A most delightful experience
My collaborator for "Immortal Labia," composer Alan Chan, and I were fortunate to be accepted to a joint writer-composer residency in Visby, Sweden for June, 2023!
I did my writing residency at the Baltic Center for Writers and Translators (BCWT), while Alan concurrently did his residency at Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC).
I had a wonderful time. Much thanks to BCWT! Visby is a beautiful medieval city on the beautiful island of Gotland, which is a part of Sweden.
Visby is known for its medieval ruins, sheep, salmon stew, saffron pancakes, and the 1960s Pippi Longstocking movies being filmed there.
Photo by Krystyna Dąbrowska
At the writers' house, Alan and I read my libretto out loud together for the first time. It took us 3 hours!!! (Even though it was under 60 pages).
Alan asked a lot of good questions which led me to make adjustments and add new sections to the script. Our next read only took us under 2 hours.
Overall, I am happy with how the text/story has expanded during the time I spent in Sweden, though of course, there is still quite a bit more work to be done.
Almedal Library aka Almedalsbiblioteket was my favorite place to work, and I went there almost every day- They also have amazing homemade sweets and coffee/tea. Almedalsbiblioteket's saffron pancake aka saffranspannkaka, served with cream and dewberry jam (I tried it at four places in total in Visby) was my favorite.
I got to meet many wonderful writers and translators also doing their residency in June. Here are some of their books, which you can purchase and read.
"Tideline" by Krystyna Dąbrowska
"I'd Like", "Why I Killed My Best Friend", "God's Wife" by Amanda Michalopoulou
I also had the honor of meeting librettist Kerstin Perski and reading her powerful libretti "Brothers" and "Son of Heaven". I hope to see an opera of hers one day!