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Kopernikus

Americas Society

May 15 - 16, 2019
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Image: Sergio Policicchio

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Admission: Free for AS and YPA members; $20 General Admission. Please register.

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Music of the Americas presents the New York premiere of composer Claude Vivier's chamber opera Kopernikus. The production, performed by Meridionalis and the International Contemporary Ensemble, features video by Sergio Policicchio.
In what Vivier described as a "ritual opera of death" the central character — a young woman named Agni — descends into a dreamworld where "mystical beings borrowed from stories gravitate around her: Lewis Carroll, Merlin, a witch, the Queen of the Night, a blind prophet, an old monk, Tristan and Isolde, Mozart, the Master of the Waters, Copernicus and his mother. These characters could be Agni’s dreams that follow her during her initiation and finally into her dematerialization."
 
This event is part of New York Opera Fest.
 
 

Kopernikus

 

About the composer

Born in Montreal, Claude Vivier (1943-1983) grew up in a working-class part of the city. As an adolescent, he attended a boarding school run by the Marist Brothers that prepared pupils for life in the priesthood. There, the young Claude discovered music while singing in a midnight mass and he began to compose. He was advised to leave the seminary at the age of 18 due to his "sensitive and excitable temperament." He studied composition at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec (Montreal) with Gilles Tremblay, and spent a few years in Europe at the Institute of Sonology (The Hague) and Hochschule für Musik (Cologne), where he had the opportunity to study with Stockhausen. He also traveled to Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia, whose culture and rhythms had a deep effect on his compositional output. After encountering spectral compositions of Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail, Vivier traveled to Paris in 1982, where he was murdered the following year. Many of his compositions were not heard during his lifetime, and he remains a tragic figure in the canon of 20th-century music.

About the visual artist

Sergio Policicchio (b. 1985, Buenos Aires) relocated to Ravenna, Italy in 2004, where he pursued studies in visual arts and mosaics at the Academy of Fine Arts. He lives and works between Italy, Argentina, and Moldova. Recent exhibitions include La visione dell'invisibile (solo, Vibra gallery, Ravenna, 2017); tsu-na-gu (collective, Shimadai gallery, Kyoto, 2016); Partiture eventual (site-specific installation, Emergenze creative 2015 in Ravenna); and Quelqu'un (collective, M comme mosaique gallery, Paray-le-monial, France, 2015).

 

About the performers

Katharine Dain: Coloratura
Amy Goldin: Soprano
Hai-Ting Chinn: Mezzo-soprano
Kirsten Sollek: Contralto
Christopher Herbert: Baritone
Joseph Beutel: Baritone
Steven Hrycelak: Bass
 
Josh Modney: Violin
Gareth Flowers: Trumpet
Michael Lormand: Trombone
Nick Masterson: Oboe
Campbell MacDonald: Clarinet 1
Joshua Rubin: Clarinet 2
Rane Moore: Clarinet 3

 

Established in 2010, Meridionalis is a choral project of Americas Society that focuses on early music and contemporary music from the hemisphere, with a mission to promote little-known and rarely-performed repertoire from the region; collaborating with expert musicologists across the globe on programs of sacred and secular choral music. The ensemble has been lauded for its "well-blended, joyous sound" and "beautifully rendered programs" by The New York Times.

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective that is transforming the way music is created and experienced. Works by emerging composers have anchored ICE’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present.

A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, ICE was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. ICE was featured at the Ojai Music Festival from 2015 to 2017, and at recent festivals abroad such as gmem-CNCM-marseille and Vértice at Cultura UNAM, Mexico City.