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Monday, November 12, 2018

In Context: Halfway to Dawn



David Roussève/REALITY (Love Songs, Next Wave 1999) returns to BAM for the first time in almost two decades with the NY Premiere of Halfway to Dawn, a jubilant dance-theater work celebrating the life of composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn, best known for his standard, “Take the ‘A’ Train,” and as Duke Ellington’s collaborator. In this recent work, the Guggenheim fellow and Bessie award-winning choreographer Roussève meditates on the life and legacy of Strayhorn, layering dance, text, abstract video imagery, and sound design to create a portrait of the jazz virtuoso. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Greek Legacy


By Andrew Clements

This article was originally published in the Edinburgh International Festival programme, where the Next Wave Festival presentation of Greek (Dec 5-9) premiered in 2017.

In March 2018 the Royal Opera gave the first performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s latest stage work, Coraline, an ‘opera for family audiences’ based on the 2002 fantasy novella by Neil Gaiman. It was Turnage’s second commission from the Royal Opera. The previous one, Anna Nicole, had its premiere at Covent Garden in 2011 to the accompaniment of more hype and razzamatazz than any other new work introduced there in the previous 30 years. Anna Nicole had its US premiere at the 2013 BAM Next Wave Festival to similar fanfare. Turnage has travelled a long way from the operatic debutant who composed Greek in the mid-1980s and who at the time wondered whether he had been wise to get involved in such an artistically treacherous art form. ‘I didn’t want to write an opera at all’, he has said of his feelings then. ‘I agreed with Boulez about burning down the opera houses... Opera was not a natural thing for me and I had no interest in it until I decided to do Greek.’

The White Album Comes Alive


By Nicole Serratore

Photo: Lars Jan





“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

With that succinct opening sentence in her essay, The White Album, Joan Didion probes the identity of the artist, the act of writing, and our compulsion towards narrative. But is her storytelling an artistic venture or a cry for help—or both?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Interview with Satyagraha director Tilde Björfors


A conversation between dramatist Magnus Lindman and director Tilde Björfors

Lindman: So, how much is a circus director enjoying opera?

Björfors: I have come to appreciate that Glass’ music is perfect circus music. There’s something about this sense of the ecstatic, that the music is continuously reaching new heights with minor tweaks that suit the circus we are making here. There are plenty of similarities between circus and opera. They are two incredibly virtuosic art forms. Both try to make the impossible possible and cross the physical and perhaps mental borders of what we humans are capable of doing. We have a center for weightlessness in our brain that develops in the womb as we float around. And it is activated when we see people flying. A physical sensation that we otherwise have forgotten about.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In Context: Interpassivities

Classical ballet dancers and migrant workers walk alongside the crowd in this shape-shifting ballet by Danish artist and filmmaker Jesper Just. A modern experience inspired by Jorge Luis Borges, this performance rethinks the meaning of maps, who makes them, and the artificial borders we create. Context is everything, so we’ve provided some articles to read and videos to watch. After you’ve attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #Interpassivities.

In Context: Falling Out


Falling Out is is both a conclusion and a beginning: the final work in Phantom Limb Company’s decade-long trilogy about climate change, the piece strives to spark conversation and action on environmental issues. Context is everything, so we’ve provided some links below for you to contribute, read, watch, and listen to content that will enhance your understanding of the show and the issues. Add your perspective to the conversation by leaving a message with the Memory Telephone, or posting in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.

Less-Than-Strange Window: A Hunt for the Supernatural at BAM

By Claire Greising

Strange Window: The Turn of the Screw, an inventive adaptation of Henry James’ gothic ghost story, is coming to BAM from Dec 12—15. It tells the story of a young governess who has become convinced that there are evil ghosts lurking in the remote estate where she cares for two children. In a spectacular marriage of past and present, The Builders Association’s new production combines the classic narrative with modern technology and experimental theater practices. Told from the perspective of the governess, the production points out the relativity of truth—leaving the audience to decide if the governess is insane or if the ghosts are real.

Strange Window: The Turn of the Screw premiere at Krannert Center earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Krannert Center for the Performing Arts/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

In Context: Savage Winter

Director Jonathan Moore’s Savage Winter paints a vivid portrait of a man at the end of his rope. Set to Douglas J. Cuomo’s electric score, which reinterprets Franz Schubert’s brooding Winterreise for our contemporary moment, the opera investigates human emotion in its most raw state. Savage Winter is a fiercely evocative opera, asking both its protagonist and its audience to confront the depths of despair and possibilities for redemption. Context is everything, so we’ve provided a curated selection of articles and videos for you to engage with before seeing the piece. After you’ve attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.

Monday, October 29, 2018

What Can Puppets Teach Us About Climate Change—And Ourselves?

By Robert Jackson Wood

Photo of Dai Matsuoka, courtesy of Phantom Limb Company



If you’ve seen the work of Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko—who come to BAM November 7–10 with their latest work, Falling Out—you know the sense of leaving a theater perplexed. You feel enchanted but also unsettled, as though haunted by the work’s subconscious. You feel stuck—pleasantly, productively—in the inbetween.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

In Context: Satyagraha

Photo: Markus Gårder  

Cirkus Cirkör lends its signature acrobatic grace and wit to Philip Glass’ mesmerizing operatic account of Mahatma Gandhi’s experiments with civil disobedience in this new production from Sweden's Folkoperan. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #BAMNextWave.