FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OPERA PARALLÈLE PRESENTS PHILIP GLASS’ HYBRID DANCE-OPERA LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES IN NEW PRODUCTION MELDING OPERA, DANCE AND FILM IN CELEBRATION OF THE COMPOSER’S 80th BIRTHDAY YEAR
MAY 26-28 AT SF CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC
San Francisco, CA, March 3, 2017 – Opera and Dance come together with an added layer of newly-created, multi-dimensional film and projected elements in Opera Parallèle’s (OP) new production of Philip Glass’ 1996 hybrid dance-opera Les Enfants Terribles, which will be performed May 26 through 28 at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Caroline H. Hume Hall. Based on the 1929 novel by Jean Cocteau, Les Enfants Terribles demonstrates the author’s belief that the imagination can have a profoundly transformative effect on reality with powerful and sometimes unintended results. Created in celebration of the composer’s 80th birthday year, the OP team for the production will be headed by Artistic Director and conductor Nicole Paiement and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel with guest choreographer Amy Seiwert in her opera debut and media designer David Murakami. The production represents OP’s second opera by Philip Glass, following Orphée in 2011. The production is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Grants for the Arts/General Fund Portion of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund and the UC Santa Cruz Arts Research Institute. Four performances will be given Friday, May 26, at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 27, at 2 and 7:30 pm; and Sunday, May 28, at 2 pm, and the San Francisco Conservatory is located at 50 Oak Street, San Francisco. A pre-performance talk will be given one hour before each performance by Dr. Clifford “Kip” Cranna, free to ticket holders and the performances are 90 minutes without intermission. Tickets are priced $45-$95 and student/senior discounts are available. For tickets and information, click HERE.
Philip Glass’ hybrid dance-opera spectacle is the last in his trilogy based on the works of Jean Cocteau. Singers, dancers, and media figure equally in Glass’ experimental work that tells Cocteau’s 1929 story of Paul and Lise, a brother and sister inextricably connected through loss, who live in a world of wild creativity and sometimes dangerous imagination. Staufenbiel and his team will create a stage environment that parallels the reality and fantasy of Paul and Lise’s experience using dancers and film sequences as “doppelgängers” that reveal the emotions, motivations and back stories of the characters.
The first two works in Philip Glass’ Cocteau trilogy, Orphée in 1993 and La Belle et la Bête in 1994, were created as opera/film hybrids. The composer envisioned Les Enfants Terribles (1996) as something different, a dance/opera hybrid in which singers and dancers would share the stage equally. “If Orphée is Cocteau’s tale of transcendence and La Belle et la Bête his romance, then Les Enfants Terribles is his tragedy,” Glass has written. “Like the others, it articulates Cocteau’s belief in the power of imagination to transform the ordinary world into a world of magic. But unlike the two previous works, in which transformation leads to love and transcendence, Les Enfants Terribles takes us to the world of Narcissus and, ultimately, Death. Hence the tragedy and power of the piece — a snowball becomes a ball of poison. Dargelos becomes Agathe. A ‘Room’ (normally a place of imagination and creativity for Cocteau) is transformed into a space that jealously refuses to let its ‘Children’ grow up. A harmless ‘Game’ turns into a fierce struggle that ends in destruction. The natural world is represented by the snow, which falls relentlessly throughout the opera and (like the spectators) silently looks on, bearing witness to the unfolding events. Here, time stands still. There is only music, and the movement of children through space.”
The versatile cast features baritone Hadleigh Adams as Paul, soprano Rachel Schutz as Elizabeth, tenor Andres Ramirez as Gérard, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich as Dargelos/Agathe and dancers Steffi Cheong and Brett Conway. The original score for three pianos will be performed by Keisuke Nakagoshi, Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Kevin Korth. The performances will be conducted by Nicole Paiement.
About the Guest Artists
Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his time through his operas, symphonies and wide-ranging collaborations. Glass’ operas play throughout the world’s leading houses. He has also written music for experimental theater and film.
Glass was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar.
After returning to New York, Glass formed the Philip Glass Ensemble, which features instruments amplified and fed through a mixer. The new musical style that Glass was evolving was dubbed “minimalism”; Glass preferred to be known as a composer of “music with repetitive structures’” In 2015, Glass published his memoir, Words Without Music, and premiered his Double Concerto for Two Pianos with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Amy Seiwert enjoyed a nineteen-year performing career dancing with the Smuin, LA Chamber and Sacramento Ballets.
As a dancer with Smuin Ballet she became involved with the “Protégé Program” where her choreography was mentored by the late Michael Smuin, and became Choreographer in Residence there upon her retirement from dancing in 2008. Named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, her first full evening of choreography was named one of the “Top 10” dance events of 2007 by the SF Chronicle.
Twice she has worked with dancers from New York City Ballet, participating in the NY Choreography Institute at the invitation of Peter Martins. Collaborations include works with visual designers Marc Morozumi and Matthew Antaky, composers Daniel Bernard Roumain and Mason Bates, media designer Frieder Weiss and spoken-word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph.
She was Artist in Residence at ODC Theater from 2013-15 and her works are featured in the repertories of Ballet Austin, BalletMet, Smuin, Washington, Atlanta, Oakland, Sacramento, Colorado, Louisville, Cincinnati, Carolina, Oklahoma City, Dayton, Milwaukee and American Repertory Ballets as well as Robert Mose’; KIN.
David Murakami is an award winning film director, writer, and theatrical multi-media designer working towards integrating emerging technologies with traditional performance on stage. He has designed experimental set-pieces ranging from the classic works of Henrick Ibsen and Ray Bradbury to the vaudeville reunion of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and has directed diverse actors ranging from university students to members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Past designs include Das Rheingold with Minnesota Opera, Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Trouble in Tahiti, and Terence Blanchard’s Champion with Opera Parallèle, and the American premieres of Anya 17, Heart of Darkness, and world premiere of Luis Valdez’ Valley of the Heart. His current projects include directing his sixth feature-length film, Morningstar, designing Gordon Getty’s Usher House / The Canterville Ghost with LA Opera, and working in ongoing collaboration with Opera Parallèle.
Scott Horton Communications