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Performances

Past Performance

March 15 - 19, 2017 Curlew River (New York premiere); Dido and Aeneas

BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

Howard Gilman Opera House

Brooklyn, New York — United States

Performance Times

March 15, 2017 7:30pm

March 16, 2017 7:30pm

March 17, 2017 7:30pm

March 18, 2017 7:30pm

March 19, 2017 3:00pm

Details

Mark Morris: Two Operas
An Evening of Britten and Purcell

Curlew River – New York Premiere
By Benjamin Britten
MMDG Music Ensemble
Directed by Mark Morris

Dido and Aeneas
By Henry Purcell
Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble
Choreography by Mark Morris
Conducted by Mark Morris

"The coupling of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and Benjamin Britten’s “Curlew River” — English music dramas composed almost three centuries apart — makes a superlative double bill."  The New York Times

This career-spanning double bill perfectly embodies Mark Morris' unwavering commitment to music and his trademark blend of emotion,rhythm, and movement. First, clad in all white, the vocalists and orchestra of the MMDG Music Ensemble unite onstage to tell Benjamin Britten's haunting parable of maternal grief in the oft-overlooked music-drama Curlew River. The original Madwoman, tenor Isaiah Bell, described by The New York Times as "ideally depicting emotional distraction with ultimate economy and glowing vocal skill," returns to the central role.

Then, sweeping across the stage in jet-black sarongs, the members of Mark Morris Dance Group revive their seminal 1989 interpretation of Dido and Aeneas, Henry Purcell's baroque tragedy of ill-fated love, with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe performing the roles of Dido and the Sorceress, and Mark Morris on the podium. 

"To hear Ms. Blythe sing Dido and The Sorceress is to hear the roles anew. That astonishing voice—dark, vehement, burning—pours out with extraordinary ease throughout her range." - The New York Times

Press

Every decision Morris made here — keeping the instrumentalists onstage throughout, dressing the chorus and the main performers all in identical white shirts and trousers, using minimal sets, and having the “ghost child” who appears at the end not appear, but instead sing from offstage (in the voice of countertenor Daniel Moody)—worked to heighten the effect of this unusual Britten work. It was at once austere and moving, weird and familiar, and though its seventy minutes did not feel short, they all earned their keep.

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- The Lesser Blog
Mark Morris’ identity as an artist is inseparable from the music. Not only does he make dances, he conducts their scores, and “Mark Morris: Two Operas, An evening of Britten and Purcell” was a personification of this artistic Janus. Each work profited from his devotion to both opera and dance, but in opposing ways. Morris highlighted the music in his New York premiere of Benjamin Britten’s “Curlew River” and focused on the dance in his 1989 classic, Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas.” In both cases, though, the partner art was rendered with beautiful attention.

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- Dancelog
Mark Morris has always been interested in music, but in 1989, when he premiered “Dido and Aeneas,” that interest was expressed primarily through dance. He also continued to be concerned with the gender issues that marked the first decade or so of his work.

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- Danceviewtimes
On the last day of July, 2013, I saw and heard an unforgettable performance in Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall. Mark Morris had directed Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River for a cast of Tanglewood Fellows and paired it with his 1989 visualization of Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas, performed by the Mark Morris Dance Group and the MMDG Musical Ensemble. The last sentence of my review was this: “I wish I could see it again this very minute.” I’ve had to wait three-and-half years.

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- DanceBeat
As a choreographer, Mark Morris believes that dancing is a perfectly natural thing for humans to do. How else to explain the way he turned a company of male opera singers into a troupe of dancers?

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- Bachtrack

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