Film and Tv
News - Lang: Anatomy Theater
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
“A bloody, multi-media passion play.” David Lang’s
— a collaboration with visual artist and librettist Mark Dion and The Ridge Theater — receives a workshop performance on 4 March at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, MA. Part opera, part science exhibit, Anatomy Theater’s grisly subject tells a compelling human story.
is based on the historic ritual of public dissection,” Lang explains. Long before scientific dissection came into practice, the physical body was seen as a manifestation of the spiritual element. With the advent of dissection came a means of discovering what went wrong in the criminal soul. Traveling “specialists” soon toured the country dismembering the corpses of executed criminals for a paying audience. This “theater” included a grand performance complete with food, drink, and music. These moral spectacles were not scientific events but spiritual carnivals where evidence of corruption was sought and uncovered (if not manufactured), reassuring the voyeuristic crowd of the fundamental differences between themselves and the condemned. “The opera is based on many true stories,” Lang continues, “and we combined [our] eclectic talents and ideas to recreate an 18th-century English event as seen through a modern lens, while continuing to expand theatrical, musical and scientific boundaries.”
With this production, Lang returns to MASS MoCA, where in the summer of 2000, they mounted
The Carbon Copy Building
— a multi-media opera collaboration with The Ridge Theater, and fellow Red Poppy composers Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe. MASSMoCA also continues to host the summer festival of Bang on a Can, the Red Poppy-founded new music cooperative.
English libretto based on 18th-century medical notes and journals
Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Bass
pic/fl, cl/bcl, tpt, perc, pf, vn, va, vc, db
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