A few days before the world premiere, we talk to conductor Kwamé Ryan about the unique musical mix in The Time of Our Singing, his collaboration with composer Kris Defoort, and what it means to bring this immensely relevant opera to life in this day and age.
The bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner behind The Time of Our Singing would have loved to attend the world premiere of this opera adaptation. The promotional obligations surrounding his latest novel Bewilderment decided otherwise. A planned encounter with the author thus became an extended Zoom conversation that deserves to be shared here in its entirety - despite the occasional internet glitch and subpar pixel quality.
In this programme text, conductor Kwamé Ryan dissects from a personal point of view the topic of multi-ethnic identity and the musical eclecticism in The Time of Our Singing.
In The Time of Our Singing, Abigail Abraham plays Ruth Daley, a character at the crossroads of various musical influences. We followed the singer during a jam session at Kris Defoort's home and talked to her about her connection with Ruth.
In The Time of Our Singing, the US writer Richard Powers describes how, against the backdrop of post-war segregation in his country, a racially mixed family is both united and pulled apart by music. The novel inspired Kris Defoort for his magnum opus. We paid the Belgian composer a visit, to discuss this La Monnaie commission in the company of his librettist Peter van Kraaij.