Sunday, February 08, 2015

Coming Up: Death with Interruptions, by Kurt Rohde, March 19 & 21, 2015

If you think we're seeing a lot of new opera (and new old opera) these days, you're right. And Kurt Rohde, terrific composer, first-class violist, local, Rome Prize winner, etc., has a new opera being produced next month by Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.

It'll be performed on Thursday, March 19 and Saturday, March 21, at ODC Dance Theater in San Francisco.

From the press release:
Based on Nobel Prize winner José Saramago's novel, Death with Interruptions recounts the story of what happens when death, who lives in an unnamed Iberian country with her taciturn scythe, falls in love with the principal cellist of a local orchestra and fails to claim his life. Music becomes the transformative force that gradually changes death from a spectral entity into an idealized woman, unfamiliar with human emotion and perplexed by the intricacies of decisions based on the desire to be loved and unalone.
“In this re-imagined tale of the Orpheus myth, it is death that rises to the land of the living, passing through the music of mankind, becoming more and more human as she fulfills her journey,” explains composer Kurt Rohde. “As desire takes hold, death decides to love, which means she has to become human and relinquish her authority. Things get messy when living the lives we do, subconsciously operating on the premise that death will take us someday, suddenly we get a new book of rules to work with and no one knows exactly what to do next. Not even death.” 
Death with Interruptions, the first LCCE opera production, is written for three solo singers (death, cellist, and scythe/dog/narrator); a chamber ensemble of solo cello, piano, percussion, offstage string quartet, and electronics; and a chamber choir of 16 voices. Soprano Nikki Einfeld, performing the role of death, is joined by baritone Daniel Cilli, tenor Joe Dan Harper, and noted Bay Area vocal ensemble Volti San Francisco, along with Left Coast Chamber Ensemble musicians featuring cellist Leighton Fong. Matilda Hofman will conduct; the director is Majel Connery.
The program opens with a contrasting take on the imagined embodiment of death––Franz Schubert's famousAndante con moto from String Quartet No.14 in D Minor, D.810, Death and the Maiden. 
This sounds pretty great to me, and I love what I've heard of Kurt Rohde's music.

Tickets are $30 General Admission / $15 Under Age 35 and can be purchased online at www.odcdance.org/buytickets.php.

(I'm deeply chagrined to see that I missed a performance by LCCE this week, and it included the Quartet for the End of Time, which I love and have never heard live.)


Unknown said...

Thanks for writing about Death with Interruptions! We'll put you on our Left Coast email list so you don't miss concerts in the future - sorry you missed Quartet for the End of Time. - Lena (Left Coast board)

Lisa Hirsch said...

You are very welcome, and thank you!