Sunday, January 31, 2010

On the road

On Friday morning, I got up early, squashed the last few items into my suitcase, drove to the hospital, handed in my loan car keys, did the morning ward round, handed out some boxes of thank-you chocolates and left for Timaru airport. Seven hours and three planes later, I was in Kerikeri in the Far North, being the “walker” on stage for Nimby Opera’s lighting plot.

Being “on tour” with an opera company (for one leg of their North island tour) has been both serene and fun. As was the case initially with the People in Your Neighbourhood tour last year, I feel I’m here on false pretences, as I’m not actually performing. ( I did actually perform at WOMAD in the end.) Some of my “Banana” poems have been turned into a song cycle by a Wellington composer (and friend), Robbie Ellis. The world premiere took place today, at a 140 year old Anglican Church, the Anglican Mission Church in Waimate North.

Robbie and I deliberately didn't communicate over the score and the first time I heard it was today. I admit to being a bit nervous, but I shouldn't have been. Robbie did a very sensitive job of interpretation and I even found myself in tears at the first song, which was about my grandmother's slow slide into dementia. The audience (mainly well heeled retirees) were quite responsive too, although the music wasn't always the "classical" fare they were used to (Robbies sudden appearance in a spiderman costume at the end of the last song bing a case in point).

Yet another type of collaboration I have experienced, now. It's exciting and rewarding.. though I can't help feeling like I did no work, seeing as most of the poems were written 2-3 years ago.

1 comment:

Harvey Molloy said...

Poems set to music--fantastic!