Israel in Egypt – Spotlight #5

The final round! Lighting Designer Frances Aronson and New York Baroque Ensemble’s Artistic Director, Wen Yang, take their turn with our three questions…

1. What do you love most about Handel’s Israel in Egypt?
FA: The music is lovely, and it tells an exciting and timely story. The singers seem to really enjoy their parts and there’s great interplay between the orchestra and the voices!

WY: The flies, lice and hopping frogs.

2. What will be your most daunting technical feat for this production?
FA: The first challenge is time – with MasterVoices, we always have to assemble the physical production on the day of the performance! In the theater there are usually several rehearsals during which I can adjust looks and timings with the performers, but there’s only one chance here. The second challenge is that my work will need to be almost subliminal, and always in support of Kevork Mourad’s astonishing work, which is the element that will provide the visual journey through the piece.

WY: It’s been such an incredible process learning the piece again and getting ready for the performance. I feel really lucky to work with a world-class orchestra, choir, and soloists under a fantastic conductor like Ted. I really can’t perceive anything remotely daunting!

3. What is your favorite recording?
FA: No favorite recording—I prefer the live experience!

WY: John Eliot Gardiner with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. He gets such a wide range of colors from the choir and orchestra for Handel’s text painting. I feel as though I am on the journey with the Israelites.

Spotlight: EXILE TODAY

The themes of Israel in Egypt are not just biblical but historical… and tragically, still present with us today. As of June 2018, the most recent count by humanitarian organizations put the number of exiled and displaced persons at 68 million. This includes Syria (6.3M), Afghanistan (3.6M), South Sudan (2.4M), Myanmar (1.2M) and Somalia (1M). These populations live in desperately overcrowded camps and communities, highly vulnerable to oncoming monsoon and cyclone seasons.

As we approach #Giving Tuesday tomorrow, we ask that you add two names to your list of charities: Artolution and the International Rescue Committee, both of whom are helping to alleviate the suffering of refugees around the world.