Contemporary composer Nathan Felix presents ‘No. 5,’ his first-ever full-length opera, here in Orlando | Arts Stories + Interviews | Orlando

This Saturday, the magnificent lifetime and lonely death of Coco Chanel arrives to the phase in the variety of a model-new opera, but this environment premiere isn’t really obtaining its grand debut at the Met or Palais Garnier. As a substitute, up to date composer Nathan Felix is presenting No. 5, his initially-ever total-length do the job, in this article in Orlando at the Timucua Arts Basis.

If his identify sounds familiar, that’s due to the fact Felix’s initial outside just one-act operas Fury in Sound and The Wizard of Loch Haven Park lit up the Orlando Fringe festivals in 2019 and 2021. And whilst the 1-time indie rocker has acquired acclaim from Austin to Albuquerque (not to mention New York Metropolis) for his orchestral creations, he’s returned to Central Florida to launch his most formidable challenge nevertheless simply because of 1 detail: our men and women.

“I like to be able to occur to Orlando two or a few situations a yr due to the fact of all the friendships I’ve created, and the expertise also,” Felix instructed me at the commence of our latest phone job interview forward of his very first rehearsal with the cast of No. 5.

“I imply, it’s awesome to have mates that are also uniquely gifted [and] believe that it or not, Orlando was definitely the only place that I’ve finished staged operas — at Timucua they are the kinds that gave me that possibility.” Due to the fact his final manufacturing there — 2021’s Ribas-Dominicci and The War Bride — he is been concentrating on immersive web-site-particular will work for museum exhibits, like La Malinche: The Traitor, about Cortes’ conquest of Mexico.

Felix’s most recent do the job — which, at 70 minutes, is his longest — was fueled by his second fantastic love, soon after composing. “If I did not go into songs, vogue has normally been one thing I have been very curious about and interested in,” he states, and legendary entrepreneur Coco Chanel was usually a individual inspiration. “I really like her tale, due to the fact she crosses paths with the Dropped Technology that I enjoy in Paris Gertrude Stein and Dali and Buñuel, all those are some of my heroes.”

Despite the fact that her tale has been dramatized right before, Felix determined to “try and obtain a tiny twist” by digging further into her romantic associations with an English aristocrat, an iconoclastic composer and a Nazi diplomat.

“This woman — strong, independent — [who] truly liberated a lot of gals for various a long time, she died a single of the richest people in the earth, and she died alone. That struck me, and I claimed, permit me go back again and take a look at, and see why.”

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Molly Ann Anderson as young Coco Chanel

The outcome of Felix’s research stars soprano Molly Ann Anderson as a younger Coco Chanel, with Claire Hodges taking up the role in her later yrs. Felix satisfied Anderson in the course of the 2021 Fringe and cast her as his individual grandmother in The War Bride he claims he wrote the foremost part for her soon after starting to be “so enamored by [her] expertise and skill established,” and bonding with Anderson’s aunt around their shared love of Chanel. They are joined by Jacob Pence as Boy Capel, Michaela Wright as legendary composer Igor Stravinsky, and Madison Marie McIntosh as Hans Günther von Dincklage, almost all of whom have labored with Felix ahead of. “I like performing with the identical individuals,” he states. “That’s just component of what I adore about new music: creating the friendships, and performing with the men and women I like.”

An additional significant collaborator on No. 5 is conductor Ethan Lolley, who also held the baton for Felix’s very last Orlando physical appearance. “He combines expertise, charisma, and a really legitimate form of nature that he produces in the rehearsals,” states Felix. “That’s seriously significant for me, to have an environment that feels heat and welcoming. Certainly, we are all listed here to function and make certain we get the ideal products, but I test and stay away from friction, and Ethan just has this terrific way of performing with every single singer or instrumentalist and listening to them, [so] he was my first alternative.”

Lastly, lest the label “opera” intimidate you out of attending, Felix insists that though No. 5’s musical type is “not musical theater overall performance, it has this very upbeat pop sensibility tone … while my other operas [are] incredibly extraordinary, so the music’s a very little heavier, this 1 is definitely light and it can be pleasurable, and I am energized I imagine the audience was truly going to get pleasure from it.”

Subsequent the present, he is off to San Antonio to mount two more operas (one particular of which will be broadcast on Texas Public Radio), but with a tiny lottery luck he’ll be again listed here for the 2023 Orlando Fringe. Possibly he could create just one of his immersive operas about a counterfeit artwork scandal I can suggest the excellent location for him to phase it …

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