I first visited Taos in June 2010 while filming my multimedia piece The Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe and the New Mexico Landscape. On that trip, I spent a night at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House: a historic home turned into a B&B.
It was there that my interest in Luhan, a memoirist and influential patron of the arts, was first piqued. Who was this glamorous, eccentric character who attracted Georgia O’Keeffe, D.H. Lawrence, Ansel Adams, Willa Cather, and countless other Modernist luminaries to her salons?
And wouldn’t she be a fantastic subject for an opera?
Fast forward to 2016. I am honored to have been awarded a Residency Grant from The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, an arts colony in Taos, where I will be for most of June through August. During this time, I’ll be working primarily on my opera based on the life and memoirs of Mabel Dodge Luhan.
I’m thrilled beyond words to have the privilege of spending ten weeks living and working in this artistic haven, situated in the scenic multicultural environment of Taos that inspired many of my favorite works of art and formed the heart of Luhan’s life and legacy.
Following this residency, my opera-in-progress will receive two exciting showcases in two very different venues!
On August 12, I will present an evening of excerpts from my opera in piano score at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos. Visit the Museum’s website for more information. This event will be presented in connection with Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company: American Moderns and the West, a major traveling exhibition that explores Luhan’s impact on the art, writings, and activism of 20th century American Modernism.
The exhibit, and my opera, just received some great coverage in New Mexico Magazine.
Back in New York City, this same project will be featured on AOP’s Six Scenes on September 30 & October 2, the culminating performance of Composers & the Voice.
Six Scenes will feature excerpts from six operas by the emerging composer and librettist fellows in the Composers & the Voice program. After the outstanding performances on the First Glimpse concert earlier this month (recordings forthcoming), I can’t wait to hear what AOP’s resident ensemble of singers and music directors will do with my score.
Bringing Mabel Dodge Luhan to Life through Opera
August 12, 2016, 5:30pm
Harwood Museum of Art
238 Ledoux Street, Taos, NM 87571
Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
September 30 & October 2, 2016, 8:00pm
South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217