Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vitality - work and collaboration

Tonight I enjoyed a double privilege: being interviewed about my work, and seeing someone I'd only know socially be engaged in her own work with skill, enjoyment, and vitality. For the first part, we are now just under a month away from the premiere of the opera Chris and I have been working on. We are so lucky that the opera is not only going to have a two-performance premiere in the town the opera takes place in, but we will also have a three-performance run in the Twin Cities. For a new American opera, this is incredible, and we are thrilled.

I know this sounds terribly geeky, but I take real pleasure in watching someone work, when that person really enjoys her, or his, work, and especially when I know the person, but not at all in a professional capacity. The woman who interviewed us, and who will be putting together a 30-minute radio program about the opera complete with clips from rehearsals, is someone I know through a friend and have seen at a handful of social occasions. It was fun to see her at work, to see that side of her - especially because she clearly enjoys and is good at what she does.

The opera project has, from the beginning, been a collaboration between Chris and I, between our composer-librettist team and the producer, and now expanding to include the singers, the instrumentalists, the production team. And now expanding again to include another creative person. I can't wait to see how she puts together the things we said with the other interviews she conducted and the songs - how she, in essence, orchestrates her program.

Collaboration can be hard work. Chris and I are lucky in that we already collaborate on so much in building our lives together, and so when we come to a project like the opera, we know how each other works. We know we can trust each other. We know what each others best work looks and sounds like. We have this now built in - instead of having to build it from scratch while the project is ongoing (I've done that - it can be painful and frustrating when it doesn't come easily or when the partners are mismatched). And, when collaboration works - in any field, the arts, business, a family - it energizes every part of the project. This is also what I find exciting about that happens in the classroom, when things are really working.


Doc G said...

Like Like LIke!!!

Snickollet said...

So excited for you and Chris, and I love your observations about collaboration and work in general.