Light and Sound: David Adam Moore Has Something to Say

This season, we open our Discoveries series with Winter Journey (Winterreise). Staying true to the Discoveries mission to find new works and new perspectives, we will bring David Adam Moore to Atlanta to sing the lead role and to serve as production designer of this production. Opera News praised Moore for his “consistent delivery of beauty.” You can expect this, and more, in September. We asked David about his upbringing, his dual role, and how we listen to (and experience) classical music in an iPhone world.

David Adam Moore in Winter Journey this September 17, 19, 20 at the Conant Performing Arts Center

The Atlanta Opera: Did you grow up in a very musical household?
David Adam Moore: Yes. The Moores have been professional musicians in Texas since at least the 19th century. I’m the first one to pursue classical music instead of Country-Western (and its earlier forms). I grew up seeing my grandfathers, father, aunt, uncles, etc. play music in nightclubs and at family get-togethers. My father toured with a top 10 radio artist named Tracy Byrd for several years. Watching my family sing or pick up instruments and just start making music has proven to be a huge influence on my approach to music-making, even in classical music. 
Opera: You have a dual role in Winter Journey. Tell us what it’s like to perform in a show that you also design.
David: It’s a dream come true, to be honest. My orientation to art and music has always been both aural and visual, so this is a unique opportunity to explore the work and tell the story on both fronts. As a result, the audience experiences a unified expression of the story. From the production end, it surprisingly makes things run a bit smoother because there is no need for channels of communication and negotiation between director, designer, and performer. My partner in life, art, and general mischief, Vita Tzykun, is a brilliant set and costume designer with an immense visual imagination and superb technical skills, and as the Winter Journey project has developed, I’ve been able to involve her more and more, so that what you will see in Atlanta is the result of a long-running collaboration between us. 
The 3D projection mapping on stage changes with each song in Winter Journey (Winterreise)

Opera: How do we listen to classical music in the age of the iPhone?
David: That’s a good question, and it seems everyone is figuring this out for themselves. On one hand, it’s exciting because we have unprecedented access to high-quality recorded music from all eras. On the other, music has become more individual and less social. Perhaps this makes live music a more special experience than it was a decade ago. 
Opera: How does technology in a visual world affect our listening skills?
David: For Winter Journey, our aim is to use the video as a language to guide the audience through the emotional journey of the poet. We use a video technique called 3D projection mapping to transform the set into a self-contained landscape that can change completely from song to song… sometimes guiding the narrative by suggesting time, place, and environment, and at other times drawing the audience into the more abstract, symbolic world of the poet’s thoughts and emotions. The video content consists entirely of moving images – no still images are used.
Opera: Your company, GLMMR, is designing Winter Journey. GLMMR stands for Giving Light Motion + Memory + Relevance. How does that translate into a production like this?
David: GLMMR’s Winter Journey started as a video accompaniment I had created for my recital performances of Winterreise and through a series of workshop presentations in NYC, Kansas, and Houston evolved into a fully-immersive presentation in which the performer functions within a landscape of video imagery. We are particularly excited about Atlanta’s production, because we have designed a new set and created new video material that includes locations ranging from Times Square to the Utah Salt Flats. GLMMR is an umbrella or “brand’ under which Vita and I collaborate together and with a large group of contributing members from all ends of the art world. Most all of Winter Journey’s set and projection design comes from Vita and me, but the video content has been created with the participation of over a dozen GLMMR members and contributors from all over the country. GLMMR’s artistic mission is to explore the spaces between the lines – “that thing that didn’t occur to you.” Our primary media are light and sound in all of its various forms. 
“Our aim is to use the video as a language to guide the audience through the emotional journey.”
Opera: What draws you to a classic composition like Schubert’s Winter Journey?
David: The music and drama of Winter Journey is rich, gorgeous, and powerful – one of the greatest works of art song ever created. I think the piece is underrepresented because professional song recitals have become increasingly rare in recent years and audiences in America haven’t had many opportunities to experience it. Unlike many stage works in classical music, the piece is very universal and not tied to any particular time period or cultural context. This makes it easy for contemporary audiences to relate to the poet’s situation and see parallels in their own lives.  
Opera: You clearly stay busy. What’s your ideal “day off”?
David: Day off?? LOL.

Winter Journey
Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University
September 17, 19, 20, 2015
Photo Credit: Denny Wells

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