Modern Opera Fest at PS21 resumes in early September with Ipsa Dixit and Savage Winter. Composer and vocalist Kate Soper’s Ipsa Dixit, a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music, is a theatrical chamber opera for soprano, flute, violin, and percussion that Alex Ross (The New Yorker) has called “a twenty-first century masterpiece.” Exploring the intersection of music, language, and meaning, the opera blends elements of monodrama, Greek theater, and screwball comedy to skewer the treachery of language and the questionable authenticity of artistic expression.
The work’s six movements draw on texts by thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Freud, Wittgenstein, Jenny Holtzer, and Lydia Davis, delivering ideas from the linguistic disciplines of poetics, rhetoric, and metaphysics through extended vocal techniques and blistering ensemble virtuosity.
Attend both Ipsa Dixit, September 4, and Savage Winter, September 9, and save $40 by purchasing the Modern Opera Fest Pass.
Ipsa Dixit: A Philosophical Opera
Saturday, September 4 at 8 pm
Called “a twenty-first century masterpiece” by Alex Ross, Ipsa Dixit is a theatrical chamber opera for soprano, flute, violin, and percussion. Exploring the intersection of music, language, and meaning, the piece blends elements of monodrama, Greek theater, and screwball comedy to skewer the treachery of language and the questionable authenticity of artistic expression. Each of the piece’s six movements draws on texts by thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, Freud, Wittgenstein, Jenny Holzer, and Lydia Davis, delivering ideas from the linguistic disciplines of poetics, rhetoric, and metaphysics through extended vocal techniques and blistering ensemble virtuosity.
Composer, singer, and writer Kate Soper performs as the soprano in her opera, alongside the instrumentalists of Wet Ink in this 90-minute tour de force.
Ipsa Dixit, which premiered at EMPAC, was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music.
Director: Ashley Tata
Composer: Kate Soper
For soprano, flute, violin, and percussion
Soprano: Kate Soper
The Wet Ink Ensemble: Josh Modney, Violin and Viola;
Erin Lesser, Flute; Ian Antonio, Percussion
September 4, 8 pm. Tickets $40; $25, sold in pairs. $10 tickets for students and teachers.
About the Artists
|Kate Soper‘s (top left) Ipsa Dixit was a finalist for 2017 Pulitzer Prize in music. She has been hailed by the Boston Globe as “a composer of trenchant, sometimes discomfiting, power” and by the New York Times for her “lithe voice and riveting presence.” Soper frequently performs new music and has been featured as a composer/vocalist at the New York City based MATA festival, the Miller Theater Composer Portraits series, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNOW series, and the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series.|
|Director Ashley Tata returns to PS21 to direct Ipsa Dixit following her 2020 triumph with Alarm Will Sound’s improvisational musical meander, Follow Me Into the Field! adapted from John Luther Adam’s state premiere of Ten Thousand Birds. Praised as “fervently inventive” by The New York Times, Tata is a multimedia artist and director of theater, contemporary opera, live music, and immersive experiences whose work has been presented throughout the US and internationally, including Theatre for a New Audience, Arts Nova, LA Opera, Austin Opera, the Miller Theater, National Sawdust, and other venues.|
Thursday, September 9 at 7 pm
In this fiercely contemporary reimagining of Wilhelm Müller’s poetry cycle Winterreise, composer Douglas J. Cuomo has created a thought-provoking work that mirrors the complexity of modern life and relationships.
The “radiant, communicative tenor” (Opera News) Tony Boutté assumes the existential mantle, giving a searing, intense performance as a man desperate for atonement, while electric guitar and electronics (Douglas Cuomo), trumpet (Frank London) and keyboards (Alan Johnson)—infused with acid jazz and a punk energy—narrate his delirious fever dream.
The semi-staged concert version of Savage Winter was premiered in 2018 in Houston by Aperio Music of the Americas. This seventy-five minute performance without intermission requires minimal staging and features projected images from the original opera that bring depth to this dynamic work.
The fully staged version, directed by Jonathan Moore, and with images by Joseph Seaman, was premiered at Pittsburgh Opera and Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2018 and is a co-production of American Opera Projects.
Tony Boutté, Semi-Staged Director
Douglas J. Cuomo, Composer
Tony Boutté, Tenor
Douglas J. Cuomo, Guitar/Electronics
Alan Johnson, Conductor/Piano
Frank London, Trumpet