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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Les Arts Florissants and BAM: A 30-Year Romance


What does an American in Paris do? If you are William Christie, you start a music ensemble excavating long-ignored French Baroque opera! The Buffalo-born, Harvard and Yale-educated music scholar founded Les Arts Florissants in 1979. Named after the 17th-century opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier—who, at that point, was known mostly as the composer who gave the Eurovision Song Contest its theme music—Les Arts Florissants was formed as a period instrument ensemble dedicated to Baroque music. Ten years later, Christie brought his ensemble and the now-legendary production of Atys to BAM, starting a 30-year romance of Baroque operas, many of them seldom heard or seen, a significant component of BAM’s artistic legacy.

With Rameau, maître à danser (Mar 1—3), Les Arts Florissants presents a double bill of two rarely seen opera-ballets by Jean-Philippe Rameau, continuing the artistic collaboration. Here are some other highlights.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rethinking Rameau: On Bringing Two Rarely Seen Opera-Ballets to the Stage

Rameau, maître à danser
Photo: Philippe Delval

By Sophie Daneman

Daphnis et Églé and La naissance d’Osiris—two unfamiliar titles, two works that have rarely seen the light of day. Setting them alongside Rameau’s immense tragédies-lyriques one might be tempted to dismiss them as flimsy entertainments, but on closer inspection they reveal a world full of charm, humanity, sensuality, and grace—products of a genius in his 70s with all the wealth of his life and art behind him. These are not pieces written for the opera houses of Paris but for the private, more intimate, court performances at Fontainebleau. Away from the glare of the Paris critics at a time when the musical world was in the throes of the tumultuous Querelle des Bouffons (a battle of musical rivals France and Italy), Rameau was able to experiment with more European styles and, despite the obvious constraints of space (possibilities for “les merveilles” being somewhat limited), there is a great sense of freedom that emanates from these scores—Rameau making his own journey through the culturally diverse world of the Age of Enlightenment.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Propose To Your Sweetheart at BAM and Say “Yes” to a Free Membership For Two




We’re all about love in its many iterations this Valentine’s Day season, whether it’s with a heart-filled art installation, a breathtaking display of trust, or a love-themed film series—so if you’re thinking of popping the question, do it at BAM between Feb 8—24 and you and your betrothed will receive a complimentary one year Level 2 BAM Membership! It’s our way of saying thank you for including us in such an exciting moment in your life. Here’s how to redeem the prize:

Thursday, February 7, 2019

In Context: Non Solus


“We return here thousandfold to understand the simplest teaching: we are one and the only creation of our progress is love,” writes Bence Vági, writer, director, choreographer, and founder of Hungary’s Recirquel Company. The company makes its BAM debut this season with Non Solus, a duet that exemplifies the young troupe’s unique blend of circus and dance—and Vági’s mission to revive the tradition of the great circuses of Europe while infusing it with a new movement vocabulary. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below, and on social media using #NonSolus.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Beyond the Canon: Funeral Parade of Roses + The Crying Game

By Willow Maclay

It is no secret that the cinema canon has historically skewed toward lionizing the white, male auteur. Beyond the Canon is a monthly series that seeks to question that history and broaden horizons by pairing one much-loved, highly regarded, canonized classic with a thematically or stylistically-related—and equally brilliant—work by a filmmaker traditionally excluded from that discussion. This month’s double feature pairs Toshio Matsumoto’s Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) with Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game (1992) on Sat, Feb 16 at 4:15pm.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Poetry That Became Non Solus


Before it was a breathtaking display of trust performed by two acrobatic figures searching for the truth of our commonality, Non Solus existed as several lines of poetry inspired by the vast emptiness and beauty of the Atacama desert in South America. There, Bence Vági (writer, director, and choreographer of Non Solus) found himself reflecting on the idea of connectedness.

Artist Christopher K. Ho’s Take on First Love



Visual artist Christopher K. Ho brings his site-specific carpet installation Dear John to the Peter Jay Sharp Building Feb 8—Feb 24, just in time for Valentine’s Day. We spoke with Ho about his approach to art-making, the inspiration behind this sprawling work, and his love of Taylor Swift.