The Green Wood
A new chamber opera written and directed by David Samas
Friday, Saturday March 22, 23 at 8 PM
Sunday March 24 matinee at 2 PM
David Samas composed, directs and performs in his chamber opera, The Green Wood, a genre-bending, sonic romp through the world's forests. Songs and textures are familiar and otherworldly. The ensemble plays traditional instruments alongside invented, living instruments--some of which need watering. Bob Marsh plays contrabass; Doug Caroll, cello; Grace Renaud, piano; Peter Bonos, sound/invented instruments with soprano Laurie Amat and David Samas on vocals.
After having a minor stroke, David Samas, 33 years old with four children, set to work on his dream--an original, authentic sonic experience. It would be direct and intimate. It would be made of raw materials. It would give voice to the natural world. It would honor the forest spirit. It would be an opera!
The Green Wood contains composed songs, poetry with improvised strings, integrated electronics that play live loops and field recordings, and comprovised landscapes with animal songs. The fabricated instruments are assembled from natural objects such as driftwood, rocks, feathers and water. The main set piece bridges painting, sculpture and sound art. It houses a live dove nest, organ pipes and an amplifier which allow Samas' voice to resonate through it.
The forest soundscape evolves from the silence before dawn, through the ornate dawn call of the songbirds and voices of the rivers and trees, into the evening choir of frogs and wolves, ending in the stillness and reflection of the witching hours. The composer borrows from woodland cultures around the world; from the forests of Renaissance England to the jungles of India, Brazil and Bali to American and aboriginal backwoods music.
Mary Alice Fry met David as a musician in her production Honeycomb Zone this past fall on UN Plaza. Knowing Fry's background in promoting creative music, Samas invited her to his first draft of The Green Wood in October, 2012. She immediately invited him to further develop his unique vision as be part of the Footloose AIM: Artist in Motion residency program.