sopraniCipriani - the life of an emerging soprano diva

The Salvage Men

On April 12 & 13 I was privileged to sing with the Apollo Chorus and the Poetry Foundation for their performance of Jeff Beal’s The Salvage Men written to poetry by Kay Ryan.

You may know some of Jeff Beal’s work from “House of Cards” or HBO’s “Rome.” The Salvage Men strays from his film work, but is just as brilliant.

Kay Ryan is a former United States Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer Prize winner. With a very to the point personality and eccentric humor, it was a beautiful experience to hear her read her own poetry out loud with brief commentary. Her four works Beal wrote music to include:

Spiderweb

Virga

Age

Salvage

He also used Oscar Wilde’s Suffering is one very long moment from his De Profundis as the first movement of his five movement work.

The experience of collaborating with these two institutions and two creative individuals was priceless. I have lived with this music for two years and to say it’s difficult is an understatement. All the hard work the chorus put into this piece was worth it to be able to perform it two years in a row. When we started rehearsals for The Salvage Men in 2016, I knew it would be a unique experience, but never expected to be able to meet both the poet and the composer.

Ryan mentioned that in between writing she rests. A lot. And with her comment came laughter from the audience, because who has time for that? Though initially I found humor in this, I must take the advice to heart. As a musician, I wear myself thin, working my day job, barely spending time to eat when I get home, and then quickly driving off to my rehearsals in the evening to arrive home too exhausted to sleep the insufficient hours I need to function the next day. I am terribly hard on myself when I don’t accomplish all I believe I am capable of in one day. I am impossible.

But rest refreshes and allows for creativity.

Permit time for the work to breathe might it asphyxiate.

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