Starting this weekend, Philip Glass' 2009 opera Kepler will begin its run at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston South Carolina. This represents the first staged performances of this work in the United States having only received a concert performance by the Landestheater Linz at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Director of the Spoleto production Sam Helfrich has previously worked on two Glass operas.
Richard Guérin: I first encountered your work with Philip Glass' chamber opera Orphée which was done at Glimmerglass, which has been very successful later going to Portland and Virginia. Then I saw your direction of a small scale "pocket opera" as Glass calls it, with In the Penal Colony in Brooklyn. Now your taking on a grand opera with his 2009 Kepler. Can you describe a little bit your experience with the works of Philip Glass.
Sam Helfrich: Well, I can start by saying that the three pieces are not easy to compare, and that each piece, and each production, has been unique. Of course there are familiar elements across all of these pieces, the musical language being an obvious one, but also the consistent exploration of characters who struggle with their own convictions and who challenge the audience to think differently about the world. In a funny way, in spite of how vastly different each one of these operas is in style, they are all character driven. Orphée is as much of a psychological portrait as Kepler is… continue reading (Word Doc)