Lyrics for the dating game
“We chose the subject for this year’s project because we thought it would be good for the young cast to sing about something very close to their experience: desire, attraction, the need to complete one’s self by finding a partner,” explained Blier recently.“Last year’s program, about war and peace, drew on a certain part of their emotions.—you might say that Steven Blier, NYFOS’s artistic director, and Michael Barrett, associate artistic director, have a knack for the art of programming.A select group of Juilliard singers will be the beneficiaries of their expertise when NYFOS teams up with the School’s Department of Vocal Arts for its third annual collaboration in a program titled “A Modern Person’s Guide to Hooking Up and Breaking Up.” For this year’s program, which will feature undergraduate and graduate singers, as well artists from the Juilliard Opera Center, Blier and Barrett decided to choose a theme that their cast of singers knows firsthand: dating in all of its guises.But the battle of the sexes is a war they fight on a daily basis,” he added.Just because the subject matter may be familiar, Blier, who has been working with his group of singers since the start of the school year, admits that the topic is not an easy one.
Says Blier, “We have a Bruce Springsteen song and a number from Cy Coleman and David Zippel’s that really ignite one another. Stay tuned.” Yet Blier, a longtime Juilliard faculty member, shies away from programming songs merely for the sake of inclusion.“We’re trying to get the students to go a little farther, and look for the sharpest, smartest lyrics, tied to music that brings those lyrics to blazing life. “And then they get the assignment: go out and find 10 songs that say the same thing—only .” Hurwitt is quick to add, “Although, on paper, an ‘eclectic’ NYFOS program appears to have followed the grab-bag schema of thematic programming that is so common in the wider concert-making world, the best NYFOS concerts are different because they have a hidden ‘plot’—they are constructed with a dramatic arc.