UPDATE: As promised here is a video overview (including interview with myself and Jordan) of week two at Tete a Tete, the hit opera festival.
Here's a rather avant-guard edit of a bootleg video of the show.
And here's a review from nobody's favorite weekly,
The Stage. Yes, really.
"In Jordan Hunt and JohnJoseph Bibby’s straightforwardly comic Golden Years, aging soprano Lavinia Greengarden - effectively Hyacinth Bouquet cast as a parochial opera starlet - has a violent intolerance of pre-show bonbons, causing her apparently to pop her clogs just before a crucial performance for the local light opera society in the presence of the local arts-funding tsarina. At the last minute, Lavinia’s faithful friend Toots Mulholland is thrust into the limelight, later joined in a triumphant duo as Lavinia recovers. Jordan Hunt sets the quick-fire text with skill, taking Britten as his benchmark. While in some ways unambitious, the piece is well executed and genuinely, if lightly, entertaining."
Gee thanks guys.
Sarah Kershaw as Toots Mulholland and Katherine Broderick as Lavinia Greengarden
My hit libretto "Golden Years" finally got what it deserved, a full staging at the Tete a Tete festival. The masterpiece that I created with composer/performer/biohazard Jordan Hunt, had been shown previously in a horribly butchered form, but this time it really shone - in the way that only an operetta about grandmothers eating too many dolly mixtures and feeling a little queer can. And here's the evidence, as seen by Claire Shovelton.
Olivia Duque as Nora Queensway
Working on this project, in a directorial capacity was a very new, very different challenge for me. We had very little time, and obviously absolutely no resources. Luckily we were given rehearsal space (in a primary school, which I thought was most fitting) and we had a cast of absolute gems to work with in Sarah Kershaw, Katherine Broderick, Olivia Duque, Karen O'Novak and Jordan Hunt himself. Not only were the performers beautiful singers, actresses and musicians, but they were a total delight to work with, accommodating, inventive, flexible, diligent.
If I'm honest I didn't expect to enjoy directing, I am horribly impatient and can barely watch a show without deconstructing it, let alone sitting through the same show for four days! However, I quickly became enamored of the process, the capacity to oversee the piece from such a point of objectivity I had never been able to hold when putting together work which I was to perform. In the director's role one becomes a sort of fixer upper of disjointed movements and unclear stage dressings, and it's super exciting to spot those problems and know that you can fix them.
I was nervous to begin with but the cast showed such a charming confidence in what I was doing, that, even though they are by far more experienced in this type of production than I am, I felt totally capable of saying what I really thought should happen. No bruised egos, no demanding divas, just dedication and professionalism regardless of the almost total lack of financial remuneration, and in spite of the fact that really the whole piece is ever so slightly absurd.
Toots and Lavinia with Jordan Hunt as Jeremy Patent-Leather
Of course the whole project was so markedly different from the show I'd been performing in myself this month ("Underclass Hero"), and I think that contrast was probably very helpful in dealing with the post-show fall out. Moving onto something light hearted and fun, after such a dark, heavy piece was a good way to regain equilibrium.
Jeremy and Toots bring it home
Tete a Tete were also very helpful, as were the staff at the Riverside Studios, and as always Jordan was marvelously prescient in his multi-tasking. There was a lovely family feel to it all by the time the show was actually on the stage for the first time, and dashing about to get Sarah's pre-show Dutch courage, or having a last minute sprinkle of talc on someone's wig, I felt really a part of something. Watching the show both nights I thought to myself how lucky I was to have this experience, to watch what I'd written float off into orbit like that. It was one of those occasions when one can hardly believe that this is actually one's own life. There's now talk of this piece going to a very prestigious venue (like, the most prestigious) this Autumn, and if that happens I'll probably die laughing.
Hit photographer Claire Shovelton with the hit composer and the hit librettist.
There's an interview and footage coming soon, so stay posted for that lover.