A Night at the Opera

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Once described by Aaron Copland as “la forme fatale,” opera has been getting a new lease on life as of late thanks to the ingenious and intrepid producer Beth Morrison. Dubbed by Zachary Woolfe of The New York Observer as “the opera lady who likes it crazy,” Morrison figures prominently into the new music scene this spring with a return to New York City Opera’s VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab in May.

More immediately, Morrison reprises her collaboration with Opera on Tap and VisionIntoArt, called the 21c Liederabend, for three nights April 7 through 9. The lieder-palooza features libretti by the likes of Jonathan Safran Foer and Susan Yankowitz plus performers including the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and WQXR’s Overnight Music host Helga Davis.

Oh yeah, there are 20 diverse yet equally-badass composers, too. Beguiling composer and performer Du Yun presents a 21c Liederabend commission that, in her words “tells a snapshot of memory-flashback… A desire withered.” Today, we hear her on home turf with the International Contemporary Ensemble and chat Du Yun up in a live conversation about her work in both the composing and performance realms, plus her upcoming premiere. Join in the chat below or on Twitter with the hash tag #q2new.

We also highlight Q2's Album of the Week, Julia Wolfe’s wordless yet no less operatic Cruel Sister, with a limited time free download from the piece’s new recording on Cantaloupe Music, available here starting Monday. Recently performed at Wolfe’s Composer Portrait series at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre, Wolfe’s spellbinding and dramatic piece tells the story of two sisters wooed by the same man and the resulting deathly consequences of passion and jealousy.

As icing on the cake, we’ll hear works by Liederabend vets Matt Marks and David T. Little.