Listen: 'The Orphic Moment' Makes Its Debut at National Sawdust
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
On March 23, 2016, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo presented the New York premiere of Matthew Aucoin's interdisciplinary dramatic cantata The Orphic Moment with Manhattan School of Music Orchestra and Chorus. The program was directed by artist Doug Fitch of the theatre company Giants Are Small and co-produced by Manhattan School of Music and National Sawdust.
Composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin has composed for the American Repertory Theater, Yo-Yo Ma, A Far Cry and members of the Chicago Symphony, among others. He's conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and Rome Opera Orchestra.
The Orphic Moment was presented as a companion work to Orfeo ed Euridice by late Baroque/early Classical-era opera composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (not included in the audio on this page). James Beard Award–winning chef Patrick Connolly created a "performance art banquet" to segue from Aucoin to Gluck. The team also included filmmaker Pix Talarico, projection designer Tim McLoraine and dramatist Cori Ellison.
The program notes outline the plot of The Orphic Moment:
Aucoin’s work begins inside Orpheus’s mind at the moment before he turns back to look at his wife Eurydice as he leads her out of the underworld. He knows that if he looks back, he will lose her forever, and the piece explores why he ultimately wasn’t able to resist looking. Aucoin wrote the libretto as well as the music, which is scored for chamber ensemble. Anthony Roth Costanzo sings Orpheus, and Eurydice is given voice by the violin, played by Keir GoGwilt. Projections throughout will give the audience a feeling that they are constantly moving upward as the conflicted mythic hero ascends from Hades. The 17-minute work ends just as Orpheus fatefully turns around.
Matthew Aucoin, composer and conductor; Douglas Fitch, director; Zack Winokur, choreographer; Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor; Kiera Duffy, soprano; Keir GoGwilt, violin; the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra and Chorus.
This performance was recorded by Sascha von Oertzen and mixed by Curtis Macdonald.