When Mozart’s librettist sat down to write the story and lyrics to the comic opera, “The Marriage of Figaro,” the man didn’t have an Apple computer. Barbara Conable does, and it’s made her efforts to create the story, dialogue and aria lyrics of a new comic opera called “aMusement” a lot easier.
For the past two years, Conable, who lives in a Sabin bungalow near Whole Foods, has been collaborating with musician Lisa Marsh and director Matthew Zrebski on the project.
“It’s a completely original story about the Greek god Zeus and his daughters, the nine muses,” explains Conable. Encouraged by their father, the muses try to help Arthur — a man whose heart was broken after his wife and infant son died in childbirth — by appearing to him in dreams. “It’s a comic opera but has very sad and serious parts,” Conable adds.
A few of the opera’s arias were performed in a showcase before an audience last June at Iowa State University School of Music. Conable hopes a full production will be mounted in Portland this year or next.
Conable has spent many years working in theaters and with musicians, as well as writing poetry. She studied theater and acting at the University of Illinois, and then taught the Alexander Technique and theater movement at the Cincinnati Conservatory. She later studied and taught the theory and practice of a technique called Body Mapping. Conable founded Andover Educators, a network of music teachers who concentrate on correct body movement. She’s written several books and a DVD on the subject.
Now retired, Conable intends to continue writing operas, to travel and to spend more time with her three children and their families.