I am sitting here in Wuthering Heights rehearsal, watching them stage the fight scenes. It seems like there is a fight scene in every act!
Playing the piano growing up, I was always told to “play softer, play softer”. Finally in these fight scenes, the music is always really aggressive and I get to play plenty loudly, trying to sound like an orchestra of 50 some people on one piano! This score is not just assailing, it has tons of lyrical writing.
The composer wrote that he wanted the music to be like a huge tone poem, representing the natural state of the moors, where Wuthering Heights takes place. You can tell this right away as the music depicts a huge snow storm at the beginning of the opera. When the protagonist, Cathy, enters one hears the birds of the moors singing to her. As the characters develop within the story the music begins to show their psychological progression as well. This relationship between music, nature and the character’s psychological state is all tied together. In the Romantic tradition, the character’s mood becomes linked with their natural surroundings and and the music depicts all of this deliciously. It is kind of easy to understand this living in Minnesota in April with snow still on the ground. After living for in Minnesota for two winters, I certainly understand this!
Here is to a beautiful weekend, the end of winter and more Wuthering Heights exploration!
-Jeremy Reger, Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Coach/Accompanist