Not That Will Rogers


Ricky Ian Gordon has three first names and he’s wonderful!

Ricky Ian Gordon

Ricky Ian Gordon

For my feature on Eric Reda and Chicago Opera Vanguard in this week’s NewCity I had the pleasure of speaking with Ricky Ian Gordon, the composer and lyricist of Orpheus and Euridice.  He was so nice and gracious. Because of space restrictions I couldn’t use much of our talk, so I thought I would share more of what he had to say about opera and  Orpheus, and Project Runway.

Ricky Ian Gordon on…

the inspiration for “Orpheus and Euridice”, written as a tribute to his lover, who died of AIDS in 1996.
At around  four in the morning I woke up and had a vision, literally.   It is sort of an important, seminal moment in my life.  I don’t think I ever completely understood how we study things like myths and we wonder where they go.”

“I immediately saw Todd as a kind of Orpheus playing a pipe. I saw him dressed as a French apache dancer  and Euridice was in a yellow dress. I ran to the dining room table. In about an hour I had written the entire libretto. It flew out of me”

Eric Reda and companies like Chicago Opera Vanguard
“I just heard form Eric one day and he said, “I’ve fallen in love with your piece and I want to do it.  And I said, “Okay, do it.”

“The idea that any new company has come along and has the balls to begin in this (economic) climate. I support anyone that wants to do new work and smaller pieces in any environment beyond the big opera houses.  How courageous and how wonderful. I think every city in the world needs more smaller companies doing small operas.”

Project Runway’s Steven Rosengard costuming his show
“I’m an out-and-out, full-fledged, total Project Runway addict. When I saw this piece was  announced on the Project Runway blog I almost fainted.”

opera and writing
“To me the operatic repertoire has to grow.  It think we are in a complete renaissance  for American composers. There is such a freedom of style and enormous pluralism. A lot of critics are still holding on to various traditions but it doesn’t necessarily stop the productivity.”

“These are hard times and greater expressiveness happens when times are difficult. I have a greater need to write right now because the world is in so much pain.”

Ricky Ian Gordon will be at the opening of the Chicago premiere of his Orpheus and Euridice, Thursday, Jan. 29.  If you want to know more about the production or the composer here are some links that might be interested in:

Chicago Opera Vanguard Website: Production information and tickets
Ricky Ian Gordon on Wikipedia
Ricky’s official website
Ghostlight Records (Sh-K-Boom): Buy the Orpheus and Euridice recording or download it from iTunes