Early discussions about staging a “nautical visual presentation” of composer Yotam Haber’s “New Water Music” imagined a procession of canoes on Bayou St. John.
But in collaboration with New Orleans Airlift, the local arts organization best known for the fantasy-land Music Box Village in Bywater, the production grew bigger. Much bigger.
Saturday’s presentation of “New Water Music” on Lake Pontchartrain near the Seabrook Bridge boat launch will be part classical concert, part art installation, and part “Waterworld”-inspired spectacle.
It will involve the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and an additional 100 or so local musicians – some on land, some on the water. It will feature a “water ballet” of shrimp and oyster boats and a barge with custom-designed sets. A temporary village, built with nets, will be staffed by coastal advocacy organizations and people who make their living from Louisiana’s waterways and coast.
“It’s a very, very ambitious project,” Delaney Martin, New Orleans Airlift’s artistic director, said this week. “It’s a little overwhelming.”
The village, with food and beverages, opens at 4 p.m. Saturday. The “New Water Music” performance is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Admission is free.
The site is best accessed by following Lakeshore Drive to its eastern terminus at the bridge spanning the mouth of the Industrial Canal. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or festival chairs.
Anyone wanting to watch from the lake in canoes should be fine, Martin said, but motorized boats must keep their distance. “And the performance is geared toward land,” she said, “so people watching from boats won’t have the best views or audio.”
“New Water Music” is partly inspired by the first public performance of classic composer George Frideric Handel’s “Water…