The following is an interview prepared by Olivia Savage to be published in the NVO Opera Website:
Olivia Savage: What do you think the audience will most enjoy musically about each of our operas this season?
Carlos Andrés Botero: Although I consider both pieces great examples of music, each of them offers quality in it’s own merits. Ile sets long melodies and daunting harmonies accompanying each character in their emotional journey. Cosmic Ray creates from the beginning a sense of excitement, filled with irregular patterns and sharp turns, never quite dropping the attention of the audience.
OS: What do you find most challenging about conducting World Premiere operatic pieces?
CAB: Certainly the lack of role models. Through the hands of many performers throughout history, pieces seem to decant and shine into our ears with a clear voice. When one is the first one to perform a work, everything is new and everyday the challenges and rewards of exploring uncharted territory are lived through.
OS: What do you think is the greatest benefit of performing contemporary opera versus performing pieces that have been standard repertoire for many years?
CAB: There is higher chance to be relevant to our audience with contemporary music. Every piece, with very few exceptions, is composed in the cultural and historical reality of it’s own time. Sometimes that context is one more element of the piece, and once you are disconnected from it you run the risk of losing the attention of your public because your art is not relevant to them anymore.
OS: Ile and Cosmic Ray are drastically different in style and subject. Do you think that they share any themes in common, musically or otherwise?
CAB: It would be really difficult to find two pieces that were more different from each other, that is why I think it is so fascinating to have them together in the same night.
OS: What is your favorite musical moment in each piece and why?
CAB: In Ile, when the ice around the ice starts to break and the ship is finally free to move. Ezra has constructed a marvelous moment when all the motivations of the characters seem to collide, rushing into the vacuum created by the ice.
In Cosmic Ray, the mood provided by the chorus in the overture, and its contrast with the 3 scribes always remains in my head for several hours after every rehearsal.
OS: Anything else you’d like to say about the shows, the rehearsal process, or NVO?
CAB: Even though it has brought to everyone involved challenges beyond our initial idea, it is always my privilege to see so many extremely talented musicians pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones in order to direct their artistry towards excellence. I draw my satisfaction from seeing this process happening in my colleagues, for it is quite inspirational. Because of that, I know there is a big chance everyone is going to enjoy the show!