WHEN — 8 p.m. May 7
WHERE — Starr Theater on the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville
COST — $25
INFO — 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org
Matthew Aucoin’s modern opera “Second Nature” was commissioned to be carried out on the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago — clearly defining to the composer a small, brief piece written with youngsters in thoughts. Set 100 years from now, it is the story of two youngsters who uncover there’s a world exterior the artificially enclosed “Habitat” the place they have been confined all their lives.
In a video interview on YouTube, Aucoin says “inspiration on a deeper degree [came] from my very own consciousness that we’re messing up the planet.” Nature, he says, has been a relentless for writers all through human historical past — “the untouchable, superhuman pressure.” So what does it do to our myths after we understand we might have wounded it past therapeutic?
Aucoin’s opera involves Fayetteville May 7 as a part of the Walton Arts Center’s Artosphere celebration. It’s being offered by Opera Fayetteville, based by Tamara Ryan in 2012.
“I used to be over the moon after I realized there is perhaps an area for Opera Fayetteville [at the] Artosphere Festival this 12 months, however I used to be nervous it could be an actual problem to discover a modern chamber opera with an environmental theme,” says Ryan, herself a celebrated soprano who largely performs in Boston. “As it seems, Matthew Aucoin’s ‘Second Nature’ match the invoice completely!”
Starring Heather Jones and Brian Skoog, with stage route by Laura Shatkus, music route by Brendon Shapiro, and accompanied by members of the Opera Fayetteville Orchestra, “it is not simply attention-grabbing from an environmental perspective; it entails themes of emergence after a interval of confinement whereas nonetheless holding out hope for the longer term,” Ryan says. “Something we will all relate to now, I feel! It’s additionally hilarious, profound, and deeply touching. I’m so impressed with all of the emotional vary that’s packed right into a single hour.”
While Ryan spends most of her time in Boston, she says “Northwest Arkansas and modern opera are two of the nice loves of my life, and it has been my nice pleasure to get to mix them these final 10 years.
“When we left [Northwest Arkansas] after the final opera in 2020, we had no thought how lengthy we might must be away,” she says. “It actually made us understand how a lot we yearned to be right here. We’re a creative household, so our schedule varies rather a lot, however usually I get to do extra singing in Boston. When right here in Arkansas, I’m extra targeted on making opera occur from behind the scenes, which is fulfilling in one other sort of means. I like connecting with audiences by means of this very particular medium — whether or not onstage or backstage or on my laptop computer!”
“Children’s operas that adults can take pleasure in simply as a lot as their youngsters are uncommon sufficient nowadays,” critic John von Rhein wrote about “Second Nature” in the Chicago Tribune in August 2015. “Aucoin’s entertaining but considerate environmental parable deserves to make the rounds.
“One of probably the most in-demand composers of his technology, Aucoin is aware of tips on how to put collectively operas that performers are grateful to carry out however do not speak down musically to the listener,” von Rhein continued. “‘Second Nature’ was my first encounter along with his freely tonal musical idiom, and I discovered the rating absorbing and ingenious, with its ideas of Debussy right here, neoclassical Stravinsky there, however all of it very a lot Aucoin’s personal.”
“I’m not naive in the case of the influence of fairy tales on how we truly behave,” Aucoin says. “They inform us about our flaws however [that] would not truly change them. Of course, I hope it deepens individuals’s consciousness — and I hope it introduces individuals to the artform in a means that feels recent.”