Bài tiếng Việt sẽ làm sau.

Anvi Hoàng: What’s exciting about the premiere of What the Horse Eats? 

Shuichi Umeyama: Premiere is always exciting no matter what. This one is more challenging. The music is unique. It doesn’t borrow from something else, is not a copy of other music.

AVH: How did you study the score as an opera coach?

SU: I see the music and I can imagine the notes in my head. Once I get some idea, I start to play the notes.

AVH: How different is your job in this premiere of What the Horse Eats compared to what you usually do with a standard repertoire? 

SU: As a musician, I am OK to read the new music. Some students hear recordings to learn. For them, there is no way they can learn from the music that is so complicated like this. That’s why I recommended singers who can read new music.

AVH: How do you help singers during the piano rehearsals?

SU: I tell them not to try to listen to piano midi file. Count by themselves. Draw lines by the beat. Keep the same beat. When it comes to a difficult place, they should practice slowly until they can feel the music. 

AVH: Do you help singers bring out the characters in their singing as well or just focus on the technical aspect of the music? 

SU: I try the characterization part. And it’s probably right to do that from the beginning. But they are already overwhelmed with the new music and it’s hard to do characterization as well. 

AVH: Do you find anything interesting or challenging in the music of What the Horse Eats? 

SU: Mr Phan’s music, to me, is like mathematics. We really have to find the rhythm, whether it’s the triplets, the fifths, or the sevenths. It makes sense only when we can do this correctly. What The Horse Eats also has big range. But we have good singers and they can handle that. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to get the musical meanings in complicated music. Dramatically, it’s easy to understand because there are words. When I started working with the conductor, the ideas became clearer. The orchestration is really amazing. Fewer instruments but they express so many colorful things. They make me understand the music better, too.

AVH: What do you want to say to the non-musician audience of What the Horse Eats? 

SU: Try to listen to the music as well. Don’t just pay attention to the action and the words.