An event every day that begins at 7:30 pm, repeating until June 4, 2016
Irish composer Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest, based on Oscar Wilde’s comedy, will have its American stage premiere June 2,3 and 4. This production, which was premiered at the Royal Opera House in London, is directed by Ramin Gray and will be conducted by Ilan Volkov leading New York Philharmonic musicians. Reuniting for the U.S. premiere at Lincoln Center will be most of the original cast from the Royal Opera House production.
Capitalizing on what he deems the “ruthless ecstasy” in Oscar Wilde’s play, Barry’s take on The Importance of Being Earnest is characterized by an intensity that heightens both the comedy and the seriousness of the source material. By juxtaposing the extreme isolation of each of the characters with absurdist twists, such as casting Lady Bracknell as a bass, Barry highlights the frenetic strength of Wilde’s story even as he strips the play of two-thirds of its text for the opera’s libretto.
Gerald Barry was born in Ireland in 1952. His time in Germany with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel proved to be a liberating experience and he came to public attention in 1979 with two radical works “_____” and “ø”. Barry’s surreal, virtuosic music is unmistakable in his five operas and wide body of work for ensemble, orchestra, and choir. His most recent opera, The Importance of Being Earnest, was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Barbican, and presented in concert versions by both. Barry’s upcoming projects include an evening-length opera, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.
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