The Two Gay Geeks 🏳️🌈 have a chat with E. Loren Meeker, Stage Director for the Arizona Opera production of Mozart’s wonderful ensemble piece, Cosi fan Tutte. Loren is not just a stage director, she wears many hats (and they are fabulous) in dance, theater and the opera world, and recently became General & Artistic Director of Opera San Antonio. We chat with Loren about her path to opera and becoming the “boss” at an opera company. Have a listen and we hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
About E. Loren Meeker
E. Loren Meeker is a stage director whose work has been seen at leading companies across the United States, South America, Asia, and Europe. In November of 2019, she was named General & Artistic Director of Opera San Antonio, having previously served as Artistic Advisor at that company.
A diverse artist whose background in dance and theatre allows her to bring a unique vision to her work, Loren has received critical acclaim for recent productions of Carmen at Washington National Opera and Lucia di Lammermoor at New Orleans Opera. Tim Smith, of Opera News wrote “There was nothing routine about the production of Carmen at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Attractively cast, fluently directed by E. Loren Meeker and incisively conducted by Evan Rogister, the venture crackled with energy from the top of the Prelude to Act I.” Theodore P. Mahne of the Times-Picayune titled his review of Lucia, “Lucia di Lammermoor more than a mad scene in director’s strong vision”. He went on to say, “Meeker’s concept behind this weekend’s production is to transfer Sir Walter Scott’s Scottish tale from the late 16th-century House of Stuart to the period roughly of Downton Abbey: Edwardian Britain. The result is both a theatrical and musical success, a production filled with vitality.”
Meeker’s planned engagements during the COVID-19 impacted 2020/21 Season include Cosmic Cowboy with White Snake Projects (postponed), Le Nozze di Figaro with Austin Opera (postponed), and Rigoletto with Washington National Opera (canceled). For Houston Grand Opera, she will direct a pair of filmed productions for streaming on Marquee.tv: David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s Vinkensport (co-directed with Ryan McKinny) and Mozart’s The Impresario.
During the COVID-19 shortened 2019/20 Season, Meeker directed Tosca for Opera San Antonio (completed), followed by productions of Madama Butterfly with Portland Opera (completed) and Florida Grand Opera (completed). She made her debut at Washington National Opera directing their production of Don Giovanni (performance run interrupted by pandemic) and was meant to close the season with Rigoletto at Opera San Antonio (canceled) and directing the Apprentice Scenes at Santa Fe Opera (canceled).
The previous season, Meeker directed a new production of Turandot for New Orleans Opera, directed Les Pêcheurs de Perles, and remounted Zambello’s Florencia en el Amazonas for Houston Grand Opera, and directed a new production of Susannah for Rice University. She directed a new production of Lohengrin at Opera Southwest, at Boston University she directed The Cunning Little Vixen, and co-directed a new production of Show Boat with Francesca Zambello at The Glimmerglass Festival.
Her most recent credits include The Cunning Little Vixen (The Glimmerglass Festival), Rigoletto (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Daughter of the Regiment (Atlanta Opera), La pietra del paragone (Wolf Trap Opera), La bohème (Opera San Antonio, The Glimmerglass Festival, San Diego Opera), Amleto (Opera Delaware), Show Boat and Manon (The Dallas Opera), Die Fledermaus (Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, New Orleans Opera), Manon Lescaut (Singapore Lyric Opera), Manon (Teatro Colón), Madama Butterfly (North Carolina Opera), Carmen and L’elisir d’amore (Finger Lakes Opera), and Cendrillon and Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera (Boston University Opera Institute). In addition to her work with standard repertoire, Loren has directed five world premieres for Houston Grand Opera (HGOco) and Jason and the Argonauts for Lyric Opera of Chicago (Lyric Unlimited).
Loren has been on the directing staff at some of the most prestigious opera companies in the nation including Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Central City Opera where she was the 2006 recipient of the John Moriarty Award. These opportunities have allowed her to work with many distinguished directors who have greatly influenced her career, such as Sir David McVicar and Francesca Zambello.
While in residence at Central City Opera Loren was able to lend her talents as a movement teacher and choreographer. Her work as a choreographer has also been seen at Glimmerglass Festival (Orpheus in the Underworld), Houston Grand Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni), and Opera Boston (La Vie Parisienne).
Loren began her training at a young age developing skills as a dancer and gymnast, later combining her talents in these disciplines with her love for acting and singing. She attended Boston University where she received a BFA, summa cum laude, in Theatre Studies (focus in directing and choreography). After graduating she began to apply her diverse background to opera.
Loren has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work. Two of Loren’s productions for the New Orleans Opera have won the Gambit “Best of Opera” award – Faust (2017) and Die Fledermaus (2015). DC Metro Theater Arts named her production of Carmen for Washington National Opera the “Best Opera of 2015”. Other awards and honors include: Lakmè, Rutgers University, first prize in Division IV of the Opera Production Competition sponsored by the National Opera Association; Cendrillon, Boston University Opera Institute, nominated for 6 “Best Of” ArtsImpluse Theatre Awards.
