No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Steven Blier

A quick post-concert report as I bid farewell to this beautiful week. Overview: both shows went extremely well for the cast, who delivered the goods. The Sunday run took place in a black box theater that needed to be borrowed for the occasion due to renovations at Caramoor. Its dryness proved to be a challenge to be overcome. Yet the show went smoothly and faultlessly. The in-depth work we’d done on the songs gave the concert the kind of strength and subtlety I had hoped for.




 |  Steven Blier

I’m rarely cheerful the day before a show. I wish I had a bit of Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s infectious, nitrous oxide enthusiasm to lift everyone’s morale—especially mine. But I always feel as if I am being led in front of a firing squad, and I seem to give birth to concerts only after a lot of labor pains. Today’s pains weren’t only metaphorical. On the car trip from Manhattan to Katonah, there was a four-car traffic accident that could easily have turned into a five-car one, were it not for Michael Barrett’s quick reflexes and presence of mind.




 |  Steven Blier

This program takes its inspiration from an opera — Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte — and a movie, Max Ophuls’ La ronde, which was based on the hugely controversial play by Arthur Schnitzler, Reigen. Both works are about the disruptive interplay of love and lust, fidelity and libido, id and superego. In our concert two couples meet and fall in love, but the honeymoon fades. Soon the guys feel trapped and the women feel betrayed, and then all hell breaks loose.




 |  Steven Blier

Unlike most of the directors I’ve worked with in the recent past, Stephen has not had a lot of experience with the demands—and limitations—of the concert stage. Song repertoire is not his wheelhouse, and he has not worked much with classical singers. All of this turned out to be an advantage, not a deficit. It seemed to allow him to see everything with freshness and imagination.




 |  Steven Blier

One of the luxuries of the Vocal Rising Stars program is that I am encouraged to invite guest teachers in to work with the cast. But it wasn’t easy to locate the right people for this crazy multilingual program. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what I needed—should it be another musician, a director, an actor, a language coach? Early in February I had a few wonderful prospects on the hook, but they got other gigs and had to bow out. And then I remembered a very moving conversation I recently had with Bénédicte Jourdois in the Juilliard lobby.




 |  Steven Blier

This is our tenth anniversary at Caramoor—which means it’s my eleventh season as Artistic Director of the Vocal Rising Stars Program. I look forward to these residencies with a mixture of anticipation and fear. The work is intense, and the week’s success depends a lot on the chemistry of the cast. Not only do they […]




Coming from an Irish family, my earliest memories of hearing live music came from family parties. The ‘adults’ would each take turns singing a song a cappalla in the circle in the living room. And my great grandma – Nana Nana – somehow knew every song. I remember thinking “how could she know all of these songs. Some of them weren’t even in English?” I was fascinated.




 |  Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

A close friend of mine hosts lively dinner parties mixing exotic foods, unlikely pairings of people, and free flowing spirits. These convivial gatherings last late into the night, fueled by many elements including far reaching conversations. One night following a poignant memorial service, while ruminating on the musical choices of the service, we delved into the songs we’d want sung at our memorials.




 |  Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

Though it ran on Broadway for more than 4 years and was a commercial success, I’ve never met anyone else who saw The Magic Show, a Broadway musical from the 1970s starring magician Doug Henning. My mother took me to see it when I was 12-years-old, and the main thing I remember is that it included a song about WEST END AVENUE—the street I lived on!