NEW YORK, NY — Experiments in Opera announces two productions slated for the Winter and Spring of 2015 including a world premiere and eight new works. Building on the success of their 2013-14 residency at Abrons Arts Center, EiO returns to Abron’s Underground Theater for the world premiere of Sisyphus, a reimagining of the complete Sisyphus story told by three composers. Then in April 2015, EiO takes over Roulette for a 2-night Story Binge featuring 8 new works by eight composers. Each night will feature four works that stretch the limits of what opera can be. Experimenting with new collaborative processes and embracing the eclecticism of New York’s contemporary and DIY music scenes, EiO aims to expand their support of today’s composers looking to tell their stories through music.
There’s more to the myth of Sisyphus than a man pushing a boulder up a hill. In this new, collaboratively-composed evening-length opera, the famous story is twisted, pulled apart, and reassembled in a collage of characters, genres and questions. Sisyphus features texts and music by the three founders of Experiments in Opera: Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, and Matthew Welch and is being developed in partnership with the director Ethan Heard and the designer Kristen Robinson.
Jason, Aaron and Matt decided that they wanted to write a piece together, each using their own unique musical languages but telling the same story. They chose Sisyphus as a way to continue the tradition of myths as mutable stories, changing with each telling depending on the background of the storyteller. In this new opera, Jason focuses primarily on the story of Sisyphus, whose legendary ego and excesses were the cause of his infamous punishment. Aaron tells the tragic story of Aegina, whose capture by Zeus is discovered and betrayed by Sisyphus. And Matt focuses on the never-ending hell that Sisyphus lives as a result of his transgressions. This version of Sisyphus will at turns be tragic, obsessive and hilarious, all in the course of a 60 minute, fully-staged production.
The opera is scored for 3 singers, soprano Lucy Dhegrae, mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney and tenor Vince B. Vincent. They will each embody a dizzying number of roles throughout the production and will be accompanied by Joe Bergen on vibraphone, Meaghan Burke on cello, Shawn Lovato on bass, Jason Cady on modular synthesizer and conducted by Matthew Welch. Sisyphus will be directed by Ethan Heard, with stage designs by Kristen Robinson, lighting design by Masha Tsimring, and costume design by Seth Bodie.
February 13, 14, 20 & 21, 2015
Abrons Arts Center | Underground Theater
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), New York, NY 10002
Tickets $20 at abronsartscenter.org
Experiments in Opera presents eight new operas in a two-night operathon at Roulette in Brooklyn on April 1 & 2, 2015. Over the course of this opera binge, you will hear the work of eight composers, whose arrival at opera couldn’t be more roundabout. The resulting pieces, one-act shorts and excerpts in concert and staged performances tell a range of absurd, abstract, historical and hilarious stories.
- Gelsey Bell spins a fractured story of social relationships based on a Rolodex of characters.
- Roddy Bottum spreads the myth of Sasquatch with a story about a small town family’s ‘Bigfoot Tours’ and the fallout when their daughter runs away with the real Sasquatch.
- Judith Berkson explores a classic children’s folk tale a mixed ensemble of keyboards, strings and a children’s choir.
- Jason Cady tells the story of alien zoologists trying to conserve the human race by pairing a woman with one of the last remaining men.
- Nick Hallett looks at the nature of inspiration, originality, and illusion through the cautionary tale of a composer’s behavior on social media.
- Sam Hillmer details the disconnect between spoken words and thoughts in his auto-biographical multi-media experience.
- Aaron Siegel investigates the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac through the eyes of a performance artist who struggles to find an outlet for his strange visions.
- Matthew Welch explores his family memoirs of wartime Philippines with his ensemble, Blarvuster.
April 1-2, 2015, 8:00 PM
Roulette | 509 Atlantic Avenue (corner of 3rd Avenue) Brooklyn, NY 11217
$20 for each night
$15 for students
roulette.org for tickets
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.
Since 2011, Experiments in Opera has produced thirty new operas, collaborating with over one hundred performers, designers and directors from the New York City artist community. Experiments in Opera has presented the work of more than 20 composers including 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, the Cough Button collective, Jessica Pavone, Paul Pinto, Jonathan Mitchell, John King, Dave Ruder and Daniel Kushner. Venues have included Abrons Arts Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Roulette, and Issue Project Room.
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.
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 AbronsArtsCenter.org.
Brooklyn’s Roulette, located at 509 Atlantic Avenue Brooklyn, NY, is a noted community venue hosting a broad array of experimental music, performance & mixed media shows. Roulette has become an epicenter for their neighborhood, and for the arts organizations of New York City, occupying a unique position in the city’s cultural landscape as one of the most creative and prolific centers for experimental art in the United States. For more information, call (917) 267-0363 or visit roulette.org.