And there was light

lavender fields

When the fabric of life is stretched to the point of breaking, its gaping seams can expose previously unseen constructs and context. This enlarged perspective can be both enlightening and unnerving, threatening the very anchors that secure us to this world. The music presented in this concert witness life overturned, the before and after carving a fault line in how reality is perceived. A new beginning.

The song cycle The Lavender Fields, written by James Moffett for Ariana Chris, offers a clear-eyed view into the composer’s battle with cancer. His candour about the denial, physical pain, and changes described without and within erases the line between composer and listener so that all sit in the seat of a present experience. Peter Lieberson’s (1946 – 2011) songs use the poems of Ranier Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926), and likewise grapple with the space between being and not being. Rilke dresses his poems in the language of nature, into whose porous essence the reader shifts in and out of again blurring boundaries of time and substance.

Between these sets, songs of J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) and Gustav Mahler (1860 – 1911) stand as pillars. These also meditate on the ancient question of mortality and purpose when studied in the frame of what lies beyond. These venerable masters reminding us that this most cardinal question binds generation to generation. 

Fri, May 3 @ 7 p.m.
Scorca Hall Opera America
330 Seventh Avenue, 7th floor
Tickets: suggested $20, cash only
(all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society)


Ariana Chris, mezzo-soprano
Magnus Billström, baritone
Suna Chung, piano

 

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