Maya Beiser: Elsewhere
Saturday, December 10, 2011, 8:00 pm
$8 / $5 for students
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After a 10-day residency, contemporary cellist Maya Beiser will present the first act of her inspired, psychological cello opera Elsewhere as part of our series of work-in-progress showings. Beiser, who has been christened the “cello goddess” by The New Yorker, will be accompanied during the residency by choreographer Karole Armitage and four dancers and the work will feature video from Peter Nigrini and environments by Riccardo Hernandez.
In two acts Elsewhere tells the tale of two heroic women who are fighting to survive the apocalypse, each attempting to come to terms with their existence as calamity and puzzlement engulf their lives. The first act takes inspiration from “I am Writing to You from a Far Off Country” by surrealist poet Henri Michaux, while the second act interprets the biblical story of Lot’s wife.
Far Off Country unfolds as a letter from a young woman witnessing her world as it comes to its end. She takes refuge in a secluded hermitage filled with video that shows the dissolution of the natural world. An alternately haunted and rhapsodic score composed by Eve Beglarian and set to the lyrical Michaux text is an imagining of a dying planet. The voice of the cello attempts to communicate the plight of these cloistered women to another woman in a distant land whose face and voice the audience sees and hears electronically.
By incorporating cello, vocals, spoken word, video, dance, and elaborate sets, the piece draws the audience into their catastrophic worlds. This work-in-progress was created through the collaboration of Beiser with celebrated theater director Robert Woodruff. The opera includes music by Michael Gordon (co-founder of the Bang on a Can Festival), Eve Beglarian, and Missy Mazzoli with texts by Henri Michaux and Erin Cressida Wilson. It is a Beth Morrison Projects production.
Read more about this all-star production team on our blog.
“A supercellist…emotion-driven star actress with all the technical prowess you could ask for.” --Arts San Francisco
“Intense… rich… powerful… Beiser in not the sort of musician who zigzags around the planet playing catalog music for polite and sleepy audience. She throws down a gauntlet in every program.” --Newsday
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