LYRIC: Panic


Todd adapted Nobel winner Knut Hamsun's 1894 novella Pan as an evening-length solo song-cycle for composer Andy Vores.


Panic explores themes of solitude, longing and madness as it tells the story of a newcomer to an isolated mountain town and the horrific personal and social dangers that spiral from his obsessions with its taciturn women.


The "one man opera" premiered in May 2014 by Florestan Recital Project, in collaboration with University of Minnesota’s School of Music: Aaron Engebreth, baritone and Alison d’Amato, pianist. The performance was not recorded.


It was Todd's first text for musical setting.



Todd took a vague suggestion and crafted a stunningly varied, focused, nuanced, and contained set of poems. For a composer, they were ideal; wonderful to set to music – full of allusions and moods. Turning Hamsun’s complicated protagonist and dreamlike, ambiguous story into this sequence of 34 poems is impressive enough, for them to be so eminently ‘settable’ too – a gift!

Andy Vores, composer


Deconstructing the narrative, characters, and settings of a novel, and setting it for a single vocal performance, was one of the most challenging literary projects I've ever tackled. Hearing the work through multiple rehearsals and performances, I learned a lot about how lyrics and music work together to create tensions and develop ideas. I'm immensely grateful to Andy Vores for the collaboration. This project made me want to work with other composers.





Todd is grateful to the following for support of his work: Forecast Public Art, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council of/and The Minnesota State Arts Board, The National Endowment for the Arts, The San Francisco Arts Commission, and the Warhol Foundation, as well as individual commissions and supporters on Patreon

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