OSF’s ‘Great Expectations’ director shares story behind the story

Penny Metropolus

Penny Metropulos directed and co-adapted (with Linda Alper) “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, now playing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Other OSF adaptations to her credit are: “The Three Musketeers,” “Tracy’s Tiger” and a musical version of “Comedy of Errors.” Metropulos originally came to OSF as an actor and singer in 1985. After three seasons, she turned to directing.

EH: Did directing come naturally to you?

PM: I went to a training program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. It was about collaboration. It wasn’t the “dog-eat-dog” kind of thing. I came back with this holy grail of “company,” and that never left me. The idea of being in a theater company has always been with me. And I have been lucky enough to do that.

Because of my background as an actress, I had done a lot of classical, contemporary and musical work. Right away, I was doing all different kinds of things. I guess it was right because the work kept coming. I took every job because I needed to learn how to do this. It was great. I knew it was right.

I started singing so early in my life, that singing was always second nature to me. That’s what directing felt like. It was like breathing, like singing. It was the right thing for me. At the end of my acting career, I realized that I never wanted to leave the rehearsal hall — the process was what was interesting. Continue reading OSF’s ‘Great Expectations’ director shares story behind the story

It’s OK to get lost listening to classical music

Martin Majkut

Pianist Martin Majkut will perform with flautist Katheryn McElrath in concert at Grizzly Peak Winery on July 16 and 17. In a recent conversation, Majkut, Rogue Valley Symphony’s music director, gave me some insights into the development of classical music.

MM: In general, I am convinced that we are moving away from music that was very academic. Music of the second half of the 20th century often consisted of composers in ivory towers disrespecting accessibility, and thinking, “If you’re not good enough to understand my art, then I don’t want you,” which is such a silly proposition.

All of the great composers wrote with people in mind. Otherwise, the music is dead, it’s on paper. We need the audience to complete the circle. Without them, we’re lost.

I see a trend in music that is deep and meaningful, but at the same time, accessible. It gives you a full range of emotions, not just freaky and dark, but also with elation and romance. We’re going back to an era where all these things are embraced in their totality, not just: “Let’s just wallow in despair and sadness.” Continue reading It’s OK to get lost listening to classical music