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$12,571 pledged of $85,000 goal
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By Raymond Luedeke
$12,571 pledged of $85,000 goal
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About this project

A 4 week run off Broadway in April 2014 for My Life with Pablo Neruda, a full evening, 4 act original “pocket opera-cabaret” for two actors, two singers, and a four person “orchestra.” The text is based on 100 Love Sonnets, by Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and on My Life with Pablo Neruda by Neruda’s wife, Matilde Urrutia.

100 Love Sonnets is divided into four sections: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. These divisions, expanded and clarified with further poetry by Neruda and with original text, become the four acts of the opera. The poetry describes an inward journey of love and spiritual growth, within a sometimes tempestuous relationship.

Matilde’s dilemma, “How do I balance personal freedom with commitment to another person and to society in general?” is a universal dilemma. Matilde, through her association with Pablo Neruda and through the events of her own life, achieved a remarkable spiritual and emotional development. She became a champion for the “disappeared ones”, under the murderous regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile.

Pablo
Pablo

Click above for a video with more details about My Life with Pablo Neruda, the pocket opera-cabaret.

Ray Luedeke, Composer of My Life with Pablo Neruda and Artistic Director of Voice Afire: http://www.voiceafire.com/

Guillermo Verdecchia, Canadian/Argentine playwright, dramaturge for My Life with Pablo Neruda: http://bit.ly/146kKLp

Rob Reese, Directorhttp://www.hellorobreese.com
Geraldine Boyer-Cussac, Music Directorgeraldineboyercussac.com

Paul Bellantoni as Pablo http://www.paulbellantoni.com/
Lea McKenna-Garcia  as Matilde

Kacey Cardin, soprano http://www.kaceycardin.com
Jovier Sanchez, tenor

Voice Afire is in Stage 3 of a multi-year plan.
Stage 1
happened in Canada, where over the course of about 9 years we developed a model for a new kind of musical theater show, one that would be adaptable to a variety of venues and would tour. My Life with Pablo Neruda was one of these – it received grant money from the government of Ontario and from the Canada Council for 2 Workshops, as well as a small grant toward a Production.

Stage 2 happened when in 2010 Voice Afire moved to New York. In January 2012 we rented the 45th St. Theater and put on Butterfly’s Trouble for a one week run. We also produced The Art of Love, our multi-media cabaret, at Merkin Concert Hall, having previously produced it in 2010 at Symphony Space and in 2011 at the Yamaha Piano Salon. Butterfly’s Trouble received a rave review from Theater Mania. The reviewer understood exactly what we were about and his review - without any prompting from us – describes this new kind of musical theater that we have developed. Butterfly’s Trouble works pretty much exactly as My Life with Pablo Neruda works. Both shows combine actors and singers and the same ensemble of musicians. Butterfly has 7 performers, Neruda 8. Link to the review:

http://www.theatermania.com/off-broadway/shows/butterflys-trouble_188269/reviews/

Stage 3 is happening now. Last year we used our own funds to produce Butterfly, this year we will finance a live “awareness raising” / fund raising event on May 18 at the Flamboyán Theater, part of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. This will be a kind of Neruda love-in. For this event we have hired a publicist but have no publicity budget. Our main financial thrust will be in a Kickstarter campaign to raise $85,000 to put Neruda on off-Broadway, again at the Flamboyán Center, for one month in the spring of 2014.

Stage 4 takes Neruda, after a successful NY run, on tour worldwide. There already exists a libretto completely in Spanish. We would need to develop the show in other languages as well.

Stage 5
is the creation of an Ensemble Theater Company, a company run by its own artist/entrepreneur members, somewhat in the manner of the Berlin Philharmonic, which hires its own Director and Administration. To this end we have allied ourselves with Alfama Arts Mgt., a new kind of arts management. http://alfamaarts.com

Tenor
Tenor

Reviews of Butterfly’s Trouble

Theater Mania by FigandFlan on Monday, Jan 9th, 2012
This new version by Ray Luedeke (premiered now in NY after earlier runs in Canada) breathes new life into the Puccini work as a real piece of theater, and may mark the direction for opera to take as a living art form in the coming centuryhttp://www.theatermania.com/off-broadway/shows/butterflys-trouble_188269/reviews/ Opera lives!

K-W Chamber Music Society’s presentation of the Voice Afire Pocket Opera Production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, with a short variety program to start off, was a resounding success in their diminutive Music Room …The hall was filled literally to capacity - the last patron was wedged into a corner - and the audience was rapt and enthusiastic… Great show!
Jan Narveson http://www.k-wcms.com/KWCMS/Home.html

“How does one transform a grand opera so that it can be performed in an intimate setting by a small group of performers and yet not lose its dramatic impact?Raymond Luedeke’s Voice Afire Production of Madama Butterfly appears to be the answer to that question.… a compelling and captivating work.Bravo!” Robert Sutherland, The Metropolitan Opera www.metoperafamily.org

Review of Close Embrace – a tango cabaret

…a wonderful program of dance, music, and tango history put on by Toronto musician Raymond Luedeke as part of the Shaw Festival Summer program at Niagara-on-the-Lake. His musicians and dancers were excellent and his commentary tied it all together nicely in a neat, historical package. If it comes to your town, it is a show not to be missed!”      Mary Macchiusi, President, Pembroke Publishers www.pembrokepublishers.com 

Reviews of Ray Luedeke’s The North Wind’s Gift – for orchestra

Glasgow, Scotland - The Glasgow Herald - The North Wind's Gift which opened the concert is an extremely effective piece of pictorial modernism: scurrying, tempestuous, well-laced with dramatic tension, and very well written.

