Dawn is back at the SPCO with a world premiere
November 6, 2009
St. Paul, Minn. —
Soprano Dawn Upshaw fell in love at the movies.
Not with the leading man, but with the music.
When she heard the soundtrack to Pedro Almodovar's film "Talk to Her," she did something she never does - she rushed out to buy the soundtrack CD, then listened to it obsessively.
The score was composed by two-time Oscar-nominee - "The Kite Runner" and "The Constant Gardener" - Alberto Iglesias.
It was fellow composer Osvoldo Golijov who introduced Upshaw to Alberto Iglesias, and she immediately asked the Iglesias to write his first major concert piece for her and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Upshaw sings the world premiere of "In the Land of the Lemon Trees" with the SPCO this weekend in Chicago and St. Paul. I caught up with Dawn Upshaw after rehearsal yesterday to talk about the new piece, her Chicago roots, and her rendezvous with "Dudamania" in Los Angeles next weekend.
Dawn Upshaw: While practicing in a hotel room, soprano Dawn Upshaw answered a knock on the door. A lady said "I'm awfully sorry, but I'm working with numbers across the hall, and I just can't think while you're doing that. But I want you to know that I really think you have something there, and I hope you'll stick with it." Dawn Upshaw went from a childhood singing Pete Seeger songs with "The Upshaw Family Singers" to the great opera stages and concert halls around the world. She is as eclectic as she is accomplished, with a huge range of repertoire spanning from the 17th century to frequent new commissions. She is the winner of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant, coordinates a special program for singers at Bard College, and is Artistic Partner with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.