ROPE AND CHASM, by Matthew Greenbaum, is an evening-length work for mezzo-soprano and video,
based on Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra. It consists of a series of
episodes in which the performer sings and speaks with a recorded musical
score and reacts to the video characters who themselves speak. ROPE
& CHASM will be performed by Israeli-American Re'ut Ben Ze'ev as
Zarathustra, whose character will take on fresh lyrical meanings through
the medium of the female voice. This gender reversal will also compel
reflection about the mask-like relation of Nietzsche to his alter ego
Zarathustra. Greenbaum's score is composed and constructed from a variety of
materials: modified sampled instruments, pure electronic sound and
reworked fragments of other music. The video is made from 3d and
morphing animation and found footage. The work is in the original
German, with subtitles, since the musical poetry of the original German
loses its musical force in translation.
The second half of the program features excerpts from ARCHIMEDES, a "Planetarium Opera" in 3 acts, with an Introduction, Prologue and Epilogue, libretto by Cary Plotkin, with Ted Weiss based on a conception by the composer, James Dashow. The plot is the biography of Archimedes. Mathematical content is present, including the famous Eureka bathtub scene. Both of this evening's works are feasts for both the ear and eye. Kira Simring directs a terrific cast and Hubert Howe is the musical director.