MODEL LOVE: Not Your Grandmother’s Song Cycle (a.k.a. The Orgasm Post)

September 28, 2011

NOTE: This post has been rated NSFW: Not Safe For Work

(But then again, you shouldn’t be reading this at work, should you?)

While perusing Facebook and cozying up to my coffee cup yesterday morning, I stumbled upon a friend’s enthusiastic endorsement of Nicole Daedone’s TEDxSF talk “Orgasm: The Cure for Hunger in the Western Woman.” I immediately thought of MODEL LOVE. Had the Lovers in our song cycle practiced what Ms. Daedone preached, I wouldn’t find myself singing lines like these:

Men folk tell of a fabled creature 

called the female orgasm

It comes in the night

and it’s so enormous

it makes your hair stand on end and your toes curl.

Men folk enact a strange dance

to conjure up the spirit of the mythical beast,

but this usually brings forth only the male of the species

which is smaller and thought to resemble a slug 

due to its sticky trail.

We don’t know much about who this woman is or where she comes from, but in songs like “Prehistoric Courtship,” we see what she has in common with both of her male Model Lovers: a frustrated desire to connect coupled with the inability to do so. Left unsatisfied after both men have climaxed, her vocal line rises with longing and pent-up rage, before descending to its sad conclusion:

It is said the beast could be brought forth

if the men-folk didn’t engage in the preliminary

twelve pints of lager ritual

…but that’s old wives’ tales.

Schumann recognizing a woman in desperate need of a song cycle.

In case it isn’t clear yet, let me give it to you straight: MODEL LOVE is not your grandmother’s FRAUENLIEBE UND -LEBEN.

In fact, there are some surface similarities between the two song cycles: both works are composed of eight songs. Both begin with a piece about the marvel and mystery of attraction. And both come to an end as the singer confronts painful realities about a long-held dream of love and relationship. But, where Schumann’s Frau sings sincerely of the joys of marriage and motherhood, the Men and Woman of MODEL LOVE have a very different story to share: of the darkness of hungers long-unexpressed and what happens when we forget how to connect.

Has Ms. Daedone uncovered the cure for the insatiable hunger that lurks within?  We don’t pretend that MODEL LOVE can answer that question, but we do plan on giving you one hell of a good show.

See you Sunday…

Rose


Behind the scenes photos from Model Love – Sep 21, 2011

September 22, 2011

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The Enticement of Hollows & Shadows: MODEL LOVE Gets Up on Its Feet

September 17, 2011
Rosalie Sullivan

"wildirishrose99"

Greetings from the front lines! The premiere of David Jackson‘s song-cycle MODEL LOVE is a mere two weeks away. As you can imagine, we Model Lovers have been hard at work for some time preparing this piece for its debut at the Kaplan Penthouse on October 2nd. Much of that preparation was done in isolation: days and nights spent learning vocal lines, pulling apart texts, counting complex rhythms (insert this mezzo’s gratitude for the creators of the visual metronome who helped restore my ability to learn polyrhythms), and (in one instance earlier this week) memorizing a trio while on the elliptical machine at the gym! Last night was therefore a particularly gratifying moment, as the cast gathered for our first staging rehearsal.

“There is miracle in personality” sings our tenor, Jeremy Little, in the cycle’s opening number. It is a song about the mystery of attraction, an attempt to explain that unmistakable spark that arises in a moment and draws us inexorably to another person. Getting these songs up on their feet last night, I felt something of that magic: how satisfying it was to finally begin physicalizing together what had previously only existed as a collection of notes and words in my mind! Questions I’ve had for weeks began to be answered, as we three fumbled and found our way, putting flesh on Henry Normal’s heady texts and creating emotional connections for ourselves under the expert guidance of our director, Crystal Manich.

There was something of this sensation when we came together for our first musical run-through a few weeks ago: we all remarked how much easier the music became when we could hear and play off of each other. What pleasure there was in feeling the sound gel and savoring those delicious moments of dissonance that pepper David’s vocal writing! With each successive rehearsal, we add a new layer, the piece makes more sense, and I am increasingly excited to see where we will wind up.

Tomorrow we’re in for another treat as we sit in on the first orchestra rehearsal: so many new colors and textures to enjoy!  “The enticement of hollows and shadows” indeed … how lucky we are to go exploring in their depths!

More to come soon…

Rose


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