Amy Lowell: A Rare Pattern (song cycle)
An excerpt from program notes by mezzo-soprano KrisAnne Weiss:
Early 20th-century poet Amy Lowell was an unforgettable figure: at five feet tall and 250 pounds, she smoked cigars in public, captivated audiences with her theatrical speeches and poetry readings, and relished the attention she attracted. This collection of songs is excerpted from a longer theatrical work which explores Amy's life and her relationship with actress Ada Dwyer Russel. With the exception of one or two sentences, the entire libretto of this piece is comprised of Amy's juvenilia, poetry, prose, and epistolary exchanges with other writers. There are also letters she wrote to "Nell," the actress and arts patron Eleanor Robson Belmont, who was one of Ada's closest friends. Unfortunately for modern literary voyeurs, scholars, and would-be librettists, Amy requested that the letters she exchanged with Ada be destroyed upon her death. Ada honored this wish, thus depriving us of the most important firsthand account of Amy and Ada's dynamic. It seems, however, that the voice that Amy reserved for Ada comes through in the poetry, and this passionate and tender voice forms the heart of these songs.