Beginning on April 13, 45th Parallel presents Promise for four shows only – two at the historic Ainsworth House and Gardens in Oregon City; two at the Scottish Rite Center in Portland. The Libretto and Music are written by Theresa Koon, the work is directed by Kevin Yell and conducted by David Hattner.
Camille Claudel was a risk-taking artist in France who studied with the famous Rodin in Paris during the late 1800s. This operatic drama and movement hybrid travels through her life as a sculptor, lover, sister, daughter and the artist she became. Although most known for her progressive, sensual and autobiographic works, Claudel haunts history for destroying many of her own sculptures. Her life, and eventual unraveling, is threaded through her close relationship with her brother, the famous writer and diplomat, Paul Claudel. Theresa Koon's passionate portrait paints Claudel's tumultuous struggle with her family, her affair with Rodin and her burning inner conflict of whether or not to allow her creativity out in the world.
"I think of Promise as a psychological drama that can come alive most vividly by using an innovative palette of disciplines, "said Kevin Yell, Director. "While grounded in opera, it is best described as musical theatre in an operatic style, that also employs four dancers as models, sculptures, giving literal "body" to Camille's mental and emotional journey."
Theresa Koon began her journey with Promise 16 years ago. Subsequently, she found a childhood connection to the Claudels and met with the family for additional research. Promise was workshopped under a private grant at Nautilus Music Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2003. A development workshop of the play was held in 2004, in Portland, Oregon. In 2006, a concert version of Promise was presented at the Detroit Institute of Art as part of a Claudel/Rodin retrospective. That same year, it was given a concert style production at the National Opera Association Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Promise was recently awarded a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council for further development.
"In exploring the story of Camille Claudel, I was fascinated by a quality of radiant stillness in her work, combined with an atmosphere of spiritual eroticism--a combination I had never seen before," said librettist and composer Theresa Koon. "I wanted to understand what moved Camille to destroy her art and withdraw it from the world. What did that say about the society in which she lived?"
Tickets: $20 adults/$15 Students/Seniors at www.boxofficetickets.com
More info: www.promisetheopera.wordpress.com