Not just music

the face
Multidisciplinary project from USC composer blends the arts anew
Opera is more than text on a tune. It is, by design and since its invention, the confluence of many different art forms, and has long been considered one of the most complex and, hopefully, nuanced art forms in the modern world. But although music, dance, costuming, lighting, visual arts, and more have long celebrated their partnership in the opera house, it is far less common to see smaller works mix disciplines (usually due to budget constraints), and even less often that film is part of the picture (forgive the pun). Therefore, composers tend to be less keen to dive into an ambitious combination, for fear that the work will have fewer opportunities for staging. Thornton faculty member Donald Crockett‘s new project accepts that challenge, and he is a logical bearer of this particular torch, considering that his works are so often described by reviewers using visual terms such as “kaleidoscopic” and “iridescent”.
Collaborating with poet (and fellow USC faculty member) David St. John, the duo has created “a multidisciplinary chamber opera featuring music, film and choreography”. Exploring themes of creativity, loss and the price of fame, this adaptation of St. John’s “novella in verse” is set in present-day Venice Beach, with the focus on a poet named Raphael, in the waning days of his career. He attempts to cope with the loss of his lover, Marina as a film is being made to chronicle his life, allowing us to glimpse his very human frailty as his own life is transmogrified from one mode of communication to another. The unusual artistic team includes French filmmaker and stage director Paul Desveaux and European but notably African-influenced choreographer Yano Iatrides, two innovative artists who have worked together several times before.
The project is still in progress — as of this writing, the official website forThe Face lists it as “70% funded“. This preview event includes comments, readings and Q&A with the work’s creators and cast, as well as the performance of selected sections, semi-staged, with the USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble. The international cast includes British tenor Daniel Norman as Raphael, with baritone Thomas Meglioranza (the movie producer), mezzo Janna Baty (the director), and soprano Jane Sheldon as Cybele, the young actress playing Marina in the film.
Related events: Two open rehearsals are offered in preparation for this event: an orchestral rehearsal on 4/23 and a stage rehearsal on 4/24. Click here for information.

USC Visions & Voices presents

From Poem to Stage: THE FACE

by Donald Crockett
and David St. John

Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 7:30pm

University of Southern California
University Park Campus
Bovard Auditorium (ADM)

Free admission, RSVP required

Reservations — USC students, staff & faculty

Reservations — General public


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