The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music will produce the collegiate premiere of the musical The Light in the Piazza by Adam Guettel during the 2009 IU Summer Music Festival.
Light in the Piazza is based on a short story by Elizabeth Spencer. An American family on holiday in Italy in the 1950s has a strangely fragile daughter and deep fears about her growing infatuation with a charming Italian.
WFIU's George Walker talked with Dan Riddle the guest conductor for the production. "Actually, it was almost accidental that I got into playing and conducting for musicals," Riddle said. "There was one incident that's almost typical of how these things can happen. I was taking a break from playing in lounges and visiting Nashville with my wife. She had connections in the area from her own work at a near by theme park."
"The second keyboard player for a tour of Les Miserables had tendonitis and through a sort of loose connection I was invited to go to Little Rock, given two and half days to learn the show and then went on tour. Since then I've probably done seven or eight musicals as a keyboard player and assistant conductor."
"My first contact with one of Adam Guettel's shows was at Joe's Pub in New York and I just fell in love with the feel and the sound. Since then, I've spent time with more of his music. In each of his stage pieces he's chosen a different set of sounds, but it's like Stravinsky. Every piece has Guettel's stamp on it."
In addition to his respect and affection for Guettel's music, Dan Riddle has especially strong connections with The Light in the Piazza. He has played the piano part in the show and for the cast album and conducted many performances of the work in New York's Beaumont Theater.
The IU Opera Theater's production of The Light in the Piazza conducted by Dan Riddle, with stage direction by Vincent Liotta, and set and costumes by C. David Higgins plays July 31st, August 1st and August 7th and 8th in the Musical Arts Center.