American Affairs

Above photos from top to bottom (left and right): John Adams (composer) and J. Robert Oppenheimer (inspiration for Doctor Atomic), André Previn (composer) and Tennessee Williams (author of A Streetcar Named Desire), Sung Jin Hong (composer) and Sylvia Plath (author of Edge), John Harbison and F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of The Great Gatsby), Samuel Barber and W. H. Auden (author of Promiscuity, The Praises of God, and The Monk and His Cat).

Opening Chords from American Affairs

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“If Myrtle and I met for drinks at Happy Hour, we might begin our conversation with the complaint, “He stopped today for gas in a new yellow car, but he didn’t stop for me!” Everyone can relate to waiting around even after the first signs of a lover’s disinterest, hoping that if they just give it some time, their fairytale will eventually come true. For me, Myrtle’s aria perfectly captures the frenetic anticipation of waiting to hear from a man and the emotional roller coaster that ensues as I feed my false hopes with futile fantasies. The audience should come experience One World Symphony’s American Affairs in order to satisfy their lust for drama and intrigue through captivating contemporary music, as opposed to spending hours in front of the television or listening through their neighbor’s thin walls.” — Eva Sun, Myrtle in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby

“I was very excited when Sung Jin contacted me with the idea to set Sylvia Plath’s final poem Edge to music. Collaborating with composers is one of the most enjoyable things I get to do as a singer and musician. I often think of those singers that worked directly with Mozart or Schubert, and then think that I may have worked with the contemporary version of them already in my lifetime. Incredible! Fostering and supporting this generation’s composers is so important because they are documenting our world’s experiences through sound. I believe Sung Jin’s decision to set Edge is significant because it asks us, as listeners, to grapple with the hard reality of depression in our American culture. Pulitzer Prize winner Sylvia Plath suffered from depression for much of her life and survived countless suicide attempts before succumbing to her final attempt at the age of 30, recently divorced and the mother of two young children. She is not alone — about one in every four American adults will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Sadly, it will touch us all, but hopefully not as tragically as it touched the lives of those who knew Sylvia Plath.” — Sara Paar, Sung Jin Hong’s Edge

In this soft place/under your wings/I will find shelter/from ordinary things… To these lines by Toni Morrison set to song by André Previn, I have listened repeatedly, and believe that Blanche Dubois might have liked to do the same. Some how the floating tones soothe against that which the words imply: things are not within our control; we cannot hold onto them, nor people. Sometimes the only shelter to be found lies in the arms of fantasy. Many of the characters in One World Symphony’s American Affairs experience a twisting of the dream. Forces within and around them push toward tragic ends. After intolerance and violence drive her from the ordinary world, I find myself hoping that soft blue delusion holds comfort for Blanche, one for whom the harshness of the real world was too bright.” — Heather Green, Blanche in André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire

“This gritty, gripping presentation of the remorse shown by Dr. Oppenheimer in response to the enormous destruction ‘his’ atomic bomb caused, sinks deep into my heart. John Adams’s decision to use John Donne’s Divine Meditation 14 as the text for the aria is absolutely brilliant in that it captures the push and pull between acting in one’s personal (the United States’) interest and to do something for the greater good of mankind or in the eyes of God. I think we can all relate to the difficulty and struggle in having to make decisions that that cause us to weight heavily on what is ‘right’ and what is right for us. The orchestration and fiendishly difficultly melody, full of passionate high notes, reflects the weight and the grandness of the doctor’s dilemma and remorse. It cuts right to the soul. But don’t take my word for it, come hear it live for yourself! You won’t be disappointed.” — Douglas Jabara, J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams’ Doctor Atomic

“Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is considered one of the best in 20th century American literature. Set close to 100 years ago, we can still identify today with Daisy, Tom, and Jay and their emotions: greed, jealousy, love, revenge, and misunderstanding. Daisy, a shallow and self-absorbed flapper, sings Where is the old, warm world? to her cousin Nick, lamenting how her husband Tom mistreats her. She has become wealthy, but misses the world of her youth (including her romance with Jay Gatsby). In today’s world, everything is more convenient, but we’re working harder than ever. We look back nostalgically on our childhoods, high school sweethearts, first loves. I think that’s one of life’s ironies: I feel like I’ve learned more and I have more things I want, but sometimes I look back to a time of less responsibility, and I think I might have been happier then. Just for today, let One World Symphony sweep you up in remembering the past, and look back on the sweet golden haze of our youth.” — Hongkyung Kim, Daisy in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby

“As I listen to Kitty’s Oppenheimer’s Am I in your light, I’m thinking if there’s something so beautiful as that music, or Bach, or Bloch, or Bizet, there must be divine, loving and giving live energy in the universe able to cancel out the madness of Doctor Atomic.” — Gulnara Mitzanova, Kitty Oppenheimer in John Adams’ Doctor Atomic

Sunday, May 19, 2013
Holy Apostles Church

Monday, May 20, 2013
Holy Apostles Church