About Cosi fan Tutte
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ferrando and Guglielmo, two young officers discuss the true faithfulness of their fiancées. A cynical old man, Don Alfonso, joins in their conversation and bets them that if they give him one day’s time, he can prove to them that all women are fickle. Ferrando and Guglielmo agree to the wager. Sisters, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, the two fiancées, happily compare pictures of their boyfriends when the two officers arrive telling them that they have been called for war. Secretly, they will return in disguise and do whatever Alfonso says. The two women, full of grief, bid farewell to their lovers. Don Alfonso couldn’t be any happier as he sees his plan coming to fruition.
Back in the sisters’ home, Despina, the maid, consoles the young mistresses. She tells them to forget their lovers and find new ones. Don Alfonso arrives, and fearing that Despina may recognize the disguised officers, convinces Despina to help him win his wager. She agrees and helps introduce the disguised officers as two exquisitely dressed “Albanians.” Fiordiligi and Dorabella take no interest in the “newcomers” despite the efforts of Despina and Don Alfonso. After the men leave, they rejoice over their fiancées’ faithfulness, but Alfonso reminds them they have a whole day ahead of them.
A while has passed, and Alfonso brings the “Albanians” back to the women, who are now in the garden. The men, feigning sickness, claim to have been poisoned. The women call for Despina’s help. She tells them to look over the men while she fetches a doctor. Moments later, Despina returns disguised as the doctor and waves a large magnet over them men’s bodies. Suddenly, the “Albanians” instantly regain their health and ask for a kiss from the beautiful young maidens. Though they begin warming up to the “Albanians” they still refuse to give them kisses.
Following the events in the garden, Despina urges the sisters to choose their favorite “Albanian.” After agreeing that a little light-hearted flirting wouldn’t hurt anything, each sister chooses the other’s lover, which goes according to Don Alfonso’s plan. The Albanian’s return and serenade the sisters. Afterward, Despina and Don Alfonso give them courting lessons before leaving the sisters alone with the Albanians.
In the garden Dorabella and the disguised Guglielmo pair off, leaving Fiordiligi with the disguised Ferrando. Dorabella and Guglielmo seem to hit it off, and before long, they exchange mementos. Fiordiligi and Ferrando do not share the same chemistry as the other couple. Afterward, the two men compare notes. Ferrando is upset that his fiancée has taken to Guglielmo so quickly. Guglielmo consoles him but also gloats of his own fiancée’s steadfastness.
Up in the sisters’ room, Dorabella admits to Fiordiligi that she has fallen for the Albanian. Upset by her sister’s infidelity, Fiordiligi pledges to visit their fiancés on the front lines. Before she is able to depart, Ferrando, still disguised, shows up again, attempting to woo Fiordiligi’s heart. She finally gives in and falls into his arms. Guglielmo becomes furious when he learns of his fiancée’s actions. Don Alfonso and the two officers agree that he has won the wager, but they still owe Alfonso more time. That evening, Don Alfonso plans for a double wedding.
That night, Despina disguises herself as the marriage notary. Both couples sign their marriage contracts, and all is well until they hear military music in the distance signaling the return of the officers. The women hide their “Albanian” husbands, fearing the return of their fiancés. The two men quickly change into their uniforms and return to the house. Don Alfonso reveals the signed marriage contracts to the officers, and after becoming furious, they leave the house. Don Alfonso then reveals Despina’s true identity to the sisters moments before the two men arrive again dressed as both the officer and the Albanian. When the sisters finally learn of Don Alfonso’s wager, forgiveness is given all around.
- Courtesy Arizona Opera
In our second segment, we chat about nothing since we ran out of time. We also highlight recent articles posted to tggeeks.com in the past week. As always we have our birthdays and we have the ever-popular feedback segment.
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Show Notes / Links:
- TG Geeks Episode 365
- TG Geeks Episode 368
- TG Geeks Episode 371
- Hamish Downie’s First Friday Playlist – March 2022
- Hamish Downie’s First Friday Playlist – April 2022
- Nerdy Chupacabras #093
- Carmen: The Graphic Novel Kickstarter Now Available
- The Rise of Gru in Theaters July 1st
- Andrea’s Angle | Mothering Sunday – Impeccable Acting, Disjointed Story
- Andrea’s Angle | You Won’t Be Alone – Unique and Evocative Twist on Witches
We want to bring attention to a Public Service Announcement from the ’90s featuring Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz) of Star Trek: Discovery
This ’90s PSA (GLAAD, La Pietra Foundation, MTV) brings awareness to gay-bashing.
Starring Wilson Cruz, Meredith Scott Lynn, and Joseph Reitman. Writer/Director: Mike Costanza.
Director of Photography: Brad Rushing. Producer: Cara Coslow.
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