The Story of TMT Part II
When we were plannig our first season, we wanted to announce a major commission as a way of serving notice of our intentions to support modern creative work, as well as reviving older pieces. James Rolfe seemed a logical choice, as he had had many successes with stage works (Beatrice Chancy among them). One of the "older" pieces we were looking at producing was Charpentier's mini-masterpiece La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers, which had enjoyed a revival due to a fine recording by Les Arts Florissants. Just under an hour in length, the Charpentier needed a companion piece, so we approached James about writing one. Happily, he agreed at once and was intrigued at the proposition of writing for old instruments (recorders, gambas, etc.). He suggested asking novelist and broadcaster André Alexis to write the libretto. It turns out they knew each other, growing up in Ottawa, and James felt they could work together well on this project. We applied for commissioning funds from the Ontario Arts Council and the Laidlaw Foundation and were successful on both counts.
Meanwhile, fundraising and planning were moving ahead to present a first season.