Two friends of mine died in car accidents on icy roads, in two different countries. The stories of their last moments set me wondering about sudden death, and the nature of grace. Can you be brilliantly happy, moments before the end? So I wrote the libretto for the chamber opera Oh Pilot as a meditation on love and mercy.
Oh Pilot is a cosmic love story. A jilted Pilot meets a heartbroken Tourist as they wait for a midnight flight with Coconut Tours. Two angels, masquerading as a Flight Attendant and a drunken Businessman, torment the lovers with anxious premonitions. Love prevails, and the Pilot and the Tourist fly away into their dream world.
The opera was originally commissioned and developed by Tapestry New Opera Works and our piece received a special showcase with Jean Stilwell singing the Tourist during the Du Maurier World Stage Festival in 2000. Nic Gotham composed the music for four singers and I directed the international premiere for Latvijas koncerti in February 2007 at the Latvian National Opera New Hall. The production then toured to Kaunas, Lithuania as part of the Pazaislis music festival in 2009. The cast included Viesturs Jansons, Antra Bigača, Baiba Bartkeviča, and Ivars Cinkuss.
As Lauma Mellēna wrote in Neatkarīgā avīze, “The freshness of OH PILOT is a relief … with its light, intimate touch, no stranger to heartache and pain… an enjoyable work of art with a clear message and a pleasant aftertaste.”
More information regarding Nic Gotham can be found here.
The libretto can be found here.
Photo by Ansis Starks, AFI