On Sept. 28, 2014, Beth Morrison Projects presented David Lang's 2002 opera The Difficulty of Crossing a Field with libretto by Mac Wellman at Roulette. Premiered with the Kronos Quartet in San Francisco, this performance features the Harlem Quartet and soloists led by conductor Douglas Kinney Frost. Listen to the entire evening above.
Based on Ambrose Bierce's 1888 story of the same name, The Difficulty of Crossing the Field is a work that blurs the boundaries between opera and musical theater with melodic arias and spoken text and with a string quartet accompaniment that serves as both musical backdrop as well as dramatic actor. The plots centers around the mysterious disappearance of a slave owner (Mr. Williamson) in the pre-Civil War American South, and the stories that emerge to explain the disappearance and predict its repercussions.
Performers included: Chris Burchett (Andrew), Beverly O’Regan Thiele (Mrs. WIlliamson), Daniel Zippi (Amour Wren), Jay O. Sanders (Williamson/Magistrate), Laquita Mitchell (Virginia Creeper), Cree Carrico (Williamson Girl), Nicole Mitchell (Old Woman), Isaiah Robinson (Boy Sam), Douglas Kinney Frost (Conductor), Harlem Quartet
This concert was recorded by the staff at Roulette, and recorded and mixed by Noriko Okabe for Q2 Music.