Premiere New York Premiere
Production Language English
Country of Origin Brazil
Description The work of legendary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is seen anew in a theatrical production that integrates his often provocative and always compelling images from the 1960s and 70s. Composer Bryce Dessner, librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle, director Daniel Fish, and eight-member vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth create an experience that celebrates the duality inherent in Mapplethorpe’s work (shown in monumental stage projections) between beauty and obscenity and with a boundary-breaking perspective on classical archetypes.
Bryce Dessner is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation, with a rapidly expanding catalog of works commissioned by leading ensembles. Known by many as a guitarist with The National, he is also active as a curator—a vital force in the flourishing realm of new creative music. His orchestral, chamber, and vocal compositions have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Metropolitan Museum of Art (for the New York Philharmonic), Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, New York City Ballet, and many others. Dessner’s music—called “gorgeous, full-hearted” by NPR and “vibrant” by The New York Times—is marked by a keen sensitivity to instrumental color and texture. Propulsive rhythms often alternate with passages in which time is deftly suspended. His harmonies are expressive and flexible, ranging from the dense block chords of Aheym to the spacious modality of Music for Wood and Strings.