Louis Andriessen's "Anaïs Nin" and "Odysseus' Women" at National Sawdust

by Steven Pisano

29764282274_867eab4540_o(All photographs by Steven Pisano.)

On Saturday night, for one performance only, the Center for Contemporary Opera presented the U.S. premiere of a double-bill of Louis Andriessen's one-act chamber operas Anaïs Nin and Odysseus' Women at National Sawdust, in a production conceived and directed by Jorinde Keesmaat.

Augusta Caso made her company debut as the title character in Anaïs Nin. Odysseus' Women featured Sharin Apostolou, Maggie Finnegan, Nicole Mitchell, and Hilary Ginther. Music direction was by Neal Goren, with synthesizer and piano played by Jerome Tan.

For information on the rest of CCO's Fall 2016 season, click here. More pics below and here.

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White Light Festival: Human Requiem at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

When I arrived at the Synod House of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine last night, the first thing I encountered was a long line at the door. A really long line. Reason: everyone attending that evening's performance of human requiem, which opens the 7th edition of the White Light Festival this week, had to check their bag before entering the space. 

Once inside the intimate, gothic hall, I was additionally asked to remove my shoes. There was no program, no seating, no real stage, save for an abbreviated altar at the far end. (The Synod House was also the site of 2014's Curlew River, where the audience sat on risers on either side of the nave.) The 200 or so people in attendance awkwardly milled about, wondering just when and where the performance was going to take place. 

Suddenly, the lights went down, and the music - Brahms' piano four hands version of his German Requiem - emerged from all sides. Singers, dressed inconspicuously in street clothes, began to move slowly through the space, laying their hands on audience members as they passed. Soon, it became apparent that the 70-odd singers - all members of the Berlin Radio Choir - had committed the entire 70 minute score to memory. 

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Preview: White Light Festival 2016

Photo: Matthias Heyde

The seventh edition of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival kicks off this week with a typically eclectic mix of music, theater, dance and film that all share a spiritual dimension. Offering a welcome antidote to the televised circus that is our Presidential election, Lincoln Center's Artistic Director Jane Moss says that this year's festival, "focuses on what it means to be human in an increasingly fractious world—a world where communication, compassion, and creative expression remain vital to our survival as a global community."

The Radio Choir of Berlin under our old friend Simon Halsey kicked things off last night with their reworking of Brahms' German Requiem - called Human Requiem - at the Synod House at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The interactive, immersive experience promises to be one of White Light's more memorable events. Tickets and info on remaining performances available on the White Light website

The Second Annual BRIC JazzFest Marathon: Night 1

by Steven Pisano

(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

The BRIC JazzFest Marathon, three nights of topflight music now in its second season, opened Thursday night with a night of free jazz. Not free as in style, but free as in: No Cost. All you needed to do was show up at BRIC House and enjoy four and half hours of quality jazz (and other music) for absolutely nothing, thanks to financial support from the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.

So, did you stay home and binge-watch Netflix?

Nine very different acts performed in three different spaces. The Stoop has rising steps that act as seats, bleacher-style. The Artist Studio is an intimate club-like space with cabaret tables in front and standing room in the back. And, the Ballroom is a more traditional concert space. Moving between the three was easy and encouraged via staggered scheduling, though there was usually a line for the popular Artist Studio. I managed to catch 8 of the 9 acts, missing only Ben Allison & Think Free.

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