Experiments in Opera (www.ExperimentsInOpera.com) announces their upcoming quadruple bill, Chorus of All Souls to be held on Saturday November 2, 8pm at Abrons Art Center Playhouse, 466 Grand Street, New York. This performance kicks off their 2013-14 Season and yearlong residency at Abrons Arts Center on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For tickets ($30), patrons should call Theatermania at 212-352-3101 or visit http://www.AbronsArtsCenter.org. Video "preview" is at https://vimeo.com/74634150.
A free preview event at Abrons Art Center, Opera in Dialogue, will take place Sunday October 27 from 7 – 9 PM featuring Matthew Welch, Jason Cady, Jessica Pavone, and Paola Prestini (director of VisionIntoArt); moderated by CultureBot founder Andrew Horowitz.
In celebration of the Day of All Souls and the close of Hallowmas, Experiments in Opera (EiO), in partnership with VisionIntoArt, presents Chorus of All Souls, an evening of opera choruses including a semi-staged production of John Zorn’s The Holy Visions, an exhilarating choral opera based on the writings and work of the medieval mystic and composer, Hildegard von Bingen. The evening will also include the premiere of When No One Around You is There by Jessica Pavone, which utilizes the chorus as an abstract metaphor for the human predicament; as well as two semi-staged choral operas: Jason Cady’s Nostalgia Kills You, a comedy about a man and his zombie ex-girlfriend and Matthew Welch’s Reanimator Requiem which merges the mass for the dead with H.P. Lovecraft's cult classic.
According to EiO Co-Founder Aaron Siegel “we are thrilled that part of our appeal is the way in which our work is connected more closely with popular culture media (television and movies). We are looking to draw on viewers familiarity with these mediums to access the stories and messages.”
ITEMS OF NOTE
· These are the World Premiere performances of the works by Pavone, Cady, and Welch.
· This is the first staging of Zorn’s The Holy Visions and marks the beginning of a development project with VisionIntoArt that will culminate with a fully-staged production during the 2014-15 season.
· Cady’s and Welch’s works address unconventional opera stories dealing with themes of Zombies and the Undead—stories we currently associate with the popular culture imagination.
· Pavone’s work explores the drama of sound production within a community of singers and stretches the notion of opera: it doesn’t actually contain a narrative story or a libretto, but rather focuses on the expression of vocal mechanisms – breath, tension, the friction of air in the throat.
Featured vocalists include Abby Fischer, Kirsten Sollek, Jane Sheldon, Melissa Hughes, Sarah Brailey, and Vince B. Vincent. Both Nostalgia Kills You and Reanimator Requiem are directed by Louisa Proske and conducted by Matthew Welch. Chorus: Amanda Weber, Molly Netter, Kathleen Allan, Rachel Calloway, Patrick Fennig, Max Blum, Nick Hallet, Jeffrey Gavett, and Peter Stewart. Projection & Video Design for The Holy Visions is by S. Katy Tucker. Peter Zuspan from design firm Bureau V will be the director for The Holy Visions. Zorn’s and Pavone’s works are a cappella. Welch’s and Cady’s works will be accompanied by Mike Pride (drumset), Tim Dahl (electric bass), Emily Manzo (amplified harpsichord, Nostalgia Kills You), and Brendon Randall-Myers (electric guitar, Reanimator Requiem).
EiO’s yearlong residency will also include a showcase of opera shorts for the radio (Radio Operas, February 28 – March 1, 2014), and the premiere of an evening length opera that has been in development with EiO for the past two seasons (Brother Brother, May 2-3, 2014). A $60 three event subscription (savings of $15) is available at http://www.AbronsArtsCenter.org.
These mainstage programs will be augmented throughout the year by supporting videos, photos and writings that will help to contextualize the works in progress and by three free public programs (Opera in Dialogue) aimed to build dialogue between the composers, writers, performers, directors and designers working in the hybrid space of experimental opera. Experiments in Opera will partner with online magazine CultureBot.org for these public programs which will take place in in the Abrons Arts Center Experimental Theater. Opera in Dialogue #1 will take place Sunday October 27 from 7 – 9 PM. Matthew Welch, Jason Cady, Jessica Pavone and Paola Prestini (director of VisionIntoArt) will be present for this session which will be moderated by CultureBot founder Andrew Horowitz. This session will include opportunities for members of the public to participate in a ‘long table’ discussion with the featured artists about shifts in the nature of artistic partnerships and their impact on the creation of opera. The second and third evenings of this series will be announced shortly.
ABOUT EXPERIMENTS IN OPERA
Co-founded by composers Matthew Welch, Jason Cady, and Aaron Siegel, Experiments in Opera is a composer-driven initiative, featuring recent and new works with innovative answers to the traditional questions about how to connect words, story and music. Our activities respond to the pronounced need to nurture composers who are exploring musical work beyond a strictly concert setting, but furthermore into the hybrid genre of opera. Additionally Experiments in Opera builds supportive and informed audiences that are capable of contributing to its work.
In its first two programming seasons, Experiments in Opera has presented the work of more than 12 composers in three large-scale presentations aimed at expanding the collective understanding of experimental opera. Venues have included Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, and Issue Project Room, and have featured works by composers Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch, Georges Aperghis, John Zorn, Robert Ashley, Joe Diebes, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal and the Cough Button collective. Also featured were performances by pianist Emily Manzo, singer Erin Flannery, drummer Brian Chase, Hotel Elefant, and the performance collective Why Lie?
All of the work developed with Experiments in Opera is documented extensively in videos, images and writings that are available in an online catalogue at experimentsinopera.com. These insightful looks into the origins of artists' ideas and their working habits help to support EIO's mission of building a more robust conversation about how and why opera works the way it does. http://www.ExperimentsInOpera.com.
VisionIntoArt, "always intriguing and frequently beguiling" is a multimedia production company that “facilitates flamboyant, confounding and enticing collaborations” (New York Times). With the belief that collaboration sustains artistic innovation, VIA creates and commissions works that involve various disciplines, presented around the world for the general audience, and forged from the most exciting emerging and established artists living today. Since Paola Prestini co-founded the company in 1999 at the Juilliard School, VIA has created and performed over fifty original works. VIA's works have been seen at Lincoln Center, the Barbican Centre, the Atlas Theater, HIFA, in Zimbabwe, and the Kennedy Center. VIA's works have toured to colleges and universities in the US, and to international festivals such as Apertif in Concerto at Teatro Manzoni, Etna Fest in Italy, and BEMUS in Belgrade, Serbia. Support for VIA comes from the National Endowment of the Arts, Cary Trust for New Music, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the New York State Council on the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, American Music Center, ASCAP, the BMI Fund, the Kenan Institute, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Video Resources, the Council on Foundations, the Amphion Foundation and individual donors http://www.visionintoart.com
The Abrons Arts Center, located at 466 Grand Street, New York, NY, is the performing and visual arts program of Henry Street Settlement. The Abrons supports the presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work; cultivates artists in all stages of their creative development through educational programs, commissions, and residencies; and serves as an intersection of cultural engagement for local, national, and international audiences and arts-workers. For more information, call (212) 598-0400 or visit http://www.AbronsArtsCenter.org.