Performing Arts: Music
June 1, 2014
Millions know Edgar Allen's Poe famous poem “The Raven” written in 1845, but few have heard of the Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa who set Poe’s dreamy, mysterious words to music. Fortunately, Neal Goren, artistic director of the Gotham Chamber Opera gathered his creative forces and collaborated with Hosokawa in the creation of a 12 instrument chamber opera for the mezzo-soprano Fredrika Brillembourg fluently conducted by Mr. Goren.

Ms. Brillembourg and her spiritual counterpart, the remarkable Italian ballerina Alessandra Ferri, realize the melodic poem through the dramatically spoken and sung passages. Directed and choreographed by Luca Veggetti (known for his works with NYC ballet companies), Ms. Ferri functions as a soulful reflection of Poe’s romantically sad narrative. The two women are in constant motion throughout the piece. Ferri weightlessly crawls on the floor raising one leg heavenward, and then rolling over to Ms. Brillembourg, balances on her back and slowly slides down Ms. Brillembourg’s body. While the cinematic music, full of deep rumbles and spare, atonal bridges percolates, the notes seep behind the text projected above the performers.

Generally, it’s difficult to synthesize movement, music and text, but in this case, the inherent melody of the poem with it’s refrain, “Quoth the raven nevermore,” the score and intuitively synched performances lift The Raven to a fully integrated music theater production.

The Raven, performed along with the bright "Conte Frantastique: Le Masque de la Mort Rouge" by Andre Caplet at the Gerald Lynch Theater is part of the NY Philharmonic Biennial.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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