PASSION with Tropes: Conceptualizing the Interdisciplinary Presentation

Digital Art by Margaret Dolinsky, Copyright 2011

I am in the middle of production for a new interdisciplinary version of Don Freund’s PASSION with Tropes that I will conduct on May 20 and 21, 2011, in Bloomington, Indiana.  Originally composed in 1983 as a sprawling oratorio with staged components, PASSION with Tropes has been reborn in a second version suitable for interdisciplinary treatment. Composer Don Freund agreed to revisit this magnum opus of his, after I came to him with the initiative to present it under an immersive and interactive perspective. The whole process has allowed me to examine  ideas and methods for interdisciplinary presentation that I have studied in the last few years. It is fascinating to see how the interdisciplinary interpretation of a work that was originally self-sufficient now emerges as a new iteration, with such force as to become a meta-composition, a new work of art. The co-creators of the concept (Robert A. Shakespeare, Margaret Dolinsky, Susanne Schwibs, Jonathan Courtemanche, Paul Brunner, Elizabeth Shea, Ed Dambik, and a stupendous ensemble of soloists) each bring their own perception and depth to the work, and PASSION has been able to sustain it all.  How does one navigate this process to permit each artist to maintain his or her personality and message while we all aim for a unified interpretation? My early conclusion is that the organic structure and rhetorical impulse of the original composition needs to be determined and agreed upon at an early stage, and still, be permitted to grow and change as the presentation concept emerges organically out of the interactions between the artists.  It is a mysterious process that cannot be forced. We just do not know what will ultimately emerge…we’ll see on May 20!

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