I Am a Fledgling Librettist

So I outed myself tonight at Le Poisson Rouge – a better place there could not have been for me to do so. A dear friend brought me to see “Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? A Love Story” which was in development at InsightALT. The composer, Jeffrey Dennis Smith & Librettist, David Johnston introduced us to the story and David read us the set description putting us all squarely into a place and time. From there we were taken on a trip from Manhattan to Queens and into the hellish mind of a man on the verge. I have seen my share of opera this season and most of it – forgive me my dear MetOpera – has left me terribly unengaged, impatient, tired and full of doubt. Tonight’s performance with Tenor, Keith Jameson, and conductor, Brian Demaris, drew me in, wrapped me around its little finger and left me slack jawed. American Lyric Theater restored my faith in this amazing art form and re-enrolled me into possibilities of my own.

So my friend who just entered the great Quinquagenerian sisterhood (aka: she’s 50 now) has her own rock band, The Dysorderlies. She knows I have this thing for opera so she brought me to tonights performance. I confessed to her that I am, in fact, working on a libretto though it is in no way organized nor ready for anything. In fact, said libretto is scattered about my apartment. I have character notes scribbled down on various legal pads, arias sketched out in note books, duets keyed in on my iPad, plot scenarios penned onto bits of scrap paper piling up next to my bed… I’m typically an organized woman and I certainly know what this opera is in my mind but sure-as-hell no one else would be able to figure it out.

I have great desire to write librettos. I understand that opera occurs within the spaces in our mind where time and reality distort. Opera captures how we feel; lets us experience love & hate, shows us how we grow and die. I have a great desire to write and enough fear to sabotage my own efforts. Ah, to be human. Well, tonight, putting both feet into the opera world I declared myself like a giddy school girl to be a “fledgling librettist.” Yes that is me – Marianna Mott Newirth the fledgling librettist as naive as a freshman at NYU and as hopeful as a tourist in Times Square.

Making a declaration like this is bold and silly ‘cause once its out there and everyone goes, “wow, that’s cool” then it just hangs in the air waiting for a satisfying conclusion. Truth is – the conclusion is years away while I pull all the bits and scraps and files together into some cohesive whole. Then I present it so that it can be pulled completely apart again. But that is my road. I am a fledgling librettist. Sounds positively operatic. Time to get back to work.

Toi, toi, toi

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