"RADIANT... AMOROUSLY EVOCATIVE"
-The New York Times (about composer Paola Prestini)
JOIN US AS!
We cannot wait to share this beautiful new work with you.
If you are able to join us, please RSVP for information to Beth Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, enjoy these production photos taken during
our recent workshop in residence at MassMoCA, and see
below for more information about the project.
from the immersive film by Ali Hossaini, and more!
Set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea, Oceanic Verses follows the stories of four characters united by their desire to unearth and uncover the past. A meditation on fading civilizations, the journey is led by an archaeologist, (improviser Helga Davis) whose investigation of immigration leads her to a Sailor (folksinger Claudio Prima) searching for lost songs; a Peasant (soprano Nancy Allen Lundy) seeking a better life for her future children; and a Soldier (Christopher Burchett) searching for a good meal.
Each of the four characters has a double-an abstraction of his/her essence or inner life-in a film by Ali Hossaini, projected, throughout the performance. These sequences are part of a larger "video environment" that recreates the atmosphere of the Mediterranean and immerses the opera's players and audience in the folkloric landscape that inspired it. Hossaini's contribution amplifies the presence of the main characters while giving Oceanic Verses a broad sense of place that is impossible with a traditional set.
Along with the principals performers and their on-screen counterparts, Oceanic Verses features the 12-piece ensemble NOVUS NY: the contemporary music ensemble of Trinity Wall Street and the 40-person Washington Chorus. The Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy will join the company for the New York premiere. Maestro Julian Wachner conducts.
The piece was commissioned by Carnegie Hall in 2009 and began as an operatic tableau of rituals spanning Prestini's Italian heritage. This shorter concert version of the work paid homage to Italian folk music throughout the ages, from the Salento, Genoa and Sardinia regions of the county. Inspired by five millennia of folk music-and the work of American ethnomusicologist and folklorist Alan Lomax-Prestini's score combines field recordings she made in Salento with reconstructions she undertook of ancient music and original music in which she echoes contemporary Italian singers Fabrizio D'Andre and Robert Licci.
Donna Di Novelli joined the team as Prestini began to enlarge and form the work into an opera. Di Novelli structured the piece by weaving her own original work together with a selection of archetypal Italian texts: from songs and poems written by Vittoria Colonna, Giuseppe Ungaretti, Dante Alighieri and Aleandro Aleardi. The opera is sung in a variety of dialects including Griko, Genoese, and Sardinian.
The Oceanic Verses creative team also includes Emio Greco | PC (Choregraphy), S. Katy Tucker (Video and Projection Design), Vita Tzykun (Costume and Set Design) and Allen Hahn (Lighting Design).
PICTURED: production photos below from MassMoCA workshop of OCEANIC VERSES; photo (c) Jill Steinberg