Summer Opera: Glimmerglass, Mostly Mozart

July 19, 2013

From July 20 through August 22, 2013 Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, NY stages 2 works by David Lang, directed by Francesca Zambello. His Pulitzer Prize-winning choral work, the little match girl passion and a new work, when we were children, commissioned specifically for this performance by Glimmerglass Opera.

August 10 – 13 Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and the International Contemporary Ensemble (Tony Arnold, soprano) present the New York premiere of David Lang’s the whisper opera for soprano and four instrumentalists, directed by Jim Findlay.

Commissioned by ICE and premiered at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the whisper opera is a fragile exploration of secrets and the tension between what we hide and what we reveal.

Lang writes about the premiere:

Almost all the music you could ever want is on the internet right now, recorded perfectly and played perfectly and accessible immediately, 24 hours a day. On the one hand this is fantastic—I can hear huge amounts of music, from different genres and time periods and traditions and cultures, any time I want. On the other hand, I love hearing music live. If most music is now available and recorded perfectly and ever present, is it possible that the meaning of hearing music live will change? For the past few years I have been designing pieces that try to highlight things that can only happen live. I have written pieces that are so hard that watching the musicians struggle to perform them becomes a central part of the experience; I have written concert pieces that have elaborate theatrical instructions; I have written pieces whose power comes from the emotionality of hearing them from inside a community of listeners. With the whisper opera I had another of these ideas—what if a piece were so quiet and so intimate and so personal to the performers that you needed to be right next them or you would hear almost nothing? A piece like this would have to be experienced live. In honor of this, the score to the whisper opera states clearly that it can never be recorded, or filmed, or amplified. The only way this piece can be received is if you are there, listening very very closely.