Lisa Condit recently spoke with Adrien Finlay, executive director of Music Worcester, about several upcoming productions at the theatre this season. Read on for highlights from their interview, or listen to the full conversation below!
Lisa: It’s a big year for both of us. We’re celebrating ten, but your organization is celebrating 160! I really admire the work that you do at Music Worcester. What’s constant is the quality of the artistry and the technique of the artists that you book. Bravo!
Adrien: You took the words out of my mouth. We return to those key words: artistic excellence. In our way, we like to know that we are putting our resources to work in the best way that they can be put to work.
Lisa: You’re bringing great work to downtown Worcester. The one that kicks it off is Callas in Concert: The Hologram Tour. It’s so interesting how this has come to be.
Adrien: Here is a persona. Far more than a singer. She was the diva. Known the world over for several roles on opera stage, the long-term relationship with Onassis, American born, but of Greek ethnicity,. Passed away in the late ‘70s, but being brought back to life via hologram technology. Some listeners are wondering how the heck this is being done. Live orchestra on the stage of The Hanover Theatre, live conductor, and in front of those entities are a series of meshes and screens on which the image of Maria Callas, the 20th century diva, will be projected. She will be moving around the stage. Her vocal tracks will be piped in through the sound system and the orchestra and conductor will accompany her. We are in for a fantastic evening. I was hesitant to bring this to the Music Worcester programming committee and board. It is many things at once. There is a novelty aspect to it. There is some history of opera in this town, but it hasn’t been a part of Worcester in recent years. We felt there is a bit of a need for that. What better way to do it than with one of the names that is constantly associated with opera in the 20th century. We even have some supporters who saw her live in Boston on her last recital tour in 1977.
Lisa: In January, you have another interesting piece that you’re bringing to The Hanover Theatre: an arrangement of Bach’s masterpiece, The Goldberg Variations, and we have to talk about that. It is such a great show and is so different from what people are thinking it’s going to be.
Adrien: It’s so intriguing, and the intersection of so many things. First of all, I’ll start with the music. You will have the pianist Simone Dinnerstein on stage playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations. She performed this in recital in Worcester a few years ago and sold out, so it was natural for us to think about bringing it back here. She will also be, for the upcoming season, our first artist-in-residence. We are celebrating our 160th anniversary, not with a gala, but with increased outreach into our Worcester community. She self-started her career with a crowd sourced recording. It really put her on the map a couple of decades ago. She is one of the first to do it. She is Goldberg Variations.
Lisa: It feeds the inner dance, ballet and music in everybody. The next one in your schedule is the Russian National Ballet. They are returning by popular demand on March 22 with the timeless ballet classic, Swan Lake.
Adrien: We were invigorated by this company’s 2018 stop at The Hanover Theatre because they have completely redone all of their sets and productions. We are in for a new interpretation of this ballet, and we are looking forward to it.
Lisa: There is nothing like a fully staged ballet on our stage. The other show that will be a real treat is in March. It is with Natalie MacMaster. She is with Donnell Leahy.
Adrien: Known to so many, she is Cape Breton, Canadian. While so many put her as a Celtic fiddler, this is a husband and wife team and their family. You have Natalie and Donnell and their kids, all on stage. They are all performers. They are all dancers and fiddlers. This will be a milestone for the spring part of our season. It will have been six years since Natalie was here. I think Worcester has been waiting for her.
Lisa: My spirits are already soaring! It is always amazing to watch highly creative, talented people perform. When you add in that persona family dynamic of performing together, you see that joy. I know we are in for a big treat.