|Maybe Stockhausen next? Foreman and Zorn's "Astronome"|
It's not exactly Tosca, but Astronome--a collaboration between MacArthur-genius director Richard Foreman and MacArthur-genius composer John Zorn--is an opera of sorts. In the piece, currently playing at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Foreman's funhouse mindscape animates Zorn's cacophonous, amusing, semi-headbanging score. Our reviewer, Tom Sellar, describes the production as "a head rush and a quick trip to the sublime." A compliment, indeed, so we thought we'd ask Foreman a few questions about his innovative new project.
How did your collaboration with John Zorn come about?
About four summers ago, turning the corner on Broadway and Houston, there's John. We greet each other (when John first appeared in New York, he used to spend lots of time hanging out at my loft theater at Broadway and Broome--even answering the phone!--so we've known each other for over 30 years). John says, "What are you up to," and I say, "I'm going to L.A. To do an opera with music by Michael Gordon (What to Wear)--but what about you, John, why don't you write me an opera?" And John says--"But I can't write music for words, the best I can do is an opera in Vocalise." "OK, do that. I'll stage it." John tells me he didn't believe me at first, but over the next two years I would ask him every couple of months, "Where's my opera?" So finally he calls me up one day, "Hey, Richard--I did the opera. We're doing a concert version in England. Then it'll come out as a CD on my Tzadik label and you can hear it."
So another couple of months, I get to hear it. It's very aggressive for much of its length, and I immediately think, "What the hell can I do with this unrelenting blast of music?" (John tells me recently he never expected me to agree to stage it after hearing it!) More »