After talking to Director Brian Staufenbiel, Conductor Nicole Paiement, and composer Tarik O’Regan, Molly Collin of San Francisco Classical Voice gives a descriptive and fascinating preview of Opera Parallèle’s production of Heart of Darkness.
Up River With Opera Parallèle’s Heart of Darkness
by Molly Colin
In a section of a cavernous converted airplane hangar on Alameda is a small studio filled with items at home in a natural history diorama. Shafts of sunlight pour over the modular walls of the studio, where artist Jon Altemus walks past an uncompleted tree trunk and picks up a faux elephant tusk painted mottled gray. “They could be used as a tool,” suggests Altemus, handing it to Brian Staufenbiel, creative director of San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle
Staufenbiel nods. “As well as the boat,” he says, examining the tusk, fashioned from plywood sandwiched between foam shards, adding, “and maybe some of the stations on the river.” He is mentally running through his production design for the company’s upcoming North American premiere of Heart of Darkness by British composer Tarik O’Regan and librettist Tom Phillips.
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