Fides Krucker is a one-of-a-kind artist. She's an opera singer whose voice can shatter you with its unique set of sounds - not all of them traditionally beautiful but always effective. In works like The Girl With No Door On Her Mouth and A Little Rain Never Hurt No One..., the magnetic performer has howled out high notes, then plunged to dramatic depths, exploring every little crevice in between.
You'll get to experience that when she and Richard Armstrong take on Julie Sits Waiting, a new electroacoustic opera with music by Quebec's Louis Dufort and a gritty libretto by acclaimed playwright Tom Walmsley. It opens Friday (September 14) at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. See Listings.
Your show is called Julie Sits Waiting. What or who have you ever sat waiting for?
As a child I waited for my dad at the dinner table. As an adult I wait for my teenage girls at the dinner table. And while waiting (which I don't do well), I try to find a little balance for my own masculine and feminine. I am still waiting....
In 10 words or less, how would you describe Louis Dufort's music?
Visceral, passionate, gritty, exquisite, surprising, exacting, sublime, funny, true to itself. Oops... that was 11.
First-time librettist Tom Walmsley has a long association with Theatre Passe Muraille. Favourite Walmsley play?
Descent. I love how he delves into big and icky subjects like God and sex. His characters and their situations make me think of a kid about to pull the legs off a frog: gleeful, irreverent and curious. And his brilliant language makes it funny despite the pain.
It's five minutes before opening night. What's going through your mind?
"Can I pee one more time?"
... and five minutes after opening night?
"Phew!" and "Can we do it again?"
What do you say to people who think you can't tell the wrong notes in contemporary music?
Contemporary music has changed a lot since the intellectual explorations of the last century. Forms have been dismantled enough for composers to stop avoiding things like beauty. Louis writes vocal lines that soar, melodies are deliberate, and the curve of each sigh or moan leads the listener closer to the emotions our characters are feeling. It's a bit like a roller coaster with a palpable heart line.
Favourite single moment in Julie Sits Waiting?
Falling from my partner Richard's body to the floor to sing "Love hits me like disaster... without rhyme or reason." The texture is full of air, and the tessitura is about as low as I can go, and it feels like a visceral place I have known.
How would you describe your voice - in visual terms?
I'd love it if it were like a Rothko painting - distilled, potent and rich. I think my voice is more like a storm, or open sky. And sometimes it feels like a wave crashing or like riding surf or even a forest's undergrowth. Maybe I just need a good haircut!
Message to the Factory Theatre board?
My message would not be to the Factory board. It would be to Canadians and to the government. We need to find a way to fund our arts so that individuals and organizations do not have to sacrifice themselves to the extent that they do. We need greater resources for healthier arts business models to emerge. Our $20 bill quotes Gabrielle Roy: "Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?" The print is fine and the new polymer $20 will not have it. So look for it now!