Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

The Orphic Death of Ray Johnson

Expand Messages
  • mandreox
    Orfreo is a 35-minute-long chamber opera sung by countertenor, soprano, bass and mezzo-soprano accompanied by a neo-baroque orchestra of harpsichord, oboe,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 8, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Orfreo is a 35-minute-long chamber opera sung by countertenor,
      soprano, bass and mezzo-soprano accompanied by a neo-baroque
      orchestra of harpsichord, oboe, flute, string quartet and contrabass.

      There are over 200 pieces based on the myth of Orpheus. This time,
      the moment when Orpheus begins to wade across the Lethe in search of
      Eurydice evokes the mysterious moment of the voluntary death by
      drowning of Ray Johnson, the witty playful conceptualist who invented
      mail art. Ray`s humor seeps into the lyrics and the characters.

      Besides Orfreo, and Ray's Cat, and Lethe, a Crow shift-shapes into
      Persephone, and Eurydice, and Beatrice. If Eurydice is Beatrice,
      Orfreo must be Dante. This interplay of characters and archetypes
      attempts to represent the forces at play at the moment of Ray
      Johnson's suicide. The suicide is a step into a new life. Durkheim
      rewrites Ovid.

      The music sets the lyrics dramatically yet tunefully; the style is
      post-minimalist within, so to speak, a neo-baroque context. The
      musical mood of the piece, unexpectedly, considering the dark nature
      of the subject, is quite varied, evolving rapidly from somber to
      anxious to tender to triumphant. In the beginning the lyrics are
      stretched then repeated, and broken into long syllables; after
      Orfreo's aria, the sections tighten and shorten moving towards
      Persephone's climactic aria; and finish in an exuberant finale as
      Orfreo frees the two women from Hell. Neither is Beatrice; or are
      they Beatrice all and the composer too?

      Let Bea be finale of seem
      The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.

      The premiere is scheduled for June 2, 2004, at New York's Merkin
      Hall. Elaine Camparone, harpsichordist, will lead the Queen's
      Chamber Band. Marshall Coid, countertenor, will sing the role of
      Orfreo. Words are by Michael Andre, music by Elodie Lauten.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.