Dallas — The upcoming production of Tod Machover’s robot-infused opera, Death and the Powers, is a perfect assignment for conductor Nicole Paiement. She specializes in contemporary opera and loves the challenge of modern scores. We last saw her when she was here to conduct the Dallas opera’s successful production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, a cooperative effort with the Dallas Theater Center.
Now, she is back to conduct in the Winspear Opera House.
Paiement is the Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle, a contemporary opera based company in San Francisco. She has conducted premieres from an international list of composers and recorded these works as well. She is also the Artistic Director of the BluePrint Project—a new music series sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In her spare time, Paiement is the Director of Ensembles at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she conducts the orchestra and opera productions.
Her French accent is part of her charm, so it seemed that an audio interview was the best way to go. To accommodate that request, she arranged it so that I could catch her for a few moments in between rehearsals for Death and the Powers for a chat. Always a multitasker, we conducted this interview during her only break, which also had to accommodate her lunch. You may hear some table noises here and there and in one laughable spot, my crunching on a particularly recalcitrant piece of romaine. Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable half-hour as we shared a salad and thoughts about contemporary opera. The results of that dynamic encounter are presented here.
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