Susan Botti's Jabberwocky was premiered at the Manhattan School of Music in February 1990.
My interpretation of Jabberwocky began as an exploration of Lewis Carroll's magical nonsense text. While this poem is still clearly a story to be told, the words themselves invite new vocal sounds. My version of this piece stems more from improvisational theater than from a traditional setting of the text. Originally, I experimented with the poem a cappella, until I had a shape and a sense of how to tell the story. Then I decided to add a percussionist to provide greater dimensionality and drama. I later incorporated Jabberwocky into my chamber opera, Wonderglass, a dream-like journey through the world of Lewis Carroll's Alice stories.
In performance, a very focused area is illuminated (specifically, the mouth and hands) surrounded by complete darkness, isolating the audience's "exterior" visual dimension. This lighting frees the audience to explore their own "interior" visual interpretation, and allows each individual imagination the space to complete their own pictures.
- Susan Botti