Indianapolis Opera is PROUD to present John Clanton, making his debut with IO as Music Director. We interviewed Clanton to get to know more about his passion for conducting.
IO: Are there certain scenes the music drives more raw emotion? Clanton: The story is set in 2 worlds—fantasy and reality—and the music for each is very different. While in the fantasy world the music is passionate and inspirational, it becomes very dissonant and raw when we return to the real world. The orchestra includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion, and the string section is represented by just a double bass and Spanish guitar. Because of this, we hear both dynamic extremes: the quiet beauty of the guitar at one end and the power of the winds and percussion at the other.
IO: Please describe your passion for conducting. Clanton: I love everything about conducting, from the preparation and study to the rehearsals and performances. I especially enjoy collaborating with the players in the pit and the singers on the stage and being one of the people responsible for making sure everything comes together during the performance. The podium is my “happy place” where I can forget about the frustrations of everyday life and focus on making music.
IO: What are your feelings about Man of La Mancha? Clanton: Before studying the show, I suspect I was like many people in thinking “Man of La Mancha” equaled “The Impossible Dream”. It’s been enjoyable to learn that it is so much more than that…full of great music and an uplifting story.
IO: Do you have any fun facts? Clanton: I’ve traveled to all 50 states and 13 countries; I’m a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel; I conducted for the State Funerals of Presidents Reagan and Ford; and I conducted for the White House State Dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth II.