by Jarrett Hoffman
SalonEra is off and running, continuing into its fourth, fifth, and sixth episodes over the next several weeks with “Strike The Viol” (October 5), “Latin Baroque” (October 19), and “Schubertiade” (November 2).
I reached out to Les Délices artistic director Debra Nagy to learn more about these three very different programs, but also to talk about the new role she’s taken on for this series: interviewer. And whether you’re Conan O’Brien or Debra Nagy, there’s a lot that goes into that.
For Nagy, it starts with a “discovery call” with someone she’d like to bring on the show: “a very open phone call that is maybe as much as an hour long,” she said during our own recent call over Zoom. Of course, she’ll already know in advance what someone’s specialty is, “but also, people surprise me,” she said. From there, and sometimes with a second phone call to further refine a topic, she can begin to weave a web that ties together different discussions and performances (all to be pre-recorded).
During the final taping of each episode, Nagy has enjoyed the challenge inherent in any interview: steering a conversation so that it’s both substantive and concise. The interviewee, of course, plays a part in that as well: both sides have to come together in a sort of dance that’s simultaneously organic and prepared.