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An Interactive Chamber Opera
by Michael Park
World Premiere by Vancouver's Erato Ensemble
Saturday, October 10 8:00pm
The Orpheum Annex, Vancouver, BC
William George (tenor) as Charlie, and Melanie Adams (mezzo-soprano) as The Narrator.
Dory Hayley (soprano), Cathleen Gingrich (mezzo-soprano), Peter Alexander (baritone), Nina Horvath (piano), Jeff Pelletier (flute), Julie Begg (clarinet), Yun Jung (violin), Stefan Hintersteininger (cello), and Kevin Zakresky (conductor)
Diagnosis: Diabetes is the story of Charlie and his life with diabetes.
When first diagnosed, he and parents were hit with an onslaught of information that proves to be too much to handle. While Charlie is too young to understand the complexity of the situation, his parents wrestle with how this changes their lives, and whether or not it’s their fault.
As he grows up, Charlie wrestles with how much he will disclose in his daily life. In what might be the most important meeting of his career, he puts his own health at risk in order to save face in front of his boss and co-workers. On a road trip with one of his oldest friends, he realizes there’s something wrong with his vision. Later, at the eye doctor’s, he is diagnosed with his first real complication. The severity of the diagnosis doesn't even matter – his life is no longer carefree. Charlie is forced to confront whether or not he is willing to make changes to his lifestyle now for the benefit of what seems to be the distant future.
But in Diagnosis: Diabetes, Charlie doesn't have control over what happens next... the audience does! As the world's first interactive opera, the audience answers questions about diabetes as part of their own diabetic experience. How well they do affects Charlie's outcome in each following scene.
Michael Park is a composer and pianist with a keen interest in speech, humour, and collaboration. His music aims to give audiences an experience beyond the realm of traditional concert-going.
Heralded for his innovative projects, his Ted Talk Experiencing Disease Through Music has been described as moving, haunting, and an amazing translation of the disease. In 2013, his opera, Diagnosis: Diabetes was awarded the Gold Medal and BMO Advocacy Award, by the Boston Metro Opera’s International Composer’s Competition.
An accomplished pianist, Michael’s experiences with improvisation and multi-disciplinary collaboration led him to studies in composition. He is a founder and co-director of Art Song Lab, an innovative program that teams composers with poets. He also sits on the board of directors for Vancouver’s Redshift Music Society.
ERATO is an art-song chamber collective formed in 2006. Erato’s mission is to preserve the art-song tradition while creating new works in the genre (often by Vancouver-based composers), and to advance the public's appreciation of the arts by providing high-quality artistic performances in public places. What makes Erato unique is the mixing of solo vocal music with unexpected instrumentation. Erato's core ensemble features Soprano, Tenor, Piano, Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, and Guitar. We also regularly feature other instruments and voice types as needed for specific repertoire. The ensemble fills a necessary role in the local artistic life of the city, and includes some of the top musicians in the Vancouver area (featuring members of the Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Chamber Choir, and UBC and VSO faculty, among others).
Besides Erato's own concerts, the ensemble has been featured with Vancouver New Music, Vancouver Pro Musica, Vancouver International Song Institute, Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, CMC's New Music in New Places, The Roedde Museum, Queer Arts Festival, and In The House Festival.