter and allround artist friend Will Nolens, I’m creating the webpage www.willnolens.uk.
Soon I’ll start two new projects. I will try new things every time.
I keep you posted on my experiences.
Suitcase Music Productions had an update. The last year I started studying opera in the north of Sweden with my voice-teacher Jean-Ronald LaFond of the Kashu-Do voice studio. It was and still is a wonderful experience. LaFond teaches his students Tai-chi in the mornings. Together with the immens space of the nature in Sweden the Tai-chi brings more breath to the singing and space to learn to the mind.
Yesterday the mail came to confirm my place at the board of the Stichting Zokaites for Musical Creation! Of course we already started projects and planning. The first project is the Ghettoblaster Project. | www.ghettoblasterproject.com |
The Ghettoblaster Project, created by bass-trombone player Russ Zokaites, is a series of exciting performances combining contemporary classical music with recycled noise played through recycled boomboxes. Several composers were ivited to write the music for this project. The famous dutch composer Chiel Meijering just finished his piece for bass-trombone and ghettoblaster wall.
| Russ Zokaites (bass-trombone | Iris Gruber (saxophone) | Jordi Lensink (trumpet | Esther van Zijl (soprano) |
| Arend Gerds | Chiel Meijering | George Fetner | Inez McComas | Sasu Schildt | Joris Bolhaar |
The project challenges the idea of classical music by combining art with sound material from everyday life. As a result, noise pollution will be elevated into music and the public will have to reconsider how they listen to life. Not only are we challenging the music itself, but the way audience members can interact with music. The audience will have compositional control of one work through the use of a cell phone application. Performances will take place in art galleries and public spaces throughout the Netherlands in the month of May, with one performance scheduled in Phoenix, Arizona (United States of America).
Public spaces are overrun with sound pollution; cars, busses, bicycles, talking, and pop-music are ever present in our parks, playgrounds, squares, and markets. The Ghetto Blaster Project will combine noise pollution with live classical music, elevating music in our public spaces. Two walls of assembled boombox stereos will provide performances space for prerecorded sounds and a back drop for live acoustic music. The resulting musical playground will change the way people listen to everyday noise pollution.
“Have a suitcase heart, be ready to travel.” G. Zevin
The concerts of Train of Thought were wonderfull! We had a good time in Groningen, Amsterdam and Gouda. New venues will follow!