Atlas — An Opera in Three Parts
Composer: Meredith Monk
Librettist: Meredith Monk
Other Artistic Personnel: Meredith Monk and Pablo Vela, Directors; Wayne Hankin, Conductor and Musical Director; Yoshio Yabara, Art and Costumes Director; Debby Lee Cohen and Yoshio Yabara, Set Designers; Beverly Emmons, Lighting Designer, David Meschter, Sound Designer; Meredith Monk, Choreographer
Original Cast: Carlos Arevalo, Thomas Bogdan, Victoria Boomsma, Janis Brenner, Chen Shizheng, Allison Easter, Robert Een, Dina Emerson, Emily Eyre, Katie Geissinger, Ching Gonzalez, Sally Gross, Dana Hanchard, Wendy Hill, Meredith Monk, Stephen Kalm, Wilbur Pauley, Randall Wong
Premiere Date: February 22, 1999
Producing Company: Houston Grand Opera
Description: The composer stated that, "The basic theme of Atlas is the loss of wonder, mystery, and freshness in our contemporary life and the possibility of rediscovering it." Atlas centers on the life of Alexandra Daniels, a female explorer. Alexandra and her traveling companions set out on an expedition where there are adventures, encounters with spirits from other realms, and struggles with personal and societal demons. The explorers are taught by guides who lead them into a realm of pure energy. The character of Alexandra is loosely based on the life of explorer Alexandra David-Neel.
Reviews: London Financial Times, Max Loppert, 2-26-91; Los Angeles Times, William Albright, 3-3-91; Houston Chronicle, Charles Ward, 2-25-91; The Houston Post, Carl Cunningham, 2-17-91; The Houston Post, Carl Cunningham, 2-25-91; Suddeutsche Zeitung, Eva-Elisabeth Fischer, 3-4-91; Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Rainer Wagner, 2-27-91; Star Tribune, MN, Mike Steele, 3-1-91; St. Paul Pioneer Press, MN, Michael Fleming, 3-9-91; The New York Times, Susan Heller Anderson, 2-14-90; Opera News, 2-16-91; USA Today, David Patrick Stearns, 2-28-91; Houston Chronicle, Charles Ward, 2-17-91.
Length: 02:13
Total Acts: Not Available
Musical Style: Virtually no text; improvisation on vocal sounds or phonemes; expanded vocal techniques; lulling, tonal, triadic, repetitive instrumental accompaniment; lively rhythmic pulse; some rock, jazz, and folk influences
Contact: The House Foundation, attention: Barbara Dufty
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