London, England - The Guardian - 3 May 1991
Luedeke's score amounted to an atmospheric symphony poem, taking advantage of the dramatic elements of pathos and magic in the tale. Vivid and assured in its orchestration, it was obviously a joy for the TSO to perform and its idiom intermingled tonal and chromatically saturated ingredients.

Review of Ray Luedeke’s Tales of the Netsilik – for orchestra with narrator 

The Toronto Star 
... it was a richly satisfying score, full of imaginative ideas that combined to give a startling impression of life beyond he white man's world.... At the work's premier in Toronto, the audience was on its feet at the end of each of three performances and at intermission, symphony patrons besieged the symphony boutique with requests for the recording.

Testimonials for Ray Luedeke’s The Moon in the Labyrinth – for harp and string quartet
"... brilliant, idiomatically written for the harp, an important work."
Nicanor Zabaleta

"... an extraordinary composer... his music has strength and emotional appeal."
Krysztof Penderecki
"... a genius for unusual combinations."
George Crumb

Budget: For 3 weeks of rehearsals and 4 weeks of show:

Fees for Director, Music Director, Scenic Designer, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer, Stage Manager, Asst. Stage Manager, Elec. Board Operator, Publicist:  $20,000
Artist’s fees for 2 actors, 2 singers, 2 covers, 3 musicians: $30,000

Rehearsal space and Theater rental: $20,000

Physical Properties, Printing, misc.: $5,000

Load in, Load out: $1,500

Kickstarter, Amazon Account, Gifts: $8,500

Total budget: $85,000

Note: Revenue from ticket sales will be used as seed money for our proposed international tour. 50% of royalties go to The Pablo Neruda Foundation in Chile, as per contract. Any royalty money due Ray Luedeke will be used for the proposed tour.

Risks and challenges

The risks of launching this project is that putting on a show in New York City can be a complicated affair. However, Voice Afire has been producing shows for nine years, 6 in Canada and 3 in New York City. Voice Afire produced Butterfly’s Trouble, similar in size and structure, successfully at the 45th Street Theater in Midtown Manhattan in January 2012. Another risk is that we will not reach our Kickstarter goal. This risk is covered by the fact that Voice Afire is working on a 2nd production of My Life with Pablo Neruda, this one bilingual, with Dan Swern, Producing Director at coLab Arts in New Brunswick, New Jersey. CoLab has good community support and will emphasize the multi-cultural and educational aspects of the show.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Download for free 2 tracks from the show.

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    You will receive a CD autographed by the composer of selections from My Life with Pablo Neruda.

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    You will receive one complementary ticket to the show.

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    You will receive a complete CD recording of My Life with Pablo Neruda, autographed by the composer.

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    You will receive a complete DVD video recording of My Life with Pablo Neruda autographed by the composer.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You will receive 2 complementary tickets to the show plus we will print your name in the liner notes under a section called “Special Thanks.” Tell the world you made it happen.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You will receive a complete DVD video recording of My Life with Pablo Neruda autographed by the composer plus we will print your name in the liner notes under a section called “Special Thanks.” Tell the world you made it happen.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You will receive 4 complementary tickets to the show plus we will print your name in the liner notes under a section called “Special Thanks.” Tell the world you made it happen.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    You will receive 4 complementary tickets to the show plus we will print your name in the program notes under a section called “Extra Special Thanks.” Tell the world you made it happen. Plus you and your friends will be invited to our closing night party. Free toasts for all.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You will receive 4 reserved complementary tickets for opening night or any other performance. Plus you will receive an 11”x17” poster of the show suitable for framing, autographed by the composer, the director, and by entire cast. This item will only be available to Kickstarter participants and will never be produced again. Plus you will be listed in the program as an Associate Producer and you and your friends will be invited to our closing night party. Free toasts for all.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    You will receive all of the items mentioned in the Pledge for $1,000. Plus a copy of the full score of My Life with Pablo Neruda, autographed by the composer and a complete DVD recording of My Life with Pablo Neruda autographed by the composer.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    You will receive 6 reserved complementary tickets for opening night or any other performance. Plus composer Ray Luedeke will compose a song for mezzo soprano or tenor and piano to a poem of your choice, no longer than a Neruda Sonnet. The song will be dedicated to you, and you will receive a composer autographed copy of a CD of the song. Plus you will be introduced as special contributor at the beginning of the show on opening and closing night and listed in the program as an Associate Producer. Plus you and your friends will be invited to our closing night party. Free toasts for all.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    You will receive 6 reserved complementary tickets for opening night or any other performance. The cast of My Life with Pablo Neruda will perform a scene in your home or in the home of a friend in the New York metropolitan area. Plus you will be introduced as special contributor at the beginning of the show on opening night and closing night and listed in the program as an Associate Producer. Plus you and your friends will be invited to our closing night party. Free toasts for all.

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Funding period

- (59 days)