Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration

by Companion Star Inc Vetted since 2012
Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration
Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration
Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration
Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration
Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration
Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration
Transtromer as opera: Sweden/USA collaboration

Dear Donors, 

We thank you for the support that you have given us for this project. With that support we have been able to complete the designs for the show and complete the score and administrate the organization of this project.  

Unfortunately we have not made the progress necessary for an effecitve final production. Therefore, we have decided to deactivate this project to regroup and focus on a different strategy.  We know this may be disappointing news but we sincerely hope for a richer, better artistic outcome in the future.

We hope that you will look for us. Again our thanks for all that you have given to us.


Michael Douglas Jones, Founder & Director

Set Designer
Set Designer's sketch for Flygblad

Dear Friends,

We are excited to tell you that New Music USA has just given our project, Tranströmer as opera, a grant for the upcoming performance at the Gateway Playhouse in January, 2017.
And THANK YOU for your ongoing support, it has helped us design the set, costumes, video and lighting and it has kept the energy flowing.

In November of this year, composer Ellen Lindquist is being honored with a concert by Trondheim Sinfonietta in Norway. Kathleen Flynn, Soprano and I have been invited to sing two of the numbers from 

drömseminarium/dream seminar - Flygblad (Leaflet) and Romanska Bågar (Romanesque Arches). We are excited to make some new artistic connections in Norway and to have an opportunity to sing these two pieces in preparation for January at the Gateway. I’ve included the sketches from set designer Henny Linn Kjellberg for these two songs.

We are depending on your continued support to make the performances in January a reality.

I close with one of Tranströmer's poems which inspires us and the process of our work.

Det gör ont att gå genom väggar, man blir sjuk av det men det är nödvändigt.
Världen är en. Men väggar…
Och väggen är en del av dig själv-
man vet det eller vet det inte men det är så för alla utom för små barn.
För dem ingen vägg.
-- Tomas Tranströmer, Vermeer

It hurts to walk through walls, you get sick of it but it is necessary.
The world is one. But the walls ...
And the wall is a part of you yourself -
whether you know it or not, it is so for everyone except small children.
For them, no wall. "

May we all continue to break through walls like children!

Happy spring,




Set Design sketch for Romanska Bagar
Set Design sketch for Romanska Bagar
Workshop artists @ Vasteras Concerthouse in Sweden
Workshop artists @ Vasteras Concerthouse in Sweden

Dear Donors, 

We have had a wonderful year and we are looking forward to what comes this year for dream seminar/drömseminarium As reported in October we are including a filmmaker for the documentation of the process which created this piece and which continues to inform it's life and fulfillment of its potential. We are currently scheduling artists for the January 2017 completion of this project.

The picture in today's report is from one of our development workshops at Västerås Concert house in 2009. 

We hope you will continue your support of this project as we reach the final stages. 

Thank you for your support, certainly could not do this without that support. 

One of the early workshops in Sweden
One of the early workshops in Sweden

Hello Donors,

First of all thanks for helping us make it this far in the process of bringing our American/Swedish Opera Project to completion. It has been an amazing process that would not have happened without you. 

To date we have used your donations to fund our design process and continue the planning process for our final performance. In the past few reports we have shown you examples of some of the designs and introduced you to the designers.

We are adding a Documentary Filmmaker to the creative process of completing this piece. Their work will incorporate some of the many hours of footage from our workshops and past work-in-progress performances as well as interviews of as many of the 49 artists who have participated to make this piece come to life.  We are making this film as the culmination of the work on this piece as our "premiere" if you will. It will act as a companion piece  along side a live performance event. It is the next step in the evolution of the process as of this piece; as artists we never stop creating - every moment is a creation.

In the attached photo you see us at work at the Västerås Concert House where much of our work in Sweden took place.

We hope you will continue your support for our work on this monumental international collaboration. Thank you again for all of your past support and we look forward to seeing you in the audience. 

Please visit our website for excerpts of the music here:


Thanks, Michael

Ellen and Michael
Ellen and Michael

The shot above is of composer Ellen Lindquist and me on a break from our development workshop at Ängsö Castle in 2009. 

As preparations for the premiere continue we wanted to take this time to share a bit of history about this project:

What began as a song cycle commission in 2001 has become, in 2015, dream seminar/drömseminarium: a Swedish/American opera project.  I first met Ellen Lindquist while working on a doctorate at Stony Brook University. Admiring her work when singing a Samuel Barber song she had arranged for orchestra, I commissioned a song cycle for bass and piano using poems of Tomas Tranströmer. A busy performance career outside Stony Brook as well as work on my doctorate delayed our work together for several years but we kept meeting and discussing our ideas for a new kind of song cycle.  I began work on Kagel’s Fürst Igor, Strawinsky which led us to the idea of a music theater piece. As we talked about our plans for the Tranströmer piece with other colleagues, several of them asked to participate and the idea for this new opera began to take shape. I founded Companion Star in 2005.  We met Tranströmer in 2006, andshortly thereafter connected with Mälardalans Högskola and Västmanlands Musiken in Sweden. In 2007 we connected with the Gateway Theater in New York (where Companion Star is now in residence) and began development workshops to explore Tranströmer's poetry and our artistic voices/instruments/expression to see where it would lead. From 2007-2011 these workshops alternated between Sweden in the summer and New York in the winter.

To date 47 artists from 9 countries have participated in this exploration and lent their creativity to this project.  Many have spoken of the personal growth they experienced from working on this project, how it has created greater depth of expression for them in their own projects.  Three of the artists have since started their own companies to create and explore contemporary music and its performance.

Companion Star is a living laboratory for the creative process. We provide an environment that challenges and allows artists to express their ideas. dream seminar/drömseminarium is a shining example of this work. 

Thank you for your past support, we could not have gotten this far without you. Please consider an additional donation to help us launch this piece. Share this appeal with your friends and help us build our network. 

The picture below is just one of the magical sunsets we experienced in 2009 at Björnögården. May the remainder of your summer be wonderful!


Swedish Sunset
Swedish Sunset

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Organization Information

Companion Star Inc

Location: Patchogue, New York - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @companionstar
Project Leader:
Michael Douglas Jones
Patchogue, New York United States
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