Una Danza de Amor
Chamber opera in one act
Libretto by Andrea Fellows Walters adapted from interviews with Jennie Garcia
Part of the Lifesongs Project Commissions sponsored by the Santa Fe Opera Company
circa 14″ in duration
An elegant old woman, at the end of her life, recounts a life of dancing with her husband
Jennie, an old woman now, begins her recollections by telling us how she met her husband on the dance floor. They were married in the midst of the second world war, and soon after the wedding ceremony, Vincent is inducted as a soldier. He returns to their life together, there were many children. Later on, Vincent is suspected of having an affair, and Jennie prepares to take leave of him. She composes a song entitled ‘This is Goodbye’. They are reconciled, but he never forgets the pain he caused her, though he also never admits to any indiscretion. In their later life, he awakes her for breakfast, and before eating they have another dance together.
Violin, Cello, and Piano
Notes from the composer about the LifeSongs Project
For a composer, the LifeSongs project presents an interesting challenge. I wish I could say that it was as simple as being handed a text to set to music, come what may. But the task of rendering artistically and musically the song of someone’s life is a daunting one. For often in working together, the artist and subject must step a little further into the dark than they had anticipated. For me, the manner of working falls somewhere on a spectrum between objective portraiture and direct facilitation. The process can’t be only one or the other, it has to be both, though the measure of each will surely vary. In this type of collaborative art making a submission to an unpredictable give and take is necessary in the creation of that which is authentic and communicative. And one goal of a LifeSong is that in some way it might serve as a wellspring in which all of us can find inspiration and instruction.