Wednesday, August 24, 2005

R. Murray Schafer's The Enchanted Forest

"R. Murray Schafer's outdoor extravaganza The Enchanted Forest, opening its third production (since 1994) tonight at a new venue -- the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, near Ontario's Algonquin Park -- has been in intensive rehearsal for some weeks, with Schafer constantly at the site, deeply and personally involved in every aspect of the production.... The work follows the search for an abducted child by her companions and their encounters with a White Stag, a Wolf, a Marshhawk, a Shapeshifter and other forest denizens and deities on 12 different stages in the forest, the audience migrating through the trees from one to another....

"I was a choir boy myself [Schafer notes]. I know voices and choirs and how to write for them. I'm very fond of these pieces and of the string quartets.... You have a sense of your own value, and you hope your works will survive. But as I age what I would rather do is keep my 'inspiration' to the end, my ability to conceive things. Performances, recordings, a place in the permanent repertoire are desirable, of course, but for me, they slope away from the central thrill of conception."

Schafer's remarkable conceptions have never lacked for audiences. Big North American opera houses would do themselves some lively good if they would bear this in mind and invite Schafer back indoors to push the envelope of opera in our time the way Wagner and Verdi did in theirs. He is certainly the one who could do it."

Ken Winters "Grab your boots and baton" The August 24, 2005 via

"A fine example of eighteenth-century Russian Classicism, the Semenovskoe-Otrada Palace is probably one the largest non-royal residences in Russia and is certainly the largest in the Moscow region. The estate was founded by the brother of Count Grigory Grigorievich Orlov (1734–1783), the famous co-conspirator of Catherine the Great who helped her seize the throne of the Russian Empire. The palace interior was painted in the 1830s by renowned Russian artist Karl Brullov. Édouard André, one of the best-known French landscaper architects of the late-nineteenth century, designed the palace park. The estate mausoleum in which the Orlov brothers are buried was built in late Empire style by the Italian architect Zhilardi. The estate was almost completely restored at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union but has since fallen into dereliction and is continually attacked by vandals and looters."

Photo and text credit: World Monuments Fund, New York City.


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